If you’re squaring up to the requirements for your D license, there’s a good possibility that those jumps are causing a bit of nail-biting. Steve Woodford—the organizer of many funnel-free, injury-free, collision-free big-way-milestone night jumps—is here to tell you not to worry.
B.J. Worth did not just influence the sport of skydiving, he defined an era. His thumbprint appears on most of the significant developments from the 1970s through the last decade, the heyday of skydiving Baby Boomers. It began with cutting-edge skydiving, which led him to undertake breathtaking stunts for major media productions and later organize exhibition jumps viewed live by millions. All this while thoughtfully and considerately governing skydiving as a board member for USPA and the International Parachuting Commission of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Worth’s contributions earned him the USPA Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2017 FAI Gold Parachuting Medal, skydiving’s highest honors.
Breakoff. Greg turned 180 degrees to track from his five teammates. It was a simple 6-way with no contact. Uneventful, yes, but still glorious. Everything about skydiving was glorious. Especially when the jumps were from a C-130 Hercules at 12,500 feet … and it’s your job.
Greg was just one of hundreds of military freefall parachutists in training for the Army. On this, his 35th jump, he was tracking over the arid California desert, just a speck in the sky. Greg was a typical young parachutist with a great sense of humor who loved to joke with his fellow jumpers. But when it came to skydiving, he was quiet and deadly serious. His focus was absolute.
One of the most important of an instructional rating holder’s tasks is ensuring that each student receives proper training for the USPA A license. Part of this responsibility includes making logbook entries and initialing required items on the USPA A-License Proficiency Card or A-License Progression Card to properly track and document this training. Some instructors are very good about making logbook entries and updating the license cards, but many could use improvement, and drop zones handle this process in a seemingly infinite number of ways.
Photo by Dan Dupuis | D-33713
From top, Andy Farrington, Nic Sacco, Mike Steen, Will Kitto and Matt Gerdes take pictures of each other taking pictures of each other during a Squirrel wingsuits meet-up event at Skydive Moab in Utah.
As a SoCal jumper, I don't have to worry that much about landing in trees or anything green. So I took seriously memorizing the DZ's aerial photo (the kind all DZs have hanging near manifest) when I went jumping in Maine. I knew where all the tree groves were, along with power lines, ditches and other obstructions. After a couple of jumps, I got comfy with the landing pattern, and I felt I knew my way around.
As skydiving continues to progress—with jumpers now enjoying a wide variety of disciplines and piloting faster canopies—it has become more challenging to find clear airspace at deployment time. Since 1999, 11 jumpers have died in canopy collisions. Additionally, there were many instances of collisions that resulted in injuries or cutaways, although the exact number is unknown.
John Bull’s love for the sport and the community is contagious. Bull made his first jump in 1978, and in 1981 he became a member of the Air Trash brotherhood of skydivers, to which he still belongs. Bull simply loves formation skydiving and is happy to jump with anyone on the DZ, from a newly A-licensed jumper to the most experienced of load organizers. He is an ambassador for the sport and the kind of guy you can’t help but love.
I first learned of skydiving in 1961 at the age of 6. The television show “Ripcord,” about two guys who provided almost entirely fictitious parachuting services, aired that year. My older brother and I didn’t mind the implausible events, because we didn’t watch for the stories. We wanted to see the show’s stars in freefall, and those scenes were all real, taken with helmet cameras and from airplanes.
In "Five Minute Call," you'll read of the Oklahoma DZ owner whom a court ordered to pay a substantial sum to a 16-year-old injured in 2014 during a static-line first jump. Coincidentally, during that period, USPA's board of directors was once again debating what the Basic Safety Requirements should state as the minimum age to skydive.
(More articles being added every day!)
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