The Cessna 182: Skydiving's Workhorse
With the midair collision at Skydive Superior all over the news its easy to think that skydiving from small Cessnas is dangerous. But did you know that the C182 is one of the most popularly used jump aircraft in the industry? Its ease of use, high performance, and low operating cost make it a very smart choice for the hundreds of smaller drop zones across the country.
For a few years after college I flew skydivers in C182s at two different drop zones. There I flew static-line students, tandem rides, and experienced jumpers. With four jumpers up to 10,000ft it took about 30 minutes round trip. For every 1.0 hr of flying I would log 0.3 as solo time.
Cessnas used for skydiving are fitted with a modified door that is hinged at the top. When its opened in flight the slipstream holds it open up against the wing. To close it again all you have to do is step on some left rudder. The slipstream then pushes the door back down and you can reach over and slam it shut. Because of this special door all occupants are required by FAA regs to wear a parachute.
Below is a compilation video of some of the people I've taken up and thrown out. In these smaller jump planes it becomes a much more personal experience. Seeing the look on the face of a first-time static-line or tandem student always made me smile. Some looked more nervous than others, but (I assume) all of them had a good time.
The first two jumpers in the video are static-line students. With static-line jumps the parachute opens automatically and the student fly themselves to the ground. For many this is their first skydive ever and its done solo with the chute on their back. Their instructors are in the plane and on the ground and coach them via one-way radio. Many of these guys have never been in a small plane before either. Talk about getting the full experience.
The following jumpers are tandem rides and experienced jumpers jumping as a formation and individually on a low altitude "hop 'n pop."
If you would like to learn more about what involved with being a "diver driver" I recommend the website www.diverdriver.com There you will find tons of information on different jump aircraft, flying procedures, safety, and accident reports.