Photo by Norman Kent | D-8369
Jumpers follow the base out of a Skyvan during the successful Skydivers Over Sixty World Record attempts at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, where the team eventually built a 75-way formation.
This is the month for you and other USPA members to select those 22 members who will serve on USPA’s board of directors and determine the association’s direction for the next three years. In this issue of Parachutist, you’ll find the election instructions and a ballot.
At the recent USPA Board of Directors meeting, the board voted to give $25,000 per year for the next six years to a yet-to-be-constructed skydiving museum. I am concerned as to why the board voted for this extraordinary amount of skydivers’ dues to be spent in this manner.
Recently, a well-known drop zone updated its packing pricing schedule as follows:
Square footage of canopy:
100 to 199—$7
200 to 299—$8
During production on the movie “Drop Zone” (starring Wesley Snipes and Gary Busey), the good guys needed to catch the bad guy as he was escaping on foot within a forest of skyscrapers. The plan was for the non-aerial stunt team to rappel down the building and jump on the bad guy (played by former jumper Michael Jeter). During a production meeting with the director, I casually mentioned that a good guy could ground launch from the top of the building and swoop down and catch Jeter in a scissor grip with his legs. The director bought it and changed the script. The regular stunt team was not amused and more than a bit skeptical.
B.J. (Bruce Jeffery) Worth, D-3805, is an epic figure in skydiving. He helped develop competitive formation skydiving and went on to become a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Champion; performed parachuting stunts in blockbuster movies (including playing James Bond from 1979-1997); organized the famous Olympic rings skydive in Seoul in 1988; and led World Team, which set multiple FAI World Records (including the standing 400-way record for largest formation). Worth also served as president of the USPA Board and president of the International Parachuting Commission and earned the USPA Lifetime Achievement Award and the FAI Gold Medal for Parachuting, Bronze Medal and Air Sports Centenary Award.
Canopy formation skydivers (from top) Mike Roy, Mark McManamay and Dale Maddox release the ashes of longtime Skydive Tecumseh staff member, instructor and pilot Harold “Buster” Walenski over Honey Acres Airport in Clinton, Michigan.
Darren Johnson | D-23069
Each year over the New Year’s holiday break, USPA hosts the National Collegiate Parachuting Championships, the longest-running collegiate skydiving competition in history. This year’s Collegiates will take place at Skydive Arizona in Eloy December 28, 2018-January 2, 2019. Collegiates brings together nearly 100 students from colleges and universities across the country for friendly competition in multiple disciplines—2-way, 4-way and 6-way formation skydiving, 2-way vertical formation skydiving, sport accuracy and classic accuracy.
On June 30 at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, jumpers from five countries came together in hopes of setting head-down sequential world records. Led by organizers Matt Fry and Melissa Nelson Lowe, the team first set out to accomplish a three-point formation.
Skydive Danielson in Connecticut held its third annual Chicks Freedom Boogie June 30-July 4, which included discounted lift tickets for women. The yearly boogie focuses on getting more women into the sport by welcoming skydivers of all levels to join in on the fun.
On July 1, members of the Rhode Island State Senate performed their fourth annual skydiving fundraiser at Skydive Newport. This year, the senators raised money for a memorial to the Rhode Island Eight who died in the bombing in Beirut in 1983.
Pepperell Skydiving Center in Massachusetts delivered a smash-hit Barefoot Boogie this summer. Led by DZO Fran Strimenos and boogie-meister Iain Guthrie, PSC’s crackerjack staff and pilots scored the grand slam of nonstop flying, fabulous food, fine entertainment and fun, while Bobby Goldman reunited New England’s formation skydiving brotherhood on the ground and in the air.
Wayne Cross and the staff of Meadow Peak Skydiving in Marion, Montana, played host to the 51st Annual Lost Prairie Boogie August 4-12. Three hundred skydivers made the annual pilgrimage to northwestern Montana for nine days of skydiving magic and a family reunion that is like no other.
The incredible team at Lincoln Sport Parachute Club hosted its annual Redemption Boogie July 19-22 with Skydive Arizona’s Super Otter. Jumpers enjoyed the best weather in eight years, delicious food, cheap registration, even cheaper jump tickets, fun organizers and ridiculous nighttime activities, all on the grass strip at the DZ’s home in Weeping Water, Nebraska.
The country of Botswana is stepping up as a leader in big-way formation skydiving and is opening new doors for skydivers on the African continent. To help this cause, event organizers Thabang Segaetsho, Eugene Potgieter of Johannesburg Sky Events and Munyaka Makuyana and Cyril Nfila of the Parachute Association of Botswana hosted the Makgadikgadi Epic formation skydiving event July 13-16. The event, which the Botswana Tourism Organization, Botswana Defence Force, Johannesburg Skydiving Club and the Parachute Association of Botswana supported, featured world-class organizers Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld and Milko Hodgkinson.
July 13-15, Skydive Spaceland–Houston in Rosharon, Texas, hosted its second annual Pre-Nationals Competition, a Nationals-style meet with Nationals-quality judging for competitors to tune up before the USPA National Skydiving Championships.
In April, a longtime skydiver at Vermont Skydiving Adventures in Addison read the article “Why Marian Sparks Jumps for the Rose (and Why You Should Too, No Matter Where You Live)” by Annette O’Neil in Parachutist. Inspired, he contacted JFTR founder Marian Sparks, who lives in Texas, and began fundraising efforts on behalf of the organization, which provides mammograms and other breast cancer services to those without insurance. Before long, the money began to pile up and he started sending her envelopes full of checks!
On August 11, the Vertical Elite—a team consisting of some of the world’s best skydivers—gathered at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, to attempt to set the world record for largest head-down formation. After a rigorous selection process spanning over nine tryout camps beginning in October of last year, more than 250 jumpers received an invitation to attempt a 200-way head-down formation to replace the 164-way record set in 2015.
On the weekend of July 28-29, jumpers at Skydive Suffolk in Virginia worked to set head-down and head-up state records.
One hot summer day back in 2008, Karl Gulledge, the owner of Skydive Elsinore in California, decided it was time to throw a party. He wanted a big celebration with a water slide; hoop, banana and rubber-chicken jumps; a Slip ’n’ Slide in the landing area; and a party in the evening with a luau theme. And that’s just what the Karlfornia Boneanza—this year held July 27-29—has become.
Planning and organizing multi-point big-way formations is not as easy as you might think. Even with a first point already designed, coming up with a challenging but doable second point—much less one that is visually attractive—is tough. But Larry Henderson is someone who can sit down and create smooth dives and make it look easy.
Instructors Tammer Ramini (left and Dan Doyle take and AFF student on his first jump at Skydive Orange in Virginia.
Photo by David Cherry | D-33500
At the July 13-15 USPA Board meeting in Milwaukee, the board passed a motion to change the Basic Safety Requirements regarding accelerated freefall student training. The new language spells out the minimum requirements for students who train in wind tunnels before they make their first jumps with only one AFF instructor.
Wikipedia defines target fixation as “an attentional phenomenon observed in humans in which an individual becomes so focused on an observed object (be it a target or hazard) that they inadvertently increase their risk of colliding with the object.” Motorcyclists, automobile drivers and even fighter pilots flying strafing runs during World War II have focused so intently on an impending hazard that they actually maneuvered directly into it. And skydivers fall prey to the phenomenon, too.
(More articles being added every day!)
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