Sharing the Joy


The Birth of Skydiving Photography

It took no small amount of nerve to begin skydiving in the 1950s, when the stable delay was still in its infancy and round canopies landed you less than gently. But what took real nerve back then was trying to capture skydiving on film while everyone was still learning how to skydive. Today, skydivers with GoPros record every imaginable frame of weekend geeking, uploading routine jumps to YouTube just minutes after landing; everyone seems to be a camera flyer. They have no idea how hard it was a half century ago. more »

Hard Openings

Chances are that any jumper reading this has either experienced a main canopy that opened hard or will at some point in the future. Although the definition of a hard opening is very subjective (what one person may consider a hard opening, another may call normal), it is actually possible for a parachute to open so hard that it can cause severe physical trauma or even death. The range of possible injuries is wide, from minor strains and pulled muscles to broken necks and backs to torn aortas. more »

Slim - The Little-Known Life of Charles Lindbergh

Mention the name of Charles Lindbergh in aviation circles, and to a lesser extent in skydiving, and you get instant recognition. He is perhaps the greatest and most well known aviator since the Wright Brothers. His historic flight in May 1927 as the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean made him a world-famous celebrity. Several years later, his infant son was abducted and killed, and the kidnapper was arrested, put on trial, found guilty and executed. This story was front-page news of gargantuan proportions. Fame also followed Lindbergh in the days prior to World War ll when he visited Germany and paid adulation to Hitler’s modern air force. And although he faced much negative publicity, his legend as an aviator continued, even to this day. more »

Steeped in History

The USPA Board of Directors last met in Fredericksburg, Virginia—the boyhood home of George Washington and the current home of USPA Headquarters—in 2006. Only seven of the current 22 members of the board were at that meeting, and most of the board members seated since then had never visited the 8,340-square-foot USPA building. The July 26–28 Fredericksburg meeting afforded these board members the opportunity to visit and meet all 15 members of USPA’s staff. more »

Operation X-Wing

Aquestion that every skydiver gets is, “Why would you jump out of a perfectly good airplane?” A typical answer (after the “no such thing as a perfectly good airplane” discussion) is, “Well, it’s cheaper than therapy!” more »

When Less is More

Around the drop zone, you’ll hear jumpers referring to minimum-altitude-loss turns by a variety of names: flat turns, braked turns, elevation turns or depression turns. The intention behind making all these types of turns is the same, namely, to perform a necessary heading change with the smallest amount of altitude loss possible. Technically speaking, the aim is to achieve the primary effect of yaw (heading change) with minimal roll (bank) and pitch (nose-attitude) change, while controlling any resulting effect (surge). more »

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 »