Why Jump out of a Perfectly Good Airplane?
If a skydiver was given a dollar for every time they heard that… they’d be rich. It’s hard for people to get their heads around the concept of skydiving as a hobby and skydivers themselves often find it difficult to explain why they do what they do, but it all boils down to one thing… FREEDOM.
Remember what it was like to be a child, living a carefree existence without stress or responsibility? We were just being… never doing. As an adult, skydiving allows you to experience that same feeling: it allows you to just be. No thoughts of e-mails needing your attention, bill to pay, appointments to be made, reports to finish. When you’re in the air, you’re living in the now and just ‘being.’
Skydiving provides an escape where your focus completely narrows forcing you to live completely in the present. Once you deploy your parachute, you have the freedom to float and take in the world silently or laugh and yell the whole way down. That feeling of absolute freedom can be very addictive.
When people ask why we jump, what they really are saying is why risk your life for some short term enjoyment? But is skydiving really that risky? Let’s take a look at the statistics.
Is Skydiving Worth the Risk? You Decide!
The sport of skydiving continues to improve its safety record. In 2013, USPA (United States Parachute Association) recorded 24 fatal skydiving accidents in the U.S. out of roughly 3.2 million jumps. That’s 0.0075 fatalities per 1,000 jumps-among the lowest rate in the sport’s history! Tandem skydiving has an even better safety record, with less than 0.003 student fatalities per 1,000 tandem jumps over the past decade. According to the National Safety Council, a person is much more likely to be killed getting struck by lightning or stung by a bee.
In the 1970s, the sport averaged 42.5 skydiving fatalities per year. Since then, the average has dropped each decade. In the 1980s, the average was 34.1; in the 1990s, the average was 32.3, and in the first decade of the new millennium (2000-2009), the average dropped again to 25.8. Over the past four years, the annual average continues its decline to 22.3.
With 14 fatalities, 1961-the first year records were kept-stands as the year with the fewest skydiving fatalities. However, USPA was considerably smaller then, with just 3,353 members, and the total number of jumps was far fewer than today’s 3.2 million-plus jumps. To put this in perspective, in the 1960s, there was an average of 3.65 fatalities per thousand USPA members. In contrast, 2013 had 0.67 fatalities per thousand USPA members. And estimating about 3.2 million jumps last year, that’s one fatality per 133,333 skydives.
Considering these numbers, there’s no reason to believe that skydiving is any more dangerous than your morning commute! But we all know that it’s a heck of a lot more fun!