How to Dance With the Nylon in the Pale Moonlight—Setting Yourself Up for a Great Night Jump

If you’re squaring up to the requirements for your D license, there’s a good possibility that those jumps are causing a bit of nail-biting. Steve Woodford—the organizer of many funnel-free, injury-free, collision-free big-way-milestone night jumps—is here to tell you not to worry. more »

Deadly Serious - Avoiding a Canopy Collision

B reakoff. Greg turned 180 degrees to track from his five teammates. It was a simple 6-way with no contact. Uneventful, yes, but still glorious. Everything about skydiving was glorious. Especially when the jumps were from a C-130 Hercules at 12,500 feet … and it’s your job. more »

Up Is the New Down—Part 2: Movement Jumps

By Sharon Har-Noy with contributions from Claudio Cagnasso, Luis Adolfo Lopez-Mendez and Luis Prinetto. Photos by Gustavo Cabana.

In the film “Crosswind” by Patrick Passe, Omar Alhegelan is mind-blowing as he elegantly whizzes around the sky on his feet. (If you consider yourself a freeflyer but have never seen “Crosswind,” put down this magazine for an hour and go online to do your homework.) When the film came out in 2001, you could count on one hand the number of people who could pull off something like that, but today it’s common to see feet-first angle jumps at most events. It’s great that jumpers are finally catching up to what the pioneers were doing 16 years ago, but with so much freefall traffic and so many people trying new things, it’s essential for everyone to learn how to be safe so we can keep on playing. more »

Have You Checked Your Six?

“Check your six”: a popular military expression meaning, “Check your six o’clock position” (the spot directly behind you).


Every day, high-performance-wing technology moves forward and canopy pilots push the envelope harder than ever. Where high-performance landings were once the domain of a few, the availability of better technology, faster wings and expert canopy coaching have made them an everyday sight at drop zones around the world. XRW (mixed canopy piloting and wingsuit formations), competitive canopy piloting and other extreme canopy flights that require small canopies, high wing loadings and great speeds were once on the periphery of the sport but are now increasingly common. more »

Lee Schlichtemeier Receives the 2016 USPA Lifetime Achievement Award

Steady, Solid and Dependable. The USPA Drop Zone Operators’ Conference, held every two years in conjunction with the Parachute Industry Association Symposium, always kicks off with a reception for DZOs and various skydiving VIPs. At this year’s reception on February 12,  USPA gave special recognition to one of those VIPs—Dr. Alvin Lee Schlichtemeier—by presenting him with the association’s highest honor, the USPA Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Skydiving-Related Aircraft Accidents 2016

Because skydiving is dependent on aircraft, it’s essential to understand the risk of the ride to altitude. One way to evaluate that risk is to review recent jump plane accidents. Philosopher George Santayana said, "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Jumpers should encourage their jump pilots to take Santayana’s advice and read these reports so they can learn from our history. more »

2016 Fatality Summary—The Same Problems

During 2016, the United States Parachute Association recorded 21 skydiving deaths in the U.S. This is the same number of deaths as in 2015 and slightly below the average for the last 10 years. While there were four student deaths, experienced skydivers still accounted for most of the fatalities, with the jumpers who died in 2016 averaging 1,600 skydives. more »

Brimming With Hospitality—The Winter 2017 USPA Board of Directors Meeting

Chattanooga, Tennessee, is known for its popular hang gliding training center, world-renowned aquarium and one of the world’s steepest passenger railways. The Scenic City—brimming with southern hospitality—was the perfect host for the 2017 USPA Board of Directors’ winter meeting held February 10-12. more »

Airmanship for Canopy Pilots

The aviation-safety website Skybrary.aero defines airmanship as "the consistent use of good judgment and well-developed skills to accomplish flight objectives. This consistency is founded on a cornerstone of uncompromising flight discipline and is developed through systematic skill acquisition and proficiency. A high state of situational awareness completes the airmanship picture and is obtained through knowledge of one's self, aircraft, environment, team and risk."

Airmanship is a trait to which skydivers should also aspire to obtain mastery, especially with relation to canopy flight. As an aircraft pilot should be aware of his aircraft, the environment in which the aircraft operates and his own capabilities, skydivers must possess awareness and discipline when flying canopies. A pilot has many tools to help with flying safely, including the co-pilot, radio contact with air traffic control and others, radar and the ability to go around or power down and up to avoid airspace conflicts. Canopy pilots do not have the luxury of powered flight: Takeoffs are optional, but landings are mandatory. We need to rely on our own skill and the awareness and skill of others to avoid airspace conflicts. more »

How to Nail a Gear Check

Let me ask you this: When was the last time that you saw the pilot running down a safety checklist on the jump plane? If you’re paying attention, you certainly have (or at least seen the clipboard stuffed somewhere in the cockpit, lookin’ official). Metal-tube pilots have an actual checklist they run down to confirm the safety of the gear that heaves us all up into the sky. That’s a great idea—it’s a reasonably complicated system, and a checklist ensures that nothing’s forgotten. more »