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Planning for 2020 and Beyond—The USPA Board of Directors Winter Meeting

A USPA Staff Report

Features | April 2020
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

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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.

To kick off the winter board meeting, Skydive Arizona in Eloy invited all USPA staff and board members to a day of fun jumping. DZOs Larry and Shawn Hill provided a red-carpet experience. Those who attended enjoyed world-class load organizing from Steve Woodford, a thrilling jump from the DC-3, homemade slow-cooked barbecue courtesy of Steve Hill and a tour of the grounds in a World War II-era Lockheed Lodestar aircraft. From formation skydiving to wingsuiting, both board and staff had a fantastic time breaking the ice before the meeting.

Executive Director’s Report

The first board meeting of each year begins with the executive director’s report, which recaps the statistics, accomplishments and challenges from the previous calendar year. Executive Director Ed Scott delivered the report for 2019, a year that by all measures was successful for USPA. Membership continued to grow and reached a historic high of 41,271. USPA also issued more licenses—8,741—than in any previous year. Financially, USPA is on solid footing. The organization easily kept expenses well below budgeted revenues, allowing it to save for major fights and rainy days to come.

Other 2019 accomplishments included an effective push to have skydivers file more incident reports, which resulted in a five-fold increase in submissions; implementation of an online rating-renewal and rating-course-management system; a successful all-events USPA National Championships; providing administrative support that assisted the U.S. Team with attending seven Féderátion Aéronautique Internationale World Cups in six countries; and gaining positive coverage of skydiving medalists and record-setters in more than 100 national, regional and local media outlets. USPA is well positioned for 2020 and beyond.

Safety & Training

The Safety & Training Committee—chaired by Michael Wadkins—once again addressed removing the night-jump requirements for the D license, an issue the committee has discussed but not taken action on many times before. This year, Wadkins brought a fresh new approach to the table, and after a prolonged debate, the committee and then the full board accepted a motion that would not remove night jumps but make them one of the following five options to prove skill progression when applying for a D license:

  • Make two night jumps
  • Land within seven feet of the target center on 50 jumps
  • Participate in a canopy formation of a 3-stack or larger
  • Complete an intentional water jump
  • Complete 100 formation skydives, at least 25 of which must involve at least eight participants

Jumpers must still make two night jumpers before applying for a USPA PRO rating. More information on these changes—which go into effect on May 1—is available in “Rating Corner” in this issue of Parachutist.

The full board also approved a motion by the Safety & Training Committee to add language to the Basic Safety Requirements that prohibits jumping within eight hours of consuming alcohol. This change raises the previous standards and brings skydivers under the same rules as the rest of the aviation community.

Competition

Competition Committee Chair Kirk Verner facilitated efficient dialogue over concerns with the previously published schedule of the 2020 USPA National Skydiving and Parachuting Championships at Skydive City Zephyrhills in Florida. After receiving feedback from members and having a long discussion with meet management, the committee approved a revision to the schedule, which is now updated at

uspa.org/nationals. The committee also formally adopted the freestyle canopy piloting event based on International Skydiving Commission competition rules and including the same modifications as the test event held at the 2019 USPA Nationals. USPA will add a new chapter to the Skydiver’s Competition Manual for this event.

The committee also looked at records and made a few changes. First, the committee adjusted fees for state and national night records to be more in line with the fees for FAI World Records. The committee also approved the state night record category. (USPA previously recognized only national night records.) Finally, the committee determined that competitors would be eligible to set competition records only if competing in the open class.

The competition committee also discussed the 2020 United States Parachute Team. With full board approval, the committee allocated an additional $1,000 to each team leader. The board also approved a redesign of the team uniforms and, for the first time, approved USPA to pay for the team members’ uniforms.

As usual, the committee made many rule changes and revisions to various competition events. Competitors interested in these modifications can find them outlined in the relevant chapters of the Skydiver’s Competition Manual.

The full board also approved a number of motions—most of which clarified or made minor revisions to USPA policies and manuals—that arose from the seven other board committees. Finally, the board awarded the 2021 USPA National Skydiving and Parachuting Championships to Skydive Arizona in Eloy and the 2021 USPA National Collegiate Skydiving Championships to Skydive Elsinore in California.

The USPA Board next meets July 10-12 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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