Practical Tips for Cloud Clearance

By Niklas Daniel of AXIS Flight School

USPA’s Basic Safety Requirements state, “No skydive may be made in violation of the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] regulations.” Not all countries have cloud-clearance regulations, but jumpers in the U.S. must abide by those found in Federal Aviation Regulations 105.17, which places joint responsibility for adherence on the jumper and the pilot. Though falling through clouds poses no health risks in and of itself, clouds can hide potential dangers—such as aircraft and other jumpers to collide with—that do. (Not to mention that jumping through the rain and hail that often come with clouds can be really unpleasant, anyway.) And under canopy, air conditions near clouds are often turbulent, which poses particular danger if you’re flying in a canopy formation. more »

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

by Steve Smith with contributions from Greg Jack and Jules McConnel

The original version of this article appeared in the July/August/September 2017  issue of Australian SkydiveR Magazine. 

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

The annual audit of USPA for 2016, which Rogers & Co. of Vienna, Virginia, completed in August 2017, reported sound fiscal management and accountability measures. In 2016, revenues of $3,486,623 exceeded expenses of $3,467,585, leaving USPA with an operational excess (not including investments) of $19,038. USPA had a total excess of $218,957 after including investment gains, interest and dividends. more »

The Brave New World of Parachute R&D—How Computer-Aided Design Drives Innovation

Have you ever thought about how parachute designers take an interesting idea and turn it into a real-live piece of nylon? As you might imagine, the story of a canopy is never as simple as scratching down some math and heading over to a cutting table. Since the first parachute designer put his idea to paper, the process has been as much about the people manning the pencils as it has been about the parachute that’s born of the process. And in the last scant handful of years, the story has taken on another plotline entirely. more »

Wingsuit Deployments Part 2

Deploying in a wingsuit is perhaps one of the most complicated tasks in skydiving. The current trend in wingsuit design—toward more efficient and powerful designs that are capable of higher forward speeds than previous suits—translates to higher risk for pilots who are not practicing proper technique when deploying their main canopies.  more »

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.”

An old-timer who had certainly lost more than his share of friends to the phenomenon sighed out this thought while sitting around a campfire at the Holiday Boogie at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Truer words have never been spoken about the sport. more »

Summer in Seattle

A USPA Staff Report more »

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 (with the exception of the 1992 skydiving plane crash in Perris, California, which also killed 16 people). This month marks its 50th anniversary. more »

Wingsuit Deployments Part 1

Flying a wingsuit, once you’re ready for it, is pretty straightforward. It doesn’t take much effort: Just relax, look where you want to go and fly back to the DZ without hitting anything. The tricky part—the part that even some highly experienced skydivers struggle with—is deploying and opening the parachute. more »