BASE Jumping

Ever wanted to base jump but didn’t now where to start?
Well check out our FAQs page for lots of helpful hints fromt the ABA to help you on your way.

BASE jumping is a dangerous sport, and shouldn’t be undertaken without proper training and experience. It’s a good idea to gain as much information as possible before choosing to start to BASE jump; here’s some commonly asked questions, answered by the Australian BASE Association…

 

Q. I’m a non-jumper, what is BASE jumping exactly?

BASE jumping is when a person effects a safe egress from one of the four categorized “Fixed Objects” using only a BASE specific parachute to decelerate your descent to an acceptable level.

The acronym BASE evolved from the object jumped from; “B” for Building, “A” for Antenna, “S” for Span and “E” for Earth.

Q. Why do I need a minimum of 200 skydives before I can BASE jump?

A. This is a minimum requirement arrived at by most associations around the world that have witnessed, all to often, the injuries incurred by novices. The major causes being:

  • 1. “sensory overload” which inturn delays the initiation of a suitable object strike avoidance drill,
  • 2. poor canopy control skills required for “near stall” landings in tight areas, and
  • 3. using skydiving, or converted skydiving, equipment.

Basically, anyone that:

  • 1. has not fulfilled the pre-requisites for BASE (shown below),
  • 2. does not have the required canopy control skills by the time they do their first BASE jump, and
  • 3. uses anything other than BASE specific equipment,
  • 4. is exercising extremely poor judgment and is in mortal danger.

Of course, there are several objects, in other parts of the world, that are forgiving enough to allow the use of skydiving equipment if your personal tracking skills are adequate such as Angel Falls and several sites in Norway. There are no such sites in Australia. However, in general, for the vast majority of BASE jumps a BASE specific canopy and container is absolutely necessary.

Q. Can you get a Permit to jump in a National Park?

A. Permits were available under the current legislation, however, the N.P.W.S. refused to issue them.

The last permit / designated areas application was submitted to Mr David Crust, The Acting Regional Manager at the Blackheath Office of the National Parks and Wildlife Service on the 10th of April, 2000.

Within a week of this application being submitted we were all saddened to hear of the death of Trevor Yates. As explained over the phone to Mr David Crust, this was exactly the type of incident that will re-occur while the NPWS maintains its policy of blatantly refusing to acknowledge the receipt of permit applications from members of the taxpaying public.

On the 17th of May, 2000, a follow up letter was sent to Mr Geoff Luscombe, The Regional Manager of the NPWS.

10 months after the submission of the application an email was received on Friday the 26th of May, 2000 trying to justify their delay.

We finally received an extremely curt letter of refusal from the Director General of the NPWS. Given the wording of this letter it was obvious that our application could not have possibly been read or assimilated. In turn, the ABA committee ,after lengthy discussions with legal professionals, decided it would be more beneficial to focus on the dissemination of information to enhance the safety of jumpers. And, of course, concentrate on our own jumping rather than have logic dismissed by a bureaucracy of closed minds.

The death of Trevor Yates, on April 16 2000, is exactly the type of incident that will be repeated while the NPWS hierarchy bumbles along consumed with wasting tax payers money hiring incompetents to inhumanely shoot brumbies and killing their own staff in annual burn offs.

In general, individual rangers and police, when out of earshot of their “superiors” have been very supportive of the sport and realize that wilderness parachuting is very well established and will not go away. They have also repeatedly expressed their understanding that the ABA has been pro-active in enhancing safety.

Q. How dangerous is it?

A. BASE jumping is as safe or as dangerous as any other activity humans participate in.

Any activity, to be safely conducted, requires that the participant:

  • 1. has received sufficient information, instruction, training and supervision,
  • 2. is using equipment specific to the task at hand,
  • 3. is trained in:

* a controlled low level of risk environment,
(E.g: For BASE jumping: Pylonless bridge into water.)

* a controlled simulated higher risk environment,
(For BASE jumping: Employ object avoidance and other drills.), and

* an operational environment.

  • 4. participating in the activity at a venue that is graded and within the demonstrated ability of the participant.

BASE equipment and techniques are different to regular skydiving and jumpers minimize the “real risk” by using only the latest BASE specific equipment and up-to-date training.

Jumpers trained by instructors that have been deemed competent by the ABA are given information, instruction, training and supervision to enable that student to be deemed a competent jumper.

A high level of “perceived risk” will always follow this sport, but, to the majority of the long term participants it is a safe sport.

On the other side of the coin are activities that are incredibly dangerous, however, have become socially acceptable.

