February 2016

February 2016

February 2016

photo by Juan Mayer | D-26130

The U.S. Army Golden Knights 8-way formation skydiving team makes a practice jump for the World Air Games at Skydive Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where the team took the gold medal and set a single-round world record of 33 points.

February 2016 | Volume 57, Number 2 | Issue 676 more »

The Cost of a Jump Ticket

One of the long-held maxims of skydiving is that there is no charge for the jump; you only pay for the plane ride to altitude. That’s only partly true, as you’ll learn. But whatever the cost of skydiving—whether you’re exiting a Cessna 182 from 9,000 feet or a Twin Otter from 13,500—the bottom line is simply this: We’ve never had it so good. more »

Buying Used Gear—Part One of Two

When staring down the barrel of spending as much as $8,500 for a new skydiving system, the prospect of buying a used first rig makes sense. But it’s seldom like buying a used car that you can look at, test drive in one piece and pay for on the spot. More often, you’ll have to do research and build a pre-owned rig using components from around the country or even the world, sometimes by buying more than you need and selling off the extra parts. So complicated! However, the need to move away from renting at $20 to $45 a hit becomes more urgent as you get pulled further into the sport … more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Tim Long

by Tim Long | D-5187 | Tucson, Arizona

I do not know how, but I always knew I would do a parachute jump. My favorite toy as a kid was a G.I. Joe with a parachute rig. In 1974, at age 22, I was in San Diego on a Coast Guard ship playing war games with the Navy. Mike Noto, a medic on the ship, found out that we could do a static-line jump at Otay for 40 bucks. I signed on. more »

Common Sense

Over the 70-plus years of sport skydiving’s evolution, one seeming constant is the unruly reputation of skydivers. The brash, cocky, “to hell with the rules, I’ll do whatever I want” stigma seems to stick with us, no matter what. And sometimes, for good reason. Certain skydivers would rather not follow any rules or guidelines, whether related to skydiving or not. more »

New SIM and IRM

USPA has just released the latest versions of the Skydiver’s Information Manual and Instructional Rating Manual. As in past years, the manuals have a two-year production cycle, which means they are valid for rating courses in 2016 and 2017. Examiners and candidates at any USPA Rating Course that takes place following the release of the manuals must use the new versions. This will eliminate confusion caused by course candidates or examiners using different manuals, especially in coach and tandem courses, since the new manuals contain many changes for those training methods. more »

Rigging Mistake

A newly licensed jumper bought this rig from a private owner over the internet. The gear came with a freshly packed reserve, but when the new owner looked at the rig, he noticed that the reserve closing loop was badly frayed. He brought the gear to a local rigger at his drop zone for inspection, and the rigger noticed that the pin-protector flap of the reserve container was closed incorrectly. The local rigger inspected and repacked the rig to ensure that it had no additional problems. more »

Head-Down Range of Motion Drills

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 axisflightschool.com. more »

Profile - Mark "Trunk" Kirschenbaum | D-28511

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE1602Mark “Trunk” Kirschenbaum is a freefall photographer with a degree in electrical engineering who has developed a series of innovative products—many for the ever-popular GoPro video camera—with his company HYPOXIC. Much of his effort goes toward improving the safety and ease of use of the small-format cameras in the skydiving environment, and he’s become a fixture on the boogie circuit promoting his wares. more »

Gearing Up - February 2016


Parachutist’s print schedule has me writing this just after the close of 2015, a perfect time to reflect on USPA’s accomplishments and challenges during the past year. There were lots of both. In July, USPA reached its highest membership number ever—38,305—quite an improvement from the low of 30,488 that came in the midst of the five-year downturn following the September 11 attacks in 2001. However, membership activity slowed in 2015; the exact numbers are pending, but the number of new memberships, licenses and ratings did not exceed the previous year’s numbers as they have each year since 2006. The number of Group Member drop zones remained high at 230, with 18 new DZs replacing an equal number that closed or merged. more »