Johann Kruger, Rashid Abdullah and Darren Burke fly their wingsuits at the Skydive Dubai Desert Campus in the United Arab Emirates.
On January 2, Yvette Walter, D-22592, received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service for her exceptionally meritorious service to the Department of Defense and the U.S. Special Operations Command Demonstration Parachute Team, the Para-Commandos. Walter received the presentation, made on behalf of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for her immeasurable contributions over 12 years as parachute coach, media coordinator and team photographer for the Para-Commandos and for enhancing their mission as ambassadors for USSOCOM.
Jump for the Rose donated a record-shattering $70,000 to The Rose—a breast-cancer facility that provides healthcare to insured and uninsured men and women—at The Rose’s Christmas party on December 12 in Houston, Texas. Since 2010, Jump for the Rose has raised more than $230,000 for the facility.
The temperature was chilly but hearts were warm as women from the Parachutists Over Phorty Society met on December 22 to set records during the Skydive Arizona Christmas Boogie in Eloy. During the one-day event, the women set numerous POPS records, including the Tiny Broadwick Memorial POPS World Record for Largest Five-Point Formation Skydive with a 12-way.
Gian Franco Malinconi Reyes kneels down to greet his loyal companion, Frankie, in the landing area after a jump.
With the support of Larsen & Brusgaard, event organizers Amy Benton and Chazi Blacksher of the Working Girls brought together a party of 85 jumpers to learn and laugh at Camp Yahawannafly (yeah-I-want-to-fly), a Sisters in Skydiving event at Skydive Arizona in Eloy January 25-27. They kicked off the event with an evening huck jam at the SkyVenture Arizona wind tunnel on Thursday, the day before official check-in.
One of the classic forms of formation skydiving competition is experiencing renewed popularity. Ten-way speed—in which 10 jumpers work to build a formation in the shortest time—is making a comeback. The DC-3 10-Way Speed Money Meet, hosted by Skydive Arizona in Eloy during the last weekend in December, is an indication of the new energy surrounding the discipline.
There was something noticeably different about the December 27-January 1 Invasion boogie at Skydive Sebastian in Florida this year: the weather! It was phenomenal. With temperatures in the 80s, it was easy to forget it was the middle of winter. Of course, it wouldn’t be Sebastian if there wasn’t at least one minor cloud hold, but the weather gods got that out of the way on the morning of the first day. And the organizers made the most of the short hold by providing seminars in the packing area.
On December 30, three Kuwaiti Army officers and USPA members, Salem Almail, Nasser Alsabah and Fahad Alyaqoub, set the Guinness World Record for Largest Flag Flown in Freefall with a 63-square-meter (approximately 678-square-foot) flag at USPA Foreign Affiliate Skydive Qatar in Al Khor, United Arab Emirates.
In February, AXIS Flight School introduced the ChronoPrism stopwatch tool for use on computers and mobile devices. This tool provides a new and creative way for formation skydiving, vertical formation skydiving and mixed formation skydiving teams to visualize their performances and streamline the analysis of training and competition jumps. ChronoPrism generates a performance analysis that tracks data including a jump’s pace; points scored; penalties incurred; and best, worst, average and median times per point transition.
Apollo Brands CEO Troy Widgery, who founded the successful Go Fast energy drink brand, recently introduced Fly Gum, a spearmint gum with a liquid caffeinated core. The gum is aimed at skydivers, pilots and travelers who are looking for a portable, fast energy source. Fly Gum retails for about $5 for a five-piece pack and is available at airports, gear stores and online at flyenergygum.com.
On January 1, the Parachutists Over Phorty Society launched an updated version of its U.S. website at pops-usa.com (which jumpers can also access by clicking on the American flag at thepops.org). The organization is going green, and members can now correspond with POPS and access all forms and applications online.
Sigma, the company USPA uses to provide digital credentials (such as the USPA membership card), is in the process of integrating with Burble, a manifest program used by 130 drop zones worldwide. The integration will allow skydivers to grant access to DZs that use Burble to view their merits on Sigma (including USPA credentials). The drop zone will then instantly see verified, auto-updated information—including a record of currency—as a member checks in, which should make check-in times shorter and manifesting more efficient.
Bradley Meyer prepares to make a hot-air balloon jump over Skydive Arizona in Eloy just before the DZ’s annual Christmas Boogie.
Jumpers (clockwise from top left) Eric Bjorn, Mark Dorminey, Alan Stephenson, Trixie Stephenson, Nuno Merino and J.D. Colley successfully launch a 6-way chunk out of a PAC 750XL over Skydive Tennessee in Tullahoma.
