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    Jacques-André Istel | D-2

    Published on Thursday, July 1, 2021

    Jacques-André Istel | D-2

    By Brian Giboney

    Without Jacques-André Istel, the sport of parachuting would not be what it is today. Indeed, if he hadn’t learned the latest techniques, promoted parachuting as a hobby and created the Parachute Club of America (USPA’s predecessor), skydiving as we know it may not have existed at all. Istel established the first Basic Safety Requirements and the sport’s licensing and instructional programs. He brought stable freefall techniques to the United States after learning about them in France in 1955. He founded Parachutes Incorporated, which operated five drop zones, including the first professional drop zone in the U.S. These DZs used the latest equipment, much of which Istel developed himself. In 1956, he organized and led the first U.S. Parachute Team at the world championships, and he captained the 1958 team. He also popularized sport parachuting in America by touring college campuses, and in 1957, he founded the National Intercollegiate Parachuting League. He taught the United States Army freefall parachuting techniques, and many of his students became the first members of the U.S. Army Golden Knights. These are just a few of his achievements on behalf of the sport, which are too numerus to list. He graciously agreed to be interviewed for USPA’s 75th anniversary Profile column in issue 741 of Parachutist magazine, a publication that he founded and of which he was the first editor.

    Age: 92
    Birthplace: Born in Paris, France, in 1929 to André and Yvonne Istel
    Marital Status: Married to Felicia. I named Felicity, the California town I founded, in honor of her.
    Occupation: Founder of the Hall of Fame of Parachuting and the Museum of History in Granite. Mayor of Felicity, California.
    Education: The Stony Brook School, salutatorian for the Class of 1945; economics degree from Princeton University in 1949
    Military Service: Lt. Colonel, U.S. Marines. Served during the Korean War.
    Pet Peeve: When skydivers use the word “load.” My 1959 instructions at Parachutes Incorporated: “One loads cattle and offers flights to our respected clients.” Vocabulary matters.
    Favorite Food: With all the marvelous foods around the world, this question is inapplicable.
    Favorite Music: Bach’s “Inventions” and Georges Brassens
    Home Drop Zone: I founded Parachutes Incorporated, which operated the Orange Sport Parachute Center in Massachusetts, the world’s first professional drop zone. (The airport is now occupied by Jumptown/Massachusetts Sport Parachute Club.) The Orange center was the first of five DZs that PI owned and was the site of the 6th World Parachuting Championships, the first championships held in the U.S.
    First Jump: A three-second freefall and ripcord deployment from a two-seater Piper J-3 Cub using gear borrowed from former paratrooper Dean McAlpine in 1950.
    Year of Last Jump: 1972
    Licenses/Ratings: B-17, C-28, D-2 and I-1. I issued the PCA C  licenses. In order to boost the sport, I created the Instructor and D licenses.  As first instructor, I took I-1 and issued D-1 to Lew Sanborn, whose first jump had seniority over mine.
    Parachuting Honors: A. Leo Stevens Parachute Medal, 1958; elected Lifetime Honorary President of the International Parachuting Commission of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, 1965; Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Paul Tissandier Diploma, 1969; USPA Lifetime Achievement Award, 2007; International Skydiving Hall of Fame Class of 2011. Unusual item: Honorary Master of Sport of the Soviet Union.
    Total Number of Jumps: 600-plus
    Largest Completed Formation: Never interested me, as I enjoyed being alone in freefall.
    Total Number of Cutaways: Back in my day, the cutaway did not exist. My first reserve ride was on my 10th jump after the 1951 Detroit Air Races. I have had several reserve rides.

    Most people don’t know this about me:
    In 1985, I wrote a children’s book entitled “Coe, the Good Dragon at the Center of the World.”

    What was your role in the development of parachuting in the U.S.?
    Without false modesty, the sport occurred in America because I analyzed the obstacles and, using innovations both mine and those of others, reduced greatly both opening and landing shocks of the parachute, and then solved the problem of accuracy in landing. (An interesting story, by the way.) With approval of close friend Joe Crane, who with most in that era laughed at the idea, I created the Parachute Club of America (writing the charter as a non-profit sport organization) by modifying the National Parachute Jumpers-Riggers he founded. I then created the Intercollegiate Parachuting League, the I and D licenses, the insurance program that removed most landowners’ objections to parachuting, the first Basic Safety Regulations, Parachutist magazine, first sport parachuting school, first jump from jet aircraft with sport chute (to convince governments to buy; they did), first jump with camera on helmet. (I turned freefall photography over to Lew [Sanborn], a better parachutist than I, who made huge contributions.)

    What positions did you hold in the sport?
    Competitor, team captain, team leader, team trainer, instructor, national champion, world record holder, head of delegation, organizer and president of a world championships, delegate of the United States and president of the International Parachuting Commission. At the time, I was the only person to have held all of these positions, and perhaps still am.

    Is it true that you developed the Basic Safety Requirements?
    My “Parachutist Log #2” contains the original 10 brief and concise safety regulations, which I wrote. (The number remind you of anything?)

