Q: What does BASE stand for?

A: BASE is an acronym standing for Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth. Each of these represents a category of objects from which we jump. It is possible to "pigeon hole" most objects into one of these four categories based on their formal definitions. However, contemporary BASE jumping is better described as Fixed Object Jumping as we are constantly finding new objects to jump from that defy categorization.

Q: How can I start BASE jumping?

A: The majority of the hazards involved in BASE jumping are related to opening, flying and landing a parachute. These skills are best mastered in a skydiving environment where the margin of error is much greater than in BASE . After accumulating approximately 200 skydives (individual performance will dictate) you will have the basic skill set required to fly and control a parachute in the demanding environment of BASE jumping. As you develop your canopy handling skills, focus on landing accuracy and exploring the canopy's flight envelope. Asylum Designs has published a set of guidelines and exercises for practicing BASE canopy control skills while on a skydive. This document can be viewed in our library.

BASE jumping canopies are low ASPECT RATIO designs. Try to accumulate as much experience on canopies of this nature as practical to maximize your learning. At this point you are ready to enroll in one of our FIXED OBJECT JUMPING COURSES so you can learn the skills and techniques necessary to become a safe and accomplished BASE jumper.

Q: What is the deal with "Bridge Day 2016"?

A : Bridge Day is a day of legal jumping from the 876' New River Gorge Bridge in Fayettville, West Virginia. It occurs on the 3rd Saturday of October (October 19th this year). To jump you must be pre-register with the Bridge Day Association. Slots are very limited.

Q: Are there any BASE jumping organizations?

A: USBA (United States BASE Association) is another organization dedicated to promoting BASE jumping. Headed by Jean Boenish the USBA has devoted a lot of energy to lobbying for legal access to the National Parks. The USBA issues the numeric BASE awards for completion of a jump from each of the four object categories.

Q: Is BASE jumping illegal?

A: No. Trespassing is. However, there are some specific places (National Parks in particular) that do prohibit BASE jumping.

Q: Why jump with just one parachute?

A: Jumping with one parachute is a personal decision. The basic philosophy behind this choice is that most BASE jumps are effectively one parachute jumps anyway due to either a lack of available altitude or the intentional plan to freefall through what altitude may be available for a reserve deployment. The thought then follows that it is preferable to use a system designed and manufactured to deploy only a single parachute and is inherently less complex (safer) than a system that is designed to accommodate two parachutes. There is also the human factor to consider. If you have only one parachute you will plan and act accordingly. If you have second parachute you may not exercise the same level of caution. However, some jumps are better suited to two parachute systems. Make an informed and thoughtful decision. Feel free to contact Asylum Designs with any questions you may have.

Q: What makes a BASE canopy different from a skydiving canopy?

A: A BASE specific canopy  is designed around the specific demands of BASE jumping. These include; Reliability of opening and predictability of opening characteristics, stability in flight and deep brake configurations, durability, reliability, consistently soft landings with or without a full flight flare and ease of packing. Conversely, a skydiving canopy is usually designed to provide the user with high lift high / speed performance, dynamic turns and landings, low pack volume and soft openings. With current skydiving designs, all of these attributes produce less desirable results in a canopy being used for BASE.

Q: What size pilot chute do I use for a BASE jump?

A: Asylum Designs manufactures pilot chutes in a variety of sizes for different applications. Generally, deployment speed and altitude will dictate which size to use. Always err to the larger size if in doubt.

Click here for a list of recommended sizes and their applications.

Q: Why do BASE rigs utilize a 9 ft bridle?

A: 9 ft has been adopted as a standard bridle length for use on low speed deployments. The reason for the extra bridle length is to increase snatch and help overcome the inertia of a closed container and (relatively) heavy canopy. As speeds increase it is possible to shorten bridle length. However, a bridle longer than 11 ft has the potential to entangle with steering lines or get tossed over the leading edge of the canopy. This is especially true with smaller canopies.

Q: How does a Velcro closed rig work?

A: The idea behind the Velcro closed rig is that Velcro can provide a more consistent closing force than a pin and loop. It can not be accidentally pulled via drag on a flapping bridle and is virtually impossible to pack a total malfunction with. To maximize safety Velcro rig use a feature called the Shrivel Flap .

Q: What is the purpose of pin closed BASE rigs?

