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On October 23, Advanced Aerospace Designs issued reminders of approaching deadlines for compliance with its last two service bulletins.
In December, Advanced Aerospace Designs, manufacturer of the Vigil automatic activation device, issued reminders to Vigil owners about battery replacement.
In April, Advanced Aerospace Designs released Public Service Bulletin PSB-01-2018 regarding certain Vigil 2 and Vigil 2+ automatic activation devices.
In January, AXIS Flight School announced the release of a new app following three years of development in partnership with Good Goblin Games.
In February, AXIS Flight School introduced the ChronoPrism stopwatch tool for use on computers and mobile devices. This tool provides a new and creative way for formation skydiving, vertical formation skydiving and mixed formation skydiving teams to visualize their performances and streamline the analysis of training and competition jumps. ChronoPrism generates a performance analysis that tracks data including a jump’s pace; points scored; penalties incurred; and best, worst, average and median times per point transition.
n March 16, the International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame announced that Bill Wenger, D-3774, joined its board of trustees.
Blue Skies Physical Therapy, owned and operated by Dr. Nancy Grieger, C-44952, has assisted the skydiving community with physical therapy assessment and treatment, injury management and strength and conditioning training at boogies and events for years.
The British Parachute Association recently appointed Angel Fernandez to the new staff position of communications manager. Fernandez, who began skydiving in 2017, has more than 20 years of communications and marketing experience in a variety of industries.
Anticipation is high for the 2019 British Parachute Association Skydive the Expo after record crowds attended the 2018 event. The event, hosted at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham, U.K., will feature seminars from leading skydiving experts, a large exhibition hall and BPA’s annual awards ceremony, as well as after-hours parties. More information is available at skydivetheexpo.com.
In early December, the British Parachute Association unveiled its new identity—British Skydiving—and introduced a new logo and website.
Sigma, the company USPA uses to provide digital credentials (such as the USPA membership card), is in the process of integrating with Burble, a manifest program used by 130 drop zones worldwide. The integration will allow skydivers to grant access to DZs that use Burble to view their merits on Sigma (including USPA credentials). The drop zone will then instantly see verified, auto-updated information—including a record of currency—as a member checks in, which should make check-in times shorter and manifesting more efficient.
Skydiver James Bauer recently introduced Pack Monkey, a tool to help jumpers put their canopies in deployments bags easily. The tool is designed to help those who have slippery canopies, small hands or just want to pack more quickly. Pack Monkey is designed for canopy sizes from 120 to 250 square feet but can also work on larger or smaller canopies. A video of how the product works and ordering information are available at packmonkeydesigns.com. It retails for $35.
The International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame is honoring the Canopy Formation World Record Team with its Path of Excellence Award.
Troubador Publishers recently released “Body-Flight Basics,” an encyclopedic book that breaks down the mechanics of skydiving and wind tunnel flying.
Mile High Hub recently released a worldwide skydiving event calendar for jumpers looking for the next boogie, competition or specialty event.
On March 8, skydiver and award-winning TV and film composer Kim Planert released his first solo album, “SKYLIGHT: Notes From a Logbook,” featuring the Budapest Scoring Orchestra and vocals by established artists such as Keeley Bumford, Lisbeth Scott and Waterson.
In December, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (the governing body for world air sports) announced that it appointed Markus Haggeney as acting secretary general following the departure of Secretary General Susanne Schödel.
On April 15, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (the World Air Sports Federation) announced that its Executive Board named Markus Haggeney as the new FAI Secretary General.
In March, Johannes Bergfors, a videographer and wind tunnel instructor from Sweden, launched a series of videos titled “First Perspective” on the skydiving YouTube channel Fallrates.
In mid-June, freefall photographer Mike McGowan released “Selections by Mike McGowan,” a fine-art book that documents more than 50 years of skydiving history through more than 100 of his finest photographs.
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).
Firebird, maker of the EVO harness-and-container system, has issued a product service bulletin after a pillow-reserve-ripcord cable separated from the reserve pin during assembly on a newly delivered EVO. Although Firebird says it is confident that this is an isolated incident, the company has taken additional steps to ensure the safety of its users.
