Tuesday, December 11, 2018


Safety Check | Jim’s Last Letter to Santa

Safety Check | Jim’s Last Letter to Santa

by Jim Crouch

Safety Check | December 2018

Dear Santa,

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. Also, I want:

• coaches and instructors to work closely with students to make sure each is properly trained for the USPA A license.

• jumpers to continue to learn more about flying parachutes from experienced canopy coaches.

• skydiving schools to use the USPA Integrated Student Program to provide a solid foundation of training for all jumpers.

• jumpers to learn more about equipment, including how to inspect for wear and perform routine maintenance.

• jumpers to use a reserve static line or main-assisted-reserve-deployment device and to understand how those safety devices work.

• jumpers to use automatic activation devices and know how and why to bump up the activation altitude.

• jumpers to maintain their main parachutes properly and replace the line sets frequently, especially those flying ultra-high-performance canopies with thin HMA lines. 

• drop zones to post clear guidelines for separating those making high-performance landings from those flying standard landing patterns so that everyone can easily know and understand the rules.

• jumpers to make sure to follow the rules and separate their landings.

• jumpers to stay altitude aware and deploy at the correct altitudes.

• jumpers to practice emergency procedures on a regular basis.

• jumpers to think about the pilot-chute-in-tow malfunction and decide whether to pull the cutaway handle and then the reserve ripcord or just pull the reserve ripcord. (There are pros and cons for both scenarios.)

• examiners to spend the time and effort to properly train and evaluate course candidates.

• examiners to work with other examiners to continue fostering new ideas that will help improve rating courses.

• S&TAs to keep an eye on their local jumpers and help them make appropriate decisions and stay safe.

• S&TAs to submit accident reports to USPA Headquarters and ensure that USPA receives accurate information in a timely manner.

• tandem instructors to treat tandem skydives as training jumps and actually teach each student to skydive, deploy the main parachute and fly it.

• tandem instructors to perform a system-handles check on every tandem jump and to conduct a full review of and practice emergency procedures every six months.

• drop zone owners to make sure their airplanes are properly maintained and that each flight includes enough fuel for the flight plus a 30-minute reserve.

• jump pilots to always have a plan for emergencies, know the weight and balance for the airplane and ensure that the weight remains below the maximum limit.

I could probably go on with this list for another two pages, but that should do it for now.

In 2010 I also asked for a Bugatti, but it didn’t happen. In 2011, I asked for a ZR1 Corvette, and that didn’t happen, either. But my patience finally paid off, and a 2014 Corvette found its way to my driveway. Thanks for the awesome ride. Hey, did you know this is my final wish list after 18 years with USPA? I think it is time we start looking at that Bugatti again! Merry Christmas!      

Jim Crouch | D-16979
USPA Director of Safety & Training 

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