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.
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.
There are several modern AADs available for skydivers to choose from, all of which offer jumpers the ability to offset the activation altitude (temporarily change the activation-altitude settings to compensate for a landing area that is higher or lower than the point of departure). Additionally, both the Airtec CYPRES 2 and the Advanced Aerospace Designs Vigil 2+ offer a feature that allows users to increase the activation altitude semi-permanently (until the user changes it again).
A jumper experienced a main-parachute malfunction when the slider remained at the top of the lines after deployment and would not allow the parachute to inflate. He released the main parachute, deployed his reserve and landed safely.
When you want to check out a new main parachute, chances are you’ll make a solo jump, open higher than usual and spend some time flying the new wing to get used to how it handles. Almost everyone who jumps a new main canopy does. After all, it makes sense. It’s a mystery how the new parachute will steer and flare compared to what you are used to, and who wouldn’t want to make a few jumps on it under controlled conditions with plenty of altitude to learn how to fly it?
In 2017, USPA conducted five standardization meetings for all current AFF instructor examiners and tandem instructor examiners, as well as those pursuing an examiner rating or attending purely for educational purposes. This was USPA’s first attempt at hosting the AFF and tandem meetings in one location and condensing the length of each discipline’s meeting to one day instead of two. The meetings went well, but the shorter meetings meant leaving out a lot of valuable information and discussion.
Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by Isaac Hansen. Information about AXIS’ coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com.
A properly sized and adjusted harness-and-container is essential to your safety both in freefall and under canopy. It’s likely that many jumpers who are reading this right now are in real danger of coming out of their harnesses during their next skydives and don’t even realize it.
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.
Have you ever spent months working with a student, ensuring that you covered each category and transferred the necessary knowledge and skills, then proudly stamped the A-license card and watched in disbelief as he ran off to sign up for a 10-way speedstar competition with a freshly mounted GoPro on his helmet?
Skydiving coaches, instructors and instructor examiners would much rather spend time in the air skydiving than on the ground handling paperwork. While this is understandable (hey, nobody likes to fill out forms, right?), each rating holder’s administrative responsibilities are extremely important.
“When can I downsize to a smaller main canopy?” This is probably the most commonly asked question at every drop zone around the world. It seems like everyone—from newly licensed jumpers to those with thousands of skydives—wants to jump a smaller parachute. The answer to the question is tricky and can mean the difference between an uneventful experience and a serious injury or even fatality.
After landing, a jumper set his brakes and left the rig for a packer. The packer noticed that the jumper had stowed the left brake incorrectly by placing the toggle through the cat’s eye above the metal guide ring, which will not secure the brake line. The brake line would have released during deployment and resulted in a spinning main parachute if the other brake remained stowed. This common packing error is easily preventable by paying attention and stowing your brakes correctly.
Welcome to the front office! This new bimonthly column will take you behind the scenes of jump piloting to give you insight into the job and why your pilots do what they do. Author Chas Hines, C-41147, is an airline pilot and certified flight instructor who spent five years as a jump pilot at various drop zones. He has logged more than 5,000 hours of flight time, 500 of those instructing other pilots. He’s also been skydiving for 13 years and has more than 1,500 jumps. He can often be found load organizing at Skydive Arizona in Eloy.
In a sport that requires correctly functioning equipment for your survival, how much do you really know about your skydiving gear? Each year, fatal and non-fatal accidents stem from issues with skydiving equipment. The vast majority of these could have been avoided had the jumpers simply known more about their gear or performed basic gear checks to discover the problem before boarding or exiting the airplane.
Last August, two tandem double fatalities occurred just a week apart. The details for both of those tragic accidents can be found in “Incident Reports” in this issue of Parachutist. While the casual observer may not see a correlation between the two accidents, they should be a flashing neon warning sign that screams for every tandem examiner, Safety and Training Advisor and drop zone operator to regularly review staff members’ tandem procedures.
A Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger found excess wear on the top and bottom of this reserve parachute closing loop during an inspection.
PHOTO BY Justin Duclos | D-33248
Jevin Johnson makes his first AFF jump instructed by his father, Jeff Johnson (right), and Austin Larman at Kapowsin Air Sports in Shelton, Washington.
A jumper flying her wingsuit attempted to deploy her main canopy at 3,500 feet. A few seconds after she threw her pilot chute, she saw the pilot chute trailing behind her, so she pulled her reserve ripcord. The reserve deployed and was fully inflated by 2,000 feet. The main canopy remained in the container after the reserve deployed.
(More articles being added every day!)
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