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.
It appears to be almost mandatory that the person who announces a jump over the radio must garble the name or location.
I just began my 41st year of skydiving at age 82. I have been current throughout all those years, rarely missing a single month. I once went 34 years and 11 months without a miss until a bicycle crash sidelined me for three months. However, I notice myself becoming more apprehensive every time I drive or fly to the jump center, and I do not know why and wish to stop being that way.
Hannah Betts, D-30022, is a competitive skydiver, instructor and stunt performer who began her jumping career in the U.K. but now lives in California. Betts’ 4-way formation skydiving team—Bodyflight Storm—won the Féderátion Aéronautique Internationale Women’s World Championships and twice won the British Championships, and she was a member of the 181-way team that set the FAI Women’s World Record for Largest Formation Skydive. Skydiving opened the door to a career in Hollywood, where she now does stunt work for TV shows and movies, which have included “NCIS,” “The Walking Dead” and “Antman.”
I have an intense fear of heights. My hands sweat on carnival Ferris wheels, during cliff scenes in movies and in my office (I’m on the 44th floor of a downtown building). Whenever I mention this, people just shake their heads in disbelief and say, “How did you skydive?” My answer is simple: a very persistent friend. And I will always be thankful his persistence paid off.
The National Aeronautic Association updated its process for issuing Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Sporting Licenses, which anyone participating in an FAI World Championship, World Cup or World Record must hold. Applicants must apply for their sporting licenses and pay their fees electronically at naa.aero/membership/membership-application. Processing time is five business days.
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.
At the recent USPA Board of Directors meeting, the board voted to give $25,000 per year for the next six years to a yet-to-be-constructed skydiving museum. I am concerned as to why the board voted for this extraordinary amount of skydivers’ dues to be spent in this manner.
Recently, a well-known drop zone updated its packing pricing schedule as follows:
Square footage of canopy:
100 to 199—$7
200 to 299—$8
B.J. (Bruce Jeffery) Worth, D-3805, is an epic figure in skydiving. He helped develop competitive formation skydiving and went on to become a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Champion; performed parachuting stunts in blockbuster movies (including playing James Bond from 1979-1997); organized the famous Olympic rings skydive in Seoul in 1988; and led World Team, which set multiple FAI World Records (including the standing 400-way record for largest formation). Worth also served as president of the USPA Board and president of the International Parachuting Commission and earned the USPA Lifetime Achievement Award and the FAI Gold Medal for Parachuting, Bronze Medal and Air Sports Centenary Award.
Acrylic on Canvas
Colleen Mondics | A-56684
Wingsuit training is multi-faceted and requires both freedom and flexibility to change with the rapid development of suit design, competition formats and flying styles.
Bill Jones, D-924, is a legendary skydiver, instructor, drop zone owner, innovator and the patriarch of a large skydiving family. Nearly the entire Jones family jumps: six of his children have made their livings from skydiving, and five of the six still do. At age 86—after actively sport jumping for more than 50 years—Jones still has skydiving goals, proving that this is a sport for life.
I was an adrenaline junkie until I had a severe stroke in 2006. Last year, when I heard about a guy who was raising money to take people with disabilities to a wind tunnel, I was very curious. I didn't think that flying in a wind tunnel was possible for someone as immobile as I am, but I contacted him to see what he thought I could do.
Wingsuit flying is complicated and requires a significant amount of training, education, practice and dedication. It isn’t something you can just do a little here and there and still do it well. It deserves respect and your full attention. Your life is on the line, along with the lives of others. A wingsuit skydive presents many opportunities to make fatal errors. And don’t kid yourself about the risks to others: If you mess up in this sport, you can kill someone. It has happened before.
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.
We've learned through the years that repeated exposure to high altitudes without supplemental oxygen is dangerous and harmful to humans.
I certainly hope to see Chas Hines' articles continue, and I encourage every licensed skydiver out there to go take a flying lesson or two, if for no other reason than to appreciate the workload a jump pilot has to endure.
I took my first-jump course in Iowa in 1983. But those were college days, which meant no time or money, so my jumping didn't really take off until the summer of 1986. It was because of skydiving that I met Tim. Tim took his first-jump course in 1987, and we started jumping together.
USPA achieved a milestone—40,000 current members!
Paint and marker
Heather Weter and Karen Figenshau | B-47715 and A-80088
Ozark, Missouri, and St. Louis, Missouri
Bill Wenger, D-3774 and a U.S. Army Golden Knight from 1974-1980, has dedicated much of his life to coaching and developing military skydivers, bringing dozens of teams to the USPA National Collegiate Parachuting Championships. He helped pioneer the 8-way FS discipline and earned numerous medals in FS and accuracy at national and world competitions. His peers describe him as “a great guy,” “humble,” “hard working” and “a great father” (to current Golden Knight Jason Wenger).
Rachel Kennedy | B-46618
Clinton Township, Michigan
I am by no means a skydiver, but skydiving did truly change my life!
After I had a heart-crushing breakup, my friend Jenn told me how she once went skydiving to feel alive again after hitting rock bottom. Completely devastated, I agreed, and we made tandem appointments at Freefall Adventures (now called Skydive Cross Keys) in New Jersey. Little did I know that fate had plans for me.
We all owe deep appreciation and grateful thanks to our current ranks of instructors and coaches for their diligence and professionalism.
(More articles being added every day!)
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