Skydiving Fatality Stats for 2009 at 40-Year Low


Following a November 11 fatality, we held our breath for the final six weeks of 2009; and on January 1, we could finally breathe a sigh of relief that there were no additional fatalities for the year. We ended 2009 with 16 total civilian fatalities, the fewest in more than four decades. In fact, you have to go back to 1961 to find a lower annual total. To put this in perspective, 1961 ended with 14 fatalities and just 3,353 members. The following year ended with 19 fatalities, and membership had nearly doubled in 1962 to 6,658 members. Fast forward to 2009, and membership is now at 32,177, and it is safe to say that the nearly 3 million jumps made in 2009 far surpassed the number of jumps made by 6,658 members in 1962. A 2009 membership total of nearly five times the membership in 1962, yet there were three fewer fatalities in 2009!

The reduction in fatalities can be attributed to lots of reasons, including safer equipment and better training. But, it is also a tribute to every skydiver, instructor, rigger, S&TA and drop zone manager who all worked to keep skydiving as safe as possible. Keep it up, and let’s make 2010 even safer for everyone, from the thousands of first-jump students, to those who are making thousands of jumps each year.


10 Responses to “Skydiving Fatality Stats for 2009 at 40-Year Low”

  1. David Abeyta Says:

    Good stuff…..keep up the great work it seems to paying off in Human life.
    I do feel the priceless value of the $55.00 a year fee

    Thanx 🙂

  2. Len McGlynn Says:

    I made my first jump in june of 66 and we “thought we were safe” and just a little bit of daring ….. Back in the day when you would NEVER check your canopy but carry it on ….. at least til D B Cooper. And if the little old lady asked you would explain it was a parachute …. didn’t they give you one????

    I would like a bit of help I have a copy of Ray Finneran’s “SKYDIVE THE 60’s” on a VCR tape. I would like it preserved and copied to a more permanent format.

    It consists of well over an hour of free fall Super 8 (ask your grandad he’ll know what it was) that Ray took iin freefall all dubbed with 60’s music.

    It starts with us jumping the hihg performance (?) 7 TU Lo-PO, The paradactyl (spelling?) and Steve Snyders first “SQARE”

    Ray, was also I believe, the first base jumper (after Leonardo’s group) when he with the help of Owen, another Hudson Valley sky diver, made a jump from the Empire State building late 60’s.

    I live in western NY south of Buffalo and if you can recomend someone to do the coppying to a permanent formatI would be eternally grateful. it might just be something the USPA archives might be interested in having too.


  3. Jose Rastelli Junior Says:

    It’s wonderfull read many years after something about early days of your parachuting life.Wonderfull days that.

    • Len Says:

      I feel the call …. time to put the knees in the breeze again. The ol’ saying “you can take the boy (or gal) out of the air but you’ll never get the air out of the boy (or gal) as today we have many sisters upstairs with us


  4. Nic Mac Says:

    What is the total fatality for every year added up?????????????????

  5. Len Says:

    Too many!

  6. joel miranda Says:

    i living in this moment in cuba but i want to obtain your license uspa:i am 21 year experience an more than 1500 jumps around 800 tandem jumps; i am tandem master and instructor of skydiving in cuba: i prictice skydivin normaly in varadero beach:
    i would like to take yor licence please; what i have to do?

  7. joel miranda Says:

    Noticed you’re from Veradero, Cuba. I’m trying to jump there in October and would like information on the DZ. Days of operation?, still have an AN-2 operational?, e-mail or phone number of contacts? Thanks.

  8. Mark Mitchell Says:


    I can convert your VHS tape for you. I live near Rochester, NY. Let me know if you still need it done and we can figure something out.


  9. Len Says:

    Thanks Mitch but my kid brother made a couple of copies.

    I lived in Rochester for a couple of years used to jump with Franco Rossi and
    Howie Martin at Ovid where Capt. Brown flew the green & cream 182 in the 70’s.

    I expect to go down to the Ranch (my old DZ ooops LZ now) and get checked out again … just maybeeeee i can get into a formation bigger than a 3 way


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