Canopies for Kids

In the spring of 2012, skydiving enthusiasts Matt Kuikman and Taryn McKay founded Canopies for Kids, an organization that provides skydivers the opportunity to jump with stuffed teddy bears for sick children. Canopies for Kids gives sick children the bears in the hope that the furry friends will provide them with the courage they need to get through the tough times they have ahead. A heartfelt card and a note from the skydiver accompanies each of what are billed as “the bravest stuffed teddy bears in the world." more »

The 2013 Drop Zone Operators' Conference

Every two years, USPA invites drop zone owners, operators and staff for a one-day conference filled with all the latest information and ideas for safely and successfully operating a DZ. USPA’s 2013 Drop Zone Operators’ Conference was the biggest and best yet, with a record-high 133 registered attendees March 25 in Daytona Beach, Florida. more »

Season of Change

The newly elected USPA Board of Directors met in Daytona Beach, Florida, March 22-24 for the first meeting of its term. The election produced a 32 percent turnover on the board, and the new board’s election of the six officers that make up the Executive Committee produced a 50 percent turnover with three new officers. And of the three returning officers, only one, Vice President Randy Allison, retained his previous seat. more »

New Kids on the Block

Photos by Justin Carmody

The Performance Designs Factory Team has the longest history of any team in the canopy piloting discipline, having celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2012. With a few roster changes along the way, its members have been a driving force in the canopy piloting world, winning scores of competitions and sometimes sweeping entire podiums. In January 2013, the team announced the addition of two new members, Gage Galle and Julien Guiho. These are the first new additions since the team’s X-Project, a major expansion event in 2009 that added five members. In contrast to 2009, this time around there was no massive tryout event, no open call and no hype leading up to the additions. The team simply chose two new members. more »

It's All About Perspective - Improving Your Skydiving Through Mindset

From their very first jumps, skydivers hear ridiculous things from non-skydivers such as, “I would never skydive. That’s crazy.” Yet the same skydivers may look at these non-jumpers and think, “Why are you sitting on the sidelines of life? What is holding you back from experiencing the best that life has to offer?” more »

Lessons to be Learned - The 2012 Fatality Summary

Canopy landings and malfunctioning main parachutes were the two most common causes of the 19 skydiving deaths in the United States in 2012. However, there are lessons to be learned from every skydiving mishap. Sharing the circumstances in which these tragedies occurred helps the rest of us avoid these situations. This article will take a look at the year as a whole and try to identify the mistakes that skydivers in the U.S. made that resulted in death. more »

Tough Decisions

I t would be difficult to find a sport that has improved its safety record as dramatically as skydiving. Improvements in equipment and training have combined to dramatically reduce the fatality index rate from nearly six fatal accidents per 100,000 skydives in the early 1960s to 0.6 fatal accidents per 100,000 skydives in 2012. During that same timeframe, the number of skydives made increased 500 percent, from 600,000 per year in the early 1960s to 3 million per year in 2011. In approximately 50 years, the index rate for fatal skydiving accidents has improved by a factor of 10. more »

So, You Want to Open a DZ?

So, you love skydiving and spend most of your spare time at your home drop zone. Perhaps you even make decent money working at the DZ, and life is good. Or you have an uninspiring job that pays the bills but keeps you away from your favorite pastime. For one reason or another, it may occur to you: Why not leverage all the knowledge, experience and connections and turn them into a cool lifestyle others only dream about? Of course, opening a DZ is not simple, but with the right attitude, perseverance and a little help, it can be a rewarding experience. more »

Too Big To Fail

Organizer Bill Halsey looked at the new jumper joining the vertical-formation dirt dive and said, "Where should I put you?" The new jumper, jumpsuit tied loosely around his waist, put his hands on his hips, shrugged and casually answered, “You can put me anywhere. I can fly any slot.” more »

Dropping In after Dropping Out

There are legions of retired and semi-retired skydivers who haven’t been upstairs in weeks, months or even years but suddenly get the urge to strap on their gear and head out to the DZ. Sometimes the returnees are students or novices who simply ran out of money during their initial training, but increasingly frequently they're licensed skydivers with considerable experience who were sidetracked for years by a demanding job or too many kids’ soccer games. For them, it may take only a whiff of jet A on a sunny summer day to get their skydiving juices flowing again. more »