Thursday, April 21, 2016

Skydiving is no longer an extreme sport

These days, jumping out of an airplane with a parachute strapped to your back is hardly the death-defying feat it once was. ...

While people do get injured skydiving, the jump is generally less fraught than the drive to the airport. All skydivers now carry reserve chutes in case something goes amiss with the first one (it rarely does). Even if you find yourself paralyzed with fear in midair, you’re likely not going to plunge to your death. A small gizmo called an automatic activation device, or AAD, will blast the canopy open for you when you reach a predetermined altitude. ...

In 2014, the last year for which complete records are available, 24 people died skydiving and 729 were injured in a total of about 3.2 million jumps. The number of annual fatalities has generally hovered in the low 20s for years, according to the USPA.
--Jonathan Welsh, WSJ, on the taming of the freefall