The early parachutes were quite flimsy, making for difficult ejection from a poorly designed parachute during a high dive. The modern design of a parachute consists of several layers: the canopy, chute, weight distribution system, and release device.
A parachute is basically a piece of apparatus used to retard the movement of an external object through a low pressure air environment by producing drag. Many parachutes for skydiving are dome shaped, but many other shapes are available, including hexagonal, triangular, and other shapes. The type of chute that is used depends on the type of parachute being used. Generally speaking, a parachute consists of two layers: the chute and the tandem assembly.
A Tandem Jump
There are a number of different ways in which to fit a parachute for skydiving. The most traditional way in which to do this is called a tandem jump. In a tandem jump, one parachute is deployed first, then the second parachute is used for slower, safer landings and longer jumps. When a tandem jump is made, both skydivers are placed in the same general area, then a connection cord is attached between them. This is necessary because the chute can move fairly quickly, even while the connection cord is connected.
The second common way to fit parachutes for skydiving is called an emergency chute/rescue chute system. In an emergency chute/rescue chute system, the chute, called the “pull cord”, is left connected to the rescue unit at the base of the diver. When emergency conditions make it unsafe for a person to continue to parachute from the aircraft, the pull cord pulls the chute to the diver and effectively deploys the parachute, slowing the descent of the chute. These chutes can be used in conjunction with a drogue parachute to further slow the descent of the chute.
Another popular method of deploying parachutes for skydiving training uses the dropzone. A drop zone is a zone of where the chute will deploy at the end of the jump. The dropzone is usually selected by the instructor during drop zone training, although many instructors use a standard dropzone of about one hundred meters above the ground. Dropped zones can vary widely, depending on what the skydiving operation is and how safe the drop zone is for the skydiving operation. Dropped zones are best selected when planning your dive before your first jump.
Parachutes for skydiving can be purchased from a number of places, including online retailers. Chances are that most retail outlets that sell skydiving equipment will have a selection available. Another way to find parachutes for skydiving is to contact your local sporting goods store.
The Rule Change
Many sporting goods stores specialize in products for skydiving and may even carry parts or accessories that can be used for your first jump. If the sporting goods store does not carry the product that you are looking for, then look for it elsewhere.
Before the United States Federal Aviation Administration rule change in 2021, all but the smallest tandem skydiving organizations could not advertise their equipment. This rule change affected the entire skydiving industry, as most tandem jumpers were unable to get a second set of wings because the equipment was too small. Since the rule change, all parachute jumpers are now allowed to wear a full parachute just like before. The parachutes now just fit perfectly onto the chute, much like they used to on military planes during World War Two.
If you are interested in getting into the sport of parachuting skydiving, then the first step is to contact a local parachute association. Many local clubs will conduct training sessions for new skydivers and often offer special classes for skydiving veterans. A great way to find out more information is to visit your local indoor skydiving center. These centers usually have a number of different jumpers to choose from and are happy to talk to any potential buyers. If you plan on buying a parachute, then contact a local parachute association to see what kind of gear they recommend.