Welcome to the front office! This new bimonthly column will take you behind the scenes of jump piloting to give you insight into the job and why your pilots do what they do. Author Chas Hines, C-41147, is an airline pilot and certified flight instructor who spent five years as a jump pilot at various drop zones. He has logged more than 5,000 hours of flight time, 500 of those instructing other pilots. He’s also been skydiving for 13 years and has more than 1,500 jumps. He can often be found load organizing at Skydive Arizona in Eloy.
In a sport that requires correctly functioning equipment for your survival, how much do you really know about your skydiving gear? Each year, fatal and non-fatal accidents stem from issues with skydiving equipment. The vast majority of these could have been avoided had the jumpers simply known more about their gear or performed basic gear checks to discover the problem before boarding or exiting the airplane.
Tony Bourke uses humor and colorful language to get across his points during a Safety Day presentation at Skydive Oregon in Molalla.
Photo by Mark Leglise | C-44062
Skydive Atlas in Holdrege, Nebraska, recently won the Visionary Rising Star Award from the Holdrege Area Chamber of Commerce. The award goes to a Chamber member who has been in business five years or less and has demonstrated business success and community leadership.
Photo by Norman Kent | D-8369
Richard Scheurich (foreground) and Luis Prinetto from Team Fly4Life fly their Performance Designs Valkyrie Hybrid canopies in formation after a jump during the Fly4Life Flight Camp at Skydive DeLand in Florida.
This is an election year for USPA, meaning that each of the 22 seats on USPA’s board of directors is up for grabs by any USPA member who is qualified to run.
“The Perfect Nightlight”
Aluminum, brass and steel rotating sculpture with LED lights
Timothy Uhl | A-79945
Walden, New York
Danji “DJ” Marvin, D-22292, is an influential and safety-conscious AFF Instructor Examiner, Tandem Instructor Examiner and Coach Examiner who owns and runs The Ratings Center instructional ratings school. Marvin, along with co-host Nick Lott, also shares his enthusiasm and passion for the sport on Gravity Lab Radio.
Nick Barson doesn’t just say he loves animals. He proves it. In fact, more than 700 animals owe their lives to Barson and his nonprofit rescue operation charmingly named “Paws Landing.” Barson’s plan is to keep that number growing.
It sounds like a lot when you don’t yet have them. But in reality, 200 skydives is not that many. And in some cases, it’s not enough to prepare the jumper for the added complexity of flying a wingsuit, which adds risk and reduces comfort during almost every phase of a jump from exiting the plane to deploying the parachute.
The Spring Fling—which started at the Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales back in 2004 with only 18 participants—has grown to be the world’s largest annual gathering of canopy formation skydivers (aka canopy relative workers or CRW dogs). The 2018 Spring Fling, which returned to Lake Wales this year, attracted 112 participants from 10 countries.
Over Easter weekend, Skydive the South—a small, homey drop zone in Tuskegee, Alabama—transformed. The hustle and bustle of people, parachutes and airplanes brought about by the DZ’s first Easter Boogie (and fundraiser for two charitable organizations) was astonishing.
Photo By Ellen Morris | D-26655
Neither wind nor the threat of a late-season snow storm could dissuade DZO Ole Thompson (second from right) and other intrepid jumpers from Vermont Skydiving Adventures in Addison from attending Safety Day, which the DZ traditionally holds in April rather than March due to the climate.
Photo by Raymond Adams | D-30158
Kyle Stubbs swoops in for landing during the Fitz Boogie, an annual St. Patrick’s Day event in Fitzgerald, Georgia.
Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by David Cherry. Information about AXIS' coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com.
Last August, two tandem double fatalities occurred just a week apart. The details for both of those tragic accidents can be found in “Incident Reports” in this issue of Parachutist. While the casual observer may not see a correlation between the two accidents, they should be a flashing neon warning sign that screams for every tandem examiner, Safety and Training Advisor and drop zone operator to regularly review staff members’ tandem procedures.
At Skydive Arizona in Eloy, jumpers build a formation in memory of legendary skydiver Tom Jenkins, who died of complications from Parkinson’s disease in December.
“This whirring carousel of images accompanied the start of the very last hour of my 45-year voyage through life. Its final phase, which commenced on the third of December, 2014, at nine minutes before noon, would be spent suspended in midair in a wicker basket dangling in the shadow of an enormous 40-meter-tall balloon, now rising silently but steadily toward the stratosphere.
I knew this moment would be critically important for the future I’d envisioned for myself.”
Photo by Tom Sanders | D-6503
At the Boogie in Belize, Elizabeth Higgins, D-13274, who was not current but wanted to make her 1,000th jump over the Great Blue Hole, fulfills her wish on a tandem with instructor Andy Malchiodi.
Photo by Seth Kuttruff | D-32445
On a drizzly day during the Cheese Boogie at Skydive Milwaukee in East Troy, Wisconsin, Vanessa Mohawk follows four jumpers out the door (from left, Joshua Gifford, Adam Wirtz, Dan Wagner and Tim Hajewski) as they launch a head-up round.
Photo by Roy Wimmer-Jablom | USPA #279679
Team Zion Freefly makes a practice jump at Skydive DeLand in Florida.
Photo by Carlos Felix | D-36519
Steve Verner swoops in for landing after a hop-and-pop skydive during a cloudy day at Chicagoland Skydiving Center in Rochelle, Illinois.
A Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger found excess wear on the top and bottom of this reserve parachute closing loop during an inspection.
Four skydivers in Eloy, Arizona—Sara and Steve Curtis, Jason Peters and George Reuter—recently purchased Firebird Skydiving, maker of the EVO harness-and-container system (and previously, the Omega sport and tandem harness-and-container systems and the Contrail, Demon, Cayenne and Chilli canopies).
On April 2, the International Skydiving Museum and Hall of Fame announced that Marylou Laughlin and Gill Rayner have joined its board of trustees.
Oh My! | Photo by Karen Lewis Dalton | D-24575
At Skydive Perris in California, the drop zone’s organizers, a few world champions and some friends build two formations to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the Chinese company My. The team built the formations on the first attempt and then built them again on the second attempt for good measure.
On June 1, USPA begins the process of having its members elect its 22-member board of directors for the 2019-2021 term.
(More articles being added every day!)
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