Feature

Introducing ... the Make-a-Save Campaign!

Skydivers depend on their equipment to survive every jump. Every. Single. Jump. Given such high stakes, are we doing everything possible to be sure our gear is up to the task? The accident reports seem to indicate we aren’t, year after year.
A quick look at data since 1999 reveals that simple gear checks could have prevented as many as 20 fatalities. That’s roughly five percent of the total fatalities during that same timeframe. Five percent may not seem like much, but it sure does matter to those who lost friends and loved ones to tragic accidents that could have been easily prevented. more »

Determining your minimum opening altitude

Determining a minimum opening altitude is an important decision that every jumper should make, but it’s not as simple as looking at USPA’s Basic Safety Requirements or other national organizations’ regulations. Over the last decade, an average of two jumpers per year have died after their automatic activation devices activated their reserve parachutes at altitudes insufficient for full reserve deployment. With an estimated 200 to 300 actual AAD saves per year, chances are greater than 99 percent that an AAD will fire in time to save the life of a jumper who has failed to activate a parachute. However, close to one in 100 do not survive because the reserve did not fully open above ground level. It is likely that many of these fatalities could have been avoided if the jumpers had used higher AAD-activation-altitude settings. more »

Artistic Camera

Forming a team for artistic freefly competitions can be immensely rewarding and productive. Structured training and commitment to a competition deadline can keep you focused and push your skills farther than casual skydiving. However, putting together a competent and coherent routine and flying it consistently is not easy. In fact, it is so hard that it can put people off to the point that they do something rash and irresponsible like join a belly-flying team.

A freestyle or freefly team's camera flyer may be the member of the team with the most work to do. A little insight may help you get started off right and enable you to achieve as much as possible during your training.  more »

POPS Turns Phifty

The Parachutists Over Phorty Society celebrated its 50th anniversary at its annual POPS SpringFest at Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales March 16-20. As the organization celebrates the milestone year, it still fosters the same principles that brought together the original band of aging skydivers in 1966: to promote safety, camaraderie and good, clean fun while skydiving. The dedication of POPS members throughout the U.S. and around the world is the secret to the group’s longevity. Those who join POPS find themselves united with virtual strangers who instantly look upon them as friends. more »

Good Canopies, Bad Decisions

This article was originally published at houston.skydivespaceland.com and is reprinted with the permission of the author and Skydive Spaceland—Houston in Rosharon, Texas. more »

Ageless Sky—Part Two

Last month, part one of this series scouted out some data that suggests skydiving is still a reasonable thing to do for people getting up in years … if …
American skydivers may find it hard to imagine the imposition of an upper-age limit on their sport, but it’s already part of the skydiving landscape in Great Britain. The British Parachute Association still allows tandem jumping for newcomers at any age with a medical release. However, BPA’s Operations Manual prohibits anyone aged 55 years or over to undergo “initial ‘solo’ parachute training.” BPA makes an exception for students who started training solo (tandems don’t count) prior to 55. more »

Ageless Sky—Part One

Skydiving is a high-risk sport that relies on quick thinking, fast reflexes and the kinds of things people in their 50s and up can no longer count on. Their risk of an accident increases with age. At some point, you have to know when to throw in the towel. Let’s face it: Older people shouldn’t be skydivers.

Baloney. more »

The Power of Mentorship—Operation Enduring Warrior Skydive Continues Its Mission

By Iveta Muravyeva, Photos by Niklas Daniel

The Operation Enduring Warrior Skydive program began in 2013 (it was then called Operation X-Wing) to facilitate initial skydiving training for combat-wounded veterans. Since then, nine students have earned their A licenses through the program. But just like other recently A-licensed skydivers, many OEW jumpers came off the high of reaching this milestone and found themselves asking, “What’s next?”  more »

Peak Experiences in Skydiving

Visit any drop zone and you’ll soon start enjoying the good vibes. Skydivers are friendly, possess high energy and are extremely passionate about freefalling through the sky. Excitement is in the air, and it’s easy to see why. Skydivers take premeditated risks by leaping out of perfectly good airplanes. It’s what we do, and we love it. The daily camaraderie on drop zones is compelling and is one of the major things that attracts new skydivers to the sport. It’s an activity filled with confident, competent and enthusiastic people.

However, there is more to it than that. New skydivers soon begin to understand what almost everybody on the DZ realizes: It isn’t just surviving each skydive that matters; it’s what happens during the skydive. And what happens on the next skydive could be that very special time when everything comes together for a great experience. more »

Dangers of the Sport—The 2015 Fatality Summary

During 2015, 21 people died skydiving in the U.S. Considering how much USPA’s membership has grown in recent years, this shows that the sport is becoming safer as it is maturing. However, the jumpers who died in 2015 generally could have avoided the circumstances that caused their deaths, many of which involved the same errors that killed jumpers in the past. The purpose of this article is to identify those hazards so jumpers can avoid them in the future. more »