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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
While performing a routine gear check on another jumper, the inspecting jumper noticed that the reserve-static-line lanyard was tucked between the jumper’s shoulder and harness. This improper stowing could have caused the lanyard to snag, risking an unintentional reserve deployment.
Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by Brianne Thompson. Information about AXIS’ coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com.
A jumper experienced broken suspension lines on his new main parachute that required him to cut away and deploy his reserve. Later, when investigators inspected the main parachute, they determined that tension knots, which most likely developed in the jumper’s semi-stowless deployment bag, caused one line to saw through the other lines. Jumpers must carefully fold suspension lines into the pouch of a semi-stowless bag to allow the lines to pull free in an orderly manner.
Four hundred and forty-nine. That’s a small number by some standards and a large one by others. To me, it is a much larger number than it should be. This is the number of civilian skydiving fatalities recorded in the United States during the 18 years and three months that I was the director of safety and training for USPA. Each one was a tragedy, with friends and family left in shock as they picked up the pieces in the aftermath of suddenly losing a loved one.
Real life often gets in the way of skydiving, and jumpers may find themselves away from the sport for 61 days, 30 years or something in between. One of the regular tasks of USPA Coaches and Instructors is to help these jumpers knock off the rust and get back in the air. Every jumper’s situation will be different, so it requires the instructional staff to create a training plan unique to each individual.
One of the simplest ways to become a stronger instructor and a better leader is to change ineffective speech patterns. Three common habits can cause a noticeable lack of clarity. Once coaches and instructors correct these habits, they instantly add power and confidence to their lessons.
2018 really flew by! I can’t believe it is already time for another wish list, but hopefully you can see to it that all my wishes come true. It’s a long list (and it’ll be my last one as director of safety and training for USPA), but it’s all pretty important stuff. This past year brought a lot of lousy weather, so first of all, I would like to see a bunch of sunny weekends so jumpers can get to their drop zones frequently and the drop zones can stay busy flying lots of loads.
Q: Some rigs have the main bridle routed top to bottom over the closing flaps, and some rigs have bridles that come out from underneath the closing pin and then back down the same direction. Which is more correct?
A Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger opened this pilot emergency parachute system, which had seen many years out of service and was stored in an unknown manner, and found that all of the rubber bands had rotted and that many of them had melted onto the suspension lines.
Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by David Wybenga. Information about AXIS’ coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com.
Section 4 of the Skydiver’s Information Manual contains the Integrated Student Program, now in its 18th year as the progression that USPA recommends for students working toward the A license. It is a very detailed program, which can make it look intimidating to the casual observer, but it’s actually easy to implement and use. The program makes it simple to track exactly what students have completed and what they still need to accomplish as they work through each of the tasks required for the USPA A license.
Harry S. Truman once said, “There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.” This quote (and many others like it) warns us all that we must know our history to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. It comes as no surprise that this also applies directly to skydiving.
This jumper deployed his main parachute at approximately 3,500 feet, and it was immediately obvious the parachute had malfunctioned and would not inflate. He released the main parachute a few seconds after the deployment and opened his reserve parachute.
At the July 13-15 USPA Board meeting in Milwaukee, the board passed a motion to change the Basic Safety Requirements regarding accelerated freefall student training. The new language spells out the minimum requirements for students who train in wind tunnels before they make their first jumps with only one AFF instructor.
Wikipedia defines target fixation as “an attentional phenomenon observed in humans in which an individual becomes so focused on an observed object (be it a target or hazard) that they inadvertently increase their risk of colliding with the object.” Motorcyclists, automobile drivers and even fighter pilots flying strafing runs during World War II have focused so intently on an impending hazard that they actually maneuvered directly into it. And skydivers fall prey to the phenomenon, too.
A senior parachute rigger received this harness and container for some work, and when he closed the rig following the repairs, he discovered that the main closing loop was more than two inches too long. The main closing pin had no tension on it at all in this configuration. He shortened the loop to the correct length and helped the owner of the rig understand why it is essential for everyone in the airplane and on the skydive to have the proper tension on the closing pin to prevent an inadvertent container opening.
“The Front Office” is your worldly salvation when it comes to answering questions about jump pilots and piloting. We talk about what exactly pilots do behind the scenes to make your favorite time of week happen. We talk about what they see, what decisions they face and why they might be in a bad mood between loads. We talk about why you are wrong if you haven’t seen “Top Gun.” Mostly, you get a one-of-a-kind inside view from the one seat in the airplane you never get to be in.
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