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Westerly

Currency: When does being current no longer help?

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We hear all the time that you want to jump as often as possible to keep as current as possible with the hopes that being current means you can react quickly and correctly to any situation. Without question being current increases your ability to react quickly and correctly. However, there has to be a limit to this. While jumping all the time means you're current, it also means you're taking risks all the time too.

Consider two jumpers. One who jumps as a camera and does 1,000 jumps a year and one who jumps for fun and does 100 jumps a year. Well statistically speaking, the camerman over his life should have 10x the number of cutaways as our weekend warrior. The risk there is pretty obvious.

So the question is where is the line drawn from being current enough that you reap the benefits of currency, but not so current that jumping more only adds to the risk while providing little additional currency benefits? I suspect the threshold is fairly low. Like a few jumps a month or something like that. Ideas?

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Yeah, that's something not talked about a lot.

And then there's currency in different areas, both for safety and for performance. One might be current for basic emergency procedures, vs. being current in bigger way head down, vs. current in CRW, vs. current in swooping etc.

I tend to feel more current in a general sense if I'm jumping a day every 2 weeks. Not that one necessarily forgets a lot, but just having the repetition allows one to do things more automatically without having to think through them.

Back when I did only 10 jumps a year, when a good average jumper might do 100 jumps a year, I joked that that gave me license to be 10 times more dangerous per jump and still have the same per year risk.... (Obviously there's risk to oneself vs. risk to other jumpers as well, depending on type of jump.)

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Many years ago I went shopping for life insurance. One agent told me that if I made less than 50 jumps per year, I would be a low risk and did need to tell them. He also said the more jumps I made, the greater the risk.
I countered with Transport Canada’s attitude that pilots who flew less than 50 hours per year were high risk, needed refresher training, etc.
I did not any insurance from him.

These days I advise prospective Tandem Instructors to do 50 tandem jumps or not waste my time.
In some countries exhibition jumpers are also required to do a minimum of 50 jumps per year.

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IMO, bare minimum is at least 1 day/month, plus mental review and practice - and even at that level your skill is going backwards not forwards (you and your body will forget things). That's the 50 jumps/year minimum.

I'd say 100 jumps/year to maintain, at least 200 to improve. At LEAST. And mental practice is a must at any level (both for skill building and for unexpected/what if/emergency training).

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There’s two kinds of need for “currency”.
One kind to deal with issues and problems.
The other for skill in the sport.
On the safety side, your statistical analysis of the danger is wrong. While statistically your chance for a cutaway is tied to jump numbers, in the real world it isn’t. I had four reserve rides my first five years of jumping and none in the last 22 years. I learned more about how to pack, why things happen and how to prevent them.
For safety, how much “currency” is needed changes with jump numbers. You, with a B license, need more jumps with more regularity than someone with 1000 or 2000 jumps. That’s why the USPA standards change with different licenses.
There is not a point where jumping more yields no benefits unless you become complacent.
This is the paradox of skydiving. We do something very dangerous, expose ourselves to a totally unnecesary risk, and then spend our time trying to make it safer.

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