Skydiving and parachute jumping in Houston, Texas and South Florida

Loading Area Etiquette

Getting ready to board an aircraft for skydiving is more than a little different than boarding a plane for commercial travel or getting in a car for a drive. There are concerns for personal safety, the safety of others in the plane (and the plane itself), and efficiency. Stay safe and efficient with these loading tips!

Personal Safety

  • Complete your gear checks before the plane pulls up. This means 3 rings, handles, and buckles are all in place, tightened where applicable, and with excess straps stowed. You will not be allowed to board the aircraft otherwise.
  • Make sure you have all the accessories you need (helmet, goggles, altimeter).
  • Stay behind the white fence (loading area 1) or between the hangar and the ditch (loading area 2) until the loader walks out to the plane.
Safety of Others
  • Know which direction jump run is flying, which direction to track away from other groups and fly your canopy, etc.
  • Talk to others in the loading area to see what groups before and behind you are doing and plan a safe exit order.
Efficiency
Efficient operations help us keep costs down (including jump ticket prices!) and fly more loads in a day. Be considerate of operating efficiency and other jumpers’ time by:
  • Being geared up and in the loading area at the 5-minute call.
  • Lining up right behind the ladder before the plane arrives, so you’re ready to load right away (i.e., not sitting on the benches until the plane is parked).
  • Get into the plane quickly and sit as far forward as possible. If the load is not completely full, you can shift towards the tail to gain more space when you remove your seatbelt after takeoff.

2 comments

  1. Jim alkek /

    “Sit as far forward….” Is this true for a light load in the Super Caravan?

  2. Skydive Spaceland /

    The “Sit as far forward” comment comes from people spacing out before the plane is loaded and not being enough room in the back of the plane for the rest of the load because seats are skipped in the front of the load. In a 182 and other planes, loading forward is to help keep the CG (Center of Gravity) within the flight envelope. This is not as critical in the Otter as it is in some other airplanes.
    Now in the older Caravans, and in the newer SuperVans, the center of gravity becomes an issue in different ways. In the older Caravans, the center of gravity in a loaded plane is to the back of the CG envelope, so we don’t want anyone on the back bench. In the newer SuperVan the center of gravity is well forward, so much so that if there are only a few people in the plane, sitting all the way to the front of the plane would put the center of gravity out of the forward limits. This is why we have asked there always be 2 people on the back bench when loading and the rest of the jumpers be evenly distributed in the plane. When loading, it’s still a good idea to “pack it in” until we see how much extra room there is available, then spread it out before take off. The seatbelts are set up in such a way that “loosening up” after loading is quite easy. If you are one of the folks that need to ride the SuperVan down, if it’s possible, the pilot will ask you to close the door and sit toward the rear of the plane to help with the CG. This would not be the case in the other planes.
    –Rabbitt

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