Forrest Gump might have said that skydiving and cameras go together like peas and carrots. It’s an awesome thing to capture what’s arguably the world’s most fun aerial activity with a nice tiny, high-quality camera such as a GoPro. It won’t get in the way, right? You won’t even know it’s there!
To go back to our peas-and-carrots analogy, it doesn’t quite fit the skydiving scene in the sense that the peas don’t hurt or kill the carrots. But cameras add risk to nearly any activity, even if it’s just a spectator on the ground with a camera. Why? One, cameras apparently have a unique ability to disable basic brain function in humans. Haven’t you noticed how smart humans can become complete idiots when cameras are rolling? It might be a “Hey y’all, watch this!” showoff, being so focused on getting the shot that the camera jumper forgets to deploy his/her parachute on time, or a spectator walking into a dangerous landing or aircraft operations area because they are too busy watching what’s in the viewfinder or on screen to realize they are walking into a trap. All kidding aside, the distraction problem cameras pose is very real.
Two, cameras on skydivers can snag parachute lines and thereby cause or complicate parachute malfunctions.
Jumping with any type of camera, including small-format cameras such as GoPros and Contours, adds significant risk to any skydive. These risks may include the following and other risks:
- Cameras falling off of jumpers, creating hazards for people and property on the ground.
- Pilot chute bridles, lines, and/or parachutes entangling with the camera.
- Distraction from critical safety issues such as proper gear routing, exit lights, and freefall and canopy traffic.
The United States Parachute Association recommends that jumpers have at least 200 jumps and a C license, and instruction in camera flying before using a camera on any skydive. Skydive Spaceland believes in and follows this recommendation. If you are interested in jumping a camera here, get your 200 jumps, familiarize yourself with USPA’s Skydiver Information Manual Section 6-8, and seek advice from one of our many experienced camera flyers.