Gearing Up - December 2015

EdScottNationals and the U.S. Team

Annually, USPA uses its national championships to determine the makeup of the U.S. Parachute Team. With the growth in the number of skydiving disciplines, the U.S. Team can now exceed 60 members, all of whom must largely pay their own way to world championships. Even though the donor-supported Team Trust Fund now exceeds $1.4 million, by law USPA can allocate only the earned interest to the team. And even though that can total up to $60,000, it only covers the registration fees of the team members, which still leaves them with training, gear and international travel costs. USPA could provide more support, but to do so member dues would have to increase, since revenues from today’s renewal fee of $55 largely fund current operations. more »

Profile - Benjamin Forde | D-30397

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE201511Benjamin Forde is an avid fun-jumper, world traveler and artist. He’s the creative director of Fordesign.com, which produces ads and promotional materials for skydiving gear manufacturers and drop zones, as well as network television and other major entertainment-industry clients. Even if you’ve never met him, you’ve undoubtedly seen his work. Forde’s expertise in marketing and design and his ideas about the promotion of skydiving have raised the profile of the sport both inside and outside the industry. more »

Tales from the Bonfire - Just Flick It

by Ray Barker | D-13174 | Ellijay, Georgia

In September of 1990, I was going through the training required to transition from using a ripcord to a pilot chute for deployment. I wasn’t familiar with how to stow the pilot chute into the pouch, so one of the up-jumpers packed it for me. I remember being a little nervous about the whole thing, so the owner of the DZ kept telling me not to worry and just flick the pilot chute out. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Lisa Ann Simpson

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by Lisa Ann Simpson | C-41459 | Ithaca, New York

When I started skydiving, it was the first thing I had actually done just for me. In 1997, I made one tandem for my 30th birthday. I fell in love with skydiving, but I was a single mother of two children and my most important goal was to raise them. Almost 15 years later, I told a girlfriend at work who was a skydiver that I had once made a tandem and would love to do another one. She told me that she had a friend who took students on tandems and gave me his contact information. On November 13, 2010, I drove to Skydive City Zephyrhills in Florida. I had no idea that my life was going to change forever. more »

Gearing Up - November 2015

EdScott These “Gearing Up” commentaries are usually positive, which isn’t all that difficult because there are so many good things happening with skydiving. We have a growing USPA membership, a thriving Sisters in Skydiving program, an increase in skydiving record jumps, more DZs opening, fewer canopy-related accidents occurring and a declining fatal-accident rate. more »

Profile - Christy West | D-21464

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE201510Christy West, D-21464, started skydiving in 1997 and developed her formation skydiving talent quickly; by 1999 she was part of the successful 118-way Jump for the Cause Women’s World Record for Largest Formation Skydive. She has competed in formation skydiving at every USPA Nationals since 2000 and has earned numerous medals with a variety of teams. West is currently the marketing manager for the ever-busy Spaceland drop zones, and her efforts have helped the DZs build an exceptionally close community of jumpers. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Chris Dawson

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by Chris Dawson | Ithaca, New York

What I have learned from skydiving is that everybody dies. OK, I didn’t learn this from skydiving. In fact, I am not really a skydiver. I have made two jumps in my life. One was a static-line jump and the other was a tandem. Both were terrifying. But my wife is a skydiver, and I have learned a lot from her involvement in the sport. more »

Gearing Up - October 2015

EdScott

This issue of Parachutist contains a ballot for you to elect the members of USPA’s board of directors, who will serve a three-year term starting in February. Beginning October 1, if you have an email address on file with USPA (as most members do), you will also receive an electronic ballot that will allow you to vote securely online in just minutes. If past elections are an indicator, more of you won’t vote than will. Here is why that should change and why you should vote. more »

Profile - Chris Wagner | D-5479

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20159Over the past 39 years, Chris Wagner has made more than 15,000 jumps, amassed 233 hours of freefall time and built a huge résumé of accomplishments. As a member of the U.S. Army Golden Knights from 1983 to 1991, he earned numerous national and world championships in 4-way and 8-way formation skydiving and served as both team captain and team leader. In 1986, he was on the first 100-way formation skydive, and in 1988, he was part of the Olympic Rings Team that jumped into the Seoul Olympics. Currently, Wagner teaches advanced freefall techniques for the U.S. Navy, holds numerous USPA ratings, is a national judge for formation skydiving and is a Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger. more »

Tales from the Bonfire - Those Human Feelings

by Dan Gingold | B-39878 | Brooklyn, New York

I met Bryan in Florida on my very first day skydiving. Bryan had driven down from New York City to practice wingsuiting. His girlfriend, Katherine, came with him to go through the AFF program and was in my first-jump course. All through ground school and training that day, my nervousness rose. I rode to altitude quaking. When I landed, I felt such an incredible elation. Afterward, drinking a beer with Katherine and Bryan, I tried to describe what I had felt. I remember Bryan, with a huge smile on his face, listening knowingly. more »