On May 23, the USPA Board of Directors’ Executive Committee voted to allow USPA members to jump with the U.S. round parachute groups that are recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration. USPA members may perform static-line jumps with these groups using the groups’ equipment at their own airport locations, at FAA-approved airshows and demonstrations, and at events in foreign countries governed by those countries’ aviation authorities. USPA specifies that these static-line jumps must be at a minimum altitude of 1,500 feet above ground level.
Skydive Mountaineer held its inaugural weekend May 18-19 at the Maley Field Airport in Shinniston, West Virginia. The new DZ is operating a Cessna 182, taking off from North Central West Virginia Airport in Clarksburg and landing at Maley Field.
Longtime parachute rigging instructor and skydiver Dave DeWolf, D-1046, passed away late in the evening of Wednesday, May 22, at age 86. DeWolf was known to nearly everyone as “Handsome Dave,” and his friends, students and colleagues remember him not only for his extensive knowledge of rigging, but also for his playful personality and sense of humor.
The USPA Board of Directors, with guidance from seasoned mixed formation skydiving competitors, approved changes to the MFS event for the 2019 National Skydiving Championships. Based on competitor feedback from the 2018 Nationals, changes were made to allow for closer synergy between the advanced and open classes, as well as to continue to increase national (and hopefully one day international) participation with the addition of an entry-level intermediate class. MFS is one of the fastest-growing disciplines in skydiving and strives to provide a multi-orientation playing field for all levels of freeflyers.
In recent years, USPA has been aware of the growth of groups using static-lined round parachutes to either reenact World War II-style airborne jumps or simply to experience or relive military-style jumps. For the most part, these groups conduct static-line jumps from about 1,500 feet AGL using round main parachutes, front-mounted reserves and no reserve static lines, automatic activation devices or altimeters. Most but not all of their jumpers do not qualify for a USPA license and would be considered student skydivers. USPA has had no issue whatsoever with these groups doing their jumps at their own locations and at airshows with Federal Aviation Administration approval.
Don Kellner earned USPA 45,000-Jump Wings #1 after making his 45,000th skydive on Saturday, April 20, over Above the Poconos Skydivers, which he and his wife Darlene own, in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. He made the jump in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the first intentional freefall, which Leslie Irvin completed April 28, 1919, in Dayton, Ohio.
USPA ended April with its highest-ever membership—40,620 members! The milestone comes after last October’s high of 40,441 members. USPA reached the 40,000-member mark for the first time ever last summer. These numbers indicate that the sport of skydiving is continuing to grow, as more people not only jump for the first time, but return to pursue the sport as a hobby. USPA anticipates that these numbers will continue to climb throughout the upcoming summer season.
By Ed Scott
You’ve often read in these pages that one of USPA’s main roles is to safeguard skydiving’s rightful place in airspace and on airports. Federal Aviation Administration policy has long recognized skydiving as a regulated aeronautical activity within the nation’s airspace and on the 3,000-plus U.S. airports that have accepted FAA funds for improvements. Those federal airport dollars come with the stipulation that the airport must fairly accommodate all types of aeronautical activity, including skydiving.
The 2019 USPA National Canopy Piloting Championships at Skydive Paraclete XP in Raeford, North Carolina, this September will now include a freestyle test event. The three-jump event is scheduled for September 10, with official registration on September 9.
Orange Skies Free Fall Center launched its opening weekend at Fort Morgan Municipal Airport in Colorado April 20-21.
Photo by Daniel Angulo
The National Aeronautic Association selected the four-point 42-way head-down world record as one of its most memorable aviation records of 2018. The skydivers set the record on June 30 over Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, surpassing the previous record of 33 set in 2014.
The USPA Competition Department is looking for qualified individuals to fill several leadership positions at the upcoming 2019 FAI World Cup competitions.
By Jessie Thompson
If you ask Patricia Annette Thomas (whom most simply call “Pat”) about her greatest life achievement, she will unhesitatingly say it is her family, then quickly change the subject. However, if you persist, she might share some stories from the myriad wonderful moments in her life.
By Ed Scott
If your words could save a skydiver from injury or worse, would you speak up? Of course you would. In fact, such conversations probably happen every day at DZs everywhere. Whether such discussions occur after a gear check, when reviewing a dive plan or while discussing jump run or winds or a landing pattern, sharing knowledge and correcting misconceptions are a vital part of safe skydiving.
The USPA Membership Services Committee is currently seeking nominations for three of its service awards: the Lifetime Achievement Award (a maximum of one recipient annually), the Gold Medal for Meritorious Service (up to three recipients annually) and the Regional Achievement Award (up to five recipients annually).