The U.S. Parachute Association just announced a record-low ten skydiving fatalities for 2021, the lowest since records began in 1961. The sport has made huge leaps in increasing the level of skydiving safety over the past several years. Average annual fatalities numbered in the 50s in the 1970s but were down to the low 20s by the 2010s, even with a huge increase in the number of skydivers and the number of jumps made. And now we’re down to just ten in one year.
Fatal jump plane crashes have always been part of skydiving’s risk, too. But here again the sport has made impressive gains. Now the sport has gone two straight years without a fatal jump plane accident, which hasn’t happened since at least 1981, and maybe ever. The last fatal accident was the June 2019 King Air crash in Hawaii that killed 11.
In the 10 years spanning 1991 through 2000, there were 18 fatal jump plane accidents that killed 106; in the 10 years from 2012 through 2021, there were eight accidents that killed eight. (For an image that drives this home, go to the April 2021 issue of USPA’s Parachutist magazine which features a graphic showing the number of annual fatal jump plane accidents and fatalities by year since 1991, here: Parachutist Magazine (uspa.org)). And now the sport has gone two seasons--2020 and 2021--without a fatal jump plane accident.
To be sure, there were jump plane accidents in both 2020 and 2021, but without injury. The NTSB database shows three in those two years that are currently under investigation by the safety board.
· A Cessna TU206 that had a forced landing at Grand Canyon, Colorado in August 2020
· A Cessna 182 that had a forced landing at Ennis, Texas in July 2021
· A Cessna 182 that had a forced landing at Delta, Colorado in September 2021
· (And the NTSB is already investigating a Cessna 182 accident at Port Aransas, Texas that occurred January 1 of this year.)
JumpersAway.com extends congratulations to all the jump pilots that stay at the top of their game in keeping skydivers safe during the plane ride to jump altitude.