Gearing Up

Gearing Up - June 2017

Ed Scott

In "Five Minute Call," you'll read of the Oklahoma DZ owner whom a court ordered to pay a substantial sum to a 16-year-old injured in 2014 during a static-line first jump. Coincidentally, during that period, USPA's board of directors was once again debating what the Basic Safety Requirements should state as the minimum age to skydive. more »

Gearing Up - May 2017

Ed Scott

The Federal Aviation Administration operates the largest and safest aviation system in the world. How large? Of the 32.9 million air carrier departures worldwide in 2015, the U.S. had the most with 8.7 million. China was a distant second. Of an estimated 370,000 general-aviation aircraft worldwide flying an estimated 35 million flight hours, more than half those aircraft and hours are flown in the U.S. 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 »

Gearing Up - March 2017

EdScott

Reflecting on the association’s past year is like digging through your gear bag after a long, hectic skydiving season. The things you expect to see are there, interspersed with surprising items that somehow got thrown in. For USPA, 2016 was just that mixed bag. Let me inventory those items for you. more »

Gearing Up - February 2017

EdScott

This month's "Gearing Up" is written for just 22 of you. If 2017 is an average year in the U.S. accident-wise, some 22 of you won't be around to read this column in next February's Parachutist due to a skydiving accident. Let that sink in: 22 of you reading this will die making your last skydive. Odds are you're licensed (most likely a C or D license), have been skydiving for at least 10 years and have just at or over 1,000 jumps. (Don't think you're off the hook if you're not nearly that experienced, since these are averages; less-experienced skydivers will be among them.) Statistics also tell us that the circumstances of your demise will likely involve a hard landing, a mishandled main-parachute malfunction or a collision.

If you knew you were one of the 22, would you take five specific actions to remove yourself from the forlorn list? Of course you would. And you don't even have to quit skydiving. more »

Gearing Up - January 2017

EdScott

In 1984, the IRS classified USPA as a 501(c)4 non-profit association. That was based on its finding that USPA’s main purposes “promote the common good and social welfare.” Importantly, 501(c)4 organizations can lobby government officials as long as they meet all lobby registration and lobby reporting rules. And USPA does lobby on behalf of skydiving. What does that mean? Primarily, USPA’s executive director and director of government relations engage in efforts to build relationships with various officials, usually those in the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration but sometimes other federal and state agencies. more »

Gearing Up - December 2016

EdScott

Winter’s icy grip doesn’t stop all skydivers, but many do take a break until temperatures rise again. Whether you are jumping or not, you should plan to join hundreds of fellow skydivers, scores of riggers and dozens of parachute and component manufacturers at the February 10-18 series of events tied to the 2017 Parachute Industry Association Symposium in Chattanooga, Tennessee. more »

Gearing Up - November 2016

EdScott

Right up there with agricultural aviation, flying skydivers is one of the most demanding non-military aviation jobs. If the weather is good and manifest is busy, the jump pilot can count on working the entire day—sunrise to sunset—eating and hydrating in the airplane and getting few breaks. Load, taxi, takeoff, climb, level, descend, land, taxi and repeat. There is no en-route phase of flight where the pilot can kick back with cruise settings or engage an autopilot. more »

Gearing Up - October 2016

EdScott

Skydivers who enter USPA's instructional rating hierarchy by becoming a coach, instructor or examiner take on immense responsibility. But it is the USPA Examiner who assumes the highest responsibility, since he has the sole privilege of teaching and certifying others to be coaches and instructors.
An examiner's failure to fully meet his number-one duty—to fully teach and certify a skydive instructor—has a threefold effect: Instructors are inadequately prepared and can't be all they are expected to be. This leads to students who are not thoroughly trained or motivated, which decreases their safety levels and increases the chances that they'll quit out of frustration. And then the sport suffers a decrease in participants and a potential black eye from incidents or accidents that were preventable. more »

Gearing Up - September 2016

EdScott

A cloudless blue sky enveloped the entire Eastern Seaboard that early Tuesday morning 15 years ago. Shortly after 9 a.m., it would be scarred by dark, acrid smoke rising from New York City; Arlington, Virginia; and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. A northerly wind blew smoke from the burning Pentagon over the townhouse offices of USPA in nearby Alexandria. The streets and highways were clogged with federal workers sent home for the day, so USPA staff members stayed in place and tried to work but more often were pulled to the TV news or searched the web for updates. more »