Unfasten Your Seatbelt
by Jan Meyer
Most skydivers are familiar with the FAA Regulations that require seatbelts to be fastened for taxi, takeoff and landing. Many drops zones required skydivers to wear seatbelts from the ground to 1000 feet AGL.
There are many times when you should not have your seatbelt fasten. In these situations, a skydiver with a fastened seatbelt may introduce additional hazards to himself, other occupants of the aircraft and the aircraft.
Seatbelts should be unfastened whenever the door is open. In the unlikely event of a premature opening, it is better for everyone to be unrestrained. The skydiver with the premature opening needs to follow the parachute out the door if it escapes into the slipstream. Other skydivers may need to exit the aircraft if it sustains damage by an inflating parachute.
Unfasten your seatbelt if the door is opened at a lower altitude to allow other skydivers to exit. If something goes wrong, such as the skydiver's parachute catching on the aircraft, you want to be ready to exit. It is also advisable to put your helmet and goggles on too.
Seatbelts should never be fastened if the belt is restraining no person. Seatbelts should be left unfastened any time there is no person sitting on the bench or floor where the seatbelt is attached. A fastened seatbelt can be an easy place for a skydiver to hook a foot or arm as they exit. This would create a jumper in tow situation.
Unfasten your seatbelt whenever the door is open.
Never fasten seatbelts if it is not restraining anyone.
Move seatbelts away from the door to reduce tripping and entanglement problems.
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