The British Parachute Association set the rule by which skydiving is allowed to talk place in the UK.

Below is some of the information from the B.P.A. Operations Manual which is reproduced here for information purposes only, it is correct at time of uploading Feb 2011, and the full current operation manual can be down loaded from the British Parachute Association website.



The British Parachute Association (BPA) is the governing body of sport parachuting in the United Kingdom. The BPA is committed to maintaining the highest standards of safety in the sport. The BPA’s approach to safety is established as good practice in the sport. Since its foundation in 1962, the BPA has carefully analysed accidents and injuries in sport parachuting. This long experience has enabled the BPA to build up a detailed knowledge of the risks in the sport. As risks have been identified and assessed, measures to manage and control the risks have been put in place. These control measures are documented in this Operations Manual. The BPA Operations Manual may therefore be thought of as the outcome of a cumulative and continuing assessment of the risks inherent to, and associated with, sport parachuting. As techniques of risk assessment become more widely used across many fields of human endeavour, the BPA has an ongoing commitment to develop and promote the role of proactive risk assessment in the sport. The BPA authorises only qualified individuals as competent persons to conduct parachuting activities at BPA Affiliated Clubs, Schools, Centres, Associations or Organisations (Clubs) or in BPA Registered Display Teams. Such activities are conducted in accordance with the procedures set out in this Operations Manual. The training and qualification of persons as competent, and the content of the BPA Operations Manual, are regulated by the BPA Council through its Safety and Training Committee, assisted by competent technical staff employed by the BPA.

The BPA has in place a well-established procedure for the sharing and promulgation of safety information and the reporting and collection of information and data for analysis and action. This enables improvements to be made to control measures, as necessary, on a continuing basis. As with any action sport, sport parachuting can never be entirely risk-free. Participants in the sport must therefore voluntarily accept an element of risk. By its regulation of the sport in accordance with this Operations Manual, and by actively promoting a positive safety culture, the BPA assists parachute clubs and display teams to manage risk in sport parachuting to an acceptable level.


All parachuting within Clubs Affiliated to the BPA must take place under the following conditions:


2.1. Under arrangements made by a BPA Advanced Instructor who is the appointed Club Chief Instructor (CCI) and who is normally present, on a daily basis, when parachuting is taking place.

N.B. Approval of a National Coach and Safety Officer, a Technical Officer, the Chairman of STC, or an official nominated by one of the above must be obtained before a CCI may leave a Category System Instructor (CSI) in charge of an operation for any period of time longer than a day.

2.2. By parachutists with a current Declaration of Fitness/Medical/Doctor’s Certificate (See Section 11-Medical) who are trained, equipped and briefed to undertake the planned descent.

2.3. When an adequate Ground Control Organisation is in progress (see Para 4, below).

2.4. With an authorised Pilot (see Section 9 - Flying) and a Jumpmaster (see Section 3 - Jumpmaster) who is qualified to take charge of the parachutists on board the aircraft.

2.5. With parachute equipment in good condition, correctly packed, well fitted, and checked before emplaning (see Section 6-Equipment).  

2.6. From an aircraft that is correctly documented, suitably equipped and prepared for parachuting (see Section 9 - Flying).

2.7. When weather conditions are suitable (see section 8 - Parachute Limitations)

2.8. Onto an approved Parachute Landing Area (PLA), and within an approved Dropping Zone (DZ), (see Section 7 - Parachute Landing Areas/Dropping Zones).

2.9. With all documentation in order and up to date (see Section 12-Documentation).

2.10. According to the conditions laid down in the BPA Operations Manual.

2.11. When the Club is in possession of a valid Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)

Parachuting Permission.

N.B. Para 2.11. above, applies to Clubs operating within the United Kingdom.


3.1. Overall responsibility within BPA Affiliated Clubs for ensuring that the conditions laid down in Paragraph 2 above are observed, will be vested in Club Chief Instructors (CCIs).

3.2. It is the CCI’s responsibility to make available to every employee or person who is or may engage in sport parachuting activities conducted by the Club, the BPA Operations Manual and local Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). CCIs must also ensure that any amendments are obtained and incorporated. N.B. Guidelines for producing Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) can be found on BPA Form 172.

3.3. Student Parachutists (see Section 2 - Designation and Classification of Parachutists) may only parachute under the control of a BPA Affiliated Club and under the supervision of a CCI or BPA instructor authorised by a CCI. Such instructors will be responsible for their training and parachuting activities.


All Clubs will establish a satisfactory Ground Control Organisation to control parachuting, which must be continuously operational when parachuting is in progress and which will meet the following minimum requirements: 4.1. Briefing and Checking of Parachutists

4.1.1. All parachutists must be briefed and checked before enplaning.

N.B. All persons conducting ‘Flight line Checks’ should be holders of Grade JM1

(see Section 2 - Designation and Classification of Parachutists, Paragraph 6.1).