In 2017, when USPA made it clear that indoor skydiving was outside its mandate, it created a vacuum in the world of air sports. The International Bodyflight Association assumed some of the responsibilities for the sport on a temporary basis but didn’t want to assume the mantle in the long run. From this vacuum, U.S. Indoor Skydiving emerged as the new National Aeronautic Association-designated Air Sport Organization that will support the sport in the U.S.
PRO-rated skydiver Mary Tortomasi of Bodyflyers.com recently organized a PRO-rating course at Skydive Elsinore, where seven participants had the privilege to learn from two of the most experienced demonstration jumpers in the world: Jim Wallace of 21st Century Skydiving and Rich Piccirilli of Just in Time Skydivers.
Jumpers had a lot to be thankful for at Skydive Arizona in Eloy over the course of the Thanksgiving Boogie. The weather was perfect, and participants were able to jump from sunrise to sunset.
Veterans Day is a time to thank those who have served our country through military service. So, on a brisk, sunny Veterans Day weekend in November at Skydive Arizona in Eloy, Team Elite and Arizona Airspeed joined forces for an invitational 42-way sequential skydiving event that paid tribute to those who have risked life and limb for their country. Organizers Niklas Hemlin and Guy Wright and skydivers from all over the world enjoyed early morning takeoffs, great vibes and extra altitude to accomplish their celebratory jumps.
Photo by Juan Mayer|D-26130
Rashid Abdullah and Michael Sean Washburn of the SkyTrash wingsuit team train at the Skydive Dubai Desert Campus in the United Arab Emirates.
December 8 dawned chilly and gray at Skydive Spaceland–San Marcos in Fentress, Texas, the newest location in the Spaceland family of drop zones. Twenty-two jumpers gathered for a weekend of fun and challenging formation skydives deep in the heart of Texas. (Yes, where the stars at night are big and bright.) Led by caffeine-fueled organizers Scott Latinis and Mark Pharr, the participants were ready for some awesome skydives! DZ Manager Thomas Hughes gave a speech welcoming everyone to Spaceland San Marcos, and the jumpers excitedly prepared for the first jump.
In December 2017, Luther Kurtz, DZO of the Phoenix Skydive Center, prevailed in his Federal Aviation Administration Part 16 formal complaint against the City of Casa Grande, Arizona. Kurtz alleged that the city’s denial of access to his skydiving business was discriminatory and thus violated the city’s FAA grant obligation to accommodate all types of aeronautical activities.
Corrections from the January 2019 issue of Parachutist.
On November 4, Sharon Har-Noy Pilcher and Luis Prinetto, longtime organizers and coaches with years of experience organizing movement jumps, held a Leading Workshop at Skydive DeLand in Florida. The program gave attendees the tools to make informed decisions when leading and participating in any type of jump in which the jumpers fly away from a single column of air. These include tracking and angle jumps, as well as wingsuit skydives.
All USPA Group Memberships expire March 31. U.S. drop zones that have not already submitted renewal applications should do so as soon as possible. After March 31, USPA will remove any non-renewing Group Member’s listing from Parachutist and the USPA website. If a DZ renews after membership has lapsed, it may take several months for the listing to reappear in the magazine due to publication deadlines and print cycles. USPA mailed renewal packets to Group Members in mid-January. DZs that have not yet received a packet should contact the Group Membership department at email@example.com as soon as possible.
The Parachute Industry Association recently announced that it established a new award, the PIA Mentor Award, to recognize people in the parachute industry who have contributed to the knowledge and skill sets of others in a classroom environment, through seminars or by performing on-the-job or individual training. The PIA Awards Committee will approve up to 10 recipients per year for the award. Recipients may receive the award—an engraved medallion in a presentation box— at any skydiving or parachute industry event from any PIA member in good standing. Those interested in nominating a mentor for this award can find the nomination form and additional information about the award at pia.com in the Standard Operating Procedures document in the Public Documents tab.
Two memoirs—“D.B. Cooper & Me: A Criminal, A Spy, My Best Friend” by Carl Laurin and “Getting the Truth: I Am D.B. Cooper” by Joe Koenig—and the documentary film “D.B. Cooper: The Real Story” assert that military parachutist and convicted criminal Walter Reca, who died in 2014, was the 1971 hijacker known as D.B. Cooper.
Formation skydiving team SDC Rhythm XP recently launched a new 4-way FS app, Rhythm Skydiving 401, for iPhone and Android operating systems. The comprehensive tool is suitable for novices, as well as the hardcore 4-way FS junkie.
After deciding to retire from the sport, Andy Tuman (blue jumpsuit, purple grippers) makes his farewell skydive with friends at Skydive the Ranch in Gardiner, New York.
Photo by Laszlo Andacs | D-22468
(More articles being added every day!)
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