Published: September 21, 2018
You consider your GoPro camera your #1 adventure buddy. That little piece of digital ingenuity has been with you on each of your great escapades: kayaking, hiking, biking, and rock climbing. Through them all, it was your faithful wing man. Now that you've scheduled a tandem skydive, you are probably thinking: "Here is another chance for me to put my handy dandy camera to work!" After all, this is an experience you definitely want to remember-and if you don't get video footage of it, did it even happen? So, you're probably wondering now: Can I bring my own GoPro skydiving?
Mmmm... unfortunately not so much.
We get it. We all want to capture memories and keep them with crystal clarity in a digital format that can last a lifetime. So we know bringing your GoPro on a tandem skydive may seem like a great idea, but rest assured - it's not.
Here are the reasons why jumping with your own GoPro is a no-go:
Big Trouble Comes in Small Packages
Skydiving is no carnival ride. When you are on a tandem skydive, you are a skydiver. Yes, you have a qualified licensed instructor, but you have a few responsibilities too. To have a camera attached to you requires some serious skydiving skill and a near-avian familiarity with freefall.
Obviously, people too busy fiddling with their cameras to get the best shot or the best angle (something that is tough to do, even when you're not freefalling at 120mph) are easily distracted. And, frankly, on a skydive, the directions provided to you by your instructor are something that deserve your complete attention.
While it's rare, just like in everyday life, emergency situations do arise. And guess what? It's been proven that cameras can interfere response times and with emergency procedures.
Even tandem instructors (who must have a minimum 500 skydives to even qualify for a tandem rating) are recommended to complete 200 skydives with tandem passengers SANS camera equipment BEFORE they don a camera to catch it all on film.
In part, it is because cameras are a snag hazard - when you deploy a parachute, the ensuing spaghetti string mess is tossed to the winds at 120 mph. You don't want anything to be there that can potentially catch. A line entanglement with a camera can cause a very sticky situation and result in injury. Cameras need to be kept clear of the lines during parachute deployment and that takes some serious flying chops.
We have to follow the rules!
As skydivers, our rulebook is the United States Parachute Association Skydiver's Information Manual (we call it the SIM). The job of the USPA is to disseminate the safety information it has been gathering for decades to its group member drop zones. The conclusion the SIM draws about cameras? Flying a camera is a serious decision. Don't believe us - check out Section 6-8, which covers camera usage and safety.
The SIM says before jumping with a camera, a skydiver should have enough general jump experience to be able to handle any skydiving emergency easily and without stress. Before using a camera, a licensed skydiver is recommended to have a C license, or 200 skydives and the equivalent C license flying skills. Oh, and before they jump a camera, they also need to have 50 jumps on the parachute equipment that they will be using for camera flying. When it comes to a licensed skydiver filming students, the SIM suggests that a jumper must have at least 300 group freefall skydives AND at least 50 jumps flying a camera with an experienced jumper.
Why are we telling you all this? It is to drive the point home that adding a camera to the mix is a decision that has to be made with care.
Leave the camera flying to the professionals!
At Long Island Skydiving Center, we have you covered. Sit back, enjoy the experience, and let us worry about capturing the skydive on film. Even if you could bring a camera, you shouldn't.
Imagine not being distracted by getting a sweet shot, or panicking over whether you even turned the camera on. Allow yourself to live fully in the moment: don't let your skydive pass you by. Since we know how hard it is to leave your faithful friend at home, bring your camera with you! Just leave it on the ground in the hands of your human friends and family. Don't worry, your skydive footage will be captured by professionals, so you can relieve the great time you just had again and again.