July 2012

Indexing Toward a Safer Sport

During USPA’s existence, the association has worked aggressively to heighten safety awareness among its membership through education and training. Today, new skydivers can become safer jumpers more quickly because of information put forth by USPA and the skydiving community. The year-end fatality report (written since 1983 by Paul Sitter) continues to show the sport’s improvement and, with its categorization of fatalities, helps instructors to target key safety areas on Safety Day and throughout the year. more »

On the Line: Succeeding in 4-Way

Part 2 of 6—Understanding the Different Positions (Slots)

In competitive formation skydiving, because smaller moves are faster moves, competitors engineer their dives with conservation of motion in mind. On a correctly engineered dive, a hypothetical line develops that runs from the rear to the front of each formation. The shortest moves will usually leave everyone in the same position on that line from one point to the next. This means that if a jumper begins a move in the middle of the line, he stays in the middle; if he begins at one end, he stays at one end, etc. These positions (or slots), from the back to front of the formation, are Tail, Rear Center (sometimes called “Inside Center” due to the position on exit), Front Center (or “Outside Center”) and Point. When flying pieces, the Tail and Rear Center are generally piece partners (the “rear piece”), and the Point and Front Center are piece partners (the “front piece”). more »

Pushing the Boundaries

Additional Video Content Inside!

Wingsuiter Jhonathan Florez Sets Four Guinness World Records

Twenty-two-year-old Colombian soldier Andres Uribe was the fourth man on the patrol. During the previous couple of minutes, he just knew something was about to happen. Suddenly, he heard a couple of shots fired, and then an explosion threw him down. He tried to point his rifle but couldn't. When he took a look, he realized the blast had amputated his right forearm. A few hours later, while lying on a stretcher, he thought of all the things that he would miss doing because of his loss; the one that particularly bothered him was parachute training, for which he had recently volunteered... more »

Foundations of Flight—Basic Back-Fly Position

Axis Flight Logo Skydive Arizona Logo

Brought to you by Brianne Thompson of Axis Flight School at Skydive Arizona. Photos by Niklas Daniel. more »

Preventing Hard Openings



I’ve been having hard openings on my canopy, and someone told me I should roll the nose more. Is this something you recommend? more »

Y-Modifications to Tandem Harnesses

United Parachute Technologies held a standardization meeting March 31 and April 1 in DeLand, Florida. The company invited all Tandem Instructor Examiners (regardless of which manufacturer’s rating they held), and approximately 50 attended, as well as representatives from Jump Shack, Precision Aerodynamics and Strong Enterprises. The meeting included numerous valuable presentations and discussions among some of the most experienced tandem examiners in the world. The group spent the most significant amount of time discussing harnesses, specifically the Y-modification (an additional section of strapping on the back of the harness) and whether it should be mandatory for all tandem student harnesses. During an informal poll, about 50 percent of the examiners felt that it should be. more »

Dust Devils

Additional Video Content Inside!

Most of the time, it is pretty easy to figure out what types of weather phenomena we need to avoid while skydiving. Thunderstorms? Check. Strong and gusty winds? Check. Extremely cold temperatures? Check. Solid clouds at or below 2,000 feet? Sure. But there is a sneaky little devil out there that has killed and injured several skydivers, and some of them never saw it coming: the dust devil. Dust devils are nothing to fool around with, especially while under canopy. And even though we often see and hear about them popping up in the desert, dust devils can actually form just about anywhere. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Marcelaine Wininger Lewis


by Marcelaine Wininger Lewis | D-24581 | Houghton, Michigan

In 1999, I met a nice man who was a skydiver. As our friendship shifted to romance, I began flying with him to Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois. Because I am a flight instructor, I quickly became friends with the jump pilots. The constant sound of Twin Otters roaring to life on takeoff, the intoxicating smell of jet exhaust, the blossoming of canopies overhead, Moby and other cool music pulsing in the background electrified me. I was fascinated by the things and people who were flying, but during that first summer, it never occurred to me to jump. more »

Profile - Travis Donley | D-27204

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20127A lifetime member of USPA, Travis Donley, D-27204, is well known for his American flag jumps, including two over New York City to honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks. When not performing high-profile demonstration jumps with Team Fastrax, Donley skydives at Start Skydiving in Middletown, Ohio, where he works as a Tandem, Static-Line, IAD and AFF Instructor, Safety & Training Advisor and FAA Senior Rigger. more »

Gearing Up - July 2012


From USPA’s inception, one of its primary responsibilities continues to be improving safety through skydiver education. One of the best ways to achieve this goal is to analyze every incident and accident, assess the causal factors and disseminate the information to the skydiver community. Training techniques, emergency procedures and equipment have improved over the years because of what we have learned from incident reporting. more »