April 2014

April 2014

April 2014
photo by Randy Forbes
The 4-way base of a 20-way formation flies down the hill during a Wuest Ways event hosted by big-way organizers Doug and Marilyn Wuest at Skydive Perris in California.

April 2014 | Volume 55, Number 4 | Issue 654 more »

Handling the Media During a Crisis

On November 30, 63 amazing women smashed the former world record for largest head-down formation. Despite the story including beautiful women and amazing footage, the media presence was minimal. Four days later, the worst possible scenario occurred at the same DZ: a double fatality and a serious injury on one jump during a formation skydiving big-way event. Suddenly, the media was camped out in full force in the parking lot. more »

Identifying the Dangers - The 2013 Fatality Summary

We are in the safest decade of the sport: During the last 10 years, an average of just over 22 people died skydiving in the U.S. each year. In the 1960s—when USPA membership was about a third of what it is today—an average of 43 people died per year. more »

The Accuracy Trick

Axis Flight Logo Skydive Arizona Logo

Brought to you by AXIS Flight School Instructor Niklas Daniel at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. For more information visit axisflightschool.com or search “Axis Flight School” on Facebook. more »

Improperly Sealed Reserve

Last year, a rigger alerted USPA about an improperly sealed reserve container that he had found during a gear check at a large boogie in Ohio. Parachutist placed the photos in its March 2013 issue (“Keep an Eye Out—Reserve Seal” by Eric Boerger). Unfortunately, USPA did not receive information about the person who packed the reserve and had no way to get in touch with the rigger to address the problem. Now, a year later, DZ staff at an Arizona drop zone discovered another rig sealed in the same improper manner. Unfortunately, once again USPA did not receive the name of the rigger—although it is unlikely to be the same person—and learned only that she is female and lives on the West Coast. more »

Developing Altitude Awareness

A jumper with more than 100 jumps totally blows his landing pattern. He flies way too far downwind before realizing it and then turns 180 degrees to face into the wind. He lands outside of the main landing area but manages to avoid additional problems. Another jumper with more than 100 jumps pulls low, saddling out at 1,300 feet. Luckily, his automatic activation device does not activate his reserve, and he is able to land under his main without further issues. more »


One of the most important duties of a USPA instructor or rating course examiner is handling the administrative requirements for jumpers’ USPA licenses and ratings. While some do a great job of taking care of their paperwork, USPA is forced to reject a substantial number of license and rating applications because the people responsible for submitting them did something wrong. The end result is often an angry license or rating candidate and a backlog in the processing of all licenses and ratings. Essentially, everyone is paying the price—in the form of delayed applications and a system that is moving much more slowly than it should—for those who are making mistakes. more »

Profile - Juan Mayer | D-26130

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20144Consensus is that Juan Mayer is one of the nicest people in the sport (if not the nicest). Mayer began flying camera in his native Argentina, and his talent opened doors for him around the world. He travels extensively to photograph boogies, competitions and big-way formation skydiving record events, and he is also a wingsuit instructor, as well as a USPA AFF and Tandem Instructor. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Kevin Bukstein


by Kevin Bukstein | B-38806 | Madison, Wisconsin

I was three jumps away from getting my A license when I had to leave for college. Seven years later (and many failed promises to get myself licensed), I finally returned to my home DZ, AtmosphAir Skydiving Center in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. When I started skydiving in 2005, I was by no means a featherweight skydiver. Due to my heavyset appearance, I was affectionately nicknamed “Cannonball.” And during my seven-year hiatus from skydiving, I had packed even more weight onto my already stocky 5-foot-7-inch frame. I was pushing 260 pounds when I passed the certification jump for my A license. more »

Gearing Up - April 2014


At what age should a person be allowed to skydive? At its most recent meeting, USPA’s board of directors decided the age should be 18 effective May 1. Anyone under 18 who has made a jump prior to that date may continue skydiving as long as they acquire a USPA A license by the last day of 2014. Anyone under 18 who is already licensed by May 1 can continue skydiving without condition. more »