December 2015

December 2015

December 2015
photo by Rick Winkler
Team Wicked Wingsuits flies over Chicagoland Skydiving Center in Rochelle, Illinois, on its way to winning gold in the first USPA National Championships of Acrobatic Wingsuit Flying.

December 2015 | Volume 56, Number 12 | Issue 674 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 »

Range-of-Motion Drills for Belly Flyers

Axis Flight Logo Skydive Arizona Logo

Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by Niklas Daniel. Information about AXIS' coaching and instructional services is available at more »

Surviving the Exit

Lightning Flight Logo

By Taya Weiss of the Lightning Flight wingsuit, freefly and angle-flight school at Skydive Perris in California. more »

2015 Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

The holiday season is here once again, so it’s time to reflect on the past year and send you another wish list. This year, my wish is for skydivers to learn more about seatbelt use, and also for drop zones and airplane owners to take the necessary steps to ensure a culture in which skydivers automatically use seatbelts properly on every load. Jumpers often don’t give a lot of thought to the ride to altitude. But there’s a lot going on during the average skydiving flight, so they actually need to pay attention. Here are a few things I hope all jumpers will consider: more »

Landing Patterns

These jumpers landed in completely opposing directions, which greatly increased their risk of a collision. Fortunately, they both landed uneventfully. Drop zones must establish guidelines to ensure a smooth flow of canopy traffic that keeps all jumpers—whether they are making standard or high-performance landings—flying in the same general direction for each part of their landing patterns, and jumpers must follow these guidelines. Jumpers flying high-performance canopies and making turns of more than 90 degrees must separate themselves from standard canopy traffic by using a separate landing area or exiting on a separate pass. If two or more jumpers are executing high-performance landings into the same area, it is critical that the jumpers have a plan in place to ensure clear airspace and eliminate the risk of a canopy collision. more »

Oddball Requests

Tandem skydiving is now a relatively common activity, with more than a half-million tandem jumps conducted safely each year in the U.S. It is easy for tandem instructors to get bored, and first-time jumpers will sometimes ask for something unusual for their jumps, which is a recipe for trouble. Take one bored tandem instructor, add an unsuspecting tandem student with a request for something out of the ordinary and turn the blender up high. What could possibly go wrong? more »

Profile - John Leming | D-11593

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE201512John Leming started skydiving in 1984 with his best friend and future teammate, Kirk Verner, while they were still in high school. He developed his formation skydiving skills, and in 1993, with little camera experience, he became the camera flyer for what would be the most successful formation skydiving team ever assembled: Arizona Airspeed. The team—Leming and longtime friend Verner, Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld, Jack Jefferies and Mark Kirkby—made thousands of jumps together and won numerous national and world championships. Leming filmed it all. More than 30 years after his first jump, Leming still actively skydives and also finds time for BASE jumping, scuba diving, snowboarding, paragliding and photography. more »

Tales from the Bonfire - Ivan’s Birthday Present

by John Dobleman | D-7790 | Oakley, California

While visiting my friend, Ivan Balarin, D-3442, one evening this year, he showed me a poem that had been written for him for his birthday while he was in the hospital recovering from a broken leg. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Paulo Marinho Gesta de Melo


by Paulo Marinho Gesta de Melo | D-32697 | Ithaca, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil

I was born with a heart condition. I’ve always known that I would have to get surgery to replace a heart valve, but the prognosis was that this would not be necessary until I was around 60 years old. So I’ve had a normal life. I’ve always been active, doing triathlons, cycling, working out, and in 2001, I started skydiving. In 2006, I decided to take skydiving seriously and traveled to boogies, camps and freefly and swoop championships. I became an AFF and BBF instructor (basic body flight, essentially the coach equivalent in Brazil’s student progression) and started traveling every month to train in the U.S. more »