If you are looking into the sport of skydiving, you may be wondering who is in charge of the rules of the sport. There are two main skydiving regulators in the United States: the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the United States Parachute Association (USPA). These two organizations work together to keep the sport of skydiving safe.
According to the USPA, around half a million people go skydiving every year. By 2016, the organization had over 39,000 members. Over 4 million people skydived in 2016 at over 230 USPA-affiliated skydiving organizations.
The USPA publishes the 265-page document, “Skydiver’s Informational Manual (SIM).”
The FAA combined their expertise with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to create their own 28-page manual for skydiving called “Advisory Circuit” on sport parachuting. At the beginning the manual states, “The FAA recommends that beginning skydivers seek instructions from instructors that have met the qualifications set forth by the USPA or other similar skydiving associations.”
The skydiving regulators have rules set in place for anybody planning their first jump. Here are some basic rules of skydiving:
- You will have to register when you are at a jump center. In addition, expect to fill out a liability release form before jumping – this acknowledges that there are risks associated with skydiving (even though statistically you are more likely to have a car accident on the way to the skydiving center).
- There are different ground schools (AFF, IAD, SL). Each student should pass a written, oral, and practice test. This should help skydivers express their understanding or skydiving as well as their decision-making ability, and a demonstration of their skills.
- Under SIM, people who skydiving need to meet the physical requirements. This includes not being on a medication that could affect their skydiving or decision-making ability.
- A person has to be 18 years old to skydive.
- A USPA instructor should be with you when you board the aircraft (a plane should be boarded from behind the wing).
- When the plane goes up in the air, expect to sit on the floor a bench in the place – generally you are in close proximity of other skydivers.
- Before you take your jump listen to all of the certified skydiving instructors directions.
Aside from this there are various regulations and suggestions from both skydiving regulators. For example, the FAA states nobody operating a plane, or conduct a parachute operation if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs (§§ 105.7).
There are three different levels of skydiving instructors certified by the USPA:
- USPA Coach Rating
- USPA Instructor Rating
- USPA Instructor Examiner Rating
USPA Coach Rating
To get this rating a skydiver has to jump 100 times and obtained a USPA B license. These can teach general first-time jumpers.
USPA Instructor Rating
This type of certification is for an instructor teaching a slightly more advanced discipline of skydiving. Normally, this follows one of the four disciplines: accelerated freefall, instructor-assisted deployment, static-line, or tandem.
USPA Instructor Examiner Rating
This is the hardest kind to obtain. People who have rating are highly experienced and train coaches and instructors. This is currently the highest rating the USPA offers.
Now that you know more about the different skydiving rules by the skydiving regulators, consider booking your first skydive.