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Defining an Era—B.J. Worth Receives the 2015 USPA Lifetime Achievement Award

Defining an Era—B.J. Worth Receives the 2015 USPA Lifetime Achievement Award

B.J. Worth did not just influence the sport of skydiving, he defined an era. His thumbprint appears on most of the significant developments from the 1970s through the last decade. more »

How to Dance With the Nylon in the Pale Moonlight—Setting Yourself Up for a Great Night Jump

How to Dance With the Nylon in the Pale Moonlight—Setting Yourself Up for a Great Night Jump

If you’re squaring up to the requirements for your D license, there’s a good possibility that those jumps are causing a bit of nail-biting. Steve Woodford is here to tell you not to worry. more »

Deadly Serious - Avoiding a Canopy Collision

Deadly Serious - Avoiding a Canopy Collision

Greg was a typical young parachutist with a great sense of humor who loved to joke with his fellow jumpers. But when it came to skydiving, he was quiet and deadly serious. more »

Up Is the New Down—Part 2: Movement Jumps

Up Is the New Down—Part 2: Movement Jumps

It’s great that jumpers are finally catching up to what the pioneers were doing 16 years ago, but with so much freefall traffic and so many people trying new things, it’s essential for everyone to learn how to be safe so we can keep on playing. more »

Gearing Up - April 2017

EdScott

Here's a jump story. Or rather, a story about a jump that didn't happen. But first, do you believe that things happen for a reason? Or alternatively, do you believe that a bad outcome can later be viewed as a good outcome? more »

Airmanship for Canopy Pilots

The aviation-safety website Skybrary.aero defines airmanship as "the consistent use of good judgment and well-developed skills to accomplish flight objectives. This consistency is founded on a cornerstone of uncompromising flight discipline and is developed through systematic skill acquisition and proficiency. A high state of situational awareness completes the airmanship picture and is obtained through knowledge of one's self, aircraft, environment, team and risk."

Airmanship is a trait to which skydivers should also aspire to obtain mastery, especially with relation to canopy flight. As an aircraft pilot should be aware of his aircraft, the environment in which the aircraft operates and his own capabilities, skydivers must possess awareness and discipline when flying canopies. A pilot has many tools to help with flying safely, including the co-pilot, radio contact with air traffic control and others, radar and the ability to go around or power down and up to avoid airspace conflicts. Canopy pilots do not have the luxury of powered flight: Takeoffs are optional, but landings are mandatory. We need to rely on our own skill and the awareness and skill of others to avoid airspace conflicts. more »

How to Nail a Gear Check

Let me ask you this: When was the last time that you saw the pilot running down a safety checklist on the jump plane? If you’re paying attention, you certainly have (or at least seen the clipboard stuffed somewhere in the cockpit, lookin’ official). Metal-tube pilots have an actual checklist they run down to confirm the safety of the gear that heaves us all up into the sky. That’s a great idea—it’s a reasonably complicated system, and a checklist ensures that nothing’s forgotten. more »

Military Aviation's Lessons for Skydivers

Every day, Naval aviators take to the sky to train for the time when they may have to fly into combat. Military and other high-performance aircraft operate at the edge of the envelope. Maximum performance comes from operating on the envelope’s edge, which means there is little to no margin for error. This has created the need for a robust safety system in Naval aviation. Other industries have adopted these principles and practices, and they are equally relevant to skydiving. Right out of the gate, the Navy indoctrinates its aviators into a safety culture. For good reason: Pilots die more often in training mishaps than from enemy actions. This safety training—which aviators learn and discuss throughout their careers—includes lessons on the Swiss-cheese-mishap model, normalization of deviance, complacency and risk management. But how does this apply to skydiving?

more »

Parachute Flight Dynamics

The goal of any skilled canopy pilot is to take command of the parachute system so as to dictate his location under the wing at any given time. To become a more proficient canopy pilot, it's important to understand that the jumper is not separate from the canopy but is in fact part of an integrated system. Without delving too much into design specifics of parachutes, let's examine how a jumper's choices and actions affect the system as a whole. For example: Though turning low to the ground is not advisable, it is also not inherently dangerous. In fact, such a maneuver may be necessary to avoid danger, and what matters most in such a situation is how the jumper performs the turn. As with many things in flight, the lifesaving move may be counterintuitive.

more »

Profile - Trent Alkek | D-24348

Trentby Brian Giboney

Trent Alkek, D-24348, along with teammates Jed Lloyd and Stephen Boyd, set the USPA Nationals on fire in freefly from 2003 to 2007. Their team, Spaceland Anomaly, created some never-before-seen moves and also set several world records during speed rounds. Alkek, a USPA member for 17 years and counting, is now a sought-after load organizer who also works in aircraft leasing at Skydive Spaceland—Houston in Rosharon, Texas. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Donna Bachler

I recently completed 40 minutes of continuous, non-stop freefall. Or at least that’s what my brain experienced. My body was lying on a hospital bed, an IV plugged into my vein flowing a steady stream of ketamine, a drug with hallucinogenic side effects. The ketamine treatments were part of a clinical trial to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, better known as PTSD. I’ve suffered from PTSD for a long time due to military experiences, and I jumped at the chance to be part of this study. Most treatments don’t work at all on PTSD. In fact, aside from ketamine, only one other thing has proven effective (for me at least): skydiving. more »

The Cheststrap

It was the seventh jump of the day for our newly formed and unnamed 4-way formation skydiving team. A normal jump on a normal training day. It was the scariest jump I’ve ever been on.

I check gear. All the time. I find things: incorrectly assembled 3-rings, unhooked or misrouted reserve-static-line lanyards and visors up on exit. And I check chest straps. I’ve caught tons of misrouted and dangling chest straps in the loading area and on the airplane. But I missed this one. more »

Wingsuit Rules and Recommendations

Wingsuiting continues to gain in popularity every year. And why not? Sailing through the skies like a glider is a lot of fun! The discipline is attracting lots of jumpers, with a continual influx of new wingsuit flyers joining the ranks. However, not all news related to wingsuiting has been good news, and those who participate in the discipline continue to struggle in some areas, including:

  • Adhering to rules and regulations for cloud clearances
  • Exit procedures
  • Flying safe patterns that avoid aircraft and allow for landing at the drop zone landing area

Helping with Safety Day

For many, Safety Day—a day full of refresher training and important life-saving presentations—signals the start of the skydiving season. Like a bugler blaring reveille to signal a charge, a DZ announces Safety Day as a call to action. March 11 (although some DZs will select another date) is right around the corner, so you and your fellow coaches and instructors should already be helping your Safety and Training Advisor with plans for the day. more »

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Ed Scott
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Elijah Florio
Editor in Chief, Advertising Manager

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