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    How Skydiving Changed My Life

    Published on Saturday, June 1, 2019

    How Skydiving Changed My Life

    By Colton Wadley

    Ever since I was young, I’ve been the adventurous type. I constantly seek new experiences and never let “no” get in the way. I’ve never had the mentality of letting life come to me; I’ve always chased it. I’d see something I wanted to try and go after it, whether it be acting in movies (I was in two), doing stand-up comedy or excelling in my career.

    My career is what’s important to me—earning a sustainable living and not living paycheck to paycheck. I grew up in a lower-middle-class family, and some nights my parents could barely afford to feed us, let alone get all the nice things we wanted. But they tried, and they were good parents who always did their best, with their chins up. I was fortunate to always have a roof over my head and clean clothes on my back. But like I said earlier, I’m not one to settle for less. I set out in my career to be the best at what I did, to have a healthy bank account and not stress about paying bills or providing for those who depend on me. But that’s where I messed up.

    I got so wrapped up in it that all I did was work non-stop, morning to night, 80-plus hours a week. I did not appreciate what I already had, and I didn’t take time for myself. Years went by, and I became severely depressed. I had no friends to hang out with, and on my days off I just sat in front of a television and binge watched movies, waiting for time to pass until I could go back to work the next day. Or some days, I just slept through the entire day. My life became empty. Hollow. That fire in me, my drive to be something better, slowly started to fade. And I started resenting my life, my work, those around me … everything.

    At work one day, I was talking to a co-worker and the topic of skydiving came up. We laughed and talked about how fun it would be to try it. But it was just small talk, and though the conversation stuck in my head for weeks, I did nothing about it. I started to spiral downward in my depression. Lonely, sad, hating life and, yes, even suicidal. This just wasn’t me.

    So, one Sunday—July 5, 2015—I decided to go to my local drop zone. My mood was bland, but I was determined to change something. Even if I did it only once, it would mean I did it. I watched Bill Booth’s video, and I started to get a little nervous. They paired me up with my tandem instructor (who is now a good friend of mine), and we got on the plane. In my mental state, I didn’t care if the plane went down with me in it. It was a very dark place that I’m somewhat ashamed of being in, looking back.

    The ride to altitude was quiet. I just sat looking out the window. We got on jump run, the door opened and people started bailing out. That’s when reality started kicking in. “Holy s***, they just jumped out! Holy s***. I’m about to do the same!” We got up and waddled in tandem to the door. With my feet on the threshold, I was looking down and for a brief moment I thought about nope-ing the hell outta that. Then I heard my T.I. yell, “One!”

    At that moment I said, “F** it, we’re doing this.”

    “Two!” And out the door we went.

    The silence under canopy entranced me. The views … spectacular. After we landed, I lingered at the DZ waiting for my certificate. People came up to me and started conversations. They were friendly, welcoming and chatty. I wasn’t even one of them yet, but they talked to me like I was. For the first time in a long time, I felt welcome. I felt … different.

    The following week, I made another tandem. The week after that, I took ground school. A few months later, I got my A license. And now I have a C license and a USPA Coach rating, because I want to give others what I received from my experience. I feel … whole. Almost four years after that first jump, I’ve built close friendships with my peers and my mentors. I gained knowledge and trust in myself. And most importantly, I learned how valuable life really is. There is a lot of wisdom in this sport, about life and, unfortunately, about death itself. It’s taught me a great deal of respect for both.

    Colton Wadley | C-45938
    Pleasant Grove, Utah

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    2021-2022 Instructional Rating Manual (IRM) Evaluations Forms PDF (fillable)   (Mar 2021) Downloads Manuals Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings
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    A-License Proficiency Card (1 page) PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Licenses & Proficiency Cards
    A-License Progression Card (ISP; 2 pages) PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Licenses & Proficiency Cards
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    Proficiency Card: Military Transition PDF   (Sep 2021) Forms Licenses & Proficiency Cards
    Proficiency Card: Tandem Instructor PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings
    S&TA Waiver Form PDF   (Apr 2018) Downloads Forms Waivers
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    2022 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Mar 2022) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
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    2009 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Sep 2009) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2009 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2009) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2009 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2009) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
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    2008 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Apr 2008) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
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    Miscellaneous

    2013 DOT Opinion on Taxes PDF   (Jan 2014)
    Advanced Aerospace Designs Issues Reminders to Vigil Customers   (Dec 2019)

    On October 23, Advanced Aerospace Designs issued reminders of approaching deadlines for compliance with its last two service bulletins.

    After-market Tandem Risers MANDATORY – REPLACE BEFORE THE NEXT JUMP   (Sep 2020)

    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.

    Article: 9/11 Aftermath Report PDF   (Aug 2016)
    Article: Angle Flying PDF   (Nov 2015)
    Article: Ches Judy Award PDF   (Oct 2015)
    Article: Gear Fear PDF   (Sep 2015)
    Article: Landing in a Tree PDF   (Mar 2015)
    Article: Safety in Numbers PDF   (Jan 2011)
    Article: The RSL PDF   (Jan 2014)
    Article: Water Landings PDF   (Mar 2015)
    Canopy Risk Quotient PDF   (Oct 2015)
    Canopy Risk Quotient LINK   (Mar 2020)
    Dermody Letter PDF   (Jul 2012)
    Dunn Letter PDF   (Jul 2012)
    DZO Memo PDF   (Jul 2012)
    FAA AC 105-2E PDF   (Dec 2013)
    FAA AC 90-66B CHG 1 PDF   (Feb 2019)
    FAA Airworthiness Directive for certain UPT reserve pin covers PDF   (Apr 2021)

    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.

    FAA Proposal (07/03/12) PDF   (Jul 2012)
    Flight Planner   (Jan 2019)
    Huerta Letter PDF   (Jul 2012)
    Insurance Policy Summary   (Mar 2021)
    ISP Grid PDF   (May 2012)
    Parachute Landing Area Update PDF   (Aug 2012)
    Skydiving Makes the Perfect Experience Gift   (Dec 2019)

    It’s no secret that more and more people are turning to giving gifts of experiences instead of material things.

    Strong Enterprises Issues Service Bulletin for Tandem Drogue PDF   (Apr 2021)

    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 Hangar Policy Comments PDF   (Jun 2016)
    Wingsuit Instructor Draft PDF   (Sep 2012)

    SIM Translations into Other Languages

    Language Translation Disclaimer

    Translations of the Skydiver’s Information Manual (SIM) are prepared by third-party translators in an effort to make USPA documents accessible to those who may not read English. The official and binding documents which govern USPA are the English versions. While good faith efforts are made to provide accurate translations, portions may be incorrect and may conceivably communicate incorrect safety standards. In addition, some terminology when translated may not be completely accurate due to language differences and limitations. The United States Parachute Association (USPA) shall not be responsible or liable for any errors, omissions or ambiguities in the translated versions of documents or for any consequences of any such errors, omissions or ambiguities, including personal injury or death. Any person or entity who relies on translated content does so at their own risk. USPA shall not be liable for any losses, damages or harm, including personal injury or death, caused by reliance on the accuracy or reliability of translated documents or information. If you would like to report a translation error or inaccuracy, we encourage you to contact us.

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