“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.
The January issue of Parachutist made a big deal about celebrating 100 years of freefall skydiving and Leslie Irvin’s key role in it. I’m not saying he didn’t play a key role, but a recent article in AOPA Pilot and a letter to the editor in its February issue by Bruce Smith, grandson of James Floyd Smith, suggests there is more to the story.
I am very concerned about the conclusions stated in “Incident Reports” in the February issue of Parachutist. Although I agree that nobody should skydive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, I find it concerning that so much of the conclusion was dedicated to the issue of the THC content in the jumper’s body when the death was officially ruled a suicide.
I was sitting in my easy chair after work watching the local news when I saw an alert on the screen reporting a small plane crash at a local airport. My two business partners, who were brothers, had planned to pilot a small plane to pick up a customer that afternoon, so I was immediately concerned. Later that night, I learned that it was their plane that crashed and that they both had been killed.
Brent Findlay is a laid-back Kiwi who started skydiving in 1982. Since then, he’s become an iconic member of the New Zealand skydiving scene. He met his wife skydiving and raised a family around the sport. (His son, Dale, is also a skydiver.) Today, Findlay is an active formation skydiver who continues to set records, the most recent the 2018 New Zealand Competition Record for Most Points on a 4-Way Formation Skydive. By all accounts, Findlay is just getting better with age!
On Saturday, January 26, California DZs Skydive Elsinore and Skydive San Diego held a friendly competition revolving around the Bob Buquor Memorial Star Crest Awards. Jumpers earn an SCR—an award conceived of by Bill Newell in 1965—by participating in a star (aka round) formation consisting of eight or more jumpers.
The USPA Membership Services Committee is currently seeking nominations for three of its service awards: the Lifetime Achievement Award (a maximum of one recipient annually), the Gold Medal for Meritorious Service (up to three recipients annually) and the Regional Achievement Award (up to five recipients annually).
Thank you so much for publishing “We’re Not Here for Tandems” (by Annette O’Neil, February Parachutist). That title alone was eye-opening and impactful. I am proud to see that our organization takes racial (and other discriminatory) issues seriously and is active in working to combat racial bias in our sport. I am a white guy with a black son, and I hope my son grows up to be a skydiver and can be part of Team Blackstar.
Recently, USPA began to make changes to its data policies, due in large part to a law—the General Data Protection Rule—passed by the European Union in 2017. Effective last May, the law required organizations worldwide to take steps to safeguard the personal data of the citizens and residents of the 28 EU countries. Moreover, the law mandates that individuals have control over how, when and if organizations share their personal data. Violations can result in large fines. Personal data is defined as any data that can uniquely identify an individual … such as a membership or license number.
Logging three jumps before my senior year in high school probably did more for my general outlook and wellbeing than anything else. I’m not saying that jumping was the only thing that got me to think more positively about my future, but it certainly was one of the things that helped me to plan ahead and be more prepared for the next day and then the day after that.
Katie Hansen, D-29694, is a badass skydiver who can pretty much do it all. She can carve up the sky in freefall, in a wingsuit and under canopy. She’s an AFF and tandem instructor, holds a PRO rating and is a world-record holder in head-up and head-down flying. And when she isn’t in the sky, she is helping society as a registered nurse.
The following statement in “Incident Reports” in the January 2019 Parachutist stood out to me: "The vast majority of helmets used for skydiving offer very limited head protection." The report further stated that severe trauma is very likely even when wearing a helmet in certain collisions.
Acrylic on canvas
Josey Jones | B-48775
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.
(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 email@example.com