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Skydiver Words and Expressions You'll Hear Around the Dropzone

Before immersing yourself in the wild world of skydiving, learn how to speak skydiver.

Two skydivers high five after landing in paddock
The Skydive School | Skydiver Words & Expressions

Australian skydivers love slang and they have their own language that may be confusing for student and novice jumpers. Words and expressions used by skydivers in the aircraft and around the dropzone are easily picked up when you spend your free time learning to skydive and progressing in the sport. But it's always helpful to know the lingo before you go.


This Australian skydiving glossary is here to help you on your way to becoming a true blue Aussie skydiver, lingo and all.


Skydiver Words and Expressions


AAD

Automatic Activation Device - that thing that will automatically activate the reserve system of your parachute if you exceed altitude/speed parameters. Popular brand names are CYPRES, Mars and Vigil.

AFF

Accelerated Free Fall - also known as your Learn to Skydive course.


Air Speed

When skydivers talk about air speed, they are talking about how quickly they are travelling through the air.


Alti

This is the abbreviation skydivers use for altimeter, the device worn that measures your altitude upon ascent and descent.


APF

Australian Parachute Federation, Australia's governing body for the regulation of sport skydiving.


Audible

An audible is a small digital altimeter worn inside your skydiving helmet that signals your height with a series of beeps. It's used in conjunction with a wrist-mounted alti. You may hear skydivers refer to their audible as a DYTTER, a popular brand.


Skydive parachutes lying on the floor waiting to be packed.
The Skydive School | Skydiver Word for Parachute = Canopy

Backsliding

Moving backwards in freefall (usually not a good thing).


B.O.C

Skydiver talk for 'bottom of container' where your pilot chute is stored.


Boogie

Basically, a skydiving boogie is a giant party with a shit-tonne of skydiving, coaching, workshops and sometimes, competitions. Expect to pay a registration fee to attend the event. Hillman Farm Skydiving Club hosts Mumbles Burning Van, a celebrated annual boogie held in September.


Brakes/Toggles

Pulling both toggles down together will slow your canopy and act as brakes.


Bridle

A bridle is the line that connects your pilot chute to the pin that deploys your canopy.

Burble

The burble is referred to the dead air above a skydiver's back in freefall. This can be a dangerous area and if you are caught in another skydiver's "burble" you will know it immediately when you suddenly feel zero airflow, which cause you to "drop" (usually onto the other skydivers back). Check out the video below for a good (and scary) example of what happens when a pilot chute gets caught in a wingsuiter's burble.



Canopy

The favoured word for parachute by skydivers.


Carton

When someone yells "carton" or "box" it means a carton or box of beer. Beer is used as currency all over the world in skydiving for celebrations of "firsts" or fines to be paid on the DZ. Fuck around and find out.


A list of beer cartons bought
The Skydive School | The Carton List

CI

You'll hear this one a lot in skydiving. It simply means Chief Instructor and ours is Paul Morton.


CRW

CRW (pronounced as CREW) refers to Canopy Relative Work, which is when canopies touch or fly close to each other.


Cutaway or Chop

When a main canopy is "cut away" or "chopped" from the container, it means the skydiver has commenced emergency procedures and will land on their reserve parachute.


D-Bag

Skydiver slang for deployment bag (where your parachute is stored).


Dirt Dive

This is not what you may think! It's simply a practise of your duo or group jump whilst still on the ground.

Skydivers practise their jump on the ground
The Skydive School | Dirt Diving

DZ

The DZ is the dropzone. You may hear skydivers say Hillman Farm is the best DZ in Australia.


DZSO

This means Dropzone Safety Officer, the one who makes the important calls for the day, such as assessing the weather, landing pattern/direction, and anything relating to safety.


GCA

Ground Control Assistant, the person who communicates with the pilot about ground winds, weather conditions and important need-to-know before skydivers exit the aircraft.


Two skydivers come in for a landing
The Skydive School | In This Shot: Swooping, CI, Canopies, Bridle, Pilot Chute

Ground Speed

Ground speed is referred to how fast you are travelling across the ground.


Hot Load

Our CI thinks this means any flight in which he is a passenger but really it refers to when the aircraft lands and re-loads awaiting skydivers with the engine running.


Jump Run/Run In

Skydivers use the term jump run or run-in to refer to the direction and height heading to the spot, which is usually a long straight line to the green light (time to jump).


Landing Off

This means landing your parachute off the intended drop zone or landing area. It may mean a carton for you.


Landing Pattern

When skydivers talk about the landing pattern, they are talking about the landing approach under canopy. Every skydiver needs to be aware of the landing pattern and direction before getting in the aircraft.


Loadmaster

The loadmaster organises the skydivers or groups of skydivers going on the load so everyone exits safely and in the correct order.

Several skydivers looking at a map of the dropzone
The Skydive School | The loadmaster organising an upcoming jump

Manifest

A manifest is a list of passengers on an aircraft. In skydiving terms, manifest is used for this purpose as well as referring to the administration person/desk at the DZ. Want to buy a jump ticket? Go see manifest.


three males at skydive school desk
The Skydive School | Happy Manifest

Pea Pit


The big, usually round, area full of pebbles that acts as a target area for landing your parachute.


Pilot Chute

A pilot chute is a mini parachute that deploys your canopy. It is connected to the bridle.


Rel or Relative Work

In skydiving, rel work is the term used when two or more skydivers fly in relative formation to each other. It's often used in coaching, especially when progressing to your B certificate, which means you need to complete your b-rels with a coach.


Rig

This is skydiver slang for your parachute gear: your container and canopies.

Two skydivers walk toward a hangar under blue skies
The Skydive School | Skydivers With Their Rigs and Canopies After Landing

RSL

This stands for Reserve Static Line, a device on your rig that automatically opens your reserve parachute when your main canopy is cut away.


Shit-tonne

This is like saying a truck or boat load. Basically it means A LOT. That is all.


SKOOL

SKOOL is our official APF club code and an affectionate slang word/spelling for The Skydive School.


a parachute with white slider opening under blue and cloudy sky
The Skydive School | Skydiver Vocabulary | This is a Slider

Slider

The slider is part of your canopy set-up. It's the small rectangle piece of fabric that helps control and slow down the opening of your parachute.


Spot (The)

The spot is the exit position from the aircraft in relation to the landing area.

A man under a blue parachute
The Skydive School | Swooping | Coming in hot

Swooping

Swooping is skydiver slang meaning High Performance Canopy Landings.


Uppers

This is skydiving language relating to the wind speed at high altitudes.


Wing loading

Wing loading is a measurement that determines how much weight is suitable for a canopy. To calculate your skydiving wing loading, jump on a scale fully geared up, including helmet and cameras (if worn) to get your weight in pounds. Now divide that number by the size of your chosen canopy in square feet. The result of your wing loading.


XRW

When canopies & wing-suiters fly together it's called XRW or Extreme Relative Work.


Did we miss anything? Are there any skydiver words that you've heard but don't understand? Hit us up in the comments.


Learn Skydive Words While You Become a Certified Skydiver


Now that you can talk the talk, why not walk the walk (or jump the jump 🤷)? Learning to skydive is not only challenging (in a good way), it's fun, rewarding and comes with a tight-knit community. Sound good?


What are you waiting for? Click the red button and let's do this.





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