How To Be a Good Load Organizer
By Mara Schmid
Load organizing—also known as herding licensed skydivers as they attempt to do cool jumps—is awesome and rewarding. But it’s also a lot of work. It’s not just a free day of jumping. Your job is to help keep the DZ a fun and safe place, and to get other people to jump so the dropzone makes money. Yes, it’s a job!
Because it’s a job, you’re not there to jump with your friends doing the most awesome jumps. You’re there to make sure everyone is jumping. It’s your responsibility to ensure your jumpers are having fun and/or learning. Ideally both! Often that means going with newbies and doing jumps well below your skill level. Hey, that can be fun too! You get to teach jumpers new skills and help them have awesome experiences.
If you see someone jumping alone, go talk to them and see if they want to join your group. If they’re not at a skill level to join the group you have, split your group in two, or go do a 2-way with them for a jump. Often being an LO means jumping between groups to help spread the love around. Remember also that organizing doesn’t mean you have to be on the jump. You can help a group organize their jump even if you’re jumping with a different group. The most important parts of your job take place on the ground.
Emphasize safety. Don’t just plan the jump safely, but explain how and why you’re planning it the way you are so people can learn from you how to plan a safe and fun jump. Emphasize safe exits, approaches, and break-off plans and altitudes. Make sure everyone knows the overall plan and their part in it. The better and more safely you plan the jump, the more fun you will have in the air.
Don’t push the pace of jumping so fast that proper planning goes out the window. Sure, it would be really fun to get on that sunset load, but can you really safely plan a 15-way tracking jump with 5 minutes before you need to be on the plane? The answer is no. Don’t rush. That’s when people get hurt, and believe me, the last thing you want on your shoulders is someone getting hurt on a jump you organized, especially if you cut corners.
Be professional. Remember that you represent the dropzone. Have fun, yes. Be your usual irreverent self. But don’t forget that you are someone people will look to for guidance on how to be a skydiver, so make sure you’re setting a good example.