Gearing Up

Ed Scott With proposed air-traffic-control privatization, skydiving—and indeed all of general aviation—is facing the gravest threat to its longevity and future than ever before. If the 21st Century AIRR Act, otherwise known as H.R. 2997, goes through the U.S. Congress and the president signs it into law, it would carve the ATC function out of the Federal Aviation Administration and hand it to a new private corporation funded by new aviation user fees. (As written, the bill exempts general aviation from user fees, but any future Congress could change that.) more »

Once Upon a Time There Was a Movie Called “The Gypsy Moths”

In 1964, I launched my magazine, DZ-USA, to promote the sport and contribute something other than doomsday predictions at a time when the man on the street viewed a parachutist as a daredevil looking for a place to die. In that same year, I was invited to appear on “The Joey Bishop Show” in Hollywood to represent the sport. There, I met John Frankenheimer, who was promoting his move “Grand Prix,” and Lyle Cameron, who produced Skydiver magazine. John was very interested in what Lyle and I had to say about the sport. He stated that he’d always wanted to make a movie about it and would contact us if a future project came up. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Don Jean

Jumping out of an airplane was never on my bucket list. Well, honestly, I never had a bucket list until May 14, 2016: the day I completed my first tandem. more »

Profile - Jennifer Davidson | D-30287

by Brian Giboney
Jennifer Davidson, D-30287, is a member of the U.S. Army Golden Knights 8-Way Formation Skydiving Team. Until recently, she was a member of GKF4, which in 2012 was the first all-female team to medal in open FS at a USPA Nationals and in 2016 took gold in women’s 4-way FS at the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Championships. A versatile jumper, Davidson was also on the 2010 FAI Women’s World Record for Largest Head-Down Formation Skydive. The Army recently promoted her to master sergeant. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Brandon Kendrick

Since I was a kid, I’ve dreamt of flying. I would have dreams that were so vivid that I could feel the zero-G sensation as I flew in my sleep. As a boy, I would climb onto the roof of my house and jump off with a towel stuffed in the back of my shirt, yelling, “Superrrrrmaaaannnnn!” Thankfully, I never broke any bones, because the secret would have been out, and my parents would have killed me once they learned of my dangerous hobby! No matter how much I tried to hide it, though, all the early warning signs were there that I was an aviation addict. more »

Profile - Ryan Risberg | D-22873

by Brian Giboney

Ryan Risberg, D-22873, is a vertical formation skydiving competitor and freefly organizer. He was a member of SDC Core, which won the gold in vertical formation skydiving at the 2015 USPA Nationals, and was also a member of the team that set the 164-way Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Record for Largest Head-Down Formation Skydive. Risberg, who is known for jumping in flip-flops, now travels the world sharing his knowledge and love of the sport and all facets of freeflying. more »

Gearing Up - July 2017

Ed Scott

More than once in past “Gearing Up” columns, you’ve read me urging jumpers to take a canopy course. Of course, since 2012, USPA requires those who want a B license to take one. But it’s generally conceded that it’s a good idea for all skydivers who haven’t done so yet to go through a canopy course, no matter how many jumps they have. It’s also a good idea to go through a refresher course if your last one was a while ago. After all, the average number of jumps made by those who died last year in landing accidents was 1,840. 

Last weekend, I finally took my own advice. more »

Profile - John Bull | D-6450

by Brian Giboney

John Bull’s love for the sport and the community is contagious. Bull made his first jump in 1978, and in 1981 he became a member of the Air Trash brotherhood of skydivers, to which he still belongs. Bull simply loves formation skydiving and is happy to jump with anyone on the DZ, from a newly A-licensed jumper to the most experienced of load organizers. He is an ambassador for the sport and the kind of guy you can’t help but love. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Rob Crimmins

I first learned of skydiving in 1961 at the age of 6. The television show “Ripcord,” about two guys who provided almost entirely fictitious parachuting services, aired that year. My older brother and I didn’t mind the implausible events, because we didn’t watch for the stories. We wanted to see the show’s stars in freefall, and those scenes were all real, taken with helmet cameras and from airplanes.

Until I grew to a size that made it consistently painful, I jumped off things. We lived on the water in Hampton, Virginia. The seawall stood four to six feet over beach sand, so that was a good spot. In the woods, we could leap from trees into nets formed of vines 10 or 20 feet below. That was risky, and there were times when I fell through to the ground, but I was never injured. We’d leap from the tops of the channel markers in the Chesapeake Bay, too. That venue allowed us to compound the fun, because another compulsion some of us had was to reach the bottom of every body of water we swam in, even when it was impossibly deep. more »

A Long Night in a Swamp

As a SoCal jumper, I don't have to worry that much about landing in trees or anything green. So I took seriously memorizing the DZ's aerial photo (the kind all DZs have hanging near manifest) when I went jumping in Maine. I knew where all the tree groves were, along with power lines, ditches and other obstructions. After a couple of jumps, I got comfy with the landing pattern, and I felt I knew my way around.

Around sunset, some good-sized cumulus clouds showed up, and I decided a hop-and-pop at 12,500 feet would give me some good photo opportunities. The view was indeed spectacular, and every minute or so, I would glance at the DZ to make sure I could get back. more »