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Glossary E to P

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Glossary of Terminology with CRW Perspective

    If you have problems understanding CRW jumpers and their jargon, don't worry. Study the terminology below and you'll fit in before you get your first line burn. There are many CRW specific terms in the glossary below. I have also attempted to define a CRW perspective on some general skydiving terminology. If you want an explanation on materials and rigging terminology, I strongly recommend "The Parachute Manual" by Dan Poynter.

[ A to D ] [ E ] [ F ] [ G ] [ H ] [ I ] [ J K ] [ L ] [ M ] [ N ] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q to Z ]

Term Definition Country


Elliptical Canopies (wings) shaped such that the end cells are shorter from front to back than the centre cells.
Emergency A situation where if no corrective action is taken, the end result may be serious injury or death to the parachutist or damage to any object.
Emergency Parachute Also called a reserve. A certified parachute used for emergencies.

End Cells The outer cells of the canopy.
Equilibrium Where the forces of weight and aerodynamic drag are balanced.
Equipment Check A systematic check of the functionality and configuration of equipment. This is normally done when packing, then just prior to donning the equipment & boarding the aircraft, and then a final pin check is done on jump run. This is especially important for CRW jumpers.
Exhibition Jump See Demonstration Jump.
Exit The act of leaving an aircraft.
Exit Height The height AGL at which parachutists exit an aircraft. Also called Drop altitude or Exit Altitude.
Exit Point The position of the aircraft relative to a ground reference or the DZ when a jumper leaves the aircraft. See Spotting

Exit Weight Is the total combined weight of the jumper and all their equipment.


F-111 Pronounced F one eleven. A fabric used in the manufacture of canopies. This material is permeable and wears faster than Zero-P material.

FAA Federal Aviation Administration. The USA aviation regulatory body whose responsibility is control of USA airspace and aviation safety. USA

FAI Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. FAI headquarters are in Lausanne, Switzerland. The FAI sanctions official international competitions, establishes aviation records, and governs all aviation sports.

Fall Rate The speed at which a body descends. 
FAR Federal Aviation Regulation. USA
FCE First Category Event.
Field Pack Temporarily stowing a canopy into a container so that it can be more easily transported back to the packing area. For some, field packing means packing your canopy properly in the field when an off DZ landing occurs.

Finger Trap Threading one tubular line inside another. Normally locked into place with a bartack stitch. *
FJC First Jump Course. A course of instruction that teaches sufficient theoretical and practical knowledge so that a person becomes a competent and safe novice parachutist.

Flare A temporary decrease in forward speed and descent rate by pulling down the trailing edge of the canopy (pulling on your toggles). CRW parachutists often flare into their slot in the formation and on landings.

Floater A parachutist who leaves the aircraft prior to the base and minimises his descent rate to maintain proximity to the base.
Fore Front of canopy (i.e. leading edge, or at A lines). 

Formation - CRW A group of parachutists linked together under parachute, usually in predefined patterns.
Freefall For CRW jumpers, it is the short time from exiting an aircraft until they commence deployment of their main parachutes. This time is used for safe separation of a deploying canopy from the aircraft and/or to control the amount of separation and positioning of each team member. For others, it is a time factor added for parachutists who are incapable of locating and utilising the main deployment system. ;) See RW.

Freestyle Parachuting Performing various manoeuvres whilst under parachute. The type of manoeuvres is limited only by ones skill, imagination, and the aerodynamic capabilities of the equipment they are using.
Friction Burns Excess heat caused by rapid relative movement of mediums in contact with one another. These can occur to persons or equipment and usually ends in pain, cosmetic equipment damage, or real equipment damage. More common in CRW due to the frequency & magnitude of exposure to surfaces rubbing together. In fabrics, the tensile strength is reduced and individual fibres are either damaged of they deteriorate. See Line Burns.
FS Formation Skydiving. See RW.
Ft Feet. Unit of distance measure (i.e. altitude).

