High Wind Landings: Winds Greater than 15 MPH
by Jan Meyer
Jumpers should consider their weight, main and reserve canopy performance and experience level when deciding whether or not to jump in high winds. A slightly hazardous situation is backing up under a ram-air main canopy. An even more potentially dangerous situation is backing up under a round reserve canopy, that cannot be cut-a-way.
In the Air Under Canopy
Determine your ground speed frequently.
Backing Up: Look behind you at your landing site. Pay special attention to fences, power lines and trees. Most jumpers back up into these obstacles.
Flare closer to the ground. Flare just prior to touchdown to reduce your descent rate even when your ground speed is zero (straight down) or negative (backing up).
Avoid landing downwind of large obstacles. Winds over large objects generate turbulence that can be significant as far away as 10 times the object's length.
As soon as your toes touch the ground, let go of one toggle, keep the other toggle at the flare position, pivot 180º around the brake line you hold onto, steer the canopy into the ground by pulling in the brake line you held onto, run towards and around the canopy if required.
Cut-a-way your main canopy only if it does not have a Steven's lanyard(RSL).
Pull in a brake line until you reach the canopy.
Originally published in Sport Parachutist's Safety Journal V1, #1 May/June 1988.
Dedicated to enhancing sport parachuting safety by disseminating information about equipment, environments and human factors.