These activities include:

  • 1. driving a car, (600+ deaths a year in Australia)
  • 2. smoking and drinking, (22000+ deaths per year in Australia)
  • 3. rock fishing,(50+ deaths per year in Australia)
  • 4. illicit drug consumption, (600+ deaths per year in Australia)

And the list goes on….and on….and on.

Q. O.K…..But, more people drive than BASE jump!? How can you compare them?

Answer: It’s all about REAL RISK and PERCEIVED RISK.

People causing car crashes that result in fatalities do so knowing that people crash and die but, think it will never happen to them as they have either superior driving skills and/or a superior vehicle and/or driving on a familiar section of road or a section of road they believe is within their ability.

Of course, because they haven’t either superior driving skills and/or a superior handling car and/or have the ability/equipment to overcome the environmental demands of the driving surface they crash and die or kill someone else.

On the other hand, the vast majority of BASE jumpers understand the ramifications of her/his actions and ensure they apply sound judgment to each and every jump they decide is within their ability. They understand the concept of real and perceived risk and can apportion it commensurate within the existing range of variables.

Occasionally, a minority of sound jumpers may have a lapse in judgment and kill or injure themselves. This is also known as “The Darwin Theory.”

Idiot jumpers were going to die that day whether they were BASE jumping, driving a car or rock fishing etc anyway.

It’s all about “cause and effect.”

So…When put into perspective BASE jumping to a trained jumper is a relatively SAFE activity.
Ken Miller

 

Skydiving Pre-requisites to be considered for BASE training

_MG_2562_2Serious accidents in BASE jumping damage the sports fragile credibility and increase the difficulty of other jumpers accessing the site without hindrance from authorities. Also, every time there is negative media attention there is a chance the law makers will increase the penalties or write new laws to hinder the sport.

Any person learning how to BASE jump has a higher risk of injury if the standard principles of risk management are not followed.

Many of the canopy skills required for BASE can be learned through skydiving. Therefore, prospective BASE jumpers should become competent in these skills prior to BASE jumping. If they are injured whilst learning these skills it is preferable that the injury occurs in the skydiving environment.

All BASE instructors are highly encouraged to screen their prospective students with the following criteria. If the prospective student does not wish to perform the following criteria then their seriousness and suitability for participation in the sport should be questioned. Likewise, if the instructor does not consider the following prerequisites necessary then their dedication to the sport will also be questioned.

Skydiving Prerequisites:

  • 1. Absolute minimum of 200 parachute jumps (no exceptions).
  • 2. 30 jumps on a 7 cell F111 canopy 220 sqr feet or larger. (F111 7-cell canopies fly, flare and land very differently to ZP 9-cells).
  • 3. 15 consecutive 7 cell jumps landing within 3m of the target (consistent accuracy is a must for many of the extremely tight landing areas in the BASE environment).
  • 4. Demonstrate a variety of approaches: (trees and cliff faces surrounding the landing area will often determine the approach required for landing).
  • 5. Full drive approach.
  • 6. Tight keyhole approach.
  • 7. Half brake approach.
  • 8. Deep brake accuracy style approach.
  • 9. Demonstrate the ability to turn a canopy immediately on deployment via rear risers (necessary for avoiding an object strike).
  • 10. 3 night jumps, 1 of which has been on a 7 cell F111 canopy 220 sqr feet or larger (many B.A.S.E. jumps are performed at night with unlit tight landing areas).
  • 11. 5 CRW jumps (CRW will teach you how to fly a canopy with more than just the toggles, necessary when you are kicking off a wall).
  • 12. Packer B rated and be competent in flat packing, however a Packer A rating is looked upon more favourably. (Basic rigging knowledge and precision packing is a fundamental component of BASE).
  • 13. Be recommended by an experienced BASE jumper (greater than 200 BASE jumps).

Completion of these prerequisites will significantly reduce the likelihood of the student becoming injured under canopy and will allow them to focus more on the freefall and deployment components of each BASE jump.

Note: Completion of the above prerequisites does not automatically give someone the right to participate in BASE jumping. It is simply the first step.

Informative Links
Base jumping articles
http://skysurfer.com.au/forums/index.php?showforum=77
Technical Articles for base jumping
http://skysurfer.com.au/forums/index.php?showforum=96
Getting into base jumping (from basejumper.com)
http://basejumper.com/Articles/Getting_Into_BASE/
Base jumping articles (from basejumper.com)
http://basejumper.com/articles/
Gear and course information
www.baserigs.com
www.pheonix-fly.com
www.basetroll.com
www.cookiecomposites.com