The USPA Board of Directors held its third meeting of the 2019-2021 term in Phoenix, Arizona, January 31-February 2. The board welcomed newly seated Central Regional Director Charles Crinklaw and elected Al King to fill the vacant national director seat.
The USPA Board of Directors is in need of a new National Director to fill the vacancy when Shanon Searls joins the USPA staff as the new Director of Sport Promotion on December 17.
USPA has selected Shanon Searls as its new Director of Sport Promotion, succeeding Nancy Koreen, who has served in this position for 10 years. Searls’ start date is December 17.
Results are in for the special election to fill the vacancy for the Central Region seat on the USPA Board of Directors.
The insurance coverage for individual members and demo jumpers will be provided by the same underwriter and be identical in all respects to the current coverage; same levels of coverage, same premiums. The change is being made to ensure that our members will continue to receive professional advice from a partner who has served the association well for many years.
Nathan “Nate” Pond, D-69, passed away at his home in Andover, Vermont, on November 3. He was 87.
The USPA Competition Department is looking for qualified individuals to fill the available leadership positions at the upcoming 2020 FAI World Championships at DZ Tanay in Siberia, Russia.
As of October 3, 2019, six USPA members will appear on the ballot in the upcoming special election to fill the remainder of the Central Regional Director’s term on the USPA Board of Directors.
Gary Peek, D-8884, who had served on USPA’s board of directors for 23 years, was found dead in his home in St. Charles, Missouri on August 13. A full recap of his USPA service will appear in the October Parachutist.
At the USPA Board of Directors’ summer meeting July 12-14 in Arlington, Virginia, the Safety & Training Committee discussed several issues.
At its summer meeting, the USPA Board of Directors made a number of changes to the Skydiver’s Competition Manual and the Competition Committee discussed multiple topics that resulted in no action.
The USPA Board of Directors held its second meeting of the 2019-2021 term in Arlington, Virginia, July 12-14. The Virginia location gave directors, including those on the board for the first time, the opportunity to visit USPA Headquarters, an hour south in Fredericksburg, prior to the meeting.
On June 21 a Beechcraft King Air with 10 skydivers on board crashed shortly after takeoff from Dillingham Field near Waialua, Hawaii. All 11 aboard the aircraft were killed in the crash. The recent Hawaii crash was the deadliest jump plane crash since the September 1995 crash of a Beechcraft Queen Air near West Point, Virginia that killed 11 on board the aircraft and one person on the ground.
The testing and soft launch of USPA’s new online rating renewal system are ending, and we’re poised to release this functionality for all members possibly as early as June 10. To facilitate online renewals, many supporting features needed to be in place, and you may have already started seeing changes on your USPA profile.
On May 23, the USPA Board of Directors’ Executive Committee voted to allow USPA members to jump with the U.S. round parachute groups that are recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration. USPA members may perform static-line jumps with these groups using the groups’ equipment at their own airport locations, at FAA-approved airshows and demonstrations, and at events in foreign countries governed by those countries’ aviation authorities. USPA specifies that these static-line jumps must be at a minimum altitude of 1,500 feet above ground level.
Skydive Mountaineer held its inaugural weekend May 18-19 at the Maley Field Airport in Shinniston, West Virginia. The new DZ is operating a Cessna 182, taking off from North Central West Virginia Airport in Clarksburg and landing at Maley Field.
Longtime parachute rigging instructor and skydiver Dave DeWolf, D-1046, passed away late in the evening of Wednesday, May 22, at age 86. DeWolf was known to nearly everyone as “Handsome Dave,” and his friends, students and colleagues remember him not only for his extensive knowledge of rigging, but also for his playful personality and sense of humor.
The USPA Board of Directors, with guidance from seasoned mixed formation skydiving competitors, approved changes to the MFS event for the 2019 National Skydiving Championships. Based on competitor feedback from the 2018 Nationals, changes were made to allow for closer synergy between the advanced and open classes, as well as to continue to increase national (and hopefully one day international) participation with the addition of an entry-level intermediate class. MFS is one of the fastest-growing disciplines in skydiving and strives to provide a multi-orientation playing field for all levels of freeflyers.
In recent years, USPA has been aware of the growth of groups using static-lined round parachutes to either reenact World War II-style airborne jumps or simply to experience or relive military-style jumps. For the most part, these groups conduct static-line jumps from about 1,500 feet AGL using round main parachutes, front-mounted reserves and no reserve static lines, automatic activation devices or altimeters. Most but not all of their jumpers do not qualify for a USPA license and would be considered student skydivers. USPA has had no issue whatsoever with these groups doing their jumps at their own locations and at airshows with Federal Aviation Administration approval.
Don Kellner earned USPA 45,000-Jump Wings #1 after making his 45,000th skydive on Saturday, April 20, over Above the Poconos Skydivers, which he and his wife Darlene own, in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. He made the jump in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the first intentional freefall, which Leslie Irvin completed April 28, 1919, in Dayton, Ohio.
USPA ended April with its highest-ever membership—40,620 members! The milestone comes after last October’s high of 40,441 members. USPA reached the 40,000-member mark for the first time ever last summer. These numbers indicate that the sport of skydiving is continuing to grow, as more people not only jump for the first time, but return to pursue the sport as a hobby. USPA anticipates that these numbers will continue to climb throughout the upcoming summer season.
The 2019 USPA National Canopy Piloting Championships at Skydive Paraclete XP in Raeford, North Carolina, this September will now include a freestyle test event. The three-jump event is scheduled for September 10, with official registration on September 9.
Orange Skies Free Fall Center launched its opening weekend at Fort Morgan Municipal Airport in Colorado April 20-21.
Firebird USA LLC has released Public Service Bulletin FB 2019-01 which requires all Firebird EVO HC with Pillow Ripcord assemblies PN 012 built
between April 2018-March 2019 with serial numbers CB 001-CB 010 to be inspected by the manufacturer.
Last year, the sport of skydiving reached record levels of safety in the U.S., while participation continued to grow to record numbers. In 2018, the U.S. Parachute Association recorded the lowest number of skydiving fatalities—13—in the U.S. since record-keeping began more than 60 years ago.
For the first time, USPA and Sigma hosted the STAR Awards at the Parachute Industry Association Symposium in Dallas, Texas. The Skydiving Technology Advancement Roundup competition invited anyone who manufactures, designs, engineers or promotes technology products in the skydiving field to enter product submissions in three categories: jumper experience, drop zone tools, and safety and training. Nine finalists—three in each category—presented their products at the USPA booth in the PIA exhibit hall February 5-7.
The USPA Board of Directors gathered for the first meeting of its three-year term February 1-3 in Dallas, Texas. The new board welcomed six new members, two of whom had previously been on the board and returned after a hiatus.
Since 1961 USPA has compiled every skydiving fatality in the U.S., except skydives conducted under military orders. Thirteen skydiving fatalities were recorded in the U.S. in 2018. That’s a historic low.
The 2018 USPA National Collegiate Parachuting Championships wrapped up Wednesday, January 2, at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. The competition, the longest-running skydiving competition in the U.S., drew 73 college skydivers from 13 schools across the U.S.
The International Skydiving Hall of Fame honors those who “through leadership, innovation and/or accomplishments, have defined, promoted and advanced skydiving at the highest and sustained level.” Those who wish to nominate a skydiver for this honor should visit skydivingmuseum.org/hall-of-fame/ for additional information and a nomination form. The Hall of Fame is currently accepting nominations for 2019’s inductees through December 31 of this year.
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