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Public-use Airport Numbers Decline
Gearing Up | November 2018

Public-use Airport Numbers Decline

By Ed Scott

Today, USPA membership stands at 40,512 and continues growing with over a half-million people in the U.S. making their first jumps every year. General aviation, however, is still in a downward arc despite the best efforts of general aviation groups to attract and keep more pilots.

Author: Ed Scott
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Think About Your Vote
Gearing Up | October 2018

Think About Your Vote

by Ed Scott

This is the month for you and other USPA members to select those 22 members who will serve on USPA’s board of directors and determine the association’s direction for the next three years. In this issue of Parachutist, you’ll find the election instructions and a ballot.

Author: Ed Scott
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USPA Makes Donation
Gearing Up | September 2018

USPA Makes Donation

by Ed Scott

 Imagine a place that captures all of our sport’s exciting and dynamic history, where jumpers and non-jumpers alike can see the evolution of skydiving and the many facets of its rich and storied past. That’s the dream of the International Skydiving Museum and Hall of Fame, which the late USPA Executive Director Emeritus William H. Ottley conceived decades ago.

Author: Ed Scott
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USPA Achieves Milestone
Gearing Up | August 2018

USPA Achieves Milestone

by Ed Scott

USPA achieved a milestone—40,000 current members!

Author: Ed Scott
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A Salute To All Instructors
Gearing Up | July 2018

A Salute To All Instructors

by Ed Scott

We all owe deep appreciation and grateful thanks to our current ranks of instructors and coaches for their diligence and professionalism.

Author: Ed Scott
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Board of Directors
Gearing Up | June 2018

Board of Directors

by Ed Scott

This is an election year for USPA, meaning that each of the 22 seats on USPA’s board of directors is up for grabs by any USPA member who is qualified to run. 

Author: Ed Scott
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The Spirit of Giving
Gearing Up | May 2018

The Spirit of Giving

by Ed Scott

Melinda Ray was a 35-year-old wife and mother of three who was suffering from a disease that was quickly destroying her liver. She didn’t score high on the transplant list to qualify for a liver from a deceased donor; she had to find a living donor. She was desperate. 

Author: Ed Scott
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ATC Bill Dies
Gearing Up | April 2018

ATC Bill Dies

by Ed Scott

In future years we will all look back proudly on this time as one where we joined together and successfully preserved the future of this sport we love. 

Author: Ed Scott
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USPA Safety Day
Gearing Up | March 2018

USPA Safety Day

The principal responsibility of the S&TA is to promote safe skydiving.

Author: Ed Scott
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Being Prepared with Life Insurance
Gearing Up | January 2018

Being Prepared with Life Insurance

From the first jump, all skydivers know the value of being prepared. We train, retrain, review the Skydiver’s Information Manual, practice in a hanging harness, perform gear checks before every jump, read incident reports to educate ourselves, seek out experts and take myriad other steps to be as prepared as possible for any skydiving eventuality. Doesn’t it make sense that we should also prepare for other eventualities, even bad skydiving outcomes?

Author: Ed Scott
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Clint Vincent Retires (again)
Gearing Up | December 2017

Clint Vincent Retires (again)

Recent and long-time members alike will know the name of Clint Vincent, one of the association's longest-serving employees. He's actually served two 10-year stints at USPA; the first from 1985 to 1995 and the second between 2007 and 2017. Sadly but deservedly, Clint is retiring from USPA at the end of this year.

Author: Ed Scott
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The Growth of the AAD Fund
Gearing Up | November 2017

The Growth of the AAD Fund

USPA’s Airport Access and Defense Fund started in 1991 with the primary purpose of helping DZs fight governmental decisions that unfairly or illegally interfere with or negate skydiving operations on airports. As it has been from the start, one condition of using the fund is that winning the battle would set national precedent so that other DZs and skydiving in general derive future benefit. The AAD Fund is entirely dependent on donations from skydivers, who give about $20,000 annually. The fund has now grown to just over $344,000. 

Author: Ed Scott
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USPA involvement with Wind Tunnel Industry
Gearing Up | October 2017

USPA involvement with Wind Tunnel Industry

At its July meeting, USPA’s board of directors approved a resolution that, eff ective November 1, USPA “will not use association resources to support the sport of ‘indoor skydiving,’ except to nominate international judges to such IPC [International Parachuting Commission] events as appropriate. USPA will seek to encourage, foster and cooperate with any emerging national governing body for tunnel flying.” As a result, effective next month, USPA is officially out of the wind-tunnel business. 

