How Skydiving Changed My Life - Wendy Jones

by Wendy Jones | C-42940 | Austin, Texas

To describe how skydiving changed my life, I’ll begin with why I did it in the first place. In February 2013, I sustained a complete ACL tear and three impaction fractures while practicing my other great passion in life, tae kwon do. The orthopedic surgeon gave two options: 1) have reconstructive surgery including a tissue graft followed by nine months of physical therapy or 2) never do martial art or sports involving legs again. The decision was easy, since a life without recreation is unimaginable to me. However, nine months with no tae kwon do, no gym, no sports, no anything except physical rehab was a bitter pill. more »

Profile - Tom Sanders | D-6503

by Brian Giboney

Legendary aerial cinematographer Tom Sanders, D-6503, has filmed skydiving scenes for dozens of movies, including “Drop Zone,” many James Bond films and the original “Point Break,” which inspired thousands of people to become skydivers. His resume also includes countless TV commercials, the award-winning documentary “Over the Edge” and coordinating filming of the 1988 Olympic Rings skydive. In 2005, USPA awarded him its Gold Medal for Meritorious Service. He is the 200th person profiled since this column began in February 2000. more »

Gearing Up - October 2016

EdScott

Skydivers who enter USPA's instructional rating hierarchy by becoming a coach, instructor or examiner take on immense responsibility. But it is the USPA Examiner who assumes the highest responsibility, since he has the sole privilege of teaching and certifying others to be coaches and instructors.
An examiner's failure to fully meet his number-one duty—to fully teach and certify a skydive instructor—has a threefold effect: Instructors are inadequately prepared and can't be all they are expected to be. This leads to students who are not thoroughly trained or motivated, which decreases their safety levels and increases the chances that they'll quit out of frustration. And then the sport suffers a decrease in participants and a potential black eye from incidents or accidents that were preventable. more »

Profile - David "T.K." Hayes | D-18764

by Brian Giboney

David “T.K.” Hayes, D-18764, manages Skydive City Zephyrhills in Florida. Originally from Canada, Hayes cut away from a good career at IBM to pursue a career in skydiving. He made his first jump in 1981 at the age of 20. Thirty-five years later, he is still in love with the sport. Hayes holds almost every instructional rating there is (in both the U.S. and Canada) and is a strong supporter of canopy piloting competitions. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Michael Hoover

by Michael Hoover | C-43743 | Finleyville, Pennsylvania

When I got my pre-second issue of Parachutist, as soon as I read “How Skydiving Changed My Life, ” I knew I wanted to write one. But I was barely licensed and hadn't been in the sport long enough to know what effect it would have on me. Now, more than a year later, I have learned much more. more »

Tales from the Bonfire - Take Not Thine Altitude for Granted

by Joe McHenry | D-6770 | Newport, Pennsylvania

Unlike other commandments that I was taught in first-jump class, “Take not thine altitude for granted, lest the earth rise up and smite thee,” is carved in stone. more »

Gearing Up - September 2016

EdScott

A cloudless blue sky enveloped the entire Eastern Seaboard that early Tuesday morning 15 years ago. Shortly after 9 a.m., it would be scarred by dark, acrid smoke rising from New York City; Arlington, Virginia; and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. A northerly wind blew smoke from the burning Pentagon over the townhouse offices of USPA in nearby Alexandria. The streets and highways were clogged with federal workers sent home for the day, so USPA staff members stayed in place and tried to work but more often were pulled to the TV news or searched the web for updates. more »

Tales from the Bonfire - Finding a Cutaway Canopy

by Matt Hoover | D-29246 | Milpitas, California

Skydive Chicago, Summerfest 2015. Last day, last jump. Something I'd always worried about finally happened. I had to cut away over a giant cornfield. With only hours of daylight left, I knew the chances of finding my main were slim. Those cornfields are notorious for claiming canopies every summer. Yet somehow, I beat the odds. I found my canopy eight days later while sitting in a chair some 2,000 miles away. This was the result of perseverance, technology, helpful friends and some luck.
Here's how we did it and a loose set of guidelines for jumpers in similar situations: more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Brittany Gray

by Brittany Gray | C-43319 | Derby, New York

A tandem was something I had always wanted to do, but I was just out of college and very concerned with the mountain of student loans I was just beginning to climb. I didn’t feel right about spending that much money on something “frivolous,” but if I had only known then that $250 would become my average weekly spending on the sport, I might not have given it a second thought. more »

Profile - Matt Davidson | D-17131

by Brian Giboney

Matt Davidson, D-17131, has spent half of his 42 years on earth skydiving with the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights. During that time, he has accumulated countless world and national record and championship titles in 4-way, 8-way, 10-way and 16-way formation skydiving. Dedication to the U.S. military and to skydiving is a familiy affair: Davidson's father, Mike Davidson, was also a Golden Knight, and his wife Jen Davidson, is a member of the team as well. more »