Project Strato-Jump I, II, and III

Project Strato-Jump I, II, and III

The Nick Piantanida Story more »

Getting Past the Door Monster

Getting Past the Door Monster

The author discusses the fear of getting out of the door to jump that new skydivers usually had. more »

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

The author applies a psychological phenomenon, which states that people below average skill or knowledge tend to grossly overestimate their own abilities, to skydiving. more »

A Welcome Winter Respite

A Welcome Winter Respite

The Winter 2015 USPA Board of Directors Meeting more »

Project Strato-Jump I, II, and III

Tag: Feature, August 2015, Historic

Photos by Phil Chiocchio

One spring day in the early 1960s, Nick Piantanida traveled to the recently opened Lakewood Parachute Center in New Jersey to watch people jumping and knew instantly that he wanted to get involved. He soon began taking lessons and jumping regularly. Parachuting became Piantanida’s new passion, and he earned D-778 in November 1964. Skydiving was more rewarding than anything he had done before. It started him on a journey to become a remarkable high achiever, and it altered the direction and purpose of his life in ways he never foresaw. more »

All About that Rig

Tag: Wing Tips, August 2015
Lightning Flight Logo

Brought to you by Taya Weiss of the Lightning Flight wingsuit, freefly and angle-flight school at Skydive Perris in California. more »

Back-Fly Fall-Rate Changes

Tag: Foundations of Flight, August 2015
Axis Flight Logo Skydive Arizona Logo

Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by Niklas Daniel. Information about AXIS' coaching and instructional services is available at more »

Closing-Loop Length

Tag: Keep an Eye Out, August 2015

The owner of this rig replaced the closing loop but did not properly adjust its length. Consequently, the main container was very loose—posing the risk of a premature main-canopy deployment—because the overly long loop applied very little tension to the main closing pin. On this brand of container, the main container’s grommets align on top of each other when the loop is at the correct length to hold the closing pin securely in place. more »

Wingsuit Tail Strikes

Tag: Safety Check, August 2015, Wingsuit

Avoiding the tail of the airplane when exiting is one of the most basic safety considerations when wingsuiting, yet year after year experienced wingsuit pilots continue to strike the horizontal stabilizers of the aircraft they’re jumping from. Any side-door airplane—whether a Cessna 182, a Twin Otter or anything in between—presents a risk of a tail strike to wingsuiters and even non-wingsuited skydivers. more »

Tandem Gear Checks

Tag: The Rating Corner, August 2015

There is probably no more important task before each jump than conducting a basic gear check. This is doubly true of a tandem skydive, where two lives are at stake. You’d think that all tandem instructors would perform thorough gear checks as part of their pre-jump procedures for every skydive. After all, this is something they all learned—or should have learned—during the tandem instructor certification course. Unfortunately, instructors do not always do so, and this neglect occasionally results in an equipment-related emergency. more »

Profile - Donald “Ski” Chmielewski | D-1182

Tag: Profiles, August 2015

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20158Donald “Ski” Chmielewski, D-1182, made his first skydive in Zephyrhills, Florida, in 1963 and is still active in the sport today. His love affair with skydiving—and with his wife, Donna, whom he’s been married to and jumping with for 47 years—is as strong as ever. The Chmielewskis have skydived together for decades, becoming involved in Parachutists Over Phorty Society (POPS) events and, later, Skydivers Over Sixty (SOS) and Jumpers Over Seventy (JOS) events. The pair is currently organizing the JOS formation skydiving world record attempts scheduled for November. Go, Chmielewskis, go! more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Danele Elliott

Tag: How Skydiving Changed My Life, August 2015


by Danele Elliott | A-71548 | Killeen, Texas

The last message Ethan ever saw from me read, “I’ll call you tomorrow. I love you.” I did call the next day, but he didn’t answer. I had no idea that in a few hours his brother would be calling to tell me that my husband of almost eight years had passed away in his sleep. more »

Gearing Up - August 2015

Tag: Gearing Up, August 2015


Over the past decade, USPA has joined all other general aviation associations in fighting recurring proposals to fund the nation’s air traffic control system—a government-provided service—with user fees instead of the current system of federal fuel taxes. The reason the general aviation community doesn’t want a change is simple: The current system works. GA users, including jump operators, pay for the system through federal taxes on aviation fuel, currently 21.8 cents per gallon for jet fuel and 19.3 cents per gallon for avgas. Users who fly more, and presumably use the ATC system more, pay more. A Cessna operator who flies 10 loads on a Saturday will pay $12 at the pump in federal tax on avgas. A Twin Otter operator who flies 20 loads will pay about $100 in federal tax on jet fuel. A fuel tax is easy to calculate, easy to pay and easy to collect. Conversely, a user fee almost certainly would involve an invoicing and payment process that requires a whole new bureaucracy. more »

Getting Past the Door Monster

Tag: Feature, July 2015, Psychology

New skydivers often need help to get through a seemingly impenetrable barrier of fear, especially the common obstacle that many people have affectionately termed the “Door Monster.” Although no single answer helps everyone, solutions do exist. more »

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