Funnel Loss of a formations equilibrium due to disturbances in the aerodynamics of that formation. Also when the structure of a formation is dramatically altered due to being exposed to unplanned forces (i.e someone stuffed up ;) ).
FXC An AAD made by FXC corporation & later by Parachutes de France.
G g Acceleration due to gravity (9.81 m/s2)
G (FAI Class) - Parachuting.
G Multiple of gravity force on an aircraft under acceleration.
G - Force A measure of the interaction between the force of gravitational attraction and an objects motion relative to the centre of that force. *
Ghost Plane A biplane is built. The pilot locks his feet into the risers and the bottom person cuts away. The pilot then flies off with both main canopies.

Glide Ratio The ratio of horizontal distance travelled to vertical distance descended.
Gloves A compulsory accessory for CRW jumpers used to prevent line burn. They are also beneficial for line, toggle, and riser grip.
Goggles A see through accessory that covers the eyes to protect them from the force of rapid air flow.
GPS Global Positioning System. A system of navigation developed by the USA military. USA GNSS System managed by the Departments of Defense and Transportation.
GPS Device A GPS device gives you information such as ground location, ground speed, wind speed & direction (must use ASI of aircraft in conjunction with GPS device), heading, track, etc. An invaluable tool to assist with spotting, especially for CRW jumpers and when visibility is not the best.
Gravity The force that attracts all objects back to earth. It is what makes us descend.

Grip The way parachutists connect their limbs and equipment is called the grip. The detail of grips is defined in competition rules and/or in pre-jump briefings.
Grommet A metal eyelet used to reinforce holes in fabric where other components are designed to pass through (e.g. suspension lines passing through slider grommets).

Ground Speed The velocity and direction of an object flying through the air, in relation to references on the ground (or as measured on the ground). See Air Speed.
Ground to Air Parachuting manoeuvres filmed by persons on the ground. Predominantly used for judging purposes in training & competitions. Removed from competition in ?????. See Air to Air.


Hand Deploy A pilot chute that is manually deployed by the jumper by removing the pilot chute from its pouch and exposing it to the airflow.
Hand Tacking Manually sewing as opposed to using a sewing machine. Used for temporary or minor repairs or alterations.
Hard Pull Where the parachutist has difficulty extracting the pilot chute from its pouch. Usually caused by a packing or configuration error.
Hardware Metallic components used in parachute systems.

Harness / Container A permanent configuration of materials designed to hold the canopies and deployment systems and then to distribute the opening shock and the weight of the load whilst in use.
Hazards Obstacles or features that the parachutist may interact with that may cause injury or death to the parachutist.

Heading The direction that on object faces whilst flying through the air.
Helmet A shell fitted to the head of a parachutist. It is designed to protect the parachutist from any accidental impacts. Helmets are also used to carry camera equipment used to shoot air to air video.
Height The vertical distance from a given height datum such as the take-off place. See Altitude.
Hesitation Occurs when the pilot chute is caught in the burble during deployment. Usually cleared by exposing the pilot chute to airflow. 

Holding Facing the canopy into the wind to minimise ground speed. Usually used in stronger winds or when at higher altitude and too close to the target.

Hook Knife Used to cut suspension lines or other materials if involved in an unmanageable wrap or entanglement. There are a variety of designs. Compulsory for CRW jumpers.

Hook Turn An aggressive turned initiated at relatively low altitudes. The aim is to maximise air speed to give a longer and flatter flare for landing.
Hop 'n' Pop Commencing the deployment very soon after exiting the aircraft.
Horizontal Expansion The part of the deployment sequence where the canopy transitions from its packed (no air) state until bottom skin pressurisation (i.e. the bottom surface is spread out but the cells are not necessarily inflated yet).

Hot Fuel Re-fueling the aircraft whilst the engines are still running.
hPa Hecto Pascal. Pressure unit equal to a millibar.
I IAS Indicated Airspeed.
ICAO International Civil Aviation Organisation. The headquarters are in Montreal, Canada.
In Date When the packing cycle (indicated by a date on the packing card) of a reserve parachute has not been exceeded. This cycle is currently 6 months in Australia. Out of Date indicates that the reserve must be inspected and repacked prior to use.
Inertia Resistance to changes in motion.
Inflation The period from horizontal expansion commencing (just after line stretch) to full pressurisation of a canopy. Also called development, canopy filling and deployment.
Inspection A systematic process of validating the airworthiness of each component in a parachute system.

