PHOTO BY David Wybenga | D-31862
During the USPA National Parachuting Championships at Skydive Sebastian in Florida, Cheryl Stearns exits the aircraft on her way to winning the gold medal in accuracy landing and setting the U.S. Record for Lowest 10-Round Accuracy Landing Score with a total score of 10 cm.
On October 31, Director of Safety and Training Jim Crouch spent his last day as an employee of USPA and moved on to other challenges in the aviation industry.
Acrylic on drywall
84” x 50” mural in the deli at Skydive Spaceland–Houston in Rosharon, Texas
As trustees of the International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame, we would like to thank the members of the USPA Board of Directors for their vision in providing continuing support. While USPA and the Museum & Hall of Fame have different purposes, one place where their missions clearly align is in promoting skydiving.
Mike Bohn, D-28398, is a world-class freefly competitor, drop zone owner and AFF instructor. He’s a high-energy person who has medaled in freefly both nationally and internationally with his teammates on Team FLO. Bohn organizes state record jumps in Colorado, and also holds numerous world records.
There was not enough room in the October issue’s “Profile” of B.J. Worth by Brian Giboney to include this anecdote, so we are printing it here. Worth was responding to Giboney’s question, “What’s your best bonfire story about being James Bond’s stunt double?”
Results are in for the 2019-2021 USPA Board of Directors election, which concluded October 31.
At Skydive Arizona in Eloy on October 18, Thomas Beranek, Joseph Bourke, David Dow, David Harper, Dirk Janssen, Gyorgy Kiss, Scott Macario, Corey Mendoza, George Nisson, Douglas Pinkham, Mauro Ravanelli, Sergey Sergienko, Jonas Siksnelis, Derek Thomas, Vladimir Ursachii, Kevin Vetter, Jose Villa and Stephen Woodford set the U.S. Record for Largest Four-Point Formation Skydive at Night with an 18-way.
World record events take a number of things to be successful—talented team members, capable leadership, a strong video team, experienced pilots, lots of large planes, tireless ground support and favorable weather. Team Ripcord had all but the last component when it gathered at Skydive Perris in California October 11 for a four-day effort to set a Parachutists Over Phorty Society World Record for Largest Formation Skydive.
Bay Area Skydiving in Byron, California, held its Oktoberfest Boogie October 12-14 and saw an exceptional turnout of more than 150 experienced jumpers and 100 tandem students. The Central California drop zone, which is near Silicon Valley and offers breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay area and the Northern California Hills, has been in business for more than 25 years.
In remembrance of the events that took place on September 11, 2001, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Chip Schultz purchased a 3-foot-by-5-foot nylon American flag on a wooden pole and now travels with it coast to coast where numerous public figures have posed with it.
On October 8 at Skydive Perris in California, Team Elite organizer Guy Wright put together a 33-way formation skydive that broke the Parachutists Over Phorty Society World Record for Largest Four-Point Formation Skydive.
USPA selected Ron Bell as its Director of Safety and Training to succeed Jim Crouch, who served in the position for 18 years. Bell’s first day was October 29.
On October 13, Skydive Suffolk in Virginia partnered with the Combat Wounded Coalition from nearby Chesapeake to host Jumping for a Purpose, a day for wounded veterans to take to the skies. Dozens of military veterans attended the event and made skydives, including Norwood Thomas, a 95-year-old veteran of World War II who jumped from a plane to fight at Normandy.
For one of its season’s final events, Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, welcomed freshly licensed jumpers from all over the country to its ninth annual Rookiefest, a Nationals-style competition for beginning skydivers. Jumpers with fewer than 200 jumps or two years in the sport qualified to participate, and this year’s competition enjoyed a record number of 78 Rookiefesters, nearly double that of previous seasons.
After rain and clouds shut down the DZ multiple times, the gang at Skydive Danielson in Connecticut decided to host a Onesie Chili Cookoff October 6. Everyone enjoyed comfort food in comfort clothes, forgot about the horrible-weather streak and spent some time with their sky family around the fire. The group hopes that the weather gods got enough of a kick out of the event to bless the DZ with a few weeks of skydivable weather!
Jack LaLonde, D-6875, made his first jump on Saturday, October 6, 1968 at South Florida Parachute Inc. in Clewiston. On Saturday, October 18, he made his 50-year anniversary jump at Skydive Palatka in Florida. The 79-year-old LaLonde and seven friends flew an 8-way formation skydive (snowflake to round, then LaLonde flew to the center) to celebrate the milestone
In 2001, a jumper who worked at Skydive Elsinore in California convinced DZO Karl Gulledge to host a boogie centered around women. And so began the Chicks Rock Boogie, which celebrated its 18th anniversary October 4-7 this year. Although the boogie attracts many men, it emphasizes female empowerment and creates an environment where jumpers learn from some of the leading ladies of the skydiving world.
Advanced Aerospace Designs released Public Service Bulletin PSB-02-2018, which requires owners to send all Vigil II automatic activation devices with serial numbers from 16,000 to 21,999 to the manufacturer for inspection. After an AAD malfunctioned, the manufacturer traced the problem to an unreliable electrical connection. The company has inspected 200 units without finding a similar problem but has decided to check all of the affected units as a precaution. The PSB describes the process required for each affected unit. The inspection is mandatory, and owners should complete it at the next reserve repack or by no later than December 31, 2019. The company will also update the software and replace the battery, since the affected units are within two years of a required battery change. More information is available at vigil.aero/service-bulletins.
Stan Shepherd, D-28911, released the book “Skydiving Full Flight” in August. As a memoir of Shepherd’s 50 years of jumping, the book relates his worst mistakes and close calls, as well as the joys of the sport. He describes the lure of skydiving, his experience jumping both round and modern parachutes and his ideas on how to improve the sport. The book is intended for the average fun jumper of any experience level who want to gain from another jumper’s experiences in the sport. The book is available for purchase at Amazon.com at a price of about $7 for the Kindle version or $10.50 for a paperback.
Grace Dobosz, C-47029 and a video editor, founded the Wild Women Film Collective to spread the word about women in skydiving and other extreme sports. The group officially launched during the Chicks Rock Boogie at Skydive Elsinore in California on October 5. The collective announced its upcoming film festival and debuted its first short-film submission—“Moms in Skydiving” by Sophee Hillyard—at the event.
Niklas Daniel practices a head-down outfacing carve around a skyball over Skydive Arizona in Eloy.
Photo by Steve Curtis | D-20818
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.
“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.
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.
(More articles being added every day!)
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