Gearing Up - October 2010

EdScott

Once the facts emerge after a fatality, USPA catalogues it into one of several categories for record-keeping purposes. The canopy-related category is a broad one that includes accidents involving low turns (both intentional and unintentional), botched landings, canopy formation entanglements and canopy collisions—basically, any accident that occurs after a jumper deploys a fully functional parachute. more »

Profile - Pip Redvers | D-21950

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20109Pip Redvers is a talented load organizer who knows how to make skydives work. Originally from England, Redvers now makes Skydive City in Zephyrhills, Florida, his home drop zone. He is one of only a handful of people who have made more than 20,000 jumps, so if you get a chance to pick his brain about skydiving, it will be well worth your time. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Susan Gault

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by Susan Gault | USPA #236109 | Spartanburg, South Carolina

If I had a nickel for every time my mother said, “You and your daddy are insane,” I could buy myself a new rig. (OK, so maybe it would take a dollar instead of a nickel.) I smile when she says this, knowing that our insanity is the best thing that ever happened to us. more »

Gearing Up - September 2010

EdScott

Among the myriad responsibilities shared by USPA Instructors, Coaches and Safety & Training Advisors, and DZ operators and staff, the most important involve the training and supervision of student skydivers. DZ personnel apply detailed instruction and rigorous oversight beginning with the first jump and continuing through achievement of the USPA A license, at which point a skydiver is no longer considered a student. For students, each jump introduces new concepts, learning objectives and techniques, always amid ever-changing wind and weather conditions. Distractions are many and continuous. more »

Profile - Keri Bell | D-15889

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20108Keri Bell is a third-generation jumper. She is a member of the Farrington family of skydivers in the Pacific Northwest— her grandparents were pioneers of the sport. Bell has traveled the globe participating in para-ski events and world-record-setting jumps such as 1999’s 282-way formation skydive in Thailand. Currently, Bell manages her family’s drop zone, Kapowsin Air Sports in Shelton, Washington, where she is also the Safety & Training Advisor. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Reno Soverns

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by Reno Soverns | A-57030 | Vallejo, California

It was, as they say, on my “bucket list.” I was 42 years old, at least 50 pounds overweight, and I’d just ended a 10-year relationship that had been anything but good. I needed some excitement in my life. When I walked onto the drop zone on August 8, 2009, I expected to put a check mark by that item on my list and never return. more »

Gearing Up - August 2010

EdScott

Over the past few years, USPA has been working to increase the association’s membership count. Our efforts appear to be paying off with a steady increase in both first-jump and membership numbers, thanks to a very active two-pronged strategy: encouraging positive media coverage of skydiving, which we label “promotion,” and encouraging those who have made their first jumps to continue in the sport, which we call “retention.” It makes little sense for USPA to market itself to the non-skydiving public; if you’re not a skydiver, then USPA has little to offer. So instead, our goals are to promote skydiving itself and to increase retention of those who have tried it. more »

Profile - Shannon Pilcher | D-18803

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20107Shannon Pilcher started jumping in Warm Springs, Georgia, in 1991 and has become a decorated formation skydiver and canopy pilot who has won national and world championships. He is a member of the PD Factory Team (PDFT), active in wingsuiting, freefly and BASE jumping, and an FAA Senior Rigger. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Elmo Fuddpucker

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by Elmo Fuddpucker | Lincoln, Nebraska

The roar of the bulldozer was getting closer and closer. It was then that I saw someone coming. The moment he started to yell, I knew I was not going to be lost forever. It was June 1981. I had been discarded in the Sarpy County, Nebraska, dump, near where Lincoln Sport Parachute Club (LSPC) was located at that time. I was certain to be buried until Kenneth “Sonny” Bader saw me. He pulled me out of the pile of garbage and threw me in the back of his truck. The next weekend, I was airborne and received my name. more »

Gearing Up - July 2010

EdScott

Now that we are well into the 2010 skydiving season, we can report on a USPA initiative that is a success on a couple of different levels. In late 2008, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a special report that looked at 32 fatal jump-plane accidents over the previous 28 years. The NTSB concluded that many DZs and jump-plane operators were not performing required aircraft maintenance, so it issued a couple of recommendations to the FAA and USPA to do something about it. (The NTSB also recognized that there are many operators who perform exemplary maintenance.) While the NTSB has no regulatory authority, it can (and often does) capture the attention of Congress and the media by holding hearings and press conferences when its recommendations are ignored. In order to be proactive, USPA’s board of directors directed staff to develop a workable plan to comply with the NTSB’s recommendations. more »