United Parachute Technologies and Sun Path Products are joining forces to co-sponsor the development, training and sale of the Mutant supine harness, which is geared toward highly experienced canopy pilots. This is the first time the direct competitors have worked together to this extent in the sport market.
Firebird, maker of the EVO harness-and-container system, has issued a product service bulletin after a pillow-reserve-ripcord cable separated from the reserve pin during assembly on a newly delivered EVO. Although Firebird says it is confident that this is an isolated incident, the company has taken additional steps to ensure the safety of its users.
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.
Operation Wings of Freedom—an organization to help veterans battle post-traumatic stress disorder through skydiving—launched in January. The group hopes to help eight veterans achieve their A licenses in 2019. Wings of Freedom believes that skydiving can help veterans since it helps build a bond through shared experience, is highly intense and helps to develop powerful skill sets through the sport’s extreme demands.
Fluid Wings began taking orders for its newest wing, the Echo, on February 14. The company produces the canopy, which it aims at intermediate jumpers who are looking for more performance than a basic entry-level wing, in 107-, 120-, 135-, 150- and 170-square-foot models.
On March 8, skydiver and award-winning TV and film composer Kim Planert released his first solo album, “SKYLIGHT: Notes From a Logbook,” featuring the Budapest Scoring Orchestra and vocals by established artists such as Keeley Bumford, Lisbeth Scott and Waterson.
Editors Doug Garr, Michael Kearns, Tim Long and Jan Works recently released “More Skydivers’ Stories: Close Calls and Epic Feats Above Planet Earth,” the sequel to “NSTIWTIWGD” (“No, S***, There I Was, Thought I Was Gonna Die”), a 2015 compendium of scary jump stories written primarily by old-school jumpers and compiled by Long.
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.
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.
United Parachute Technologies recently introduced its Mutant harness-and-container system, which the company designed to maximize performance in canopy flight. In contrast to familiar systems, the Mutant suspends the pilot in the supine position—resting back with the feet stretched forward—which is an efficient flying position resembling a paragliding pilot’s. This position reduces drag, thus allowing for more speed and range, and is also very comfortable, according to UPT.
Anticipation is high for the 2019 British Parachute Association Skydive the Expo after record crowds attended the 2018 event. The event, hosted at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham, U.K., will feature seminars from leading skydiving experts, a large exhibition hall and BPA’s annual awards ceremony, as well as after-hours parties. More information is available at skydivetheexpo.com.
Advanced Aerospace Designs released Public Service Bulletin PSB-02-2018, which requires owners to send all Vigil II automatic activation devices with serial numbers from 16,000 to 21,999 to the manufacturer for inspection. After an AAD malfunctioned, the manufacturer traced the problem to an unreliable electrical connection. The company has inspected 200 units without finding a similar problem but has decided to check all of the affected units as a precaution. The PSB describes the process required for each affected unit. The inspection is mandatory, and owners should complete it at the next reserve repack or by no later than December 31, 2019. The company will also update the software and replace the battery, since the affected units are within two years of a required battery change. More information is available at vigil.aero/service-bulletins.
Stan Shepherd, D-28911, released the book “Skydiving Full Flight” in August. As a memoir of Shepherd’s 50 years of jumping, the book relates his worst mistakes and close calls, as well as the joys of the sport. He describes the lure of skydiving, his experience jumping both round and modern parachutes and his ideas on how to improve the sport. The book is intended for the average fun jumper of any experience level who want to gain from another jumper’s experiences in the sport. The book is available for purchase at Amazon.com at a price of about $7 for the Kindle version or $10.50 for a paperback.
Grace Dobosz, C-47029 and a video editor, founded the Wild Women Film Collective to spread the word about women in skydiving and other extreme sports. The group officially launched during the Chicks Rock Boogie at Skydive Elsinore in California on October 5. The collective announced its upcoming film festival and debuted its first short-film submission—“Moms in Skydiving” by Sophee Hillyard—at the event.
Sunrise Manufacturing International, Inc., maker of the Wings harness and container system, has issued a mandatory service bulletin for rigs equipped with an RSL with Reserve Boost MARD (Main-Assisted Reserve Deployment).
In March, Johannes Bergfors, a videographer and wind tunnel instructor from Sweden, launched a series of videos titled “First Perspective” on the skydiving YouTube channel Fallrates.
In May, the International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame announced the creation of the Path of Excellence Award, an honor it will present to groups, companies or teams that have played a prominent role in the growth and development of the sport.
(More articles being added every day!)
USPA 5401 Southpoint Centre Blvd., Fredericksburg, VA, 22407 (540) 604-9740 M-F 9am-5pm Eastern (540) 604-9741 firstname.lastname@example.org