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Get ready to leap into the adrenaline-fueled universe of skydiving, where the sky isn’t the limit—it’s the playground!

Whether you’re dreaming about flying or you’re a seasoned jumper, these 30 sky-high terms will turn your chit-chat into skydive savvy.

So grab your gear and let’s dive headfirst into the lingo that every aspiring skydiver needs to know!

Must-Know Skydiving Terms, Phrases and Slang:

  1. AFF (Accelerated Free Fall)
  2. Altimeter
  3. Canopy
  4. Drogue chute
  5. Freefall
  6. HALO (High Altitude, Low Opening)
  7. Harness
  8. Jump plane
  9. Landing zone
  10. Load
  11. Malfunction
  12. Pack
  13. Pilot chute
  14. Relative work
  15. Rigger
  16. Ripcord
  17. Skydiver
  18. Swoop
  19. Tandem
  20. Terminal velocity
  21. Toggle
  22. Wind tunnel
  23. Wingsuit
  24. Burble
  25. Creep
  26. Dive flow
  27. Exit
  28. Hop n’ pop
  29. Snivel
  30. Track

#1 AFF (Accelerated Free Fall)

The primary method for teaching new skydivers, AFF involves two instructors holding onto the student during their first freefall jump, typically starting around 12,000 to 15,000 feet. It emphasizes rapid solo freefall progression with instructor guidance.

#2 Altimeter

A critical device worn by skydivers, often on the wrist or chest, that displays the current altitude and aids in determining when to deploy the parachute. Altimeters contribute to a safe skydiving experience by informing jump timing.

#3 Canopy

Refers to the modern parachute itself, which is made of fabric cells that inflate with air, allowing for controlled flight after deployment. The canopy enables a skydiver to steer and land gently.

#4 Drogue Chute

A small parachute used primarily in tandem skydiving and high-altitude jumps that stabilizes and decelerates the skydivers before the main parachute is deployed. In tandem jumps, it ensures a safer and more controlled freefall.

#5 Freefall

The period during a skydive when the jumper is in unpowered descent after exiting the aircraft and before deploying the parachute—experiencing the sensation of gravity-induced freefall is the highlight for many skydivers.

#6 HALO (High Altitude, Low Opening)

A type of skydiving jump where the exit is made at an altitude typically above 15,000 feet, but the parachute is deployed at a much lower altitude, often below 3,000 feet. This technique is used for military operations to allow jumpers to stay under radar detection and reduce exposure time in the air.

#7 Harness

The gear that a skydiver wears, which attaches them to the parachute system. A harness ensures that the skydiver is securely connected to the parachute and spreads the forces of deployment and landing evenly across the body to reduce the risk of injury.

#8 Jump Plane

The aircraft used for taking skydivers up to the desired altitude for their jumps. It can vary from small Cessnas to larger turboprops, designed to climb quickly and efficiently for multiple loads a day.

#9 Landing Zone

A designated and usually marked area where skydivers aim to land after their jump. It is chosen for its clear, open space, to minimize hazards for both the jumper and people on the ground.

#10 Load

Refers to a group of skydivers on board the aircraft who will jump together during the same flight. The term can also denote the process of organizing and boarding the aircraft in preparation for the jump.

#11 Malfunction

Any instance where the parachute does not deploy or function as intended. Malfunctions can range from minor issues that can be corrected to severe problems that require the use of a reserve parachute.

#12 Pack

The process of folding and securing a parachute into its container before a jump. It’s a precise and careful process that ensures the reliable deployment of the parachute in mid-air.

#13 Pilot Chute

A small parachute used to deploy the main canopy. It is released by the skydiver to catch the air and pull out the deployment bag containing the main parachute.

#14 Relative Work

Also known as formation skydiving, it is the art of building formations in freefall with other skydivers. Precision and teamwork are crucial in this discipline, which is often competitive.

#15 Rigger

A certified professional responsible for packing and maintaining parachutes. Riggers ensure that all components of the parachute system are functioning correctly and safely, a crucial role in the sport of skydiving.

#16 Ripcord

A device used on some parachute systems to initiate the deployment sequence. The skydiver pulls the ripcord to release the pilot chute, which then extracts the main canopy from the container.

#17 Skydiver

An individual trained and equipped to perform jumps from aircraft using a parachute. Skydivers aim for precise landings and may perform aerial maneuvers during freefall and under canopy.

#18 Swoop

A high-speed parachuting maneuver where the skydiver generates horizontal movement across the ground before landing. This technique is typically executed by experienced skydivers and often in competitions that judge speed and landing accuracy.

#19 Tandem

A type of skydiving where a student is harnessed to an experienced instructor with a parachute system built to carry two people. Tandem jumps are popular among first-time jumpers seeking the experience with the safety of an expert.

#20 Terminal Velocity

The constant speed that a freely falling object eventually reaches when the resistance of the medium (air for skydivers) prevents further acceleration. Skydivers typically reach terminal velocity within a few seconds of freefall.

#21 Toggle

A control handle attached to the steering lines of a parachute. By pulling on the toggles, a skydiver can manipulate the canopy’s flight, affecting turns and the rate of descent.

#22 Wind Tunnel

A facility used to simulate free fall conditions on the ground, allowing skydivers to practice and refine their aerial maneuvers. Wind tunnels blow air upward at high speeds, creating a column of air strong enough to support a person’s weight for indoor skydiving training.

#23 Wingsuit

A specialized jumpsuit that adds surface area to the human body with fabric under the arms and between the legs, enabling a skydiver to glide horizontally while falling. Wingsuits are used to extend free fall time and control movement through three-dimensional space.

#24 Burble

The area of turbulent air or wake behind a skydiver’s body during freefall. When another skydiver flies into this area, they can experience erratic airflows, which might affect stability and fall rate.

#25 Creep

A ground practice technique where skydivers rehearse their in-air formations by moving across a creeper—a small wheeled platform. It helps in perfecting the dive flow and understanding the relative positions of jump partners.

#26 Dive flow

The predetermined sequence of maneuvers and formations that a group of skydivers aims to achieve during a skydive. Having a clear dive flow is crucial for safety and for executing disciplined relative work.

#27 Exit

The act of leaving the aircraft or jump plane to begin a skydive. The exit method may vary depending on the type of jump, and a stable exit is vital for a successful jump sequence.

#28 Hop n’ pop

A skydive where the jumper exits the aircraft and deploys their parachute almost immediately, typically from a lower altitude than a freefall jump. Often used for practice or in situations where a full freefall is not possible.

#29 Snivel

A term used to describe the slow, gradual opening of a parachute. A longer snivel is sometimes preferred as it can be more comfortable and less jarring for the skydiver.

#30 Track

In skydiving, tracking refers to a technique where jumpers position their bodies to maximize horizontal travel over the ground. It involves extending the arms and legs back in a streamlined position to cover more distance in the air before parachute deployment.


What are some Skydiving terms for beginners?

“AFF,” “Altimeter,” and “Canopy” are some Skydiving terms beginners should start with, introducing them to the training program, altitude measurement, and the parachute used after the freefall.

What are some funny Skydiving terms?

“Burble,” “Creep,” and “Snivel” are some funny Skydiving terms that add a bit of humor to the sport, referring to air disturbance, pre-jump preparation, and slow parachute deployment.

What is a famous Skydiving phrase?

“Blue skies, black death,” is a famous Skydiving phrase reflecting the beauty and risks of the sport, often used as a greeting or farewell among skydivers.

Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When he’s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

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