4.1.2. All Student Parachutists must be briefed and checked by at least a Basic Instructor before enplaning. These checks must be recorded for each individual Student Parachutist and the Jumpmaster is to refer to this record before accepting responsibility for the parachutists.

4.1.3. FAI ‘A’ Certificate (Red) parachutists and above (see Section 2 - Designation and Classification of Parachutists) may check each other, provided they are JM1 qualified. It is the responsibility of the Jumpmaster to ensure that these checks have been carried out. 

4.1.4. Tandem Instructors must be checked by a suitably qualified and briefed JM1 parachutist. The check must include a visual check of the AAD.

4.1.5. The check for all Student and FAI ‘A’ Certificate (Red) parachutists must include a visual check to ensure that Automatic Activation Devices (AADs), if fitted to the equipment, are switched on.

4.1.6. A pre-jump check is an equipment check made in the aircraft shortly before exit.

4.2. Manifest

4.2.1. The names of all parachutists and other persons must be entered on a designated manifest form before they embark in an aircraft.

4.2.2. A copy of the manifest must remain on the ground.

4.2.3. All FAI ‘A’ Certificate (Red) parachutists and above will notify the manifester of the type of descent they intend to carry out.

4.3. Dropping Zone (DZ) Control

4.3.1. DZ Control must be continuously established when parachuting is in progress.

4.3.2. The DZ Controller must be a nominated FAI ‘B’ Certificate (Red) parachutist or above who has been fully briefed on his/her responsibilities and duties for the specific activities of the day and must be in place whilst parachuting is in progress.

4.3.3. The DZ Controller’s responsibilities will include the following:

a. The setting up of and supervising the DZ Control Organisation as required by the CCI.

b. Briefing any assistant(s) put at his/her disposal.

c. Ensuring that the PLA/DZ indicator (see Section 7 - Parachute Landing Areas/Dropping Zones, 1.3.) is in the correct position as required by the CCI.

d. To ensure that the appropriate ground to air signals are displayed when necessary (see 4.7. below).

e. To ensure that the descents of all parachutists are monitored from the ground.

f. To suspend parachuting where necessary if weather conditions become unsuitable.

g. To ensure that the PLA is clear of unauthorised vehicles etc.

h. To ensure that First Aid assistance is given to any parachutist requiring it and that emergency services are contacted where necessary.

i. Maintain a close lookout for aircraft, including gliders, and to suspend parachuting as soon as any interference with the safe conduct of parachuting becomes apparent. Particular attention should be paid to aircraft landing or taking off and to other aircraft with turning propellers or rotors on the ground, within or close to the PLA.

j. To ensure that the Club is equipped with a windsock, signal panels and telemeters, and that they are positioned at the most suitable location.

k. To maintain communication with other aviation activities on and adjacent to the PLA/DZ.

l. Whenever Student Parachuting is taking place to maintain radio communications with the parachuting aircraft for the purpose of suspending parachuting. If there has been a breakdown of radio communications between the DZ Control and the parachuting aircraft, Student Parachuting must be immediately suspended and will only recommence when radio communication has once more been established. 

m. To report all injuries, incidents, malfunctions or contravention’s of the BPA Operations Manual and/or local SOPs to the CCI. It is also the responsibility of all parachutists to ensure that any injuries, incidents or malfunctions that they witness are reported in the same way. 

4.4. Debriefing of Parachutists

4.4.1. All parachutists under instruction must be debriefed when possible after every descent.

4.4.2. Student Parachutists must be debriefed by an instructor.

4.5. Maintenance of Records All parachutists’ logs and relevant records must be maintained up to date (see Section 12 - Documentation)

4.6. Parachute Packing Parachute packing by those not qualified must be supervised by a suitably qualified person. (See Section 6 - Equipment).

4.7. Ground to Air Signals

Whenever parachuting by FAI ‘A’ Certificate (Red) parachutists or above is taking place and radio communication is not used, or in the event of a breakdown in radio communication between the DZ Control and the parachute aircraft, signal panels, which are visible by parachutists from whatever height they are jumping (which may or may not be the PLA/DZ indicator) will be used to signal instructions to the Jumpmaster as follows: 

4.7.1. When the panels are in the form of an (X) it indicates that conditions are suitable for parachuting.

4.7.2. When the panels are changed to a (T) it indicates that conditions are NOT suitable for all parachutists. Thereafter only parachutists authorised by the CCI/Team Leader may jump.

4.7.3. When the panels are changed to an (I) it indicates that all parachuting is temporarily suspended.

4.7.4. When the panels are changed to an (L) it indicates that parachuting is suspended and the aircraft must land with all remaining parachutists on board.


Activities such as Paragliding, Fixed Object Jumping etc. do not come within the provisions of the BPA Operations Manual. The BPA does not associate them with Sport Parachuting.