Fluid Wings began taking orders for its newest wing, the Echo, on February 14. The company produces the canopy, which it aims at intermediate jumpers who are looking for more performance than a basic entry-level wing, in 107-, 120-, 135-, 150- and 170-square-foot models.
In September 2009, 181 women set the Féderátion Aéronautique Internationale World Record for Largest Women’s Formation Skydive at Skydive Perris in California.
After nearly 30 years as a skydiving equipment retailer, Square One passed the torch for retail sales to a new company, Gold State Gear.
USPA Executive Director Emeritus Norman Heaton, D-565, recently published “My First 1,000 Jumps—The Evolution of a Skydiver and the Organization That Became His Life,” a nearly 800-page, coffee-table-sized memoir that gives a comprehensive account of the events surrounding the world of skydiving, the Parachute Club of America (USPA’s predecessor organization) and USPA from 1961-1975.
Cookie Helmets recently announced the release of its G4 helmet, which passed impact and snag-resistance testing to Skydiving and Wind Tunnel Helmet Standard XP S 72-600.
In May, the International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame announced the creation of the Path of Excellence Award, an honor it will present to groups, companies or teams that have played a prominent role in the growth and development of the sport.
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.
Editors Doug Garr, Michael Kearns, Tim Long and Jan Works recently released “More Skydivers’ Stories: Close Calls and Epic Feats Above Planet Earth,” the sequel to “NSTIWTIWGD” (“No, S***, There I Was, Thought I Was Gonna Die”), a 2015 compendium of scary jump stories written primarily by old-school jumpers and compiled by Long.
On April 2, the International Skydiving Museum and Hall of Fame announced that Marylou Laughlin and Gill Rayner have joined its board of trustees.
Levity, which launched in June, is a line of littleto- no waste hammocks, swinging chairs and more made a lmost entirely of donated and upcycled parachutes and gear.
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.
Two memoirs—“D.B. Cooper & Me: A Criminal, A Spy, My Best Friend” by Carl Laurin and “Getting the Truth: I Am D.B. Cooper” by Joe Koenig—and the documentary film “D.B. Cooper: The Real Story” assert that military parachutist and convicted criminal Walter Reca, who died in 2014, was the 1971 hijacker known as D.B. Cooper.
On July 26, the International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame announced that it intends to break ground on its museum building within 18 months.
Operation Wings of Freedom—an organization to help veterans battle post-traumatic stress disorder through skydiving—launched in January. The group hopes to help eight veterans achieve their A licenses in 2019. Wings of Freedom believes that skydiving can help veterans since it helps build a bond through shared experience, is highly intense and helps to develop powerful skill sets through the sport’s extreme demands.
The Performance Designs Factory Team began 15 years ago as a 4-way formation skydiving project composed primarily of PD employees. It later became a high-performance canopy piloting team. For 2019, PD is expanding the team to include classic accuracy.
On June 8, canopy manufacturer Performance Designs released its latest canopy, the Sabre3.
The Parachute Industry Association recently announced that it established a new award, the PIA Mentor Award, to recognize people in the parachute industry who have contributed to the knowledge and skill sets of others in a classroom environment, through seminars or by performing on-the-job or individual training. The PIA Awards Committee will approve up to 10 recipients per year for the award. Recipients may receive the award—an engraved medallion in a presentation box— at any skydiving or parachute industry event from any PIA member in good standing. Those interested in nominating a mentor for this award can find the nomination form and additional information about the award at pia.com in the Standard Operating Procedures document in the Public Documents tab.
The European Skydiving Symposium is inviting the skydiving community to attend its conference for skydivers, instructors and gear specialists at the Mazurkas Conference Center and Hotel near Warsaw, Poland March 5-7.
On January 1, the Parachutists Over Phorty Society launched an updated version of its U.S. website at pops-usa.com (which jumpers can also access by clicking on the American flag at thepops.org). The organization is going green, and members can now correspond with POPS and access all forms and applications online.
On August 14, the Women’s Skydiving Network launched the Project 19 skydiving app to provide educational tools and resources to those training for large head-down formations, particularly the Project 19 women’s head-down record.
Red Bull is hosting the fifth edition of its Illume Image Quest photo competition—which incorporates all manner of imagery, including skydiving and BASE jumping—and is accepting submissions now through July 31.
