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Wingsuit Deployments Part 2

Wingsuit Deployments Part 2

Advanced Techniques by Matt Gerdes with contributions from Chris Geiler, Will Kitto and Rich Webb. more »

The Seven Keys to Downsizing

The Seven Keys to Downsizing

“The most deadly aspect of skydiving isn’t swooping or wingsuiting or big-ways or collisions or whatever you think it is. It’s lack of patience.” more »

Summer in Seattle

Summer in Seattle

For many who attended the summer USPA Board of Directors meeting July 21-23, Seattle, Washington, offered respite from the oppressive heat blanketing most of the country. Armed with research and member feedback, the directors arrived in the Emerald City ready to tackle difficult topics and ensure the association’s continued success.   more »

The Clouds in Our Heads—On the Lake Erie Tragedy and the False Security of Technology

The Clouds in Our Heads—On the Lake Erie Tragedy and the False Security of Technology

On August 27, 1967, 16 skydivers died on the same load. What has come to be known as “The Lake Erie Tragedy” resulted in more fatalities than any other skydiving-related accident since. This month marks its 50th anniversary. more »

The Evolution of High-Performance Parachutes

The sport has come a long way from the T-10 rounds and Para-Commanders of yesteryear. It wasn't long after the first ram-air parachutes became popular in the 1970s that high-performance canopies were created. In 1988, Parachutes de France created one of the first high-performance parachutes, the Blue Track. It was a one-of-a-kind, elliptical, ram-air parachute constructed of the first zero-porosity fabric, and it promised a new type of performance. This paved the way for an extreme form of parachuting called “swooping,” and the sport has never been the same. more »

The Secrets of D.B. Cooper, Part Three - Criminal Profile

For whatever reason, hundreds of people are convinced they know who D.B. Cooper was—or themselves admitted to being the most recognized hijacker in the world. Maybe it’s the extraordinary circumstantial evidence. Maybe it’s the desperate need for an answer. Maybe it’s a secret wish to make a difference in the world. But sometimes, no matter how hard we wish, no matter how hard we believe, we just can’t make something true. Today, the FBI has DNA from Cooper’s J.C. Penney clip-on tie that he left on the jet and partial fingerprints from the cocktail glasses he drank from while in flight. They can now quickly confirm or eliminate suspects. more »

Profile - Shannon Pilcher | D-18803

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20107Shannon Pilcher started jumping in Warm Springs, Georgia, in 1991 and has become a decorated formation skydiver and canopy pilot who has won national and world championships. He is a member of the PD Factory Team (PDFT), active in wingsuiting, freefly and BASE jumping, and an FAA Senior Rigger. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Elmo Fuddpucker

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by Elmo Fuddpucker | Lincoln, Nebraska

The roar of the bulldozer was getting closer and closer. It was then that I saw someone coming. The moment he started to yell, I knew I was not going to be lost forever. It was June 1981. I had been discarded in the Sarpy County, Nebraska, dump, near where Lincoln Sport Parachute Club (LSPC) was located at that time. I was certain to be buried until Kenneth “Sonny” Bader saw me. He pulled me out of the pile of garbage and threw me in the back of his truck. The next weekend, I was airborne and received my name. more »

Gearing Up - July 2010

EdScott

Now that we are well into the 2010 skydiving season, we can report on a USPA initiative that is a success on a couple of different levels. In late 2008, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a special report that looked at 32 fatal jump-plane accidents over the previous 28 years. The NTSB concluded that many DZs and jump-plane operators were not performing required aircraft maintenance, so it issued a couple of recommendations to the FAA and USPA to do something about it. (The NTSB also recognized that there are many operators who perform exemplary maintenance.) While the NTSB has no regulatory authority, it can (and often does) capture the attention of Congress and the media by holding hearings and press conferences when its recommendations are ignored. In order to be proactive, USPA’s board of directors directed staff to develop a workable plan to comply with the NTSB’s recommendations. more »

Stowing the Slider

Q:
What should I do with my slider after I deploy my main canopy? more »

Water Training

You hear it at almost every water-training session: “Why do I have to jump in a pool with this old parachute? I’m never going to land in the water, but if I do, I know how to swim!” And so goes the argument from jumpers who don’t truly understand how serious of a problem a water landing can be. Although water landings are not as common as they once were in the days of less-maneuverable round parachutes, they still happen enough for the training to be important. A proper water-training session should serve as an educational tool for each participant and not just a routine to be drudged though so that the jumper can check off that box to get his license. A USPA Safety & Training Advisor, Instructor or Instructor Examiner should conduct a thorough training session and log it in the jumper’s log book once it is completed. more »

Flying Camera

In the 1950s and ’60s, when skydivers first started using video and still cameras in freefall, they carried large, heavy cameras, separate tape decks and heavy batteries (often mounted on the camera flyers’ chests). All this equipment, along with the bulky parachutes, ensured that most jumpers were happy to be in the video and leave the use of awkward equipment and resulting sore necks to the few skydivers who were both very experienced and really interested in videography and photography. more »

Steering Lines and Toggles

This jumper was unable to clear the toggle from his right steering line when he initially released his brakes. After several attempts at pulling the toggle in different directions and at different angles, the toggle finally slipped free from its cat’s eye (the opening in the steering line). The remainder of the canopy flight was uneventful.

The jumper reported that the cat’s eye in the steering line had always been somewhat snug around the toggle, and as time went on, the fit seemed to get tighter. more »

Building Castles in the Air—An Overview of Canopy Formation

Canopy formation (CF) skydiving, also known as canopy relative work (CRW or “crew”), is a discipline of technical ability that is largely misunderstood. Some perceive the discipline as being extremely dangerous, but the small, dedicated group of jumpers who practice it are rewarded by becoming better, safer canopy pilots. CF jumpers generally channel their interest in one of two directions: recreational CF (which includes parabatics) or competition. CF is also the only remaining discipline for which USPA offers performance-based awards—the 4-Stack, 8-Stack and Canopy Crest Soloist (for docking eighth or later on a formation) Awards. more »

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Ed Scott
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