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 »

Profile - Richard “Rickster” Powell | D-11302

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20106Richard “Rickster” Powell is a professional test jumper for Performance Designs (PD). He has jumped all over the world but is now based at Skydive DeLand in Florida. Powell’s canopy piloting skills have been featured in advertisements and movie productions, including Norman Kent’s film “Willing to Fly.” He is also a skilled camera flyer who has flown camera for 4-way formation skydiving (FS) and skysurfing teams in national and international competitions. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Heidi Barker

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by Heidi Barker | USPA #231673 | Boise, Idaho

October 7, 2007, and May 4, 2008: two dates that changed my world and my life forever.

May 4, 2008, was Michelle’s 23rd birthday and our first without her. For weeks in advance, Rich and I discussed and danced around the issue of what to do on that day. We quietly and tearfully fought through the pain of the loss of “Mitchy.” When the day arrived, there was still no plan in place. It seemed strange to even contemplate the notion of some kind of celebration. With no decision made, Rich decided that he would go fishing for a few hours. I stayed at home, wondering what to do. more »

Gearing Up - June 2010

EdScott

As this magazine hits mailboxes, just about a month remains in the effort to collect enough proxies from USPA members to have a quorum of 10 percent at the General Membership Meeting called for Friday, July 16, at 7 p.m. in Nashua, New Hampshire. The purpose of the effort is to change USPA’s by-laws to allow the use of online voting in future elections of the board of directors. The current board believes that the use of an online-voting process could increase member participation in board elections, which in recent years has averaged only about 10 percent of the total membership. more »

Profile - Mary Bauer | D-8123

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20105Mary Bauer has been jumping since 1981. She has more than 15,000 jumps, is a USPA AFF Instructor, Static-Line Instructor Examiner and Safety and Training Advisor, an FAA Senior Parachute Rigger and Commercial Pilot, and is instrumental in running Skydive Wissota/Indianhead Sport Parachute Club in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Bauer was very active in Jump for the Cause (JFTC) and participated in the 118-, 131-, 151- and 181-way women’s world record jumps. As a member of World Team, she was part of the 300-, 357- and 400-way formation skydiving world records. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Bob Davies

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by Bob Davies | D-13735 | Lake Forest, California

As years of skydiving passed, I noticed that my jumpsuits were starting to get tighter. My fall rate became a challenge, and I couldn’t guarantee that I would be able to honor my part of the skydive. But since I was only making six jumps a month, I continued on as if everything were normal. more »

Gearing Up - May 2010

EdScott

As a USPA member you pay annual dues, including extra fees for adding a license or adding or renewing an instructional rating. Drop zones also pay dues to USPA if they choose to affiliate as a Group Member. All of these fees increased last year as one measure to halt annual budget deficits that had become the norm since 2003. more »