February 2015

February 2015

February 2015
photo by Samantha Schwann
Niklas Daniel swoops the pond at Skydive Arizona in Eloy.

February 2015 | Volume 56, Number 2 | Issue 664 more »

Entrepreneurship in the Industry

Compared to other industries, skydiving is a relatively small market and therefore would likely be dominated by a few “category-killer” companies. However, the opposite is true: The industry is full of small, lean companies led by focused and passionate people. The individuals in this article make their livings ensuring that planes fly, gear fits and apparel matches the passion. At their core, skydiving companies are like any other small businesses. Starting out requires a leap of faith (like Tom Grayson betting his life savings on SAFEish) and the ability to overcome unforeseen obstacles (like Rich Grimm, though his obstacles were unusual in scale). more »

What is a Team?

Most big challenges are difficult to accomplish flying solo. It’s possible to achieve great things completely on your own without any support, but it’s usually not the best strategy for success. Pursuing an ambitious goal will more likely lead to success and be more rewarding—whether you reach the goal or not—if you do so with a team. more »

Head-Up Neutral Position

Axis Flight Logo Skydive Arizona Logo

Brought to you by AXIS Flight School Instructor Niklas Daniel at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by Brianne Thompson. For more information visit axisflightschool.com. more »

Semi-Stowless Bag



What is a semi-stowless main bag? more »

Danger Areas

An informal survey that Parachutist conducted years ago showed that most members read the “Incident Reports” section of the magazine first. Skydivers often say that they read these reports every month to learn from the mistakes of others and become safer skydivers. Yet, despite this focus, jumpers are still making the same six types of fatal mistakes. Over and over and over again. more »

Avoiding Negative Training Transfer

Most skydiving instructors learn about the whole-part-whole training method for the first time when attending an instructional rating course. Using the whole-part-whole method is an outstanding way of teaching the first-jump course; however, instructors can also accidently teach bad habits while using it. This is known as “negative training transfer.” The good news is that it is easy for an instructor to reduce the possibility of this happening by incorporating four steps that create muscle memory. more »

Profile - Amanda Festi | C-37891

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20152Amanda Festi was a professional ballerina who had always wanted to skydive. Seven years after her first jump, she won the 2013 USPA National Freestyle Championship by taking her graceful moves to the sky as the flyer for Animare. This past year, her team successfully defended its national championship. Although her first love is freestyle, Festi is also a talented belly-flyer, freeflyer and camera flyer and is a USPA AFF Instructor and a Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger. more »

Tales from the Bonfire - A Stellar Landing


by Pierre Tomasini | A-72726 | Tempe, Arizona

It was the summer of 1985 in La Tour de Crieu, France. I had somewhere between 50 and 100 jumps and found myself in a long spot under my Para-Commander. When I was about a half mile away and pretty low, I gave up making it back to the DZ. I had just passed a road and was trying to decide on a landing area upwind when I saw a neat, square field that looked very safe. The landing pattern was pretty simple: Just make a turn at a reasonable height to face the wind for landing. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Tom Underwood


by Tom Underwood | USPA #277811 | Anchorage, Alaska

On May 31, 1998, I died. There were no lights and I didn’t flat line. But one life ended and another began that day. I was sitting in my easy chair watching some innocuous television program when it felt like I had been shot in the gut with a load of molten lead. There were no thoughts, only pain, as I fell from the chair vomiting. The last thing I remember was the emergency room doors closing on my feet. I was put in a coma. My illness was acute necrotizing pancreatitis. At the time it was 95 percent fatal, and my survival was a gift from God. more »