Instructor A parachutist who is certified and capable of teaching student and novice parachutists the skills required to attain various ratings and licenses. See Tutor.
Insurance Risk management against loss (usually financial). Due to the possibility of injury or incident, it is good risk management strategy to insure various aspects of your involvement in parachuting.
International Parachuting / Sporting License A yearly license issued by national parachuting organisations on behalf of the FAI. It is necessary in order to participate in sports parachuting activities around the world.

IPC International Parachuting Commission. The subset of the FAI that controls all Sport Parachuting activity. See FAI.
J Jack the Ripper The hook knife most commonly used amongst CRW jumpers. See Hook Knife.
JM A senior parachutist in command of all jumpers on a load from emplaning to exiting. A JM can also be a qualified instructor in charge of students.
Judge A trained official who assesses the performance of competition or performance parachutists.

Jump Run The final approach of the aircraft to the pre-determined exit point and altitude. The airspeed is usually reduced just prior to exiting.

Jumpmaster See JM.

Jumpsuit A suit with particular design characteristics worn by parachutists.


Key A signal indicating completion of a manoeuvre/formation and readiness to progress to the next manoeuvre or formation.
Kevlar A very strong, resistant, light, aramid fibre with low resistance to abrasion and sunlight.
Kit The British term for rig or gear. UK
Knife See Hook Knife.
Knots Speed measurement used in aviation to indicate air speed, etc. Units are Nm per Hour.
L Landing The final part of the descent where the parachutist returns to the ground. It usually involves a deceleration and increase in relative lift.
L - Bar Hardware used to connect harness material together. Most often used to connect risers to the harness. Lower bulk than the 3 ring system but you cannot disconnect it without tools.
Leading Edge The front edge of the parachute. Also referred to as the nose. It is where air is rammed into the canopy to keep the wing pressurised.
Leg Strap The part of the harness that wraps around the parachutists leg. Location to stow pilot chute, usually on the right leg strap. Used less frequently nowadays. See BOC.
L/D Lift to Drag. A ratio of the lift generated by the canopy to the aerodynamic drag produced. 
Lift Webs The upper front part of the harness webbing.
Lightning A canopy developed by Performance Designs, a USA based manufacturer.
Line Burn When suspension lines rub quickly against either the parachutist or equipment resulting in heat being generated. This often leads to material damage or minor injury. See Friction Burns.
Line Dock See Riser Dock.
Line First Deployment The lines are exposed to airflow prior to the canopy (e.g. D-Bag).

Line of Flight Usually considered to be a line matching the velocity vector of an aircraft when the parachutist exits (the way the plane is facing when you jump out). *
Line Over A malfunction where the lines (usually brake lines) are forced around canopy material during inflation. 
Line Stowing Neatly holding the lines into place so that lines do not tangle during deployment on future descents. Usually stowed in rubber bands contained within the tail pocket on the top trailing edge of CRW canopies.
Line Stretch The part of the deployment sequence where all suspension lines have been forced out of stowage and are under full tension but prior to the canopy starting horizontal expansion.
Line Twists A malfunction caused by the deploying pack or canopy rotating whilst being lifted out of the container. Usually cleared by an opposing scissor kick motion.
  Load Bearing Rib The rib on a parachute where the suspension lines are attached to. Hence the weight of the suspended load is held by these ribs and the pressurised canopy. See Ribs and Non Load Bearing Ribs.  
Load Organiser Experienced parachutist who devises a plan for the descent and then instructs the participants on what their individual tasks are throughout the descent.
Lock Off Slot Where a CRW parachutist positions the end cells of his canopy onto the legs of two parachutists above. The two parachutists above each take a leg grip on opposite end cells. For example, the bottom slot on a diamond formation.

