Gearing Up

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 »

Gearing Up - May 2012

EdScott

The slow economy has hit state and local governments hard in recent years, and it’s no surprise that many have acted to address their budget woes by targeting business sectors with new tax initiatives. In the past couple of years, several states have begun imposing new sales-and-use or amusement taxes, collectively known as “transaction taxes,” on skydiving business owners. Several DZs were forced to pay back taxes and interest totaling thousands of dollars, which in some cases threatened the DZs’ continued viability and in all cases increased the cost of skydiving. When DZs began asking for assistance, USPA—helped by several DZOs and their tax attorneys—carefully researched the applicability of state and local taxes to aviation businesses. more »

Gearing Up - April 2012

EdScott

Most associations don’t have a board of directors as active as USPA’s is. Many other boards have perfunctory meetings where they rubber-stamp decisions and policies driven by the staff. This is not so for USPA, whose board has marathon working meetings where they get hands-on: discussing issues, setting policy and making decisions that guide the future of the sport and the organization. It is precisely for this reason that the board election process is so important for USPA members. more »

Gearing Up - March 2012

EdScott

As I write this, we’ve just closed the books and run the numbers on 2011. Notwithstanding the sputtering economy, USPA continues in good shape. Membership activity remained high in 2011, with respectable numbers of skydivers joining, renewing and earning licenses and ratings. We ended the year with the highest total membership count—33,515—in nine years, 3,027 more than the recent low point in late 2005. Some 5,959 new skydivers joined USPA in 2011, and we issued 5,944 licenses—the most since 2003. more »