December 2012

December 2012

December 2012
photo courtesy of for Red Bull
USPA #244108
Felix Baumgartner celebrates after landing in Roswell, New Mexico, after setting the world record for highest altitude skydive.

December 2012 | Volume 53, Number 12 | Issue 638 more »


Learning to back-fly is often the first step a jumper takes when learning to freefly, whether in the air or wind tunnel. The back-flying position offers incredible versatility in flying speeds and gives a jumper the ability to fly with anyone from belly to head-down flyers. This versatility also makes it an excellent recovery position when learning to fly in positions such as the sit, stand or head down, since the flyer is able to “fall off” the position without rapid deceleration (called “corking”), which is hazardous to others nearby and must be avoided. more »

A Jump for the Ages


In a sport defined by superlatives and firsts, it is rare that a jump deserves the title “historic.” In fact, there may be only a few that deserve the distinction. One such jump is certainly the long, lonely leap Air Force Captain Joseph Kittinger made on August 16, 1960, from an open gondola suspended under a helium balloon 102,800 feet above sea level. Another—the spectacularly public Red Bull Stratos jump that Austrian Felix Baumgartner made from 128,100 feet above sea level near Roswell, New Mexico, on October 14—occurred 52 years later. more »

Foundations of Flight—Head-Up Variations

Axis Flight Logo Skydive Arizona Logo

Brought to you by Niklas Daniel of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by Brianne Thompson. more »

Open Container

During a 33-jumper formation load from a Skyvan and Twin Otter, a jumper bumped his container while exiting the Skyvan. The bump knocked loose his main closing pin, allowing the main container to open. The main bag remained in place throughout the entire skydive, and very few jumpers on the load even noticed the problem. Because the formation was large, still building and two videographers were above it, those who noticed the open container decided not to interfere and risk a collision by deploying the jumper’s main canopy. At breakoff time, the jumper tracked away and deployed uneventfully. The jumper himself did not know that his container was open during freefall until someone told him about it after the jump. more »

Line Burn



What is line burn, and how can I avoid the problem? more »

The 2013 Wish List

Dear Santa,

It’s hard to believe another year is down the tubes! While USPA members had a pretty safe year overall, there is always room for improvement. It’s frustrating to see the same mistakes repeated over and over, resulting in injuries and fatalities that could have easily been avoided. So this year, my wish list is all about the basics that have proven to make skydiving safer: more »

Losing That Edge

Almost every drop zone has one: the crusty, weathered instructor who is older than dirt and started skydiving 25 years before any of the other staff members were even born. A wealth of history and knowledge lives within these longtime jumpers, and we can all learn a lot from them... usually. In a perfect world, students and new jumpers would benefit from this knowledge, as well as the exceptional teaching and aerial skills, of those who have been around for decades. But, what do you do when it seems that your DZ dinosaur is losing his edge? more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Connie Krusi


by Connie Krusi | D-18905 | New Braunfels, Texas

Ten thousand jumps is a lot of jumps, even in this day of multiple-turbine drop zones, where one is able to make multiple jumps every day of the week. Ten thousand tandems is an even bigger feat, especially when you were initially told you weren’t tall enough or strong enough to be a tandem instructor. For you see, I’m only 5 feet 2 inches tall. more »