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Practical Tips for Cloud Clearance

Practical Tips for Cloud Clearance

Most jumpers have a difficult time remembering the cloud clearance regulations, but understanding the reasons for the different altitude requirements can help you remember the necessary information. more »

Winter is Coming

Winter is Coming

Winter comes for all of us, whether you’re of the Great House of Chicagoland or the Great House of Perris. While the season’s arrival clearly hits the Lords of the North hardest, every skydiver in the 50 Kingdoms needs to maintain at least some awareness of cold-season strategy. more »

Canopy Collision Decisions

Canopy Collision Decisions

All skydivers—no matter what discipline they pursue—learn how to avoid canopy collisions. Yet collisions remain one of the most likely ways to die in the sport. Part of the problem is that not everybody knows how to correctly perform emergency procedures after a collision, and the procedures are not common sense. You can only learn them on the ground. more »

A Look at USPA Finances

A Look at USPA Finances

The annual audit of USPA for 2016 completed in August 2017 reported sound fiscal management and accountability measures. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Nicola Cullen

How did skydiving change my life, in 700 words or fewer? I could more easily succeed at the task if I were to go with, “How did skydiving not change my life?” There wouldn’t be much to say on that subject. As for explaining how it turned my entire world upside down and gave birth to a brand-new me, I’ll give it a shot.

My skydiving journey began, as has so many others’, when I was given a tandem jump for my (we don’t need specifics!) birthday. I ventured out to Taylorville, Illinois, one Sunday for the jump and had the time of my life. By Wednesday, I booked my first-jump course. I began AFF training that very weekend. more »

Profile - Omar Alhegelan | D-16239

by Brian Giboney

Omar Alhegelan was a pioneer in the discipline of freeflying in the 1990s as a member of the Freefly Clowns with Charles Bryan, Stefania Martinengo, Mike Vail and Olav Zipser. Known for being Zen in freefall, he has won 11 gold medals at national and international competitions and has performed stunts and acted in numerous commercials, TV shows and movies. An international traveler who is fluent in Arabic, English, French, Italian and Spanish, Alhegelan has skydived in numerous places, including the North Pole and Mount Everest. Most recently, he organized a skydiving excursion to Antarctica. Along with skydiving, Alhegelan is now giving motivational speeches and Facebook Live talks on happiness and other topics. more »

Mixed Formation Skydiving Exit for Random G (T-Squared)

 

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 David Cherry. Information about AXIS' coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com. more »

A Close Call

A rigger discovered this nearly dislodged reserve pin when the jumper presented the rig for its scheduled reserve repack. The jumper had leaned against a rail on the rear bulkhead of a Twin Otter two jumps earlier, almost dislodging the pin. He then made another jump without a pin check. To avoid the potentially deadly consequences of a reserve deploying in the door of an airplane or in freefall, each jumper should take care when moving around inside the plane and should always check the reserve pin along with the rest of the rig prior to every jump. more »

The Normalization of Deviance

There is a popular old anecdote about placing a frog into a pot of water. If the water is boiling, the frog immediately senses the danger and jumps right out. But if the water is cold and heats up slowly, the frog stays in the pot and boils to death, never realizing that the environment had become dangerous and life threatening.

Frequently, staff and regular jumpers at drop zones all across the country proclaim that their DZs are “super safe” and have great safety cultures. Thankfully, this is actually true at most drop zones. But USPA occasionally receives a complaint (usually from a visiting jumper or one of the regulars who suddenly had an epiphany) about a drop zone that most of the locals seem to think is very safe when it is actually operating in an unsafe manner. Why is that? 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 »

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Ed Scott
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Elijah Florio
Editor in Chief, Advertising Manager

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