Feature

Don’t be a Victim: Protecting Yourself from Gear Theft

Gear theft is not uncommon, and though you may be unable to prevent it completely, you can take significant steps to protect yourself. However, some thieves will be determined, and whatever steps you take to guard your possessions may not be enough. In that case, there are still a few things you can do to have the best chance of recovering your gear, making a successful insurance claim or getting satisfaction when the thief is caught. more »

Skyjacker—the Richard McCoy Jr. Story - Part 2

In the first of this two-part series (Parachutist, March), skyjacker Richard McCoy Jr. had just extorted $500,000 and leapt from a commercial airliner in flight...

The sensation was nothing like the three night jumps McCoy had made in the past; he felt as if he were falling from a tall building. Then the blast of freezing air hit. McCoy later said that it practically tore his head off. more »

Setting the Pace—The USPA Board of Directors Meeting

The newly elected USPA Board of Directors met in Reno, Nevada, February 11-13 for the first meeting of its term. The tone and pace of the first meeting after board elections is often difficult to predict, but the change in group dynamics is generally related to the amount of turnover. The 2011-2012 board welcomed five new members, though two—National Director Jan Meyer and Mid-Atlantic Regional Director Tony Thacker—returned after brief absences. The first-time board members—National Director Rich Winstock, North Central Regional Director Merriah Eakins and Southeast Regional Director Eric Florio—proved to be quick studies, making their presence and opinions known early. more »

Time to Regroup—the 2010 Fatality Summary

On a formation skydive, when things don’t go as intended, the jumpers regroup. Assess the situation and move on. Bring order to the chaos. more »

Load Organizing 101—Tips for Successful Formation Skydives

“So, what does everyone want to do? Who wants to plan this dive?”

Although most jumpers don’t plan on becoming load organizers, everyone is likely to fill that position at some point in a skydiving career. Few drop zones offer full-time load organizing for their experienced jumpers, but with a little help, anyone can put together a successful dive. The goal of a load organizer is simple: to facilitate safe, fun and successful skydives on which everyone will have an opportunity to learn and be challenged. more »

Skyjacker—The Richard McCoy Jr. Story

Skydivers have a special ability the general public just doesn’t have. Unfortunately, that special ability can be used in devious ways...

He planned a skydive that he thought was brilliant—every aspect of the jump was meticulously orchestrated. But it was a skydive so dangerously ill-conceived that it changed his world forever and left him running for his life. more »

25 Ways to Become a Better Canopy Pilot

Lots of people decide to quit skydiving because of their canopy skills—they’re afraid of injury or perhaps just the embarrassment of a bad landing. And statistics show that the most hazardous part of a skydive begins once a jumper is under a fully functioning canopy. But don’t let a lack of knowledge or skill keep you from the sport that you love—there are many ways to improve your confidence and safety under canopy. Even the people who win medals and dazzle crowds will tell you that they, too, have room for improvement. more »

Mark Your Calendars: 15th Annual Safety Day

Even though many of us are currently stuck on the ground, suffering through freezing temperatures and howling winds, drop zones around the country are gearing up for springtime and Safety Day, which takes place this year on March 12. Some drop zones choose a different date, so check with your local DZ or the listings under the Safety tab of the USPA website. In some areas, it may even be possible to have a “safety month” by attending several Safety Day events on different weekends at various drop zones. more »

Thinking on your Feet—Improving Your Sit-Fly

photography by Brianne Thompson

Whether you are just learning to sit-fly or have simply hit a plateau in your learning curve, fine-tuning your basic head-up body position is worth the time. Many jumpers, even those for whom sit-flying initially came easily, find themselves stuck in place or unstable if they try to move from a neutral position to drive forward or take a dock. This article explains the basic mechanics of the sit orientation and offers solutions to common problems. more »

Learning to Spot in a GPS World

The Skydiver’s Information Manual (SIM) defines spotting as “selecting the correct ground reference over which to leave the aircraft, selecting the course for the aircraft to fly and directing the pilot on jump run to that point.” For better or worse, the modern-day GPS (global positioning system) device found in nearly every jump airplane today has changed the way most jumpers spot. The pilot now largely handles what used to be a manual process that a skydiver performed on every load. more »