A: Pin closed BASE rigs such as the Perigee Pro are an answer to the problem of premature deployments of Velcro rigs at high speed. As air speeds approach terminal velocity, airflow over the jumper's back pulls at the corners of a shrivel flap. If other factors such as worn Velcro, poor harness fit or over - stuffed container are present, the rig can prematurely open and a horseshoe malfunction will result. Velcro rigs work very well at low speeds, which is the environment for which they were designed. However, as jumping styles evolve to include aerobatic maneuvers and higher altitude sites become available, demands are being placed on the Velcro rigs that they were not designed to handle. The pin closed BASE rig addresses this problem with secure closure. They are not intended as a substitute for Velcro closed rigs.

Q: When should I use a mesh slider?

A: A mesh slider is perfect for delays ranging from 3 seconds up to 8 seconds. The advantages of a mesh slider include lower opening forces, less stress on the canopy and jumper, better deployment staging than a slider down / removed deployment. The disadvantages are less control over deployment heading, and several malfunction scenarios that can not be easily remedied such as entanglements etc. It is recommended to jump with a hook knife when using a slider. 

Q: Will it hurt to take 4 or 5-second delays with no slider?

A: Under normal conditions, a deployment without a slider at 4~5 seconds will be forceful and positive. This length of delay without reefing device will invite a very abrubt halt- which depending variety of factors(body position, pack job, PC selection, ambiant weather conditions, etc). However, If you can take a 4 second slider down, you can go 3 with a mesh slider and experience far cleaner and more comfortable opening.

Q: What is a tail inversion malfunction?

A: The tail inversion malfunction occurs when the canopy's trailing edge flips under during deployment. It usually then becomes entangled with a steering line. Tail inversions are the product of a rapid disreefing of the tail. They are very common on slider down/removed deployments and very rare when using a slider. They almost always clear by themselves and usually go unnoticed. The evidence of their occurrence can be found when inspecting your canopy. Look for scuffs and burns on the trailing edge near the control line attachments. These same types of light damage will often be present on the end cell or stabilizer.

Q: What can I do about preventing tail inversions?

A: The best way to limit tail inversions is to reef the tail during deployment. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. Some people use masking tape to effectively connect the steering lines to one another. Another method is the differential stow. This is a method of stowing the suspension lines that creates some reefing for the tail. You can read about the differential stow in our library. The most popular method at the moment is the Tail Gate. The Tail Gate was developed by Basic Research. It utilizes a piece of 900lb Dacron line and a small rubber band to actively restrict the control lines during deployment. The Tail Gate is available as a no-cost option. It should be noted that no method, including the Tail Gate, has proven 100% effective in preventing the tail inversion.

Q: What is a line over malfunction?

A: The line over malfunction is usually the result of a canopy's control line (sometimes even a D-Line) passing in front of the nose prior to inflation. This causes the canopy to open in a "Bow-Tie" shape. The result is generally and uncontrolled spin.

Q: What happens if I get a line over?

A: Lineovers are most common when jumping slider down / removed. When you deploy your parachute this way it should always be configured with the Line Release Modification. By activating the line release, the line over can generally be remedied and the canopy flown to landing using the rear risers.

Q: What size canopy is right for me?

A: BASE canopies are designed to have an ideal wing loading of between .7 lbs /ft2 and .8 lbs/ ft2. To calculate this, divide your exit weight (which includes you, all your equipment and clothing) by the canopy's surface area. Other factors to consider are experience, anticipated landing elevation and landing areas. If you jump into tight landing areas, land at high elevations or have limited experience, select a canopy size that will provide a lower wing loading. It is "generally" safe to load a BASE canopy as light as .6 lbs ft2.

Q: What are Deep Brakes and why are they important?

A: Deep Brake Settings (DBS) refers to setting the canopy's deployment brakes deeper than normal in an effort to control opening surge. There is no question that for BASE jumping it is desirable to pack your canopy in deeper deployment brakes than are generally used in skydiving. DBS on deployment reduce opening surge. This produces cleaner (slider down) openings, allows more time to react to an off-heading opening and effectively lessens the possibility of a line over malfunction. Be aware, however, your parachute may handle very differently while the brakes are stowed in a deeper configuration. It is FAR more hazardous to deploy a canopy with brakes set too deep versus not deep enough.
An ideal DBS will allow the canopy to open with very little forward speed while still being able to sufficiently pressurize. It is best not to set the brakes so deep that an increase in deployment altitude or use by a lighter jumper will induce a stall on deployment.
Brakes set too deep also increase the amount of altitude required to transition from an "open" canopy to one that is flying. More importantly, brakes set too deep can lead to post deployment stalls and a loss of control.
A DBS appropriate for slider down jumping will be too deep for slider up jumping and result in a lengthy snivel and / or a stalled canopy.


If you have any specific questions not answered here please send mail to support@asylumbase.com