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Online Rating Renewals Now Available!
Membership Services | July 2019

Online Rating Renewals Now Available!

You asked, we listened! Finally, you can now renew your membership and ratings online at the same time with one payment!

Author: USPA Staff
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Article rating: 2.5
Rating Corner | Clarifying Goals for Early AFF Jumps
The Rating Corner | July 2019

Rating Corner | Clarifying Goals for Early AFF Jumps

By Jen Sharp

As an AFF instructor, it’s important to present clear, measurable, succinct and, of course, correct goals for your students, particularly during this initial phase. Do you know what those goals are?

Author: Jen Sharp
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Ask a Rigger | Pilot-Chute Pouch Inspection
Ask A Rigger | July 2019

Ask a Rigger | Pilot-Chute Pouch Inspection

By Shauna Finley

On containers using a throw-out deployment system, the elastic or nylon spandex (Spandura) bottom-of-container pilot-chute pouch—aka the BOC—is arguably one of the most important and visible components.

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Foundations of flight | Head Position
Foundations of Flight | July 2019

Foundations of flight | Head Position

By Axis Flight School

Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by David Cherry. Information about AXIS’ coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com.

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Don’t Delay, Cut Away!—The Link Between Spinning Malfunctions and Difficult Cutaways
Safety | July 2019

Don’t Delay, Cut Away!—The Link Between Spinning Malfunctions and Difficult Cutaways

By USPA Director of Safety and Training Ron Bell

There have been five skydiving fatalities in the U.S. as of May 15 of this year. Four of those involved spinning malfunctions. To raise awareness of this problem, USPA is initiating an educational campaign: Don’t Delay, Cut Away!

Author: Ron Bell
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Article rating: 1.0
Don’t Delay, Cut Away!—The Five-Second Rule: A Time-Based Approach to Emergencies
Safety | July 2019

Don’t Delay, Cut Away!—The Five-Second Rule: A Time-Based Approach to Emergencies

By Ben Planche Wallace

Skydivers and fighter pilots share a unique characteristic: Both can eject from their aircraft. They also share a common reason for fatal accidents: a delay in the decision to do so. In fact, according to the U.S. Air Force, it’s the single most common cause of fighter pilot fatalities. Similarly, in the past few decades, failure to cut away and pull the reserve ripcord in time has been a major factor in skydiving deaths.

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Responding to a Pilot-Chute-In-Tow Malfunction
Safety & Training |

Responding to a Pilot-Chute-In-Tow Malfunction

If you were to experience a pilot-chute-in-tow malfunction, how would you respond? Now ask yourself, are you confident that your response is correct?

Author: USPA Staff
5 Comments
Article rating: 3.1
Foundations of Flight | Belly to Head-Up Transition
Foundations of Flight | June 2019

Foundations of Flight | Belly to Head-Up Transition

By Axis Flight School

Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by David Cherry. Information about AXIS’ coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com.

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Safety Check | Your Safety and Training Advisor’s Role
Safety Check | June 2019

Safety Check | Your Safety and Training Advisor’s Role

By Ron Bell

Local, state and federal agencies exercise minimal control and supervision over skydiving, recognizing that those most capable of regulating skydiving are those who do it. At the very core of this system is the USPA Safety and Training Advisor, an unpaid volunteer appointed by the USPA Regional Director serving that drop zone.

Author: Ron Bell
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Rating Corner | Incident Reporting is Crucial!
The Rating Corner | June 2019

Rating Corner | Incident Reporting is Crucial!

By Ron Bell

The USPA incident reporting system has been due for a significant overhaul for some time now, and it is getting one. USPA members reported 4,277 reserve rides and 2,147 injuries that required medical care in 2018, but USPA received only 29 incident reports. Sit back for a moment and imagine the lessons lost to the skydiving community when all it would have taken is for each of those jumpers to have spent 10 minutes filling out a short report.

Author: Ron Bell
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The Front office | What is Density Altitude and How Do We Derive It?
The Front Office | June 2019

The Front office | What is Density Altitude and How Do We Derive It?

