Gearing Up - October 2016

Unpublished

EdScott

Skydivers who enter USPA's instructional rating hierarchy by becoming a coach, instructor or examiner take on immense responsibility. But it is the USPA Examiner who assumes the highest responsibility, since he has the sole privilege of teaching and certifying others to be coaches and instructors.
An examiner's failure to fully meet his number-one duty—to fully teach and certify a skydive instructor—has a threefold effect: Instructors are inadequately prepared and can't be all they are expected to be. This leads to students who are not thoroughly trained or motivated, which decreases their safety levels and increases the chances that they'll quit out of frustration. And then the sport suffers a decrease in participants and a potential black eye from incidents or accidents that were preventable. more »

Gearing Up - September 2016

EdScott

A cloudless blue sky enveloped the entire Eastern Seaboard that early Tuesday morning 15 years ago. Shortly after 9 a.m., it would be scarred by dark, acrid smoke rising from New York City; Arlington, Virginia; and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. A northerly wind blew smoke from the burning Pentagon over the townhouse offices of USPA in nearby Alexandria. The streets and highways were clogged with federal workers sent home for the day, so USPA staff members stayed in place and tried to work but more often were pulled to the TV news or searched the web for updates. more »

Gearing Up - August 2016

EdScott

As an association of some 38,000 adventure-seeking members, USPA will occasionally need to discipline an individual by suspending or revoking that person’s license, rating or membership. Section 1-6 of the USPA Governance Manual spells out the due process afforded members in these situations. It also lists the "seven deadly sins" that garner attention and possible discipline. more »

Gearing Up - July 2016

EdScott

July is the month when we reflect on our freedoms, but we should also reflect on the challenges and sacrifices those freedoms required. The July 4, 1776, signing of the Declaration of Independence did not actually make us independent; armed conflict began 15 months earlier at Concord and Lexington, and the resulting war lasted more than eight years. Many of the signers lost everything; some—along with 25,000 citizen-soldiers—lost their lives. Nearly the whole populace suffered hardship but prevailed and became a nation. more »

Gearing Up - June 2016

EdScott

Would you react to a skydiving situation if it would prevent another skydiver from incurring injury or death? That’s a rhetorical question, because of course you would. Each of us would. The skydiving community is like a large family in which we are all siblings—often closer—and we watch out for each other. Now let me rephrase the question: Would you initiate an action that could prevent a skydiver’s injury or death? See the difference? The first question implies a reaction to a specific situation. The second question asks you to take preemptive action. more »

Gearing Up - May 2016

EdScott

USPA is having a milestone birthday this year, and you are invited to help celebrate! Join the USPA Board and staff on Saturday, July 23, at USPA Headquarters in Fredericksburg, Virginia, to celebrate the 70thanniversary of our formal start. more »

Gearing Up - April 2016

EdScott

Gearing Up This year, at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, September 10-21, the United States will host the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Parachuting Championships Mondial for the first time ever. The Mondial includes championships in all skydiving disciplines save the World Championships of Wingsuit Flying, which Skydive City Zephyrhills in Florida will host November 2-10, and the World Championships of Canopy Piloting, which Skydive Farnham in Canada will host August 20-27. The event will be a momentous occasion, when the members of our U.S. Parachute Team will compete against the world’s best skydivers on our home soil and in front of our home crowd. more »

Gearing Up - March 2016

EdScott

This year marks the 20th anniversary of USPA Safety Day, typically held on the second weekend of March. (Check your DZ’s schedule, as several hold their events on alternate dates.) Patti Chernis, a Northwest skydiver, originated the idea of designating a day early in the season for jumpers to focus on practicing emergency procedures and review safety information at their home DZs. Tragically, Chernis died in a skydiving accident after being elected to USPA’s board but before being seated. But her idea lived on and became a reality. more »

Gearing Up - February 2016

EdScott

Parachutist’s print schedule has me writing this just after the close of 2015, a perfect time to reflect on USPA’s accomplishments and challenges during the past year. There were lots of both. In July, USPA reached its highest membership number ever—38,305—quite an improvement from the low of 30,488 that came in the midst of the five-year downturn following the September 11 attacks in 2001. However, membership activity slowed in 2015; the exact numbers are pending, but the number of new memberships, licenses and ratings did not exceed the previous year’s numbers as they have each year since 2006. The number of Group Member drop zones remained high at 230, with 18 new DZs replacing an equal number that closed or merged. more »

Gearing Up - January 2016

EdScott

USPA’s predecessor organization, the National Parachute Jumpers and Riggers Association, formed in 1946. The association became the Parachute Club of America in 1957 and changed its name to the U.S. Parachute Association in 1968. (For simplicity, I’ll refer to all of them as USPA.) In the early years, USPA’s board attracted several military men who had served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Most prominent among them were Major General John Singlaub, whom USPA recognized last year with an honorary lifetime membership, and Lt. General James “Jumpin’ Jim” Gavin, who passed away in 1990 at age 82. more »