Pussi Riot Drop zone club – Skydive lingo


As the Drop zone club starts to gear up I though I would share what little I have learnt about skydiving & parachuting.

This post is part of a post series where I highlight for the novices what shit means. The next post will be on basic formation divers can execute during freefall. This post however is all about the lingo a wuffo (scroll to the bottom) wouldn’t know.

An aviator, or anyone associated with aircraft or flying; also known as pilot, zoomie, and rotor head.

A gathering of skydivers for a single purpose (skydiving).  This events are usually focused on fun rather than competition. Big drop zones host several boogies a year, often on long holiday weekends.

To land after freefall without the aid of a parachute.  To land at an unsurvivable speed.  Also known as ” to frap”, or “to go in”.

Slang for a parachute jump; probably derived from the definition of a violent gust or forcible stream of air.

Cut away
To release the main parachute, cutting away is a standard emergency procedure prior to deploying the reserve. More properly known as a breakaway, the technique involves using a simple release system activated by pulling a handle. In some systems, the cut away or breakaway system will also automatically deploy the reserve canopy.

Dirt dive
To rehearse a skydive on the ground

Fall Rate
The rate at which you fall, another name for terminal velocity except that it refers the rate relative to other jumpers rather than an absolute velocity. Fall rate is adjusted by adjusting body position. Different shape and weight jumpers in exactly the same body position will fall at different rates. Fall rate must be adjusted to be the same as everyone else so that the jumper can do Relative Work.

Skydivers who leave the airplane before the base on large formation jumps must use a slow fall rate (“float”) to allow the base to merge with them. Floating also refers to an exit position outside the airplane.

What happens when a skydive formation self destructs.

Ground hog
Anyone who works in a job that has nothing to do with aviation, airlift, airmobility, or aircraft; used in the same discriminating way as “leg” for anyone not airborne qualified.

Hook turn
A sudden turn close to the ground (90 degrees or more) used to build up speed for a spectacular turf surf and gentle landing. When misjudged can result in smashed bones and a lengthy stay in the hospital.

Jump run
The flight path taken by the jump plane to put the skydivers in position over the airport.

Any non-parachutist; someone who is not Airborne qualified; also called “straight leg” and “wuffo”.

Out landing
Landing off target.

Relative Work
Now known as Formation Skydiving.  Skydivers in freefall link up to create formations. This can be done in any numbers from 2-person (called a 2 Way Skydive) and up. Competition RW is mainly done in 4 person teams (4 Way Teams) and in 8 Ways & 16 Ways

Sky Shark
An unwanted airplane in a drop zone.

The position of the aircraft when the jumpers exit. Selecting the spot (“spotting”) is the responsibility of the jumpmaster, loadmaster, instructor, or coach in coordination with the pilot. A stable or solid spot can facilitate jump maneuvers or simply enhance the pleasure of a jump. Also called “jump spot”, “initial point”, “launch”, and “point of departure”.

1)To quickly dive down to link with an individual in freefall,
2) to quickly dive into an assigned slot in a formation,
3) To aggressively approach the landing area in order to produce a dramatic/exciting landing.

The specified landing area on a drop zone; which, in officially sanctioned competitions, is a three-centimeter disk at the center of graduated distances for grading accuracy.

Turf Surf
A long, flat skim across the grass and gentle landing that follows a properly timed and executed high performance landing (see hookturn). When mistimed the result is a turf eat.

Water jump
A freefall or parachute jump that terminates by intentionally landing on the surface of an “open body of water”.

Skydiver slang for people who don’t parachute; as derived from the groundling’s or landlubber’s most prevalent question: Wuffo: y”ou jump outta dem planes?!” This term is considered “insensitive” by legs and other assorted landlocked sympathizers.


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