By Chas Hines

Density altitude, to put it blandly, is pressure altitude corrected for non-standard temperature. What that means in English is that the air is the equivalent density (thickness) that you would find at x-thousand feet on an average day. So, if you are at a sea-level DZ with a density altitude of 4,000 feet, it will feel as if you are actually at an elevation of 4,000 feet.

Author: Chas Hines
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Featured Training Photo
Safety & Training Featured Photo | May 2019

Featured Training Photo

Photo by Ioannis Vlachiotis | D-31871

Instructors Anastasis Sideris and Dimitris Sourlis exit with a Category C AFF student at Skydive Athens in Kopaida, Greece.

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Keep an Eye Out
Keep An Eye Out | May 2019

Keep an Eye Out

Difficulty Cutting Away from Spinning Malfunctions

Recently, USPA has received several reports of jumpers who experienced a difficult time shearing the Velcro of their cutaway handles during spinning, high-speed, line-twist malfunctions. During these types of malfunctions, the risers are crossed and the main lift web is forced tightly against the torso, making it more critical than ever to perform the proper cutaway technique.

Author: USPA Staff
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Article rating: 3.6
Rating Corner | What is Designated AFF Evaluator? A True-or-False Quiz
The Rating Corner | May 2019

Rating Corner | What is Designated AFF Evaluator? A True-or-False Quiz

There are plenty of misconceptions about designated evaluators, those jumpers who assist AFF instructor examiners by performing currency and course evaluation jumps. Quiz yourself to see how your understanding stacks up to reality.

Author: Jen Sharp
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Safety Check | Cognitive Tunneling
Safety Check | May 2019

Safety Check | Cognitive Tunneling

By Ron Bell

Cognitive tunneling, which often manifests itself as target fixation in skydiving, is one of the principal causes of accidents that involve human error. Cognitive tunneling is the mental state in which your brain focuses on one thing and, as a result, does not see other relevant data. This perceptual blindness causes our attention to overlook even the most obvious clues to problems that are right in front of us. Metaphorically, a mind’s focus can be either like a floodlight that dimly illuminates a large area or like a spotlight that provides intense clarity on a single subject.

Author: Ron Bell
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Ask a Rigger
Ask A Rigger | May 2019

Ask a Rigger

What is the Difference Between a Senior and a Master Rigger, and What’s a DPRE?

The term “rigger” comes from sailing. According to the Federal Aviation Administration Parachute Rigger Handbook, the only place clean enough and big enough for riggers to work on parachutes in the early days was upstairs in an aircraft hangar, hence the term “rigging loft.”

Author: Kevin Gibson
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Foundations of Flight | Vertical Compressed Exit (Mixed Formation Skydiving Random C)
Foundations of Flight | May 2019

Foundations of Flight | Vertical Compressed Exit (Mixed Formation Skydiving Random C)

By Axis Flight School

Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by David Cherry. Information about AXIS’ coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com.

0 Comments
Article rating: 3.0
Featured Training Photo
Safety & Training Featured Photo | April 2019

Featured Training Photo

Photo by Krystle Wright for Red Bull

During a USPA Tandem Instructor Rating Course during the Red Bull Fly Girls event at Skydive DeLand in Florida, rating candidate Katie Hansen and a faux student perform a mock exit.

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Rating Corner | Recent Changes
The Rating Corner | April 2019

Rating Corner | Recent Changes

By Ron Bell

Several changes that came out of the February 1-3 USPA Board meeting in Dallas, Texas, affect USPA rating holders.

Author: Ron Bell
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The Front Office | Weather Sources
The Front Office | April 2019

The Front Office | Weather Sources

By Chas HInes

“The Front Office” answers questions about jump pilots and piloting. You’ll learn what pilots do behind the scenes to make your favorite time of week happen, and you’ll get a one-of-a-kind view from the one seat in the airplane you never get to be in.

