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If you’ve found your way here plugging “skydiving deaths per year” in every search engine you can find, it’s likely someone you love has just broken the news that they are going to make a tandem skydive. Perhaps, you’ve been gifted a skydive for your birthday or Christmas and are wondering exactly what you’ll be getting into. Your mind is probably racing a mile a minute wondering how they (or you) could do something so dangerous! And ultimately, you keep coming back to the same question: “how likely is it to die from skydiving?”
While your concern is entirely valid—it is skydiving after all—we think you will be pleasantly surprised to learn skydiving isn’t quite as dangerous as you might imagine. And skydiving deaths are far from frequent. In fact, skydiving deaths rarely occur. We won’t ask you to believe us without seeing the facts. We will go into the skydiving fatality statistics, so you can determine for yourself if the experience of a lifetime is worth the risk.
The most recent data gathered by the United States Parachute Association indicates that in 2019 out of the 3.3 million skydives completed around the U.S., 15 resulted in a skydiving death. While we would like to see this number at 0, the statistics do show that—continually over time as skydiving equipment, technology, and training programs have improved—the number of skydiving fatalities has steadily declined.
Tandem skydiving statistically has better odds, with one skydiving fatality for every 500,000 tandem jumps. Mathematically speaking, this makes the odds of a tandem skydiving death 0.0002%.
What the statistics don’t show are the events that led up to those skydiving deaths. Many imagine that the circumstances surrounding these skydiving deaths deals with malfunctioning equipment, but this is not the case. The majority of fatalities today involve highly experienced skydivers who have made a choice to push boundaries by flying extremely high-performance wings. These canopy pilots use advanced maneuvers and small parachutes to reach speeds of up to 70 mph across the ground. These maneuvers and the use of such small parachutes leave a small margin for error and increases the overall risk they take. The majority of the skydiving fatalities that we see today come from canopy pilot error.
When it comes to tandem skydiving, it is only as safe as the equipment that is used and the competency of the skydiving instructor.
At Wisconsin Skydiving Center safety is our top priority. To ensure our customers have a fun and safe skydiving experience, we keep high standards. We hire only the best most vetted instructors in the industry; therefore, every instructor we employ has met the rigorous standards established by the United States Parachute Association. Our commitment to safety extends to our aircraft and skydiving equipment as well; every part is compliant with regulations established by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The simple fact is nothing is without risk. Take driving a car for example. According to the National Safety Council, in the U.S. alone, an estimated 38,800 people were killed and/or fatally injured in automobile accidents in 2019. Yet, no one bats an eye as they climb behind the wheel for their daily commute or weekly trip to the grocery store. This is because, deep down, we understand every action we take has some inherent risk. The goal is to take risks that are worth it.
With over 3 million skydives made each year, we think it’s safe to say that for many the risk is decidedly worth it. What makes skydiving worth the risk you wonder? Skydiving isn’t just an adrenaline rush, far from it. Sure, skydiving is thrilling, but for many, it is so much more. Skydiving affords people an opportunity to face their fear and step outside of their comfort zone. Like a butterfly shedding the chrysalis and spreading its wings for the first time, many people find skydiving to be a truly transformative event. For some, it’s just that looking out onto the world from the heights they reach really puts everything else into perspective. Only you can decide if this adventure is worth the risk.
At Wisconsin Skydiving Center, we do all that we can to provide a skydiving environment that is as safe as it is fun. If you want any more information on the safety measures we take, please feel free to contact us.