I take each jump one at a time, learn something and have a great time!

Unintentional CRW

CRW in skydiver terms means canopy relative work. It is where skydivers under canopy fly close to one another. Sometimes locking feet to another skydivers canopy, making large pyramids, etc. Here is a sample video on youtube.

These guys are professionals. Having untold amount of jumps together not including how many skydives they actually hold individually.

On my 114th jump, I split off from Dave and successfully cleared, waved and deployed my canopy. Just after getting under my canopy, I check in front of me for traffic, check my altimeter, then I reach for my slider while checking my canopy for square and stable, visually checking the A,B,C and D lines. This all happens so quickly. And this all happens before I even release my toggles to continue my checks (flares) and turning to begin my journey under canopy to the dropzone for my landing pattern.

Well this time, just after reaching up for my slider to stow it, I was looking at my canopy and noticed something getting closer. It was a skydiver!!! Up to my left I saw another skydiver drop from the sky, she was opening her canopy but it was way to close for comfort. I immediately took my eyes off my checks and remember looking at her falling canopy to see if I was going to get hit.

Once her canopy completed its opening, it made turn to the right, in the direct path of mine. I remember thinking what the hell just happened! I reached up for my right rear riser and it seemed like time slowed down because it took what I felt was to long to get it in my hand. I pulled on my right rear riser and began turning right. But it wasn’t fast enough and our canopies collided.

When I say collided, I mean exactly that. It wasn’t an bump on the end cells. A portion of our two canopies were rubbing and she was close enough to hear me. I remember saying….Oh Shit….no, no, no.

The other skydiver was not pulling her risers, nor had even released her brakes. She was later reminded by others that she should have executed a rear riser turn to the right. But, I’m thankful she didn’t turn right. It would have caused her to turn right into me!

She did later mention to me on the ground, that she had her hands on her cutaway and reserve handles and was about to chop it. I’m not so sure that would have worked if we both chopped it so close together. Oh great, we both chop and then find ourselves under our reserves close together.

After beginning my right turn away, I flew away from her. It happened fast, we gained separation in a matter of seconds. I remember reaching up with my left hand to release my break and my right hand was still holding the riser. I actually looked up and had a death grip on the riser! I guess my mind was telling me to not let go of it.

So what happened? How did we get to where we were?

The woman skydiver landed off, so I anxiously awaited for her to return after being picked up. I told her how happy I was that we were both on the ground and gave her a big hug. She was a bit shaken up. The poor girl had only 20 something jumps. 😦

Here is what led up to the incident:

She left the plane as a solo belly. We had five seconds of separation, and Dave and I left in a two way sit fly. I held my sit fly for most of the skydive. I was still backsliding, but it wasn’t one continuous direction. I was turning as Dave and I changed positions.

After Dave and I broke off, I tracked for about five seconds, looked back he was clear and looked around while waving off.

After opening my canopy, she was still above me, I’m guessing almost directly above me.

Could my sit fly flying backwards caused us to fly over to where she was? Did she fly directly down her airspace, or did she move around as well? Did she practice any tracking at all during her skydive? When she cleared and waved her arms, did she know what was behind and below her?

I’m not passing blame, I could have tracked over to where she was.  I honestly don’t know if I did or did not.


I’m not cocky at all about what I do while skydiving. But on the opposite end is to take nothing for granted. Assume everything can and will happen and always train to be prepared for it. Having this happen has taught me a great deal for more respect for the sport! Never ever assume things are good under your square and stable canopy! Even having your head turn to look before executing your turn is not enough.  There are still jumpers falling out of the sky above you! Hopefully not directly above you!

Fortunately no one was hurt. We will both live to jump again.

Blue skies!!!


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