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.
If you ask Patricia Annette Thomas (whom most simply call “Pat”) about her greatest life achievement, she will unhesitatingly say it is her family, then quickly change the subject. However, if you persist, she might share some stories from the myriad wonderful moments in her life.
If your words could save a skydiver from injury or worse, would you speak up? Of course you would. In fact, such conversations probably happen every day at DZs everywhere. Whether such discussions occur after a gear check, when reviewing a dive plan or while discussing jump run or winds or a landing pattern, sharing knowledge and correcting misconceptions are a vital part of safe skydiving.
Photo by Gustavo Cabana | USPA #80952
Franck Eloffe carves around a hybrid (Sharon Har-Noy Pilcher and Steve Curtis on their bellies with Pepijn Swint and Tom Feng hanging) during Tsunami Skydivers Exotic Boogies’ Party on the Playa 2019 in Tambor, Costa Rica.
“100 Years of Freefall”
Brian Hernandez | USPA # 322723
Lake Elsinore, California
We all know how rigid most organizations and corporations are. Although they say, “We value your feedback,” individual comments rarely go anywhere, and a satisfaction rating just gets tossed into an average for some corporate board meeting. Recently, I wanted to see how USPA reacted to feedback and if it would even change something based on it.
The January issue of Parachutist made a big deal about celebrating 100 years of freefall skydiving and Leslie Irvin’s key role in it. I’m not saying he didn’t play a key role, but a recent article in AOPA Pilot and a letter to the editor in its February issue by Bruce Smith, grandson of James Floyd Smith, suggests there is more to the story.
I am very concerned about the conclusions stated in “Incident Reports” in the February issue of Parachutist. Although I agree that nobody should skydive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, I find it concerning that so much of the conclusion was dedicated to the issue of the THC content in the jumper’s body when the death was officially ruled a suicide.
I was sitting in my easy chair after work watching the local news when I saw an alert on the screen reporting a small plane crash at a local airport. My two business partners, who were brothers, had planned to pilot a small plane to pick up a customer that afternoon, so I was immediately concerned. Later that night, I learned that it was their plane that crashed and that they both had been killed.
Brent Findlay is a laid-back Kiwi who started skydiving in 1982. Since then, he’s become an iconic member of the New Zealand skydiving scene. He met his wife skydiving and raised a family around the sport. (His son, Dale, is also a skydiver.) Today, Findlay is an active formation skydiver who continues to set records, the most recent the 2018 New Zealand Competition Record for Most Points on a 4-Way Formation Skydive. By all accounts, Findlay is just getting better with age!
Canopy pilot Junior Ludvik and wingsuit pilot Calin Dobos fly together at the Skydive Dubai Desert Campus in the United Arab Emirates.
On Saturday, January 26, California DZs Skydive Elsinore and Skydive San Diego held a friendly competition revolving around the Bob Buquor Memorial Star Crest Awards. Jumpers earn an SCR—an award conceived of by Bill Newell in 1965—by participating in a star (aka round) formation consisting of eight or more jumpers.
During its recent meeting in Dallas, the USPA Board of Directors voted to support a major airport-access win for skydiving by Luther Kurtz, DZO of the Phoenix Skydive Center in Casa Grande, Arizona, under Part 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Kurtz will receive a $24,156.76 as a reimbursement for a share of his legal expenses through the Airport Access and Defense Fund. Details about the case are available in the article “DZO Wins Part 16 Appeal” on page 16 in the February issue of Parachutist.
The USPA Membership Services Committee is currently seeking nominations for three of its service awards: the Lifetime Achievement Award (a maximum of one recipient annually), the Gold Medal for Meritorious Service (up to three recipients annually) and the Regional Achievement Award (up to five recipients annually).
Raymond Adams took the photo on the cover of the March issue of Parachutist at Skydive Georgia in Cedartown.
Seven Hills Skydivers in Marshall, Wisconsin, once again hosted its annual ice jumps onto frozen Lake Mendota at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison. Sixteen jumpers participated this year, more than double the number of jumpers in 2018! Jump conditions were good (albeit brisk), with temperatures peaking at 16 degrees Fahrenheit in the afternoon.
On January 18-20 at Skydive Arizona in Eloy, local wingsuit organizer Cameron Stiles hosted Project Desert Skies, an exclusive invitational event for wingsuit flyers. This was the second year for the event. Stiles gathered a talented team of more than a dozen accomplished flyers and led them across the desert skies in one formidable formation after the next.
Maytown Sport Parachute Club in Marietta, Pennsylvania, honored founding member Dick Gochenaur, D-1404, at its February club meeting. The club presented him with a plaque and a check in recognition of his many years of selfless service dedicated to the continuing success of the club.
On February 23, Jane Haynes celebrated her 100th birthday at Skydive Arizona in Eloy by making a tandem skydive (as did her daughter and granddaughter).
On February 14, the International Skydiving Museum and Hall of Fame announced its 2019 inductees. The museum will induct the 10 skydivers—Irena Avbelj, Chuck Collingwood (posthumous), Kate Cooper-Jensen, Patrick de Gayardon (posthumous), Alan Eustace, John Higgins, Andy Keech, Tom Sanders, Deke Sonnichsen and Lofty Thomas (posthumous)—at its Hall of Fame Celebration at Skydive Perris in California October 17-19. More information on the weekend event is available at skydivingmuseum.org.
Yong Chisholm, a longtime California skydiver of Korean descent, dreamed for more than 20 years of building an all-Korean freefall formation. It was a daunting task since skydiving is not common in Korea, and most jumpers there need to travel to the United States to have access to drop zones where they can improve their skills.
Operation Wings of Freedom—an organization to help veterans battle post-traumatic stress disorder through skydiving—launched in January. The group hopes to help eight veterans achieve their A licenses in 2019. Wings of Freedom believes that skydiving can help veterans since it helps build a bond through shared experience, is highly intense and helps to develop powerful skill sets through the sport’s extreme demands.
Fluid Wings began taking orders for its newest wing, the Echo, on February 14. The company produces the canopy, which it aims at intermediate jumpers who are looking for more performance than a basic entry-level wing, in 107-, 120-, 135-, 150- and 170-square-foot models.
On March 8, skydiver and award-winning TV and film composer Kim Planert released his first solo album, “SKYLIGHT: Notes From a Logbook,” featuring the Budapest Scoring Orchestra and vocals by established artists such as Keeley Bumford, Lisbeth Scott and Waterson.
Editors Doug Garr, Michael Kearns, Tim Long and Jan Works recently released “More Skydivers’ Stories: Close Calls and Epic Feats Above Planet Earth,” the sequel to “NSTIWTIWGD” (“No, S***, There I Was, Thought I Was Gonna Die”), a 2015 compendium of scary jump stories written primarily by old-school jumpers and compiled by Long.
At Skydive Athens in Kastro, Greece, Panagiotis Spanos, A-78613, makes a scantily-clad, midwinter jump to celebrate his 100th skydive.
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.
Several changes that came out of the February 1-3 USPA Board meeting in Dallas, Texas, affect USPA rating holders.
(More articles being added every day!)
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