“Watching My Opening”
Heather Weter | B-47715
Hats off to Jim Crouch’s article “A Record Low—the 2018 Fatality Summary” (April Parachutist). Crouch’s article points out the significance of the fatality index rate being at its lowest ever in our sport: one in 254,000 jumps (or 0.39 per 100,000 jumps).
I don’t understand why you’re reversing the standard aviation placement of numerator and denominator, and I would urge you to adopt that standard.
Your appeal for us to share our [malfunction or accident] stories with a larger audience (“Gearing Up” by Executive Director Ed Scott, April Parachutist) not only resonates, it makes sense.
I have always made a point to get a DZ safety briefing about local hazards like power lines, highways, water hazards and irritable farmers whenever going to a new place
I was a late starter when it came to skydiving. I began at age 37 in 1969 when several of my firefighter buddies and I were watching our 10-inch black-and-white TV in the station and saw a program about skydiving at Skylark Airport in Lake Elsinore, California. “What the heck,” we said.
After college I wound up in an unhealthy relationship. I was depressed and needed to do something about it. One of my coworkers, Ray, had recently started skydiving and was always encouraging people to come to the Ranch in Gardiner, New York, to try it. I was pretty desperate, so I figured, “What the hell?”
Rich Grimm, D-18890, started skydiving in 1980. He has been a competitor and a DZO, but he’s best known for being the creator, facilitator and organizer of epic international boogies in exotic locations.
The National Aeronautic Association selected the four-point 42-way head-down world record as one of its most memorable aviation records of 2018. The skydivers set the record on June 30 over Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, surpassing the previous record of 33 set in 2014.
Ink and pencil, based on a photo by Jen Mackinnon
I’m guessing that most readers were impressed by the flaming canopy on the cover of the March Parachutist, but I’m not one of them. It’s hard for me to believe that you’d sanction this kind of lunacy, especially on the cover of the Safety Day issue! But hey, that’s just me.
While reading the March magazine, I noticed that the Collegiates will no longer include classic accuracy. It’s a passing. It made me recall when, a few years ago, the U.S. Army Parachute Team leadership got out of classic. I also remembered when those APT guys set all kinds of accuracy records. At least classic is still pretty strong in Europe.
Today’s fast-paced communication has changed the way we view our world and ourselves. To receive a million views or thousands of followers or thousands of likes seems to be a top priority. And people need to come up with original ideas faster than ever to stay ahead of the pack. But what happens when these ideas or stunts break the law or violate safety policies or jeopardize our sport?
Thank you, Ed Scott, for your “Gearing Up” in April’s Parachutist. We need to report our incidents so we can understand potential problems and deal with them early. Our personal influence on safety can have an overall impact of reducing injuries in the sport. It isn’t the rules; it’s the behaviors. With the fatality rate being less than 1 per 100,000, we need to focus on near misses. Incident reporting increases our opportunity to get ahead of our injuries and fatalities.
In February, I survived a low-altitude canopy collision with another parachutist while skydiving at a busy drop zone in Southern California. We wrapped and came spinning down to crash land on an RV supply parts warehouse. I punched a hole through the roof and was knocked unconscious, yet miraculously, the worst injury I suffered was a badly broken wrist. The other jumper hit a second or two after me and broke two ribs.
Ever since I was young, I’ve been the adventurous type. I constantly seek new experiences and never let “no” get in the way. I’ve never had the mentality of letting life come to me; I’ve always chased it. I’d see something I wanted to try and go after it, whether it be acting in movies (I was in two), doing stand-up comedy or excelling in my career.
John Mitchell, D-6462, started skydiving in 1974 and has been a positive presence in the sport since the first day he set foot on a DZ. He is a longtime AFF, static-line and tandem instructor and a weekend fun jumper who is always willing to jump with others, regardless of skill or experience.
“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.
If your words could save a skydiver from injury or worse, would you speak up? Of course you would. In fact, such conversations probably happen every day at DZs everywhere. Whether such discussions occur after a gear check, when reviewing a dive plan or while discussing jump run or winds or a landing pattern, sharing knowledge and correcting misconceptions are a vital part of safe skydiving.
“100 Years of Freefall”
Brian Hernandez | USPA # 322723
Lake Elsinore, California
We all know how rigid most organizations and corporations are. Although they say, “We value your feedback,” individual comments rarely go anywhere, and a satisfaction rating just gets tossed into an average for some corporate board meeting. Recently, I wanted to see how USPA reacted to feedback and if it would even change something based on it.
(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