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.
You’ve often read in these pages that one of USPA’s main roles is to safeguard skydiving’s rightful place in airspace and on airports. Federal Aviation Administration policy has long recognized skydiving as a regulated aeronautical activity within the nation’s airspace and on the 3,000-plus U.S. airports that have accepted FAA funds for improvements. Those federal airport dollars come with the stipulation that the airport must fairly accommodate all types of aeronautical activity, including skydiving.
Photo by Bruno Brokken |USPA #96017
At Skydive Sebastian in Florida, the CF World Team sets the 36-way Féderátion Aéronautique Internationale World Record for Largest Canopy Formation Skydive at Night.
“100 Years of Freefall”
Stayesh Moghaddami Zamani | Age 15
I read your editor’s note in the March Parachutist (“Letters—Helmet Effectiveness”) about there being no standards for skydiving helmets and feel the need to make an observation. Surely, where an organization does not have knowledge about something, then usually it looks around to find someone who does.
I have been a USPA member since 1969. This month’s cover is the most dramatic photo I’ve seen. I did a double take when I pulled the magazine from my mailbox. Well done to stuntman Eric Salas!
That’s an awesome cover photo (March Parachutist) of Eric Salas’ flaming canopy! Really gets your attention. But I was calmed and reassured when I saw your full-page ad “Safety Day is March 9” on the very next page. Does this mean you no longer recommend things such as smoking while jumping? (Didn’t we tell you not to carry lithium batteries in flight? But carry a fire extinguisher at all times. And no flare guns allowed when competing with other stacks.)
There’s nothing like the bonds soldiers forge during their service to our nation. Perhaps the hardest thing in civilian life is separation from that brotherhood. It leaves a hole. I think every veteran feels that. But when a veteran battles post-traumatic stress disorder, the feeling is even stronger. It’s like nobody but your buddies understand, and they ain’t there.
Jim McCormick, D-12379, is a big-way and demo skydiver who has earned 15 world records (including the 400-way Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Record for Largest Formation Skydive) and jumped over the North Pole.
At Skydive Paraclete XP in Raeford, North Carolina, (clockwise from left) organizer Ashley Goldstein, Silas Davis, Ty Swansboro and Courtney McCarthy make a freefly jump.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which provided women and men with equal voting rights) and the global women’s suffrage movement that swept across the world in the early 1900s, the Women’s Skydiving Network (formerly the Women’s Skydiving Leadership Network) is launching Project 19. The project is a four-stage plan that will culminate in the 100-way women’s head-down world record attempts at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, in the summer of 2020.
Body Fly University in Reggio Emilia, Italy, hosted a high-performance-canopy-flight camp March 2-3. Mario Fattoruso, a member of the Performance Design Factory Team and multi-time Italian national champion canopy pilot, taught the course. The drop zone believes that the camp—which was very popular with attendees—was the first high-performance camp of its kind in the country.
March 15-17 was a memorable weekend at Skydive Arizona in Eloy, as the Rookie Round-Up brought novice skydivers from around the country to learn from local professional teams. Members of formation skydiving team Arizona Airspeed, freestyle team AZ Dream and vertical formation skydiving teams Arizona Anthem and Arizona X-Force provided coaching in the sky, as well as the onsite SkyVenture wind tunnel. On Saturday, the rookies had lunch in one of the DZ’s Skyvans as the chief pilot discussed safety precautions and taught them how to open the door of the tailgate aircraft.
The International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame Board of Trustees gives its Trustees’ Award to thank those who contribute services or make other gestures of goodwill to the museum. The board of trustees recently chose Doug Garr, D-2791, to receive this award.
Michael Sean Washburn and Reza Moradi of the Skytrash wingsuit team make a jump at the Skydive Dubai Desert Campus in the United Arab Emirates.
Actor Wade Williams, best known for his role as prison guard Brad Bellick on the TV series “Prison Break,” makes a tandem skydive with instructor Ryan Clough and jumpers Ryan Mari and Eric Salas at the Fitz Boogie in Fitzgerald, Georgia.
Skydiver James Bauer recently introduced Pack Monkey, a tool to help jumpers put their canopies in deployments bags easily. The tool is designed to help those who have slippery canopies, small hands or just want to pack more quickly. Pack Monkey is designed for canopy sizes from 120 to 250 square feet but can also work on larger or smaller canopies. A video of how the product works and ordering information are available at packmonkeydesigns.com. It retails for $35.
The British Parachute Association recently appointed Angel Fernandez to the new staff position of communications manager. Fernandez, who began skydiving in 2017, has more than 20 years of communications and marketing experience in a variety of industries.
Steve Woodford (maroon rig) celebrates his 1,000th skydive since having a liver transplant by building a “1,000 L” formation (complete with comma) with friends at Skydive Arizona in Eloy.
Instructors Anastasis Sideris and Dimitris Sourlis exit with a Category C AFF student at Skydive Athens in Kopaida, Greece.
Recently, USPA has received several reports of jumpers who experienced a difficult time shearing the Velcro of their cutaway handles during spinning, high-speed, line-twist malfunctions. During these types of malfunctions, the risers are crossed and the main lift web is forced tightly against the torso, making it more critical than ever to perform the proper cutaway technique.
There are plenty of misconceptions about designated evaluators, those jumpers who assist AFF instructor examiners by performing currency and course evaluation jumps. Quiz yourself to see how your understanding stacks up to reality.
Cognitive tunneling, which often manifests itself as target fixation in skydiving, is one of the principal causes of accidents that involve human error. Cognitive tunneling is the mental state in which your brain focuses on one thing and, as a result, does not see other relevant data. This perceptual blindness causes our attention to overlook even the most obvious clues to problems that are right in front of us. Metaphorically, a mind’s focus can be either like a floodlight that dimly illuminates a large area or like a spotlight that provides intense clarity on a single subject.
The term “rigger” comes from sailing. According to the Federal Aviation Administration Parachute Rigger Handbook, the only place clean enough and big enough for riggers to work on parachutes in the early days was upstairs in an aircraft hangar, hence the term “rigging loft.”
Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by David Cherry. Information about AXIS’ coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com.
(More articles being added every day!)
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