Top Skydiving Slang Terminology

Monday, January 18, 2021

Ready to shred the gnar? Have no idea what that means? It’s okay. It’s a prime example of skydiving slang. Entering a new sport can be like entering a new country, complete with a unique language and set of customs. There’s a technical side to skydiving, of course, but there is also a colloquial side. To help you feel right at home during your time at Skydive Monroe, we’ve compiled a list of the skydiving slang you need to know.

skydiving slang terminology

Top Skydiving Phrases to Know

  • AAD: Around the dropzone, you may hear jumper’s asking each other if they’ve turned their AAD on. (Please note, if you’re completing a tandem, this step will have been taken care of by your instructor.) The Automatic Activation Device, AAD, is a precise computer that is installed within the back-pack looking container that houses the main and reserve parachutes. The AAD is designed to deploy the reserve (backup) parachute at a predetermined speed and altitude.
  • Base: Much like the foundation of a house, the base is a group of people or a singular person around which a formation is built.
  • Belly-Flyer: In skydiving, there are various disciplines. A belly-flyer is someone who participates, almost exclusively, in relative work: a type of flying where you are in an active prone position with your stomach toward the ground.
  • Blue-Skies: Of course there is the literal meaning of “blue-skies”, which is that there is a cloudless day, but in skydiving, the phrase is imbued with more meaning. Used as both a greeting and phrase of farewell, it’s a way to say that you hope all is well and a bit of a benediction or blessing that it stays that way.
  • Boogie: Imagine days full of skydiving and nights full of fun. A skydiving boogie is essentially a skydiving festival. At some of the larger boogies in the US, vendors come from around the world to show their wares, giving skydivers the opportunity to try out new gear. Most boogies have nightly entertainment, activities, and games. The last night of a boogie is usually celebrated with a big dance party.
  • Break-off: This is the altitude when the skydive is over, and it is time to separate from a formation and deploy the parachute.
  • Burble: an area of turbulence (typically above and behind) created by a body in the air or a canopy in flight.
  • Call: the amount of time before an aircraft boards.
  • Canopy: The specially designed bundle of fabric and lines that delivers jumpers safely to the ground after freefall. Parachutes are almost always referred to as canopies.
  • Cutaway: If there is an issue with the main canopy (parachute), a jumper will initiate their emergency procedures by detaching from the parachute before deploying the reserve canopy (parachute). This is the act of cutting-away. Colloquially, jumpers that leave “real life” to pursue a skydiving career often refer to “cutting-away” from their day job.
  • DZ: Skydiving centers are typically called dropzones. Because skydivers are big fans of brevity, the term is further shortened to DZ. Ask a skydiver what they are doing on any given weekend, and they will probably tell you they are “heading to the DZ.”
  • First: Most skydivers eradicate this word from their vocabulary. Uttering this word within earshot of any veteran skydiver yields a hefty punishment: the purchase and communal sacrifice of a case of beer (after the jump day is done, of course). Example: If you were discussing your jumps that day and mentioned that you did your first 8-way, someone may overhear and yell “BEER,” indicating that you now have a beer fine that must be paid.
  • Free-Flyer: Another discipline in skydiving is free-flying. In this form of skydiving jumper’s utilize other axes of flight to maintain positions such as head-up (a form of flying that appears as if you are sitting in an invisible chair) or head down (literally with the head pointed toward the ground). Free-flyers are jumpers that choose the free-fly discipline.
  • Hard Deck: a clearly defined altitude at which an individual will initiate their emergency procedures.
  • Huck it:  a skydive in which you don’t have a specific plan but more of a general idea of what you will do. Also known as a no plan jam.
  • Hop-n-pop: a low altitude skydive where you exit the aircraft and within a 3-5 second delay deploy your parachute.
  • Hot Fuel: At certain times throughout the day, the plane will require additional fuel. For certain types of aircraft, it is more efficient to fuel the aircraft without turning it off. This is called hot fuel.
  • Load: refers to a group on a specific aircraft. For example, load one would be the individuals who have been allocated to the first plane to take off. Loads progress numerically as load 2, load 3, load 4 etc. and refer to the order in which they will be loaded and take off. Load 2 cannot go until load 1 has touched down.
  • Load Organizer: Typically, this is an advanced or professional skydiver who is paid to travel to boogies to create fun, safe, and exciting skydives with licensed skydivers.  Often this individual will organize others into groups based on skill level and design skydives that will be successful for each group.
  • Meeting: (also called turning) refers to a succession of plane loads that occur without stopping in a back to back fashion.
  • Ninja: an advanced skydiver who makes it look easy.
  • PLF: Parachute Landing Fall. A technique that allows an individual to land safely without injury. Skydivers utilize this technique if they are unable to safely land their parachute standing up.
  • Pull: refers to deploying the main (canopy) parachute.
  • Sendy: when someone has a hankering to get out and have an all-out blast on a skydive, they are feeling sendy. This may involve doing something a bit ridiculous or audacious on the skydive.
  • Shut-down: If an aircraft is unable to meet (or turn) whether it be due to fueling, lack of jumper’s, or weather conditions, the plane will turn off. This is called a shut-down.
  • Shred: much like shredding on an electric guitar, to shred on a skydive means that you displayed significant skill on a jump, maneuvering your body deftly in the air. (A skilled skydiver can also be referred to as a shredder)
  • Shred the Gnar: to show exceptional ability or enthusiasm on a skydive.
  • SkyGod: a negative term to refer to someone who has an inflated ego. This person may be a talented skydiver, but their tendency to act superior overshadows their skill.
  • Spot: a position above the ground relative to the landing area where skydivers will exit the aircraft. The spot is determined throughout the day by using wind conditions to predict the drift direction of jumpers and is calculated to allow jumpers the ability to return safely to the landing area.
  • Uppers- the winds at altitude.
  • Wingloading- a ratio of the size of a canopy (parachute) to the weight of the jumper. Newer skydivers will have a light wingloading as a higher wingloading significantly influences the performance of a parachute.

skydiving phrases to know

While there are other things to know before skydiving, there you have it! A concise list of skydiving slang you’ll hear on any given day at the DZ! When you visit our facility, take a listen. How many of the skydiving slang terms can you pick out in conversation?