January 2014

January 2014

January 2014
photo by Brian Binder
Bob Caminha flies his canopy over the scenic landscape surrounding Skydive San Diego in Jamul, California

January 2014 | Volume 555, Number 1 | Issue 651 more »

The RSL: Separating Fact from Fiction

There is probably no other piece of skydiving equipment more misunderstood than the reserve static line (RSL). If you want 10 different opinions on why you should or should not equip your container with one, simply ask 10 different skydivers. Unfortunately, most jumpers choose their positions and make their decisions based on raw opinion and contrived scenarios rather than facts. To separate fact from fiction and make a truly informed decision on whether to use an RSL, we need to look at a little history and actual data. more »

The Story of the Miracle Eleven

photos courtesy of Skydive Superior LLC

The National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation of this crash is ongoing and the agency has not yet determined the cause.

It was an idyllic Saturday for skydivers all over the Midwest. Every drop zone in the region was jumping all day in the unusually warm and sunny fall weather. Skydive Superior in Wisconsin took full advantage of that day’s unseasonable weather, flying load after load of smiling jumpers in its Cessna 182 and Cessna 185. As the sun was starting to set, the jumpers raced to get on the last load of the day. Little did they know that it could very well have been the very last of their lives. more »

Sit-Fly to Head-Down Cartwheel

Axis Flight Logo Skydive Arizona Logo

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

A New Year's Wish

Happy New Year! For me, the start of each new year brings the hope that we will somehow be able to get through the entire year without a skydiving fatality or serious injury. While I realize this is not likely, I am still hopeful. And while the statistics are proving we are moving in the right direction—we are reducing the number of fatalities even as the number of jumps skydivers make increases each year—there is really more to the story to consider. more »

Deploying with Toys

After a hula-hoop dive, this jumper deployed his main canopy and held the hoop out to his side with one hand. As he deployed, the hoop pivoted around his hand and swung over his body, due in part to the jumper’s forward speed produced by the wingsuit. The jumper immediately realized that the hoop would interfere with his deployment and was able to move it out of the way in the nick of time. His canopy deployed cleanly. more »

Teaching Landing Patterns Using Backward Chaining

In the USPA Coach Certification Course, candidates learn a strategy for presenting material to their students called “backward chaining.” This method involves presenting concepts from the end result, working backward step by step and then putting the concepts together as a whole. Backward chaining works particularly well for teaching landing patterns, because skydivers naturally work backward (from where they want to land) when deciding on their landing approaches. more »

Profile - Brittany Sanchez | D-24752

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20141With apologies to the gentleman in the beer commercial, Brittany Sanchez, D-24752, may actually be the most interesting person in the world. She’s won national championships in gymnastics, golf and skydiving; is finishing up her PhD at Texas A&M University (her thesis is on gene and sequence variants as determinants of body weight fluctuations); and has made hundreds of BASE jumps and ground launches. In addition, she’s earned several state skydiving records and is an FAA Senior Rigger. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Melissa Tsouhnikas


by Melissa Tsouhnikas | C-39407 | Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Skydiving didn't just change my life, it took over my life, even if everyone didn't get it. more »

Gearing Up - January 2014


They were quickly dubbed the “Miracle Eleven”—the nine skydivers and two pilots who escaped virtually unscathed from a mid-air collision between two jump planes in formation over Superior, Wisconsin, in November. It is clear that providence was smiling on all 11 that day, with the nine skydivers landing under their main canopies, one pilot landing under his emergency rig’s round canopy and the other pilot landing his damaged plane on the runway. And no one on the ground was injured. more »