Gearing Up

Gearing Up - March 2013

EdScott

Having spent the weeks of January closing the books on 2012, here are some metrics from USPA’s various departments and programs. We ended December with 34,800 members, down only 28 from November, when we set a membership record of 34,828. (The previous high of 34,322 was in August 2001, just before a six-year decline.) Membership grew in 10 of the months of 2012, setting a growth rate of 3.95 percent. We brought in 6,763 new members, the most since 2001, and issued 6,524 licenses, up from 5,944 the previous year. The number of A licenses also increased, from 2,477 in 2011 to 3,420 in 2012, and ratings increased from 1,669 to 1,954. more »

Gearing Up - February 2013

EdScott

The early 1970s were pivotal years for competitive skydiving, with formation skydiving just beginning to supplant style and accuracy as the primary competitive discipline. What we now call 4-way formation skydiving (then called 4-man relative work) made its first appearance at the U.S. National Championships in 1970. Ten- and 8-way competitions quickly followed 4-way. The First World Parachuting Championships in Relative Work occurred in Germany in 1975. By the time William H. Ottley (WHO or Bill to his friends) became USPA’s executive director in 1978, 4- and 8-way formation skydiving were the premier competitive disciplines. more »

Gearing Up - January 2013

EdScott

January is customarily the time to resolve to take up new habits or abandon old ones, presumably to improve your life or at least your outlook. Many of us know we have some fairly serious issues to address, whether it’s finally scheduling that physical exam we’ve put off, working to improve our relationships, getting more exercise, setting and sticking with a budget, quitting smoking, etc. With resolutions, it isn’t the thought that counts, it’s the follow-through. more »

Gearing Up - December 2012

EdScott

As a USPA member, you helped your association make history at the end of September and again in October. At September’s end, USPA membership totaled 34,600, eclipsing by 17 the previous membership high. That high was set at the end of August 2001, and 11 days later came the attacks of 9/11. Do you remember the effect on aviation? For months, airline bookings, charter flights and flight training dropped drastically. DZs reported a substantial drop in first-jump customers, and all skydiving, along with USPA membership, began a decline. more »

Gearing Up - November 2012

EdScott

In an election year, policy issues and plans for the future take on an urgency. Debates become more passionate. Policy differences take on an edge. Some among the electorate seem to get more divided and polarized. This election year is no different, with candidates and their surrogates making their distinctions sharper, their lines more heavily drawn. Some voters cast their ballots based on platform, some by policies, some by record, some by commitments made and some simply by personality. it is incumbent on all voters to scrutinize each candidate, determine where allegiances lie and then vote their consciences. Your vote will likely decide the course of events for the next three years. more »

Gearing Up - October 2012

EdScott

When I became USPA’s Executive Director nearly five years ago, one of my first calls was to Parachute Industry Association President Cliff Schmucker. The relationship between our two associations needed to be reinvigorated. USPA soon became an affiliate PIA member, and the partnership improved dramatically. It couldn’t have happened at a better time, considering the issues facing our sport. more »

Gearing Up - September 2012

EdScott

This column nearly always focuses on one topic. This time there are two. more »

Gearing Up - August 2012

EdScott

Like every aviation association, USPA develops working relationships with many Federal Aviation Administration officials, not only at FAA Headquarters but also in district and field offices. Open and frequent communication is vital to balancing federal interest in—and regulation of—skydiving. Sometimes, we want the FAA’s attention, as when the agency needs to tell a local airport operator that it is unfairly denying a skydiving business access to the airport. Other times, we need to convince the FAA that additional regulation is unnecessary or unworkable. more »

Gearing Up - July 2012

EdScott

From USPA’s inception, one of its primary responsibilities continues to be improving safety through skydiver education. One of the best ways to achieve this goal is to analyze every incident and accident, assess the causal factors and disseminate the information to the skydiver community. Training techniques, emergency procedures and equipment have improved over the years because of what we have learned from incident reporting. more »

Gearing Up - June 2012

EdScott

Within a few weeks, the results of the USPA Canopy Piloting National Championships held at Skydive the Farm in Rockmart, Georgia, will determine the members of the U.S. Canopy Piloting Team. Those eight CP competitors will join their counterparts from other skydiving disciplines to make up the 60-plus-member U.S. Team that will go to the 2012 Mondial (all events) World Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, November 29 to December 9. While a huge honor for each competitor, each must still finance the majority of the trip’s $3,000 cost. “But what about the Team Trust Fund?” you say. Actually, this year it is making the largest disbursement in its history, paying the $1,000 entry fee for each competitor. Still, our U.S. Team deserves more support. more »