Discover the Technology Behind Skydiving

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

It probably comes as no surprise to hear that skydiving requires a lot of specialized equipment. And with that equipment comes some pretty impressive skydiving technology. The technology behind skydiving is one of the most important parts of the sport. 

So what technology is used in parachuting? Skydivers use advanced technology to measure weather, wind, altitude, speed, distance, location, and even body metrics. Skydiving gear ranges from the straightforward analog altimeter to the highly tuned cutting-edge technology of wearable GPS devices. 

Read on to learn all about the science behind skydiving and how our sport’s technology is ever-evolving! 

What is the Science Behind Skydiving?

Let’s start with how science and skydiving intersect. At first glance, you might think that the act of jumping out of airplanes for fun is nothing more than an adrenaline junkie’s risky weekend pastime. But in reality, skydiving culture is incredibly safety-centered and skydivers use science and useful gadgets to execute their skydives as safely as possible. 

davinci parachuteSkydiving involves physics, geography, biology, and even chemistry! Understanding the world and how bodies interact with the forces at play is integral to planning and executing skydives. Now, skydiving training might not look exactly like a stuffy old science classroom, but the scientific principles at play are still infused in the material. 

And skydiving gear is developed and programmed to react to the laws of science so that we can jump out of an airplane and live to do it again … and again.

Insider info: Is skydiving like zero gravity? Not quite! Because of those aforementioned forces (namely gravity and air resistance), skydiving feels like something in between floating and falling. You won’t get the butterflies-in-the-stomach sensation of a big roller coaster hill, but you’ll feel the wind on your face and the forces of the sky on your body! 

What Devices Are Used in Skydiving?

The most well-known device used in skydiving is certainly the parachute. But what most people don’t realize is that there are several smaller, yet (almost) just as important pieces of equipment that a skydiver wouldn’t leave the plane without. 

Probably the next most important device a skydiver owns is an altimeter. In the early days of the sport, skydivers used to time their freefall to know when to open their parachutes because altimeters were unreliable and inaccurate. But altimeters grew in popularity in the sport as they became more accurate, and now they can measure altitude to the nearest foot. 

And not just that, altimeters have evolved to become so much more than just a device to measure altitude. The advent of digital altimeters saw the following abilities included in the little computer that skydivers wear on their wrists:

  • Speedometer to measure freefall speed
  • Freefall time calculator that automatically senses how long a skydiver is in freefall
  • Altitude alarms that can be customized by the jumper
  • Automatic calibration to local ground elevation for accurate readings
  • Backlight for night jumps
  • Digital logbook to track jumps

As you can see, this unassuming device that was originally shirked by serious skydivers is now an essential part of a jumper’s gear. Backup altimeters have also been developed that are worn in the skydiver’s helmet and sound an alarm to alert the jumper at preset altitudes. This ensures that even if a skydiver isn’t looking at the altimeter on their wrist, the one in their helmet will remind them that it’s time to deploy their parachute! 

The Role of Tech in Skydiving Disciplines

wingsuit skydivingAnd that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The constant evolution of different skydiving disciplines has resulted in some pretty impressive technological innovations. Many jumpers, especially wingsuiters or canopy pilots, will use a small GPS device that attaches to the back of their helmet to track their speed, distance, and flight paths. This helps them hone their skills and track their progress so that they can improve even more quickly than they would’ve without such detailed information. 

Skydivers can also use more general technology, like smartwatches, to monitor their vital signs and understand how their body reacts to the stress of jumping out of an airplane. This is especially useful for people who need to stay on top of their health to ensure they aren’t subject to extra risk

Specialized technology provides skydivers with valuable, real-time data that enhances the safety and experience of their jumps.

Research and Development in the Skydiving Industry

Skydiving equipment manufacturers are the main advocates on the leading edge of in-air technology. From the early days of cutting apart and modifying discarded military surplus gear to today’s advanced research and development teams, skydiving equipment has always been the subject of scrutiny and progress. 

This is the stuff that saves our lives, so a lot of thought and care goes into making it work as best as it possibly can. Skydiving gear is constantly evolving with new updates as better science and research become available, and we have generations of brave jumpers to thank for getting us to this point. 

But it’s not all just serious business – gear evolution is about fun, too! Once a piece of gear has proven that it does its job, skydivers and gear manufacturers love finding ways to make it serve our sport better. More detailed data for convenience and tracking, faster parachutes, easier pack jobs – all of this in the pursuit of sky-high gratification. 

Come check out all of the amazing gadgets and gear skydivers use every day. Make a jump with us and see just how important technology is to having fun! Blue skies!