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POPS Turns Phifty

POPS Turns Phifty

The Parachutists Over Phorty Society celebrated its 50th anniversary at its annual POPS SpringFest at Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales March 16-20. As the organization celebrates the milestone year, it still fosters the same principles that brought together the original band of aging skydivers in 1966: to promote safety, camaraderie and good, clean fun while skydiving. The dedication of POPS members throughout the U.S. and around the world is the secret to the group’s longevity. Those who join POPS find themselves united with virtual strangers who instantly look upon them as friends. more »

Good Canopies, Bad Decisions

Good Canopies, Bad Decisions

So, you are ready to get that shiny new wing or sell your current canopy … well, caveat emptor, readers. Are you making good decisions about this purchase or the sale of your old wing? We are seeing a disturbing, fatal trend among skydivers worldwide as newer, faster wings come onto the market and older wings become perceived as less high performance. To help combat this, we all need to examine our mindsets when it comes to buying and selling canopies. more »

Ageless Sky—Part Two

Ageless Sky—Part Two

Last month, part one of this series scouted out some data that suggests skydiving is still a reasonable thing to do for people getting up in years … if … American skydivers may find it hard to imagine the imposition of an upper-age limit on their sport, but it’s already part of the skydiving landscape in Great Britain. The British Parachute Association still allows tandem jumping for newcomers at any age with a medical release. However, BPA’s Operations Manual prohibits anyone aged 55 years or over to undergo “initial ‘solo’ parachute training.” BPA makes an exception for students who started training solo (tandems don’t count) prior to 55. more »

Ageless Sky—Part One

Ageless Sky—Part One

Skydiving is a high-risk sport that relies on quick thinking, fast reflexes and the kinds of things people in their 50s and up can no longer count on. Their risk of an accident increases with age. At some point, you have to know when to throw in the towel. Let’s face it: Older people shouldn’t be skydivers.  Baloney. more »

POPS Turns Phifty

Tag: Feature, June 2016

The Parachutists Over Phorty Society celebrated its 50th anniversary at its annual POPS SpringFest at Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales March 16-20. As the organization celebrates the milestone year, it still fosters the same principles that brought together the original band of aging skydivers in 1966: to promote safety, camaraderie and good, clean fun while skydiving. The dedication of POPS members throughout the U.S. and around the world is the secret to the group’s longevity. Those who join POPS find themselves united with virtual strangers who instantly look upon them as friends. more »

Good Canopies, Bad Decisions

Tag: Feature, June 2016

This article was originally published at houston.skydivespaceland.com and is reprinted with the permission of the author and Skydive Spaceland—Houston in Rosharon, Texas. more »

Ageless Sky—Part Two

Tag: Feature, June 2016

Last month, part one of this series scouted out some data that suggests skydiving is still a reasonable thing to do for people getting up in years … if …
American skydivers may find it hard to imagine the imposition of an upper-age limit on their sport, but it’s already part of the skydiving landscape in Great Britain. The British Parachute Association still allows tandem jumping for newcomers at any age with a medical release. However, BPA’s Operations Manual prohibits anyone aged 55 years or over to undergo “initial ‘solo’ parachute training.” BPA makes an exception for students who started training solo (tandems don’t count) prior to 55. more »

Tales from the Bonfire - Training for Para-Rescue

Tag: Tales from the Bonfire, June 2016


by Doug Garr | D-2791 | New York, New York

On February 6, 1972, I took off in a Skyvan from Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport and headed about 40 minutes north to Forest Lake. It was jump number 439 and different from all the rest. I was a young editor on assignment for Popular Science magazine to write a story about making a training jump with the Minnesota Para-Rescue Team. This was a unique group of volunteer emergency medical technicians, all of whom were active skydivers. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Scott Jones

Tag: How Skydiving Changed My Life, June 2016

by Scott Jones | D-13317 | Winter Haven, Florida

Recently, I returned to skydiving after a 19-year hiatus. When I left the sport I was a 6-foot-tall, 185-pound young man and returned as a 6-foot-tall, 224-pound middle-aged man. Much of the change in my weight reflected a change in my body composition. I put on 20 pounds of lean mass; however, I also added 20 pounds of fat. These changes definitely affected my performance. Most men my age can relate to that few pounds they need to lose. After all, the average American is more than 23 pounds overweight. The problem was that my new body put me on the DZ as “that guy.” You know, the guy with the ballistic fall rate, the guy who always goes low, the guy who everyone groans about when they see him walking up for dive organization. I wasn’t prepared to be “that guy” when I returned to the sport, and it was emotionally challenging.  more »

Profile - Paul “Pop” Poppenhager | D-47

Tag: Profiles, June 2016

by Brian Giboney

Longtime Florida drop zone owner and instructor Paul “Pop” Poppenhager, D-47, was born in June 1934 and became interested in skydiving at a young age while watching his father jump at airshows. Poppenhager made his first jump—a military jump prior to the Korean War—at age 19. As part of the 82nd Airborne Division, he became a military parachute rigger and test jumper. In the following years, Poppenhager became a well-known instructor and trained countless people to skydive both inside and outside of the military. He joined USPA in 1960, and in 2015, the Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame inducted him as a member. more »

An Intelligent Approach to Technology

Tag: Safety Check, June 2016

A jumper with approximately 100 jumps flew his canopy too far downwind to land in the main landing area. After landing uneventfully in another area of the airport, he explained that he did not turn onto his base leg in time because he was waiting for his audible alarm to beep as his signal.
During a 2-way skydive, a jumper with approximately 500 jumps who planned to deploy at 4,000 feet instead deployed at 2,000 feet. He had been waiting for his audible altimeter to beep but finally realized that he was not wearing his helmet for the skydive, so his audible device was not there.
A jumper with approximately 150 jumps was on an airplane fiddling with his GoPro camera just before exit when another jumper pointed out that his chest strap was not threaded properly through the friction adapter.
A first-jump student did not respond to instructions provided via radio while he was under canopy. After he landed uneventfully, staff discovered that he did not respond to the radio commands because he was busy talking to a friend on his cell phone during his canopy descent. more »

Tandem Emergency Procedures

Tag: The Rating Corner, June 2016

After the five different tandem instructor examiner standardization meetings (four in the U.S. and one in Europe) that Tom Noonan of United Parachute Technologies conducted for hundreds of examiners in 2015, it became obvious that some examiners had forgotten critical information regarding emergency procedures. Tandem instructors must study and practice emergency procedures to the point where they respond instantly and correctly to every type of malfunction 100 percent of the time, but some of the examiners at the meetings were not at that level. Additionally, a few of the incident reports filed with USPA in the last couple of years show that tandem instructors did not perform emergency procedures correctly when faced with actual emergencies.  more »

Torn Main Canopy Rib

Tag: Keep an Eye Out, June 2016

A cell on the left side of this main canopy is deformed due to a large tear in one of the ribs near the tail. When the photographer noticed the bulge in the photo, he researched older photos of the same canopy and found that the problem had worsened over time and started when another jumper owned the canopy five years earlier. The current owner reported that the canopy was prone to opening off heading but never noticed anything else unusual about how it opened and flew in the more than 200 jumps he put on it. Because of the location of the damage and bulge, the jumper couldn’t see the defect when he was packing or flying the canopy. more »

Exiting a Double Spock (MFS Random Formation B)

Tag: Foundations of Flight, June 2016
Axis Flight Logo Skydive Arizona Logo

Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Aerial photo by Seth Studer. Ground photos by David Arnett. Information about AXIS' coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com.

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