The ‘Why’ Behind The 200 Jump Minimum

Friday, June 22, 2018

The ‘Why’ Behind the 200 Jump Minimum

by Katie Hansen 

The 200 jump minimum before learning to fly a wingsuit is to help ensure a basic experience level prior to complicating the skydive and increasing the level of potential danger. It is important to learn foundational skills in an easy to fly orientation, belly, before expanding to other disciplines. Building awareness in the sky, body flight skills, and realizing that wingsuits can drastically complicate malfunctions are all prerequisites to flying wingsuits.

Awareness In The Sky

When you aren’t having to think about how to physically control your body, it leaves your mind free to expand your awareness and take in the bigger picture of what is going on in the sky. The more jumps you accrue, the more information you take in on each jump, the more aware you are of your surroundings and situations forming before they happen so you can avoid danger.

Basic concepts to learn prior to expanding to wingsuiting:
  • Stable exits, preferably tracking/angle flying exits
  • How to approach a formation safely; on level
  • Awareness of other people in the sky
  • Breakoffs; awareness of the line you are taking from the formation and of where other   people are during deployment
A skydiver learning to wingusit
Photo courtesy of Dan Dupuis

Physically Flying Your Body

It takes practice; learning when to give input, how much to give, and when to give counter input. Wingsuits are like an amplifier, if you fly your body correctly, they increase your power and lift. If you fly your body poorly, they amplify your mistakes – potentially causing extremely high-speed collisions, out of control flight, flat spins, loss of consciousness, complicated and or unstable pull sequences and complicated cutaways. If you want to focus your training to help develop skills relevant to wingsuiting, learn to fly low speed dynamic in the tunnel, small group tracking with a coach, or 1:1 beginner angle flying with a coach.


Even 200 jumps is very little opportunity to have dealt with a wide variety of skydiving emergencies, which means you are judging your skills by when everything has gone right. This line of thinking is an easy way to overestimate your true experience and when something does go wrong, find that you are in over your head.

Adding a wingsuit to a skydive increases the likelihood of malfunctions and also adds significant complexity to the deployment process.

  •  Arm range of motion is significantly restricted
  • WS surface area changes airspeed, can create large burble which can make our reserve pilotchute less effective
  • Line twists and body twists under reserve are more likely and more     difficult to resolve”       —Next Level Flight


We are all in a hurry to achieve our goals, but slow down, enjoy the progression, and realize that by putting in the time to build a solid foundation you are putting yourself on the fast track for success to becoming a competent wingsuit pilot. The 200 jump minimum is to assist jumpers in learning the prerequisites of awareness in flight, body control, and experience when things do not go right, ultimately keeping our friends and ourselves safer.

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