Gearing Up

Gearing Up - September 2010

EdScott

Among the myriad responsibilities shared by USPA Instructors, Coaches and Safety & Training Advisors, and DZ operators and staff, the most important involve the training and supervision of student skydivers. DZ personnel apply detailed instruction and rigorous oversight beginning with the first jump and continuing through achievement of the USPA A license, at which point a skydiver is no longer considered a student. For students, each jump introduces new concepts, learning objectives and techniques, always amid ever-changing wind and weather conditions. Distractions are many and continuous. more »

Gearing Up - August 2010

EdScott

Over the past few years, USPA has been working to increase the association’s membership count. Our efforts appear to be paying off with a steady increase in both first-jump and membership numbers, thanks to a very active two-pronged strategy: encouraging positive media coverage of skydiving, which we label “promotion,” and encouraging those who have made their first jumps to continue in the sport, which we call “retention.” It makes little sense for USPA to market itself to the non-skydiving public; if you’re not a skydiver, then USPA has little to offer. So instead, our goals are to promote skydiving itself and to increase retention of those who have tried it. 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 »

Gearing Up - June 2010

EdScott

As this magazine hits mailboxes, just about a month remains in the effort to collect enough proxies from USPA members to have a quorum of 10 percent at the General Membership Meeting called for Friday, July 16, at 7 p.m. in Nashua, New Hampshire. The purpose of the effort is to change USPA’s by-laws to allow the use of online voting in future elections of the board of directors. The current board believes that the use of an online-voting process could increase member participation in board elections, which in recent years has averaged only about 10 percent of the total membership. more »

Gearing Up - May 2010

EdScott

As a USPA member you pay annual dues, including extra fees for adding a license or adding or renewing an instructional rating. Drop zones also pay dues to USPA if they choose to affiliate as a Group Member. All of these fees increased last year as one measure to halt annual budget deficits that had become the norm since 2003. more »

The President's Report - April 2010

JayStokes

All associations struggle to have their members more deeply involved in the governance process. With USPA, the problem isn’t apathy so much as acceptance. As long as members can skydive when they want and where they want at a reasonable cost—and as long as they receive their monthly Parachutist on time—most are content to leave the “business” of USPA to others. However, the scope of the association’s issues demands that as many members as possible get involved in elections and stay informed. more »

Gearing Up - March 2010

CBS Sports’ coverage of USPA’s National Collegiate Skydiving Championships, held December 28 through January 2, completed a trifecta of nationwide media coverage of national skydiving competitions. CBS Sports was taping for its “Alt Games” TV show that covers collegiate sports and competitions. The show will air later this spring. Just two months earlier, the USPA National Skydiving Championships hosted a film crew from “Good Morning America” who taped footage for an upcoming segment. USPA’s National Canopy Piloting Championships began the trend in 2008 when ABC News sent a team to capture swooping for a segment Charles Gibson introduced on the evening news. more »

Gearing Up - February 2010

In 1962, USPA’s forerunner, the Parachute Club of America (PCA), was garnering the results of its two principle efforts—promoting skydiving and working for skydiving’s acceptance by government agencies. Only five years earlier, the organization had changed its name from the National Parachute Jumpers and Riggers, Inc. and changed its constitution to move away from commercial promotion of exhibition skydiving to become an individual membership organization of recreational skydivers. The PCA ended 1958 with 807 members; it ended 1962 with 6,800 members. But another number increased as well: Parachutist reported five fatalities “in the 24 months of 1959 and 1960,” but 1962 alone had 19 reported fatalities. more »

Gearing Up - January 2010

As the USPA staff prepares the 2010 budget for review and approval at the February board meeting, we first determine the issues and initiatives that need to be addressed in the new year. In government relations, USPA has developed winning strategies that assist current and prospective DZOs with their airport access issues. These days, more often than not, skydiving is securing its right of access to airports that receive federal funding. But the workload on staff is demanding, so we’re determined to put more resources on our web site so that airport access issues become more do-it-yourself, under USPA guidance, while still remaining successful. more »