Feature

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 »

Landing Patterns: A Call to Action

The winter boogie season is upon us, and many of us are starting to count down to when we’ll take that road trip to warmer weather. We are thinking about packing lists, specialty jumps, good friends from distant places and costume parties galore, but in all this preparation, how many people are thinking about the more challenging aspects of boogies? Canopy-related incidents are on the rise in our sport, and boogies—with their unfamiliar environments and lots of canopy traffic—tend to create the kind of situation in which canopy accidents happen. more »

The 2010 USPA National Skydiving Championships of Canopy Piloting

September 1-4 | Skydive Spaceland, Rosharon, Texas

For the second year in a row, the best swoopers from across the country gathered at the swoop park at Skydive Spaceland in search of the title of National Champion of Canopy Piloting. The Rosharon, Texas, drop zone hosted the 2010 USPA National Skydiving Championships of Canopy Piloting September 1-4, attracting 50 competitors—36 in the open class and 14 in the advanced class. more »

High Original Genius: Charles Broadwick and His Backpack Parachute

High original genius is always ridiculed on its first appearance, most of all by those who have won themselves the highest reputation in working on the established lines. Genius only commands recognition when it has created the taste which is to appreciate it.

—James Anthony Froude more »

Tracking—Theory and Application

photos by Niklas Daniel

Tracking is an area that jumpers, regardless of skill level, need to continually practice and improve. Even those who have made thousands of skydives often need to go back and hone the basics, since many will have formed inefficient habits over the years. more »

Hot Topics—The Summer 2010 USPA Board Meeting

The 2009-2010 USPA Board of Directors held the fourth and final meeting of its term July 16-18 in Nashua, New Hampshire. Two drop zones in nearby Massachusetts, Jumptown and Pepperell Skydiving Center, invited USPA Board members and staff to visit their facilities throughout the weekend. Having the opportunity to jump may be the key to meeting efficiency—the board tackled several big issues during this busy but very smoothly run meeting. more »

Wave of the Future—Building an 8-Way VFS Dive Pool

with contributions from Mike Wittenburg and photos by Adam Tippie

Ten years ago, finding enough flyers capable of forming an 8-way head-down round was challenging. Multi-point formations of this size were even rarer, and most vertical formation skydiving (VFS) organizers concentrated on achieving a single point. Since then, skydiving has evolved. Freeflying and VFS are becoming more popular at drop zones around the world, and it looks like 8-way VFS may be the next challenge on the horizon. more »

Ripcord!

Turn back the clock for a moment and imagine it’s the early 1960s. The television screenwriters of the time are scrambling for something sensational to base their next show on. The genre of the day, aside from westerns, is low-budget action-adventure. The writers use a simple but sure-fire formula, in which some new-fangled technology forms the backdrop for good guys to fight bad guys. The concept worked successfully for scuba diving in “Sea Hunt,” twin-engine aircraft in “Sky King,” high-speed airboats in “The Everglades” and helicopters in “Whirlybirds.” So what’s left? Well, there’s this daring, new sport of parachuting looking for an outlet... Voilà! “Ripcord” is born. more »

The Evolution of High-Performance Parachutes

The sport has come a long way from the T-10 rounds and Para-Commanders of yesteryear. It wasn't long after the first ram-air parachutes became popular in the 1970s that high-performance canopies were created. In 1988, Parachutes de France created one of the first high-performance parachutes, the Blue Track. It was a one-of-a-kind, elliptical, ram-air parachute constructed of the first zero-porosity fabric, and it promised a new type of performance. This paved the way for an extreme form of parachuting called “swooping,” and the sport has never been the same. more »