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 »

Gearing Up - June 2011


The “Safety Check” column on page 62 of this issue reiterates the points contained in the “Action Call” that USPA e-mailed to all members for whom we have an e-mail address—28,000 of them—and every Group Member DZ. The Action Call arose from a conference call between USPA and a number of DZOs and canopy experts that took place after this year’s third fatal canopy collision in the U.S. (and 30 fatal U.S. canopy collisions that resulted in 37 fatalities in the previous five-year period). more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Hugh Roderick


by Hugh Roderick | USPA #149698 | Quincy, Illinois

I’ve always loved everything to do with aviation and have always wanted to be around flying ever since my dad first took me up as a toddler. As a 15-year-old working part-time at a grocery store in South Africa, I started taking flying lessons hoping to follow my dreams of a career in aviation. Shortly after starting lessons, the United States put an oil embargo on South Africa, and flying lessons went from 12 bucks an hour to $48. This put lessons out of reach for me, since I was still going to high school and working a few hours a week. I later saw a film clip on parachuting and thought, “If I can’t fly planes, I could jump out of them and would at least be around aircraft and the smell of avgas.” more »

Profile - Marcus Laser | D-19362

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20115Marcus Laser started jumping in 1991 as a paratrooper and made his first sport skydive, an AFF jump, in 1995. In 1999, he left his job as a hydraulic technician to become a full-time skydiving instructor. Ten years later, he founded the Instructors Academy, which offers training for skydivers and skydiving instructors throughout Europe. more »

Gearing Up - May 2011


From now until July 7, USPA members have an opportunity to modernize the association’s by-laws. The board of directors has authorized a proxy effort to give members the chance to change the by-laws to 1) lengthen the term for all board members from two years to three years and 2) eliminate the requirement for a non-incumbent regional director candidate to provide a petition signed by at least 10 percent of the members in that region. If approved, the three-year term would take effect after the next board election, scheduled for fall 2012. The elimination of the petition requirement, if approved, would apply to the next election, so that no petitions would be required for the fall 2012 election. more »

Profile - Curt Bartholomew | D-29202

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20114Curt Bartholomew is a relatively new jumper who became a force in canopy piloting both nationally and internationally in 2009, his first year of competing. Bartholomew took first overall in 2009’s Canopy Piloting Circuit™ Championships. He also placed sixth overall in the 2009 USPA National Skydiving Championships of Canopy Piloting, securing himself a spot on the 2010 U.S. Team for the World Canopy Piloting Parachuting Championships. His goal is to become a world champion canopy pilot, and based on his recent success, there’s a good chance he will. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Darryld Light


by Darryld Light | C-37668 | Miami, Florida

After my early experiences with the skydiving community, I would never have thought I’d get to the 100-jump mark. But I recently made my 5,000th jump at Skydive Perris in California. Being such a significant jump, you would think it would have been a big-way or with an exclusive group, but it was not. It was a 3-way with two relatively low-time jumpers: a local jumper with 80 jumps and a guest to Perris with 300 jumps. more »

Gearing Up - April 2011


On March 31, Director of Competition Larry Bagley retired after nearly a lifetime of service to USPA. Almost 16 years ago, he accepted an invitation to come work at Headquarters as the association’s first director of government relations. It wasn’t a light decision, since he had to relocate his family some 2,095 miles to work in the Alexandria, Virginia, office. He also had to resign from the USPA Board mid-term, since a USPA employee can’t simultaneously serve on the board of directors. That couldn’t have been easy either; he had already served 20 years on the board, eight of them as president and two of them as chairman. more »