June 2011

June 2011

June 2011
photo by Willy Boeykens
USPA #90569
During the Flight of the Phoenix dives at Skydive DeLand in Florida, Andrey Veselov photographs the event's namesake formation.

June 2011 | Volume 52, Number 6 | Issue 620 more »

Size Doesn’t Matter—Female Tandem Instructors

USPA’s demographic information shows that in 2009, females constituted 13 percent of its total membership, par for the course historically. The gender gap is even more pronounced for tandem instructors: Only 2.9 percent (61 of the 2,111 current USPA Tandem Instructors) are women. more »

Drop Zone Weather Forecasting

We’ve all been there—sitting on the ground for hours, glaring at the billowing wind sock as powerful gusts threaten to free the packing tent from its earthly tethers. The weather can seem fickle, so how is a safety-conscious skydiver—one who prefers to arrive and depart the DZ in the same unbroken condition—to know whether to place a bet on better conditions later in the day or to admit that Mother Nature is holding the trump card and fold early? more »

VFS Camera Tricks and Traps

Vertical formation skydiving (VFS) is an emerging discipline that combines the body-flight skills of freeflying with the mental skills of formation skydiving. In the past, very few skydivers had the ability to take part in this discipline because of its complexity. That has changed now that wind tunnels are springing up all over the globe, assisting skydivers in their quest for awesomeness. more »

Tragedy in Antarctica

Due to popularity, we decided to publish this older article online as well. Originally printed in June 2011.

Letters to the Editor about the article are published in the comments. Scroll all the way down to read them.

Skydiver Michael Kearns says, “I think it’s time.” Fourteen years after one of the worst mass-fatality accidents in skydiving history, Kearns and fellow jumper Trond Jacobsen have decided to disclose personal conversations and information about the incident to fellow skydivers. Many news reports at the time were incomplete or incorrect, stating the usual “their parachutes failed to open” explanation.

more »

Foundations of Flight—Level Changes While Belly Flying

Axis Flight LogoBrought to you by Axis Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by Brianne Thompson. more »

Don’t Forget the Gear Check

During a 4-way freefly exit, a jumper noticed that the skydiver next to her had a grip on the loose end of her chest strap, which she had not properly routed through the friction adapter when donning her gear. She then tried to thread her chest strap through the friction adapter hardware as she continued in freefall. After many unsuccessful attempts, she had to deploy her main canopy while holding onto her main lift web with one hand to help keep herself in the harness. Her canopy descent was uneventful. more »

Ground Controllers

It’s common to see one or more jumpers on just about any load having difficulty flying their parachutes in a way that promotes a smooth flow of canopy traffic. Whether it is someone who unintentionally flies an incorrect pattern or a arrogant jumper with no judgment whatsoever who insists on making a 270-degree turn through traffic because he thinks his “mad skillz” make him an awesome canopy pilot, many skydivers could use additional guidance about canopy descents. more »

Advice for Women from Parachute Labs (Jump Shack)



What are some of the factors women should consider when purchasing a harness-and-container system? more »

Eliminating Canopy Collisions

With the recent spate of fatal canopy collisions, skydivers around the world are looking for solutions to the problem—and so are the board members and staff of USPA. Unfortunately, canopy collisions are nothing new, and other years have been similar to this one, with the subject becoming a hot issue after several collisions in a short period of time. more »