I would like to pass on to the skydiving community a lesson that should be learned by all jumpers.
A jumper with approx. 50 jumps was gearing up and getting ready to board the plane, a highly experienced camera person noticed that this jumper had a Go Pro camera attached on top of his helmet. The jumper was questioned about his skill level, the jumper stated that the Go Pro is very small and that in no way will it ever get hung on his risers on opening, so his opinion was that it should not fall under USPA guidelines: of a recommendation of 200 skydives should be performed before flying a camera. The jumper boarded the plane and performed his skydive. The incident was brought to my attention and the jumper was questioned by me immediately following his jump. As we were talking I could tell the jumper was visibly nervous, he began to explain to me that after he deployed his parachute he noticed that his chest strap had been misrouted. Lesson learned! A camera is a DISTRACTION! Like it or not! I asked this jumper how many times he checked his camera to make sure it was on before he left the plane? He said he checked it multiple times. It is obvious that after he geared up, he never once checked himself, before he entered the plane, never checked his gear, while in the plane and before exiting he never checked his gear.....he checked his camera multiple times. After this incident, I walked around to other low time jumpers and found that their were others with Go Pro cameras. I have since spoken to all jumpes at our DZ regarding the use of Go Pro cameras, and have made it mandatory tha we adhere to USPA recommendations....even if it is just a Go Pro....it is a camera!