Log Book Parachutists are required to keep a record of all their jumping activities. These records include all equipment used, references to time and location, and people involved. Each record should be signed by another experienced parachutist or an instructor.
M M Metres. Unit of distance measure.

Main The main parachute of a dual parachute system. This is the parachute that we plan to utilise on each jump. See Reserve.
Maintenance Inspection and repair of parachute components.
Major Alteration Altering the design of a parachute system from the original manufacturers specifications. An alteration that if improperly done will affect the safe operation of a parachute system.
Major Repair Replacement of components of a parachute system to the manufacturers original specifications. A repair that if improperly done will affect the safe operation of a parachute system. It includes replacement of major structural or load bearing components.
Malfunction A partial or complete failure of a parachute system such that opening and descent are adversely affected. When a parachute assembly does not function properly.

Manifest Person responsible for scheduling daily parachuting activities. Also documentation showing details regarding participation in parachuting activities.
Meatie A person who only indulges in freefall activities. The mortal enemy of all die hard CRW jumpers. Also called Meat Missile.
Minor Repair Repairs other than major repairs. Cosmetic repairs, equipment configurations, replacing consumables. See Major Repairs.

Microline Light gauge nylon material used for suspension lines on modern canopies. It size reduces parasitic drag. *
Mil Spec Military Specification. Military organisations set standards that must be met for any goods and/or services that they procure. In this context, it is specifically related to parachute components and systems. USA
Modification - *
MPH Miles Per Hour. A speed measurement. 1m = 1.6km
N NAA National Aeronautical Association. The organisation representing the FAI in the USA. The USPA is a division of the NAA. USA
NAC National Airsport Control.
NAS-804 National Aircraft Standards specification which covers the standards for parachutes to be used in aircraft. USA
Needle Sharp device used for guiding threads through other materials.
Night Jump A jump made from one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise. Australia
Nose See Leading Edge.
Nm Nautical Mile. Unit of distance measure used in aviation and marine industries. 1nm = 1.852km.
  Non Load Bearing Ribs The ribs on a parachute between the suspension lines. The lines are not attached to these ribs, hence they do not bear the weight of the suspended load. See Load Bearing Ribs and Ribs.  
NOTAM NOtice To AirMen. A notice filed by an airspace user with ATC to advise other air users of activity in an area.
Novice A parachutist who has completed the first phase of training but still requires the guidance of senior instructors.
NPRM Notice of Proposed Rule Making. A CASA & FAA aviation law making procedure. Australia
Nylon A strong, elastic, synthetic material derived from coal/air/water used in the manufacture of materials used in parachuting equipment.
O Off DZ Landing Landing the parachute away from the intended target or DZ.
Offset Formation A formation predominantly made up of stair-step docks and/or Diamonds. Examples include the Kite and Wedge from the FAI 8 way speed competition dive pool.
On Heading When the fully deployed parachute faces the line of flight of the aircraft (or the desired heading).
Open Body of Water Any body of water in which it is realistically possible for a parachutist to drown in.
Open - Close A docking technique involving two parachutists (base - pin). They fly adjacent to each other with one slightly above the other whilst maintaining a heading. Then they both turn towards each other (open) until the nearest end cells are aligned, and then they face back on heading (close). The top person locks his feet into the centre A-lines of the bottom person. If done correctly, this is a more efficient (faster) alternative to the technique used by lessor experienced people. This technique involves the pilot (base) keeping a heading and applying some brakes whilst the pin flies into the correct position and then does a stack dock. *
Opening Point The location above a ground reference where a parachutist opens. See Spotting.
Opening Shock This is the force of deceleration experienced by a parachutist from the time deployment is commenced until a fully inflated canopy is achieved. This is affected by factors including velocity, weight, atmospheric conditions, canopy design, deployment technique, etc. CRW canopies tend to open faster than standard skydiving canopies. Hence the opening force is greater.
Opening Time The time from initiating deployment until full pressurisation.
OR Operational Regulations. A set of rules & regulations controlling all sport parachuting activities in Australia. It is administered by the APF on behalf of CASA. Australia
Oscillation Irregular movements (swaying, swinging, compressing) in a CRW formation caused by incompatibility or poor technique. Also a parachutist swinging underneath a canopy.

