Skydiving Reaches Record Growth and Safety!
Last year, the sport of skydiving reached record levels of safety in the U.S., while participation continued to grow to record numbers. In 2018, the U.S. Parachute Association recorded the lowest number of skydiving fatalities—13—in the U.S. since record-keeping began more than 60 years ago.
Meanwhile, the association exceeded 40,000 members for the first time in its 72-year history, indicating that more and more people are not only jumping for the first time, but are taking up the sport as a hobby and a passion.
Last year, more than a half million people experienced the thrill of a lifetime, taking the leap for the first time. These first-timers and USPA members combined to make roughly 3.3 million skydives at more than 220 USPA-affiliated skydiving schools and centers across the country.
USPA also welcomed more than 7,200 new members and issued more than 4,200 basic skydiving licenses, proving that more first-timers are coming back to pursue the sport and become certified solo jumpers.
Even as the sport shows increased growth, accident numbers have reached record lows. The 13 skydiving fatalities in 2018 means that there was roughly one fatality per 253,846 jumps—the lowest rate in the sport’s history!
Skydiving continues to improve its safety record due in large part to safer equipment, diligent training and dedicated skydiving centers and instructors. USPA institutes safety standards, certifies skydiving instructors and establishes training programs for new skydivers, constantly working to make the sport safer. This year USPA will hold its 23nd annual Safety Day—scheduled for March 9—where drop zones across the country offer safety seminars and refresher training.
Additionally, in 2019, skydiving celebrates the 100th anniversary of the first intentional freefall jump, performed by Leslie Irvin on April 28, 1919, over McCook Field in Ohio. USPA and skydivers across the globe will celebrate the centennial of freefall throughout the year.
“2018 was a milestone year for the sport of skydiving,” said USPA Executive Director Ed Scott. “With our record low fatality rate and record high membership numbers, USPA is proud of our safety record and the incredible skydivers who are dedicated to making our sport safer and welcoming more people into the wonderful world of skydiving! 2019 promises to be another banner year for our growing sport!”