The Cost of a Jump Ticket

One of the long-held maxims of skydiving is that there is no charge for the jump; you only pay for the plane ride to altitude. That’s only partly true, as you’ll learn. But whatever the cost of skydiving—whether you’re exiting a Cessna 182 from 9,000 feet or a Twin Otter from 13,500—the bottom line is simply this: We’ve never had it so good. more »

Buying Used Gear—Part One of Two

When staring down the barrel of spending as much as $8,500 for a new skydiving system, the prospect of buying a used first rig makes sense. But it’s seldom like buying a used car that you can look at, test drive in one piece and pay for on the spot. More often, you’ll have to do research and build a pre-owned rig using components from around the country or even the world, sometimes by buying more than you need and selling off the extra parts. So complicated! However, the need to move away from renting at $20 to $45 a hit becomes more urgent as you get pulled further into the sport … more »

A Problem With Two Solutions—The Pilot-Chute-in-Tow Malfunction

Coke or Pepsi? Chevy or Ford? Your daily life is filled with choices. Though most choices are inconsequential to your safety and wellbeing, this is not necessarily the case when it comes to skydiving. A perfect example of a skydiving problem with two possible solutions is the pilot-chute-in-tow malfunction. more »

I Want to Become an AFF Instructor. Now What?

You love skydiving and want to teach others about your passion. What a great goal! That is the kind of motivation that leads to becoming a great instructor. You won’t become financially rich, but you will be very rich in other aspects, and you’ll be living the dream! more »

Jumping from 30,000 Feet

When Leonardo da Vinci so eloquently said, “For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will long to return,” he must have had skydivers in mind. (After all, he did invent the first parachute.) In any event, the modern-day corollary, in less elegant terms, might go something like, “Have you ever turned your eyes skyward, observed the contrail of an airliner and wondered what it would be like to jump from that high?” more »

Angle Flying: Guidelines for Safe Progression

Should the angle group go first or last on this load? Does the leader have a plan? Can I trust the group won’t fly up the line of flight? How do we deal with multiple angle-flying groups on one load? Why did a group open so close to me? more »

Safer Than Ever: Improving Tandem Skydiving

Tandem skydiving has come a long way in the last three decades. The manufacturers learned how to make reliable and secure tandem parachute systems, tandem instructor examiners learned how to properly train skydivers to become skilled and knowledgeable tandem instructors, and drop zone owners learned how to manage their tandem programs to efficiently train and jump with a seemingly never-ending supply of tandem students. After more than 30 years of trial and error, tandem skydiving is now perfect! Well... almost perfect. more »

Superior Formation Accident Revisited

The filing cabinet had barely clicked shut on the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation of the spectacular mid-air collision of two aircraft flying in formation at Skydive Superior in late 2013, when far worse occurred: In August, two L-410 turboprops hauling skydivers for a formation load collided over Slovakia, killing four crew and three skydivers. Thirty-one skydivers exited and survived. more »

Gear Fear? Know Your Rig!

Think you know your parachute? Emerging features and added complexity can create a dangerous knowledge gap. This two-part report challenges you to recognize and understand the details of your particular rig and rethink your settings and operating procedures. more »

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 »