March 2014

March 2014

March 2014
photo by Randy Swallows
During the USPA National Collegiate Parachuting Championships at Florida Skydiving Center/Skydive Lake wales, Air Force Eufouria sets a 40-point national collegiate skydiving record on its way to winning gold in the 4-way open formation skydiving event.

March 2014 | Volume 55, Number 3 | Issue 653 more »

High and Fast: Understanding Density Altitude

How many of you have muttered, “Whoa, that was faster than I expected!” (or a more forceful, colorful variation) after blazing in for landing on a hot, humid summer’s day? Maybe you paused for a moment afterward to ponder why the landing was so much faster than anticipated, or maybe you just shrugged it off and blamed it on a gust of wind and then rushed to pack for the next load. Pondering the “why” is a worthwhile exercise, actually, because although a fast landing can be a rush if you know what you’re doing and are anticipating the speed, unexpectedly landing more quickly than normal can cause a bruised ego, broken bones or worse. And this is especially true for less-experienced skydivers. more »

Advanced Belly Turns

Axis Flight Logo Skydive Arizona Logo

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

Dust Devils

As temperatures begin to increase and the ground warms up throughout the day, the chance of encountering a dust devil also increases. Keep in mind that dust devils usually develop when wind conditions are calm and warming occurs around an intersection of two dissimilar surfaces. more »

Hoop Dives

Did you ever look at a photo of a skydiver passing through a hula-hoop and wonder just how cool it must be to do a hoop dive? The 2009-2010 Skydiver’s Information Manual even had a hoop dive on the cover, so they must be fun and safe, right? Well, they are lots of fun, but in reality, few hoop dives go as designed, so everyone needs to stay heads-up when the original plan falls to pieces. Since most hoop dives end up looking more like Keystone Cops movies than anything resembling skydiving, the jumpers must prepare carefully and have alternate dive plans in place. more »

Rating Renewal Seminars

With the approaching warmer weather and the start of the skydiving season for a large part of the northern hemisphere, it’s a perfect time for drop zone staff to gather and hold a season-opening staff meeting. One of the tasks USPA requires of each rating holder is to attend a USPA Rating Renewal Seminar annually. The Skydiver’s Information Manual defines the seminar as, “A meeting of USPA instructional rating holders to exchange information, introduce and discuss new ideas, and to develop, improve, or assure the quality of skydiving instruction.” more »

Profile - Joe Abeln | D-28755

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20143After serving a tour in the Middle East as a member of the historic 82nd Airborne Division, Joe Abeln tried out for the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights and made the cut. Since then, Abeln has flown video for President George H.W. Bush’s tandem jump and taken actor Vince Vaughn on a high-profile tandem into the city of Chicago. Along with being an instructor and videographer, he’s an accomplished canopy piloting competitor, demonstration skydiver and freeflyer. Dedicated and driven, Abeln is everything one would expect from a member of the U.S. military. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Wendy Helton


by Wendy Helton | B-38074 | Mount Pleasant, North Carolina

The year 2011 found me struggling with the effects of my recent divorce. I was floundering like a fish out of water, just gasping for that last breath of air. Sadly, there were moments when I wondered if life was even worth still living. more »

Gearing Up - March 2014


In 1996, Patti Chernis, a Northwest jumper who won election to the USPA Board that year but perished on a skydive before taking her seat, advanced the idea of the skydiving community spending a day early in each season to focus on safety. In 1997, USPA Safety Day—a day when DZs host seminars, demonstrations and discussions about how to enhance each skydiver’s level of safety—began. more »