July 2010

July 2010

July 2010
photo by Gary Wainwright
USPA #137455
Wainwright captured this self-portrait with a foot-mounted camera over Langar, United Kingdom.

July 2010 | Volume 51, Number 7 | Issue 609 more »

What Danger Lurks?

Almost any weekend, tandem instructors and skydiving school managers hear some variation of this question from a licensed jumper: “Hey, I brought my (insert one of the following: girlfriend, brother, mom, boyfriend, sister, buddy) out for a tandem jump; is it OK if I tag along on the skydive?” more »

The Answer is Blowing in the Wind

Most of the time, it’s pretty easy to figure out which weather conditions—low clouds, rain, freezing temperatures—should put a halt to jumping. However, the one weather condition that always seems to bite skydivers, year after year, is the wind. What some may consider comfortable wind conditions may very well be too difficult for others to handle. So, how do you decide when the winds are too dangerous for you to jump? There are a lot of factors to consider: more »

Deployment Handles

This jumper experienced a main-canopy deployment as soon as he exited a Twin Otter during a multi-aircraft large-formation skydive. Luckily, the exit and deployment were otherwise uneventful, and the jumpers exiting after him were not in the path of the deploying main canopy. His main-deployment handle may have snagged on an oxygen tube (used during high-altitude flights) or on some other part of the airplane as he moved toward the door to start his dive toward the formation. more »

The Evolution of High-Performance Parachutes

The sport has come a long way from the T-10 rounds and Para-Commanders of yesteryear. It wasn't long after the first ram-air parachutes became popular in the 1970s that high-performance canopies were created. In 1988, Parachutes de France created one of the first high-performance parachutes, the Blue Track. It was a one-of-a-kind, elliptical, ram-air parachute constructed of the first zero-porosity fabric, and it promised a new type of performance. This paved the way for an extreme form of parachuting called “swooping,” and the sport has never been the same. more »

The Secrets of D.B. Cooper, Part Three - Criminal Profile

For whatever reason, hundreds of people are convinced they know who D.B. Cooper was—or themselves admitted to being the most recognized hijacker in the world. Maybe it’s the extraordinary circumstantial evidence. Maybe it’s the desperate need for an answer. Maybe it’s a secret wish to make a difference in the world. But sometimes, no matter how hard we wish, no matter how hard we believe, we just can’t make something true. Today, the FBI has DNA from Cooper’s J.C. Penney clip-on tie that he left on the jet and partial fingerprints from the cocktail glasses he drank from while in flight. They can now quickly confirm or eliminate suspects. more »

Profile - Shannon Pilcher | D-18803

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20107Shannon Pilcher started jumping in Warm Springs, Georgia, in 1991 and has become a decorated formation skydiver and canopy pilot who has won national and world championships. He is a member of the PD Factory Team (PDFT), active in wingsuiting, freefly and BASE jumping, and an FAA Senior Rigger. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Elmo Fuddpucker

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by Elmo Fuddpucker | Lincoln, Nebraska

The roar of the bulldozer was getting closer and closer. It was then that I saw someone coming. The moment he started to yell, I knew I was not going to be lost forever. It was June 1981. I had been discarded in the Sarpy County, Nebraska, dump, near where Lincoln Sport Parachute Club (LSPC) was located at that time. I was certain to be buried until Kenneth “Sonny” Bader saw me. He pulled me out of the pile of garbage and threw me in the back of his truck. The next weekend, I was airborne and received my name. more »

Gearing Up - July 2010

EdScott

Now that we are well into the 2010 skydiving season, we can report on a USPA initiative that is a success on a couple of different levels. In late 2008, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a special report that looked at 32 fatal jump-plane accidents over the previous 28 years. The NTSB concluded that many DZs and jump-plane operators were not performing required aircraft maintenance, so it issued a couple of recommendations to the FAA and USPA to do something about it. (The NTSB also recognized that there are many operators who perform exemplary maintenance.) While the NTSB has no regulatory authority, it can (and often does) capture the attention of Congress and the media by holding hearings and press conferences when its recommendations are ignored. In order to be proactive, USPA’s board of directors directed staff to develop a workable plan to comply with the NTSB’s recommendations. more »