Understanding eXtreme Relative Work (XRW) Skydiving

Extreme relative work or (XRW) is the formal term used for group skydiving. It is also known as Cross Relative Work or belly flying. As the name suggests this form of skydiving involves the movement of more of a group of skydivers in a close proximity formation. Over the past few years, Cross Relative Work (XRW) has become very popular amongst skydivers. This is largely due to advancements in wingsuits and parachutes. In light of this, this article offers a glance at Cross Relative Work as a sky diving discipline. It sheds light on some general safety rules,  requirements and guidelines to keep in mind if one wants to attempt this exciting form of skydiving. Keep reading to find out more!

How High are Skydives?

Skydives are usually carried out from an average height of 12,500ft translating to close to a minute in freefall duration. Higher skydives do occur, but they require special conditions such as pressurized and bottled oxygen. For group skydiving involving five people or less, the deployment attitude is generally set 1,500 feet higher than the standard. This figure is increased to an additional 2,000 feet where the group consists of more than six people.

Equipment Required for the Dive

The following equipment is needed for a skydive:

The Sky-Diving Parachute

Well, this one goes without saying. There’s a general consensus that skydiving wouldn’t be fun without the parachute! No one has ever wrestled with the laws of gravity and won. That being said, there is a bit more to know about skydiving parachutes. For instance, skydiving parachutes come in many dimensions. As a rule of thumb, beginners should opt for the larger, more forgiving variant. Skydivers are equipped with two parachutes, with one serving as a reserve in case of malfunction. They are contained in a bag known as a container.

The Automatic Activation Device

Its function is easily discernible from its name- it automatically activates your parachute in circumstances where you can’t do so e.g. in case of a medical emergency.

The Jumpsuit

Jumpsuits are specific to the skydiving discipline. (XRW) skydiving suits feature “booties.” Wingsuits are also common This feature makes certain maneuvers and formations more efficient.

The Altimeter

As the name suggests, this instrument measures your altitude allowing you to know when to deploy. They come in digital and analog variants.

The Goggles

These shield your eyes as you free-fall. Some are clear and some are tinted. Goggles also allow one to enjoy the amazing views as they fall.

The Helmet

This equipment protects you as you exit for the fall and during the actual fall. It is also a great way to get one’s hair out of the way.

Skydiving equipment can be bought or rented. It is recommended that passionate skydivers purchase their own equipment. However, considering that skydiving equipment may cost one several thousand dollars, one may begin by buying the smaller equipment like the altimeter.

Skydiving Prerequisites

For one to participate in group skydiving or skydiving in general, they must fulfill some prerequisites. Skydiving is self-regulated and in the United States, it is largely governed by the United States Parachute Association (USPCA). To participate in group skydiving or any other form of skydiving one has to be at least eighteen years in the United States. In some European countries, the minimum age is a bit lower at sixteen years. There is a general consensus that one has to be in good physical condition to attempt skydiving. This is considering that you will have to carry upwards of thirty pounds in gear. Older people looking to participate should consult their doctors first. Weight is also a factor to consider. In general, you shouldn’t weigh more than 220 pounds if looking to attempt it. The reason for some of the physical requirements is that skydiving puts a toll on one’s body. Moreover being leaner will go a long way in ensuring that you can perform all maneuvers. It may also make landing easier.

Aside from that, it is generally required that one reveals pre-existing medical conditions before being cleared to skydive. The temperature differentials coupled with emotional stress and atmospheric pressure may not be good for people with certain medical conditions such as cardiovascular complications.