Otter A twin engine turbine aircraft made by de Havilland in Canada.
Outward / Outboard Facing the outside or away from the centre.

Out Landing A parachute landing away from the intended landing area or DZ. See Off DZ Landing.
P Pack The complete parachute assembly excluding the actual harness.
Packer A A person trained and qualified to pack reserve & emergency parachutes. Australia
Packing Folding a parachute into the container harness system according to manufacturers specifications.

Packing Card A log of packing & rigging history of a reserve & container/harness system. 
Packing Paddle Packing tool. A long flat aluminium bar used to assist in spreading bulk in a packed parachute.
Packing Volume The total volume that a canopy occupies in its packed state.
Pack Tray The portion of the container that you place a canopy (or D-Bag) onto when packing.
Parachute "Para" is a French term for "guard against", and "chute" means "fall". It is a deployable deceleration device and/or a fluid wing used in the activity of parachuting. It is designed to slow the descent of a falling load to a speed that makes landings consistently liveable. A parachute is made from fabric and suspension lines. Technology has moved the function of parachutes closer to flying wings and further from just deceleration devices.
Parachutist A person intentionally involved in parachuting activities.
Performance Records When parachutists attempt records outside of competition environs. These may include large formation records and jump quantity.
Permeability Parachutists know this as how much air can pass through the material of a canopy. It is a measure of the volume of air that passes through a given area of material per unit time at a given pressure. See CRM & Porosity.
PIA Parachute Industry Association. An association of organisations involved in the parachuting industry. This includes manufacturers, suppliers, & training organisations.
Pilot Chute (P/C) A small, round parachute whose function is to initiate or accelerate the deployment sequence. It is usually hand deployed in CRW. The pilot chute needs to be retracted after deployment. See Retraction System.

Pin A metal device inserted through a closing loop in order to keep a container closed. It is pulled free during the deployment sequence.
Pin Protector Flap A piece of material that covers the closing pin. Its function is to protect the pin from premature removal.
Pin Check See Equipment Check.

Pit / Peas Landing area filled with or covered by gravel/stones. A porous surface designed to absorb the impact of a landing parachutist.
Plane A vertical CRW formation where the feet of the parachutist above are positioned at the risers of the parachutist below. This is most commonly achieved by either stack docking and then moving down the lines or by riser docking. See Open - Close.
Planing Transitioning from a stack formation to a plane formation. Achieved by the parachutist below applying a little brakes to help create some relative lift and/or by the parachutist above simply "pulling" himself down the lines.
PLF Parachute Landing Fall. A landing method whose aim is to absorb or distribute the force of landing onto several body parts instead of just the legs. The sequence is feet, knees, hips, roll, etc.
Poised Exit Where the parachutist uses the external structures of an aircraft to assist in gaining a stable position.
Porosity Parachutists know this incorrectly as how much air passes through canopy material (permeability). It is actually the ratio of open space to total area of a material.
Porter An aircraft made by Pilatus in Switzerland.
Post Dive A term often used in conjunction with debrief to indicate a discussion about a parachute jump after the descent is completed.
Premature Opening Premmie. When a parachute opens unintentionally prior to planned opening height.
Preventative Maintenance Regular inspections and replacement of wearing components in a parachute system.
Pud A specific type of handle used on some pilot chutes and deployment handles.
Pull Out A hand deployed pilot chute system. The parachutist opens the container, pulls the pilot chute out, releases it into the relative air flow, and then the parachute is extracted. See Throw Out.
Pull Up Cord A piece of thin material used for leverage when closing a container. It is passed through the closing loop and flap grommets prior to the pin being inserted through the closing loop.

    This list is derived from Tom Begic with reference to the APF, USPA, BPA, The Skydivers Handbook, The Parachute Manual, and various internet sites.

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