Formation skydiving team SDC Rhythm XP recently launched a new 4-way FS app, Rhythm Skydiving 401, for iPhone and Android operating systems. The comprehensive tool is suitable for novices, as well as the hardcore 4-way FS junkie.
On February 24, Sun Path Products and Rigging Innovations announced the planned merger of their business operations under the Sun Path Products brand.
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.
On June 14, Sigma—the company that provides electronic membership cards and credential verification to USPA members—announced that it has changed its name to Merit.
USPA Foreign Affiliate Skydive Empuriabrava in Spain, one of Europe’s largest drop zones, is now offsetting its carbon dioxide footprint by supporting certified climate-protection projects.
James Rick Highsmith, D-5863, recently published “In Search of Christmas,” an illustrated children’s book that touches on Highsmith’s love of skydiving.
After 42 years, Strong Enterprises moved to a much newer and more ergonomic facility about seven miles northeast of its previous location. Effective October 1, the new address is 6448 Pinecastle Blvd., Suite 104, Orlando, FL 32809. Phone numbers and email addresses remain the same.
Sunrise Manufacturing International, Inc., maker of the Wings harness and container system, has issued a mandatory service bulletin for rigs equipped with an RSL with Reserve Boost MARD (Main-Assisted Reserve Deployment).
Learfield IMG College, a brand-management firm, hosts an annual evening to recognize success within the company with awards known as “the Clydes” (named for founder Clyde Learfield).
The Women’s Skydiving Network, an international network of more than 3,000 female skydivers, recently announced the launch of the WSN Pro team, an all-female skydiving demonstration team founded by professional skydivers Amy Chmelecki and Melanie Curtis.
United Parachute Technologies and Sun Path Products are joining forces to co-sponsor the development, training and sale of the Mutant supine harness, which is geared toward highly experienced canopy pilots. This is the first time the direct competitors have worked together to this extent in the sport market.
On February 11, United Parachute Technologies announced that it had identified problems affecting the reserve deployment on some of its Vector SE student containers and has offered a field fix, as well as a permanent fix.
United Parachute Technologies recently introduced its Mutant harness-and-container system, which the company designed to maximize performance in canopy flight. In contrast to familiar systems, the Mutant suspends the pilot in the supine position—resting back with the feet stretched forward—which is an efficient flying position resembling a paragliding pilot’s. This position reduces drag, thus allowing for more speed and range, and is also very comfortable, according to UPT.
In February, Velocity Sports Equipment introduced its main-assisted-reserve-deployment system for the Infinity harness-and-container system.
Apollo Brands CEO Troy Widgery, who founded the successful Go Fast energy drink brand, recently introduced Fly Gum, a spearmint gum with a liquid caffeinated core. The gum is aimed at skydivers, pilots and travelers who are looking for a portable, fast energy source. Fly Gum retails for about $5 for a five-piece pack and is available at airports, gear stores and online at flyenergygum.com.
PIA released Service Bulletin PSB-10092020 affecting after-market tandem main risers constructed with obsolete RW2 rings. All sport tandem main risers produced with RW2 rings, or equivalent sized rings, are affected regardless of the hardware manufacturer, the date of manufacture, the material type or the forging process used. This PSB does not affect "solo" main risers that use RW2 rings. Compliance is MANDATORY – REPLACE BEFORE THE NEXT JUMP.
The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Uninsured United Parachute Technologies, LLC (UPT) parachutes. This AD results from reserve pin covers (RPCs) catching on the parachute container flaps and preventing the reserve parachute from deploying. This AD requires modifying the RPC before the next parachute jump and replacing the RPC at the next reserve parachute packing. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.
It’s no secret that more and more people are turning to giving gifts of experiences instead of material things.
Strong Enterprises issued Service Bulletin #35 mandating inspection of the 3-ring attachment on tandem drogues manufactured between June 22, 2020, and February 2, 2021 whose last three digits of the serial numbers between 625 and 714. Status is MANDATORY. Compliance is IMMEDIATE – before the next jump.
USPA 5401 Southpoint Centre Blvd., Fredericksburg, VA, 22407 (540) 604-9740 M-F 9am-5pm Eastern (540) 604-9741 email@example.com