The President's Report - January 2012

JayStokes

Imagine your last living thought being, “That was stupid of me.” Imagine your friends after your death, dressed in black, tears filling their eyes, saying, “If only,” over and over again. Imagine your family going on without you, with a wound in their hearts that will never heal. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Ralph Kubicsek

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by Ralph Kubicsek | C-37834 | Gainesville, Florida

Skydiving first came into my life in 2001 when I was 22 years old. I was sitting on the couch with my girlfriend at the time and said, “Let’s go jump out of a plane!” It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, and she was game. We drove to a DZ, and I got my first taste of skydiving. I remember being very nervous and excited at the same time. I have always been a bit on the anxious side, even as a kid, and this was really pushing me to the edge of my comfort zone. The entire experience was amazing. It really did feel like a dream, and I remember wanting to go again as soon as my feet hit the ground. more »

Profile - Sara Curtis | D-28147

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20121Sara Curtis, D-28147, joined vertical formation skydiving team Arizona Arsenal in 2006 as its camera flyer. Since then, the team has won numerous medals nationally and internationally. In 2011, Curtis took off the camera and took on new challenges as an inside flyer on the team. She also co-organized the current women’s head-down world record—a 41-way set in 2010—and has signed on again as an organizer for the latest attempts, which are scheduled for 2013. more »

Gearing Up - December 2011

EdScott

USPA just received the National Transportation Safety Board’s final response on USPA’s initiatives to address the safety board’s concerns about jump-plane inspection and maintenance issues. The safety board was clearly pleased with USPA’s efforts to both educate operators about inspection and maintenance requirements, as well as our effort to verify each jump plane’s inspection method. The safety board closed the recommendation and classified it with a rare “Exceeds Recommended Action.” USPA’s board and our Group Member operators should be proud of taking decisive industry action to address the safety board’s concerns. And skydivers of every level can have greater confidence that the jump planes at Group Member DZs are meeting FAA inspection and maintenance requirements. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Laura Bonner

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by Laura Bonner | Richmond, Virginia

I don’t skydive. As a friend of mine says, I stay on the ground and collect life insurance. And I have my reasons, none of which matter to you junkies out there, but I can admit that skydiving has irrevocably altered the course of my existence in ways that somehow mesh with nostalgic memories from childhood and then push me into the wondrous exploration of the unknown. more »

Profile - John LeBlanc | D-10824

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE201112John LeBlanc, D-10824, is a legendary parachute designer and test jumper. While earning his Bachelor of Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), he met Bill Coe and in the mid-1980s joined Coe’s fledgling company, Performance Designs. Since then, he’s designed and tested numerous landmark canopies, including the PD nine-cell, Sabre, Sabre2, Stiletto and Velocity. more »

Gearing Up - November 2011

ShondaSmith

One of the few constants in life is change. I fell in love with skydiving when I took that first step into freefall 13 years ago. It changed my life forever. I was hooked on the sport, working manifest on the weekends to pay for AFF. After increasing jump numbers and gaining experience, I became a USPA coach, then a videographer. But I wanted more from the sport. So, in 2002, when the opportunity to join the USPA staff presented itself, working in my field of communications, I eagerly accepted. My passion became my career and essentially my life. Now, here I am, nine years later, moving on from what I truly believe is the best job in the world. Why? Because change is good. more »

Profile - Christy Frikken | D-28865

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE201111Christy Frikken is an accomplished skydiver and the force behind 4-way formation skydiving (FS) team Perris Fury. After cutting away from a traditional career, Frikken moved to California, poured her soul into skydiving and founded Fury, which has medaled at several competitions in the U.S. and abroad. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Barry Sinex

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by Barry Sinex | D-31060 | Duluth, Minnesota

When I was 5 years old, I used to have dreams I could fly. If I ran and dove with enough vigor, I would experience a few minutes of flight. In 1969, we moved to Florida. On weekends I saw parachutes, and I was drawn to them just like a moth to a flame. It wasn't long before I was holding tension on the Para-Commander parachutes while the skydivers flaked their canopies. more »

Gearing Up - October 2011

EdScott

Until recently, skydiving’s medal-winning competitors received accolades within the pages of Parachutist and from friends and family but earned little other attention. Two years ago, USPA initiated a campaign to notify local and regional hometown media—including newspapers, radio and TV—that their hometown man or woman was a national champion, or in the case of world meets, an international champion. The effort was an astounding success, creating local celebrities and generating countless pages, video and airtime of positive skydiving coverage. The medalist’s DZ often gained positive media attention, too. more »