Feature

Grand Finale

For decades, USPA’s board members served two-year terms and attended four board meetings between elections. In 2012, the USPA membership approved three-year terms starting with the 2013-2015 board. The July 24-26 meeting in Hartford, Connecticut, was the sixth and final meeting of that board before the fall elections. more »

Project Strato-Jump I, II, and III

Photos by Phil Chiocchio

One spring day in the early 1960s, Nick Piantanida traveled to the recently opened Lakewood Parachute Center in New Jersey to watch people jumping and knew instantly that he wanted to get involved. He soon began taking lessons and jumping regularly. Parachuting became Piantanida’s new passion, and he earned D-778 in November 1964. Skydiving was more rewarding than anything he had done before. It started him on a journey to become a remarkable high achiever, and it altered the direction and purpose of his life in ways he never foresaw. more »

Getting Past the Door Monster

New skydivers often need help to get through a seemingly impenetrable barrier of fear, especially the common obstacle that many people have affectionately termed the “Door Monster.” Although no single answer helps everyone, solutions do exist. more »

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

In the third century BC, Aristotle penned the timeless words, “The more I know, the more I know I don’t know.” Since then, countless people in numerous time periods have restated this realization using various wording. Aristotle’s statement and the others like it are the hallmark of those who are recovering casualties of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, a phenomenon explored in a series of experiments by David Dunning and Justin Kruger at the Cornell University Department of Psychology in 1999. These experiments—reportedly inspired by a bank robber who knew that lemon juice could be used as invisible ink and covered his face in it thinking it would render him invisible—set out to test a human psychological trait many before have witnessed: People with below average skill or knowledge tend to grossly overestimate their own abilities. more »

A Welcome Winter Respite

From March 27–29, the USPA Board of Directors gathered in Daytona Beach, Florida, for the fifth meeting of its three-year term alongside the 2015 Parachute Industry Association Symposium. Since many on the board left behind frigid temperatures—and in some cases, feet of snow—it’s no surprise that they welcomed the area’s warm weather and spring-break atmosphere, even though most sat on committees with packed agendas that kept them busy indoors much of the time. more »

Parachutes Incorporated: The Genesis of Commercial Skydiving

Where would skydiving be without innovation? Take a look at where you jump and the equipment you use and you will begin to understand how innovators have shaped every aspect of our sport. more »

How to Execute a Perfect PLF

The parachute landing fall—“PLF” for short—came about when the biff-tastic round canopy was the only way down and a bona fide fall was the only way to land. The PLF reduced the incidence and severity of injury and was part of the required first-jump training for all parachutists. Even though later-generation round canopies such as the Para-Commander had design details that allowed for better landings, a PLF was still a jumper’s best bet on most occasions. more »

Freeflying: Where to Start?

What do you think of when you think of freeflying? Freedom in the sky? No rules? No judgments? This concept of freeflying entices many skydivers to the discipline. more »

Basics - The 2014 Fatality Summary

Don’t run into anyone in freefall or under canopy, quickly release an uncontrollable spinning main parachute, wear a functioning automatic activation device and reserve static line, and make your final turn under canopy with plenty of altitude to complete it. If 20 of the 24 people who died skydiving in the U.S. in 2014 had done so, they would still be alive today. Compared to past years, 2014 could have been worse, but it’s still a pity for our sport and our friends that so many of the deaths were so easily preventable. more »

More Than Just a Sign-Off

photos by Samantha Schwann

Training for intentional and unintentional water landings is an important part of a skydiver’s learning progression and is required to receive the USPA B license. Unfortunately, most jumpers rarely give it much thought after their instructors sign them off for this skill, and few take the time to carefully consider the dangers involved. more »