Profile - Ray Cottingham | D-1653

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20119Ray Cottingham, D-1653, is a legend. During his 51 years in the sky, he’s filmed some of the most important aerial skydiving scenes in the history of the movies. Cottingham’s impressive résumé includes filming scenes for “Terminal Velocity,” “Operation Dumbo Drop” and “Honeymoon in Vegas,” and his work on “Point Break” inspired legions of jumpers to try the sport. In addition, Cottingham is responsible for numerous skydiving scenes on television programs in the 1970s and 1980s, and he’s shot aerial footage for hundreds of commercials. Even if you’re not a jumper, chances are you’ve seen his work. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Shaun Brock


by Shaun Brock | B-34969 | Altus, Oklahoma

I’m active duty in the Air Force, and I have spent the last 12 years as a loadmaster, planning and calculating proper cargo and passenger arrangements on C-17 transport aircraft. Nine of those years, I worked on air drops. But until a little over a year ago, I was 100-percent a whuffo! I have watched countless numbers of parachutists jump out of my aircraft, and I can’t even count the number of times that I asked, either aloud or just in my head, “Why would anyone ever jump out of a perfectly good aircraft?” more »

Profile - Simon Bones | D-28573

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20118Simon “Bones” Palacio, D-28573, is an accomplished freeflyer who participated in the 2009 108-way head-down world record. He organizes at events around the country and is a member of vertical formation skydiving team SDH Vertex, based at Skydive Houston in Eagle Lake, Texas. He’s also a USPA AFF and Tandem Instructor and an FAA Senior Rigger. Prior to becoming a skydiver, Palacio operated submarine nuclear reactors for the Navy. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Tracey Sullivan


by Tracey Sullivan | B-35331 | Houston, Texas

When someone asks me, “Why?” I tell them that there is so much in life to experience that the greater question is, “Why not?” more »

The President's Report - August 2011


The invitation to visit the Australian Parachute Federation (APF) brought with it the daunting promise of a 20-hour, 7,200-mile-long plane ride. And I travel coach, of course. But the prospect of being a guest speaker at the 2011 APF Conference weighed positively on the scales, so off I went with my wife, Vivian. Australia greeted us with warm temperatures, bright blue skies and very friendly people. The site selected for the conference was near the Great Barrier Reef and offered spectacular views of some of the most beautiful parts of the planet Earth. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Doug Garr


by Doug Garr | D-2791 | New York, New York

It was April 12, 1969. I had turned 20 the previous week and found myself hanging from the strut of a Cessna 206. A sort-of-nerdy guy with horn-rimmed glasses who lived down the hall in my dorm had made several skydives. Though I kept oversleeping and exhaling with relief when bad weather scrubbed my planned jumping weekends, I figured if he could do it, I could. Also, as a sophomore journalism major, I thought it was a good story for my college newspaper. more »

Profile - Taya Weiss | D-27874

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20117Taya Weiss, D-27874, is an accomplished wingsuit pilot who has an Ivy-League education and founded skydiving outreach organization Raise the Sky. She was instrumental in developing the first official judging system for wingsuit formations and was on the 68-way U.S. Wingsuit Formation Record in 2009. Recently, she and canopy pilot Jessica Edgeington became the first female pair to perform a canopy-wingsuit dock. more »

Gearing Up - July 2011


USPA and its predecessor organizations have always promoted skydiving competition. Then called the Parachute Club of America, USPA began conducting meets in the late ’50s and early ’60s, and the tradition continues today with the annual USPA Nationals and the USPA Collegiate Nationals. But to USPA staff and board members, “competition” means much more than an event. It’s the 205-page Skydiver’s Competition Manual (SCM) of rules and requirements that requires constant updating. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Mike Engel


by Michael Engel | C-38710 | Middle Island, New York

In June 2000, I lost my brother in a motorcycle accident. Shortly thereafter, my family and I learned that he had made a tandem skydive the year before. We all wondered how he had felt when he made his jump. So the following year, my father paid for a tandem skydive for my youngest brother and me for our birthdays. more »

Profile - Sandy Grillet | D-10938

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20116Sandy Grillet, D-10938, is a legendary organizer and coach from the Midwest. Grillet expresses his love of the sport by organizing and mentoring jumpers—teaching freefall and canopy control skills—all free of charge. Organizing is such a part of his life he often dreams of skydives and will wake up in the middle of the night to make notes on new formations. Grillet also founded the Northern Plains Skydiving League (NPSL) and directed it for 10 years. more »