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.
There was something noticeably different about the December 27-January 1 Invasion boogie at Skydive Sebastian in Florida this year: the weather! It was phenomenal. With temperatures in the 80s, it was easy to forget it was the middle of winter. Of course, it wouldn’t be Sebastian if there wasn’t at least one minor cloud hold, but the weather gods got that out of the way on the morning of the first day. And the organizers made the most of the short hold by providing seminars in the packing area.
On December 30, three Kuwaiti Army officers and USPA members, Salem Almail, Nasser Alsabah and Fahad Alyaqoub, set the Guinness World Record for Largest Flag Flown in Freefall with a 63-square-meter (approximately 678-square-foot) flag at USPA Foreign Affiliate Skydive Qatar in Al Khor, United Arab Emirates.
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.
Jumpers (clockwise from top left) Eric Bjorn, Mark Dorminey, Alan Stephenson, Trixie Stephenson, Nuno Merino and J.D. Colley successfully launch a 6-way chunk out of a PAC 750XL over Skydive Tennessee in Tullahoma.
In 2017, when USPA made it clear that indoor skydiving was outside its mandate, it created a vacuum in the world of air sports. The International Bodyflight Association assumed some of the responsibilities for the sport on a temporary basis but didn’t want to assume the mantle in the long run. From this vacuum, U.S. Indoor Skydiving emerged as the new National Aeronautic Association-designated Air Sport Organization that will support the sport in the U.S.
PRO-rated skydiver Mary Tortomasi of Bodyflyers.com recently organized a PRO-rating course at Skydive Elsinore, where seven participants had the privilege to learn from two of the most experienced demonstration jumpers in the world: Jim Wallace of 21st Century Skydiving and Rich Piccirilli of Just in Time Skydivers.
Jumpers had a lot to be thankful for at Skydive Arizona in Eloy over the course of the Thanksgiving Boogie. The weather was perfect, and participants were able to jump from sunrise to sunset.
Veterans Day is a time to thank those who have served our country through military service. So, on a brisk, sunny Veterans Day weekend in November at Skydive Arizona in Eloy, Team Elite and Arizona Airspeed joined forces for an invitational 42-way sequential skydiving event that paid tribute to those who have risked life and limb for their country. Organizers Niklas Hemlin and Guy Wright and skydivers from all over the world enjoyed early morning takeoffs, great vibes and extra altitude to accomplish their celebratory jumps.
Photo by Juan Mayer|D-26130
Rashid Abdullah and Michael Sean Washburn of the SkyTrash wingsuit team train at the Skydive Dubai Desert Campus in the United Arab Emirates.
How safe is skydiving? Very safe? Somewhat safe? Not safe at all? Safety experts will say that the question really is, “What is skydiving’s level of safety?” or in other words, “What is the level of risk?” Even then, we must focus the question more to ask, “Risk of what? Death? Injury?”
Ari Perelman, D-27247, is a world-class formation skydiving competitor, coach and organizer. He is a current member of Arizona Airspeed, which recently took silver in 4-way FS at the 2018 Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Parachuting Championships in Australia. Also skilled in vertical flying, Perelman has competed in vertical and mixed formation skydiving and was on the 138-way FAI Head-Down World Record in 2012.
“Every man dies, but not every man really lives,” is a quote from the movie “Braveheart” but could easily apply to the group of friends I have been honored to know and perform with in this perhaps strange but compellingly thrilling sport.
December 8 dawned chilly and gray at Skydive Spaceland–San Marcos in Fentress, Texas, the newest location in the Spaceland family of drop zones. Twenty-two jumpers gathered for a weekend of fun and challenging formation skydives deep in the heart of Texas. (Yes, where the stars at night are big and bright.) Led by caffeine-fueled organizers Scott Latinis and Mark Pharr, the participants were ready for some awesome skydives! DZ Manager Thomas Hughes gave a speech welcoming everyone to Spaceland San Marcos, and the jumpers excitedly prepared for the first jump.
(More articles being added every day!)
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