Author: Ed Scott
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Overdue Dues Increase
Gearing Up | September 2017

Overdue Dues Increase

For eight years, five months and counting, USPA members have enjoyed the longest run ever without a dues increase. That streak will end on January 1, when USPA dues and rating and license fees go up an average of 20 percent. No one on the staff or the board takes such action lightly, and both should be commended for making the 2009 dues change last as long as possible.

Author: Ed Scott
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Threat to our Airspace
Gearing Up | August 2017

Threat to our Airspace

With proposed air-traffic-control privatization, skydiving—and indeed all of general aviation—is facing the gravest threat to its longevity and future than ever before. If the 21st Century AIRR Act, otherwise known as H.R. 2997, goes through the U.S. Congress and the president signs it into law, it would carve the ATC function out of the Federal Aviation Administration and hand it to a new private corporation funded by new aviation user fees.

Author: Ed Scott
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Take a Canopy Course
Gearing Up | July 2017

Take a Canopy Course

More than once in past “Gearing Up” columns, you’ve read me urging jumpers to take a canopy course. Of course, since 2012, USPA requires those who want a B license to take one. But it’s generally conceded that it’s a good idea for all skydivers who haven’t done so yet to go through a canopy course, no matter how many jumps they have. It’s also a good idea to go through a refresher course if your last one was a while ago. After all, the average number of jumps made by those who died last year in landing accidents was 1,840. 

Last weekend, I finally took my own advice. 

Author: Ed Scott
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Article rating: 4.0
Minimum Age to Skydive
Gearing Up | June 2017

Minimum Age to Skydive

In "Five Minute Call," you'll read of the Oklahoma DZ owner whom a court ordered to pay a substantial sum to a 16-year-old injured in 2014 during a static-line first jump. Coincidentally, during that period, USPA's board of directors was once again debating what the Basic Safety Requirements should state as the minimum age to skydive.

Author: Ed Scott
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Article rating: 4.0
ATC Corporate Privatization
Gearing Up | May 2017

ATC Corporate Privatization

The Federal Aviation Administration operates the largest and safest aviation system in the world. How large? Of the 32.9 million air carrier departures worldwide in 2015, the U.S. had the most with 8.7 million. China was a distant second. Of an estimated 370,000 general-aviation aircraft worldwide flying an estimated 35 million flight hours, more than half those aircraft and hours are flown in the U.S.

Author: Ed Scott
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A Jump Story
Gearing Up | April 2017

A Jump Story

Here's a jump story. Or rather, a story about a jump that didn't happen. But first, do you believe that things happen for a reason? Or alternatively, do you believe that a bad outcome can later be viewed as a good outcome?

Author: Ed Scott
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2016 Year in Review
Gearing Up | March 2017

2016 Year in Review

Reflecting on the association’s past year is like digging through your gear bag after a long, hectic skydiving season. The things you expect to see are there, interspersed with surprising items that somehow got thrown in. For USPA, 2016 was just that mixed bag. Let me inventory those items for you.

Author: Ed Scott
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5 Actions to Reduce Your Risk
Gearing Up | February 2017

5 Actions to Reduce Your Risk

This month's "Gearing Up" is written for just 22 of you. If 2017 is an average year in the U.S. accident-wise, some 22 of you won't be around to read this column in next February's Parachutist due to a skydiving accident. Let that sink in: 22 of you reading this will die making your last skydive. Odds are you're licensed (most likely a C or D license), have been skydiving for at least 10 years and have just at or over 1,000 jumps. (Don't think you're off the hook if you're not nearly that experienced, since these are averages; less-experienced skydivers will be among them.) Statistics also tell us that the circumstances of your demise will likely involve a hard landing, a mishandled main-parachute malfunction or a collision.

Author: Ed Scott
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Article rating: 5.0
What Does the Federal Election Mean for USPA?
Gearing Up | January 2017

What Does the Federal Election Mean for USPA?

In 1984, the IRS classified USPA as a 501(c)4 non-profit association. That was based on its finding that USPA’s main purposes “promote the common good and social welfare.” Importantly, 501(c)4 organizations can lobby government officials as long as they meet all lobby registration and lobby reporting rules. And USPA does lobby on behalf of skydiving. What does that mean? Primarily, USPA’s executive director and director of government relations engage in efforts to build relationships with various officials, usually those in the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration but sometimes other federal and state agencies.

Author: Ed Scott
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