Author: Chas Hines
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Safety Check | Spinning Line Twists
Safety Check | April 2019

Safety Check | Spinning Line Twists

By Jim Crouch

The Rolling Stones sang a popular song titled “Time is on My Side.” Obviously, Mick Jagger never had a high-speed malfunction. After receiving a letter from a concerned skydiver who witnessed an incident resulting from a low cutaway, the Safety and Training Committee discussed the hazards of one high-speed malfunction—spinning line twists—during the February 1-3 USPA Board meeting in Dallas, Texas.

Author: Jim Crouch
1 Comments
Article rating: 2.8
Foundations of Flight | Angle Flying—Head First on Belly
Foundations of Flight | April 2019

Foundations of Flight | Angle Flying—Head First on Belly

By Axis Flight School

Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by David Cherry. Information about AXIS’ coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com.

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Featured Training Photo
Safety & Training Featured Photo | March 2019

Featured Training Photo

Photo by Luke Aikins | D-21189

Safety and Training Advisor Keri Bell points out the signatures of the 59 A-license holders that Skydive Kapowsin in Shelton, Washington, trained in 2018.

Author: Luke Aikins
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Safety Check | 2018 Compliance Group Actions
Safety Check | March 2019

Safety Check | 2018 Compliance Group Actions

USPA Staff

In the interest of safety, USPA formed a Compliance Group to investigate allegations against members of USPA. Although the Compliance Group focuses its efforts on retraining and education rather than penalties, it will suspend or revoke memberships or ratings if its investigations show that such actions are warranted. In 2018, the USPA Compliance Group conducted 21 investigations into allegations against members of USPA, 14 of which resulted in disciplinary actions.

Author: USPA Staff
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Keep an Eye Out | The Twisted Truth
Keep An Eye Out | March 2019

Keep an Eye Out | The Twisted Truth

Jumpers blame the occurrence of twisted steering lines on everything from how they collapsed their canopies to the Coriolis effect. But no matter how they occur, if left unattended, they can lead to problems. It does not take many twists before lines start wearing unevenly.

Author: USPA Staff
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Rating Corner | Who Does What?
The Rating Corner | March 2019

Rating Corner | Who Does What?

By Jen Sharp

How do the best competitors in our sport reach success? Teamwork: individuals combining efforts to achieve a common purpose. Teamwork works best when each member understands their part in the whole. So, in the case of skydiving instruction, who does what?

Author: Jen Sharp
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Foundations of Flight | Back-Fly Side-Slides
Foundations of Flight | March 2019

Foundations of Flight | Back-Fly Side-Slides

By Axis Flight School

Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by David Cherry. Information about AXIS’ coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com.

0 Comments
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Ask a Rigger | Swapping Components
Ask A Rigger | March 2019

Ask a Rigger | Swapping Components

By Ron Bell

Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger D.J. Styles instantly knew there was something wrong with a new customer’s cutaway cables when reinstalling them after a routine reserve inspection and repack of a rig the customer had purchased used less than a year earlier. Styles routinely measures cables for new customers, as well as anytime he replaces a lost handle, but this time the cutaway cables were several inches longer than the manufacturer’s specifications, and it was apparent there was a problem even without measuring.

Author: Ron Bell
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Safety Check | Skydiving in a Bubble
Safety Check | February 2019

Safety Check | Skydiving in a Bubble

By Dave Mazik

Skydivers all belong to a big mixed family. What was once a niche group has developed into a large, interconnected community. Despite this large network, there are small pockets within our sport that have become isolated. It’s within these small, isolated pockets that bad habits traditionally flourish.

Author: Dave Mazik
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Rating Corner | Steps for Promoting Safety
The Rating Corner | February 2019

Rating Corner | Steps for Promoting Safety

By Ron Bell

In the real world of skydiving, people who are coaches, instructors and role models have their own personal experiences, training backgrounds and motivations. Achieving common safety objectives and targets instead of operating as a group of individuals without a common purpose requires an interactive process. Using a Plan–Do–Check–Act process can provide the structure and commonality needed to get everyone on the same page and working together. Like a circle that has no end, the PDCA cycle requires repetition for continuous improvement. When using PDCA for safety initiatives, you, the instructional rating holder, have a crucial part to play.

Author: Ron Bell
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