    Setting up the first sport skydiving facility must have been a serious financial gamble. Was it a bonanza or a financial headache?
    First jumps were $30 and we needed 1,000 first-time jumpers a year to break even. It took us several years to break even at Parachutes Inc. I was willing to lose money to provide a first-class service. Similar to what Amazon has strived to do.

    How much resistance met you when you went to D.C. to lobby for the purpose of making parachuting a sporting activity?
    Considerable.

    At your original parachute school, what training method did you use?
    The Army took several days to train for the first jump. I taught my students in 45 minutes, and I only taught five things:

    1. How to exit the aircraft
    2. Check your canopy
    3. Emergency procedure
    4. How to land
    5. How to collapse your canopy after landing

    A first jump is a scary occasion. Principle: Teach as little as possible, emphasize five vital points. I took a lot of grief over this, but we didn’t have a fatality for 11 years, and that was not a first-time jumper. Staff wore different colored jumpsuits: Red were for ground crew; blue were for pilots; gold were for instructors. (They were gold because they were the most respected.)

    Why did you name your drop zones “parachuting schools” and not “skydiving schools”?
    Because skydiving sounded like a circus stunt at a time when parachuting was scary and exotic. Again, vocabulary matters.

    Do you stay involved in the sport today?
    My profession, editing and ensuring the engraving of history in granite, is time consuming and an awesome responsibility. Like parachuting, mistakes have serious consequences. Hence, I have had nothing to do with actual parachuting in well over 30 years. Exceptions:  Some work on the Hall of Fame and the pleasure of hosting the Pioneers of Sport Parachuting reunions. Note: Parachutists are always welcome at Felicity, California.

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    Author: Brian Giboney

    Categories: People, Profiles

    Tags: July 2021

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    2021-2022 Instructional Rating Manual (IRM) Forms PDF   (Mar 2021) Downloads Manuals Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings
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    A-License Progression Card (ISP; 2 pages) PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Licenses & Proficiency Cards
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    Application: Canopy Formation Award PDF   (Apr 2021) Forms Awards
    Application: Judge Rating PDF   (May 2015) Forms Judge Rating
    Application: PRO Rating & High Performance Endorsement PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings Demos
    Application: Tenure Award PDF   (Apr 2010) Forms Awards
    Application: USPA Membership & Rating Renewal PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings
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    Canopy Piloting Proficiency Card PDF   (Sep 2019) Forms Licenses & Proficiency Cards
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    Initial Application for Group Membership (U.S. Only) PDF   (Feb 2020) Downloads Forms Group Membership
    Proficiency Card: AFF Instructor PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings
    Proficiency Card: Coach Rating PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings
    Proficiency Card: Examiner PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings
    Proficiency Card: IAD/SL Instructor PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings
    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
    Waiver Request PDF   (Nov 2019) Downloads Waivers

    USPA Meeting Minutes

    2022 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Mar 2022) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2022 Winter Meeting PDF   (Mar 2022) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2021 Summer Meeting PDF   (Sep 2021) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2021 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Sep 2021) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2021 Winter Meeting PDF   (Mar 2021) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2020 Summer Meeting PDF   (Dec 2020) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2020 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2020) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2019 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2019) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2019 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2019) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2018 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2018) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2018 Winter Meeting PDF   (Mar 2018) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2017 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2017) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2017 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2017) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2016 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2016) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2016 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Jul 2016) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2016 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2016) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2015 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2015) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2015 Winter Meeting PDF   (Mar 2015) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2015 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Mar 2015) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    2014 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Jul 2014) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2014 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2014) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2014 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2014) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2013 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2013) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2013 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Jul 2013) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2013 Winter Meeting PDF   (Mar 2013) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2012 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Mar 2013) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2012 Summer Meeting PDF   (Aug 2012) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2012 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2012) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2011 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Aug 2011) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2011 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2011) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2011 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2011) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2010 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Aug 2010) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2010 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2010) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2010 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2010) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    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
    BOD 2008 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2008) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2008 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Apr 2008) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2008 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2008) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2007 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2007) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2007 General Membership Meeting PDF   (May 2007) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2007 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2007) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2006 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Nov 2006) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2006 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2006) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2006 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2006) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2005 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Aug 2005) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2005 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2005) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2005 Winter Meeting PDF   (Jan 2005) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2004 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Sep 2004) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2004 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2004) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2004 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2004) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2003 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Aug 2003) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2003 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2003) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2003 Winter Meeting PDF   (Jan 2003) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
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    BOD 2002 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2002) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2001 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2001) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2001 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2001) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting 2000-2005
    BOD 2000 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2000) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting 2000-2005

    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.

    Please note the revision date of any translated copy you are reviewing and verify that it is no earlier than the revision date of the corresponding English version. Any edits made to the original English version after the translated version’s revision date would not be reflected in the translation.

    Chinese-English (Bilingual Version) – January 1, 2021

    Spanish Version – January 1, 2021