July 2016

Determining your minimum opening altitude

Determining a minimum opening altitude is an important decision that every jumper should make, but it’s not as simple as looking at USPA’s Basic Safety Requirements or other national organizations’ regulations. Over the last decade, an average of two jumpers per year have died after their automatic activation devices activated their reserve parachutes at altitudes insufficient for full reserve deployment. With an estimated 200 to 300 actual AAD saves per year, chances are greater than 99 percent that an AAD will fire in time to save the life of a jumper who has failed to activate a parachute. However, close to one in 100 do not survive because the reserve did not fully open above ground level. It is likely that many of these fatalities could have been avoided if the jumpers had used higher AAD-activation-altitude settings. more »

Artistic Camera

Forming a team for artistic freefly competitions can be immensely rewarding and productive. Structured training and commitment to a competition deadline can keep you focused and push your skills farther than casual skydiving. However, putting together a competent and coherent routine and flying it consistently is not easy. In fact, it is so hard that it can put people off to the point that they do something rash and irresponsible like join a belly-flying team.

A freestyle or freefly team's camera flyer may be the member of the team with the most work to do. A little insight may help you get started off right and enable you to achieve as much as possible during your training.  more »

July 2016

July 2016
photo by Caroline Layne | D-14528 for Norman Kent Productions
On Flag Day, Team Fastrax performs a demo jump into downtown Philadelpia in front of Independence Hall, where the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution were debated and adopted.

July 2016 | Volume 57, Number 7 | Issue 681 more »

Profile - Mikhail Markine | D-29696

by Brian Giboney

Mikhail Markine is a very talented and determined skydiving and wind-tunnel competitor, coach and organizer. He is so talented that 4-way formation skydiving team SDC Rhythm XP recruited him to fly tail even before he got U.S. residency and could qualify for U.S. medals. Following a few years of flying with Rhythm and earning a chest full of medals, he joined the Arizona Airspeed 4-way team after competing (and winning gold) on the Airspeed 16-way team at the 2015 USPA Nationals. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Rachel Ginsburg

by Rachel Ginsburg | B-43069 | San Diego, California

I woke up to the voice of my ground instructor repeatedly calling my name through the crackling radio at my ear, urgently yelling at me to untwist my lines. After a moment of disoriented confusion, I instinctively recalled what I had learned during my long day of static-line training. I checked altitude and kicked out three to four rotations of line twist. Once under a stable canopy, I realized I had absolutely no memory following the moment my hands slipped from the strut of the Cessna 182, a yellow smiley-face sticker taunting me from the underside of the wing I didn’t want to let go of. I had completely blacked out from fear. But within a minute, I was safe, the radio was quiet, and I took a moment to look around me. Seeing a patchwork quilt of farmland stretching for miles, vibrant under the clear blue sky I was briefly a part of, I felt the greatest sense of freedom in my life. I began laughing and kicking my legs like a kid on a swing as terror transformed into pure joy. more »

Tales from the Bonfire - I Broke My Back

by Angie Clifford | B-43066 | Berkeley, California

Like many of you, I fell into skydiving by chance and immediately fell in love. At the time of my accident, I had been in the sport six months and had a little more than 100 jumps. After 75 uneventful and comfortable landings on my docile, aging canopy, I considered moving to a newer canopy with better wind penetration and more horizontal glide but with the same wing loading (less than 1:1). I consulted AFF instructors, coaches and colleagues before making the move, and I understood that while my new canopy was relatively docile, it was less forgiving. I was comfortable with the change. Six jumps later, I had a hard landing and broke my back. As is often the case, the accident was the confluence of preventable events that were in my control. more »

Exiting a Half Rebel (MFS Random Formation N)

Axis Flight Logo Skydive Arizona Logo

Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Aerial photo by Seth Studer. Ground photos by David Arnett. Information about AXIS' coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com. more »

RSL Misrouting

During a reserve repack, a Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger discovered this misrouted reserve static line on a rig used by the drop zone for student jumps and as a rental. At some point, someone created this routing error by disconnecting the RSL from the riser, passing it under the reserve riser and then reconnecting it to the main riser. more »

Mastering Consistent Landings

Mastering the basics of canopy control is one of the most important aspects of learning to skydive. It is also the skill that usually takes the longest for students and newly licensed jumpers to develop. It is a great feeling for skydiving instructors when a younger jumper finally becomes a great canopy pilot rather than a passenger going for a ride to wherever the canopy happens to be pointing. more »

Smoothing the Paperwork Flow for Your Students

As a general rule, skydiving coaches and instructors have several things in common:

  • Good skydiving skills
  • Good canopy piloting skills
  • Good teaching skills
  • Really, really bad administrative skills

Hey, three out of four ain’t bad! more »