New S&TA Requirement

As a USPA Safety and Training Advisor, your role on the drop zone encompasses a wide range of responsibilities, from administrative tasks (such as administering license tests) to more technical duties (such as providing guidance for safety-related matters) and everything in between. The S&TA is the go-to person on the drop zone when it comes to all matters involving safety and training. However, until recently, there was never any process for training or testing S&TAs. A drop zone owner would contact the regional director and ask to have Joe Skydiver appointed an S&TA for the drop zone and, poof! An S&TA was born! But this is now changing. By March 1, 2016, all current S&TAs will need to complete an online training module to remain an S&TA, and all new S&TAs must complete it before receiving the appointment. more »

Range-of-Motion Drills for Belly Flyers

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Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by Niklas Daniel. Information about AXIS' coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com. more »

Surviving the Exit

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By Taya Weiss of the Lightning Flight wingsuit, freefly and angle-flight school at Skydive Perris in California. more »

2015 Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

The holiday season is here once again, so it’s time to reflect on the past year and send you another wish list. This year, my wish is for skydivers to learn more about seatbelt use, and also for drop zones and airplane owners to take the necessary steps to ensure a culture in which skydivers automatically use seatbelts properly on every load. Jumpers often don’t give a lot of thought to the ride to altitude. But there’s a lot going on during the average skydiving flight, so they actually need to pay attention. Here are a few things I hope all jumpers will consider: more »

Landing Patterns

These jumpers landed in completely opposing directions, which greatly increased their risk of a collision. Fortunately, they both landed uneventfully. Drop zones must establish guidelines to ensure a smooth flow of canopy traffic that keeps all jumpers—whether they are making standard or high-performance landings—flying in the same general direction for each part of their landing patterns, and jumpers must follow these guidelines. Jumpers flying high-performance canopies and making turns of more than 90 degrees must separate themselves from standard canopy traffic by using a separate landing area or exiting on a separate pass. If two or more jumpers are executing high-performance landings into the same area, it is critical that the jumpers have a plan in place to ensure clear airspace and eliminate the risk of a canopy collision. more »

Oddball Requests

Tandem skydiving is now a relatively common activity, with more than a half-million tandem jumps conducted safely each year in the U.S. It is easy for tandem instructors to get bored, and first-time jumpers will sometimes ask for something unusual for their jumps, which is a recipe for trouble. Take one bored tandem instructor, add an unsuspecting tandem student with a request for something out of the ordinary and turn the blender up high. What could possibly go wrong? more »

Head-Down Forward Movement (Shelf)

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Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by Brianne Thompson. Information about AXIS' coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com. more »

Deployment Techniques: From ABCs to Advanced

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By Taya Weiss of the Lightning Flight wingsuit, freefly and angle-flight school at Skydive Perris in California. more »

Protecting Your Gear and Yourself After Landing

After landing, there are a few simple steps you can take to avoid dragging your gear—or getting dragged by your gear—regardless of the size of your canopy or the strength of the winds. By learning a few tricks, you can keep your equipment in good condition, avoid unnecessary rigging costs and keep your packer happy. When you’re in the landing area gathering up your gear, just be sure to stand facing incoming skydivers so you can move out of the way if necessary. more »

Step-Through Malfunction

This student experienced a step-through malfunction, which occurs when a parachute container flips through the lines before being packed. The student elected to stay with the main canopy and steered it with the steering lines around the twisted risers, which could have led to the main becoming uncontrollable. Another jumper under canopy noticed the situation—which was not visible to staff on the ground—and landed as quickly as possible to inform the radio operator. By this point, the student was too low to safely cut away, so a more experienced instructor took over the radio. He coached the student through steering the canopy with the rear risers instead of the steering toggles and guided him to the main landing area. The student flared the canopy using the rear risers, performed a parachute landing fall and landed hard but without injury. more »