Gearing Up - March 2016

EdScott

This year marks the 20th anniversary of USPA Safety Day, typically held on the second weekend of March. (Check your DZ’s schedule, as several hold their events on alternate dates.) Patti Chernis, a Northwest skydiver, originated the idea of designating a day early in the season for jumpers to focus on practicing emergency procedures and review safety information at their home DZs. Tragically, Chernis died in a skydiving accident after being elected to USPA’s board but before being seated. But her idea lived on and became a reality. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Tim Long

by Tim Long | D-5187 | Tucson, Arizona

I do not know how, but I always knew I would do a parachute jump. My favorite toy as a kid was a G.I. Joe with a parachute rig. In 1974, at age 22, I was in San Diego on a Coast Guard ship playing war games with the Navy. Mike Noto, a medic on the ship, found out that we could do a static-line jump at Otay for 40 bucks. I signed on. more »

A Mental Gear Check

by Brad Weinberg | B-41640 | DeLand, Florida

It was a beautiful day with clear skies past the ocean out to the horizon. The sound of my parachute swooping down and then gliding along the ground was incredibly exciting. I clearly remember the jump: flaring 350 feet above the ground, diving down on my double fronts, the riser pressure on my hands as I turned, rounding out and then immediately hitting the ground. Next, the sounds of helicopter blades against the air as I was put on a life flight to the hospital. more »

Profile - Mark "Trunk" Kirschenbaum | D-28511

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE1602Mark “Trunk” Kirschenbaum is a freefall photographer with a degree in electrical engineering who has developed a series of innovative products—many for the ever-popular GoPro video camera—with his company HYPOXIC. Much of his effort goes toward improving the safety and ease of use of the small-format cameras in the skydiving environment, and he’s become a fixture on the boogie circuit promoting his wares. more »

Gearing Up - February 2016

EdScott

Parachutist’s print schedule has me writing this just after the close of 2015, a perfect time to reflect on USPA’s accomplishments and challenges during the past year. There were lots of both. In July, USPA reached its highest membership number ever—38,305—quite an improvement from the low of 30,488 that came in the midst of the five-year downturn following the September 11 attacks in 2001. However, membership activity slowed in 2015; the exact numbers are pending, but the number of new memberships, licenses and ratings did not exceed the previous year’s numbers as they have each year since 2006. The number of Group Member drop zones remained high at 230, with 18 new DZs replacing an equal number that closed or merged. more »

Profile - Eli Godwin | D-22770

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20161Eli Godwin started skydiving in 1997 and immediately gravitated to the discipline of canopy formation skydiving. Since then, he’s earned numerous CF records and championships, and has zero video busts in competition as Clean Air’s camera flyer. Godwin is transgender and is actively involved in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) skydiving community and Rainbow Skydivers, a group that organizes unofficial record attempts and events for LGBT jumpers and those who support them. Additionally, Godwin is an accuracy landing, canopy formation and formation skydiving national judge and a single-engine pilot. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Mallory Wisong

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by Mallory Wisong  | A-72461 | Ossining, New York

Fear does not stop death; it stops life. Learning to skydive has taught me this lesson and helped shape the person I am today. I was never one of those people who had always wanted to skydive. No bucket list, dare or any amount of peer pressure was going to get me to jump out of a plane. In fact, I had never even considered skydiving until my husband made his first tandem. He was hooked immediately and got his license that same year. more »

Gearing Up - January 2016

EdScott

USPA’s predecessor organization, the National Parachute Jumpers and Riggers Association, formed in 1946. The association became the Parachute Club of America in 1957 and changed its name to the U.S. Parachute Association in 1968. (For simplicity, I’ll refer to all of them as USPA.) In the early years, USPA’s board attracted several military men who had served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Most prominent among them were Major General John Singlaub, whom USPA recognized last year with an honorary lifetime membership, and Lt. General James “Jumpin’ Jim” Gavin, who passed away in 1990 at age 82. more »

Profile - John Leming | D-11593

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE201512John Leming started skydiving in 1984 with his best friend and future teammate, Kirk Verner, while they were still in high school. He developed his formation skydiving skills, and in 1993, with little camera experience, he became the camera flyer for what would be the most successful formation skydiving team ever assembled: Arizona Airspeed. The team—Leming and longtime friend Verner, Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld, Jack Jefferies and Mark Kirkby—made thousands of jumps together and won numerous national and world championships. Leming filmed it all. More than 30 years after his first jump, Leming still actively skydives and also finds time for BASE jumping, scuba diving, snowboarding, paragliding and photography. more »

Tales from the Bonfire - Ivan’s Birthday Present

by John Dobleman | D-7790 | Oakley, California

While visiting my friend, Ivan Balarin, D-3442, one evening this year, he showed me a poem that had been written for him for his birthday while he was in the hospital recovering from a broken leg. more »