The USPA Board of Directors held its second meeting of the 2019-2021 term in Arlington, Virginia, July 12-14. The Virginia location gave directors, including those on the board for the first time, the opportunity to visit USPA Headquarters, an hour south in Fredericksburg, prior to the meeting.
You asked, we listened! Finally, you can now renew your membership and ratings online at the same time with one payment!
By Ed Scott
With this year’s skydiving season now at the mid-point, we’ve got some great news to report on our initiative to solicit more incident reports: Many of you have responded to our plea and have begun submitting them.
On June 21 a Beechcraft King Air with 10 skydivers on board crashed shortly after takeoff from Dillingham Field near Waialua, Hawaii. All 11 aboard the aircraft were killed in the crash. The recent Hawaii crash was the deadliest jump plane crash since the September 1995 crash of a Beechcraft Queen Air near West Point, Virginia that killed 11 on board the aircraft and one person on the ground.
If you were to experience a pilot-chute-in-tow malfunction, how would you respond? Now ask yourself, are you confident that your response is correct?
The testing and soft launch of USPA’s new online rating renewal system are ending, and we’re poised to release this functionality for all members possibly as early as June 10. To facilitate online renewals, many supporting features needed to be in place, and you may have already started seeing changes on your USPA profile.
By Ed Scott
At the USPA Drop Zone Operators’ Conference this year, attendees heard from presenter Jeanice Dolan, a CPA and DZO of Ocean City Skydiving Center in Maryland, about a growing enforcement issue that is changing the landscape for DZs: worker classification. Increasingly, state and federal departments of labor are auditing businesses—including DZs—to determine whether they are correctly classifying workers as either employees or contractors. Two things are driving this government scrutiny: 1) a growing gig economy where businesses classify their workers as contractors and 2) governments’ need for tax revenues.
Courtesy of United Parachute Technologies
On May 23, the USPA Board of Directors’ Executive Committee voted to allow USPA members to jump with the U.S. round parachute groups that are recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration. USPA members may perform static-line jumps with these groups using the groups’ equipment at their own airport locations, at FAA-approved airshows and demonstrations, and at events in foreign countries governed by those countries’ aviation authorities. USPA specifies that these static-line jumps must be at a minimum altitude of 1,500 feet above ground level.
Skydive Mountaineer held its inaugural weekend May 18-19 at the Maley Field Airport in Shinniston, West Virginia. The new DZ is operating a Cessna 182, taking off from North Central West Virginia Airport in Clarksburg and landing at Maley Field.
Longtime parachute rigging instructor and skydiver Dave DeWolf, D-1046, passed away late in the evening of Wednesday, May 22, at age 86. DeWolf was known to nearly everyone as “Handsome Dave,” and his friends, students and colleagues remember him not only for his extensive knowledge of rigging, but also for his playful personality and sense of humor.
The USPA Board of Directors, with guidance from seasoned mixed formation skydiving competitors, approved changes to the MFS event for the 2019 National Skydiving Championships. Based on competitor feedback from the 2018 Nationals, changes were made to allow for closer synergy between the advanced and open classes, as well as to continue to increase national (and hopefully one day international) participation with the addition of an entry-level intermediate class. MFS is one of the fastest-growing disciplines in skydiving and strives to provide a multi-orientation playing field for all levels of freeflyers.
In recent years, USPA has been aware of the growth of groups using static-lined round parachutes to either reenact World War II-style airborne jumps or simply to experience or relive military-style jumps. For the most part, these groups conduct static-line jumps from about 1,500 feet AGL using round main parachutes, front-mounted reserves and no reserve static lines, automatic activation devices or altimeters. Most but not all of their jumpers do not qualify for a USPA license and would be considered student skydivers. USPA has had no issue whatsoever with these groups doing their jumps at their own locations and at airshows with Federal Aviation Administration approval.
Don Kellner earned USPA 45,000-Jump Wings #1 after making his 45,000th skydive on Saturday, April 20, over Above the Poconos Skydivers, which he and his wife Darlene own, in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. He made the jump in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the first intentional freefall, which Leslie Irvin completed April 28, 1919, in Dayton, Ohio.
USPA ended April with its highest-ever membership—40,620 members! The milestone comes after last October’s high of 40,441 members. USPA reached the 40,000-member mark for the first time ever last summer. These numbers indicate that the sport of skydiving is continuing to grow, as more people not only jump for the first time, but return to pursue the sport as a hobby. USPA anticipates that these numbers will continue to climb throughout the upcoming summer season.