“Thumbs Up—Skydive Kentucky”
Drawing of Jeff McGrady during Leap of Faith Jump Day at Skydive Kentucky in Elizabethtown.
Photo by Laszlo Andacs | D-22468
Team 6-Way and Chill (Douglas Hendrix, Nick Jayakar, Stephanie Krar, William Savage, Alex Teskey and Andrew Yin) from the University of Connecticut builds a round during the 6-way formation skydiving event at the USPA National Collegiate Parachuting Championships at Skydive Lake Wales in Florida.
PHOTO BY James Hatch | D-21729
Coach Carlye Bartolomeo (right) helps student Lauren Pfeifer work on her freefall skills.
Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by David Wybenga. Information about AXIS' coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com.
Logan Donovan, D-31751, is an Ivy League-educated software engineer who is using her skills to benefit skydiving. Along with being a competitive canopy pilot and national canopy piloting judge, she created the Control Tower scoring system used to judge CP events around the world. Donovan has medaled numerous times in Northeastern Canopy Pilot League and Florida Canopy Piloting Association meets. In September, she earned her first medals at a USPA Nationals.
Has this happened to you?
You’re hot loading a full turbine aircraft, and you’re one of the last on. You scrunch onto that last seat on the straddle bench and scramble to find your seatbelt just as the door shuts, only to discover that someone at the front of the plane skipped a belt. What do you do?
“What on Earth—or in the sky—was I doing?” I asked, staring at RwandAir’s confirmation email for my flight to the Kenyan coast to begin AFF. Instead of the excitement that accompanies a trip to white-sand beaches and warm waters, I felt trepidation. Fear.
Good judgment comes from experience, but for many, a lot of their experience comes from bad judgment. Regardless of whether you are just getting started in teaching skydiving by gaining a USPA Coach rating or have been at it for years and are receiving an Instructor Examiner rating, working toward a goal and earning a new rating is a challenging process that requires hard work and dedication. It is the end of one process (preparing and completing a certification course) and the beginning of another (the real-world environment). You have proven you deserve the rating with your knowledge and flying skills, but now is when learning really begins.
Most jumpers have a difficult time remembering the cloud clearance regulations, but understanding the reasons for the different altitude requirements can help you remember the necessary information.
Recent and long-time members alike will know the name of Clint Vincent, one of the association's longest-serving employees. He's actually served two 10-year stints at USPA; the first from 1985 to 1995 and the second between 2007 and 2017. Sadly but deservedly, Clint is retiring from USPA at the end of this year.
A jumper flying her wingsuit attempted to deploy her main canopy at 3,500 feet. A few seconds after she threw her pilot chute, she saw the pilot chute trailing behind her, so she pulled her reserve ripcord. The reserve deployed and was fully inflated by 2,000 feet. The main canopy remained in the container after the reserve deployed.
When choosing a new or used rig, the metal hardware used in the 3-ring assembly and for harness adjustments matters a lot. Inattention to this detail can make or break a good used gear deal. If you’re getting new gear, some of those great sales and discount deals might be due to hardware choice.
Winter comes for all of us, whether you’re of the Great House of Chicagoland or the Great House of Perris. While the season’s arrival clearly hits the Lords of the North hardest, every skydiver in the 50 Kingdoms needs to maintain at least some awareness of cold-season strategy.
by Steve Smith with contributions from Greg Jack and Jules McConnel
The original version of this article appeared in the July/August/September 2017 issue of Australian SkydiveR Magazine.
All skydivers—no matter what discipline they pursue—learn how to avoid canopy collisions. Yet collisions remain one of the most likely ways to die in the sport. Part of the problem is that not everybody knows how to correctly perform emergency procedures after a collision, and the procedures are not common sense. You can only learn them on the ground.
T. J. Hine started skydiving in 1985, and his love for the sport and its people continues today. A well-known formation skydiver at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, Hine has set many state, national and world big-way records and has medaled in 8-way and 10-way at the USPA Nationals. As one of his colleagues said, “T. J. has always balanced his work and his passion for skydiving. His longevity and enthusiasm in the sport inspire many to keep going.”
In 1962, on a demo for a company picnic—a water jump in Palm Beach, Florida—I was nearly arrested by the Secret Service for "trying to assassinate President Kennedy." As an aeronautical engineer at Area 51, I volunteered to test eject from the Mach-3 SR-71 Blackbird spy plane in June of 1964. (Lockheed, the Air Force and the CIA turned down my offer.) My crop-duster tow plane caught fire and was out of control and going down in flames when I bailed out at 700 feet and landed in a tree next to the forest fire started by my crashed airplane.
An ever-increasing number of tandem accidents are attributable to the use of handcams, either as a direct or indirect cause. Sadly, the mistakes leading to these accidents are easy to see in high-definition video, as the tandem instructors continue filming with a straight left arm even as the world around them is going to hell.
Hard-impact freefall collisions resulting in serious injuries and fatalities were once a common issue with formation skydivers and freeflyers, and now they’re an issue with wingsuiters. Modern wingsuit flying—which now has had more than 20 years to develop training methods and equipment and build a foundation of knowledge—cannot truly be considered a new discipline any longer, but it continues to struggle with injuries and fatalities from collisions in freefall, as well as collisions with the aircraft on exit.
Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by David Cherry. Information about AXIS' coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com.
USPA’s Airport Access and Defense Fund started in 1991 with the primary purpose of helping DZs fight governmental decisions that unfairly or illegally interfere with or negate skydiving operations on airports. As it has been from the start, one condition of using the fund is that winning the battle would set national precedent so that other DZs and skydiving in general derive future benefit. The AAD Fund is entirely dependent on donations from skydivers, who give about $20,000 annually. The fund has now grown to just over $344,000.
The annual audit of USPA for 2016, which Rogers & Co. of Vienna, Virginia, completed in August 2017, reported sound fiscal management and accountability measures. In 2016, revenues of $3,486,623 exceeded expenses of $3,467,585, leaving USPA with an operational excess (not including investments) of $19,038. USPA had a total excess of $218,957 after including investment gains, interest and dividends.
Have you ever thought about how parachute designers take an interesting idea and turn it into a real-live piece of nylon? As you might imagine, the story of a canopy is never as simple as scratching down some math and heading over to a cutting table. Since the first parachute designer put his idea to paper, the process has been as much about the people manning the pencils as it has been about the parachute that’s born of the process. And in the last scant handful of years, the story has taken on another plotline entirely.
Jen Domenico, D-22977, is a women’s world record holder and has been a member of USPA for 21 years. As a big-way skydiver, she coordinated many P3 events with Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld at Skydive Perris in California. She’s also an active 4- and 8-way formation skydiving competitor.
There’s a moment that happens in skydiving where my mind calms and the only thing that exists for me is the present moment. I always have some nerves as I climb to altitude. The objects of my anxiety run the gamut from second-guessing gear checks and dive flows to unfounded fears of disappointing strangers.
At the July USPA Board meeting in Seattle, Washington, the Safety and Training Committee spent most of its meeting time discussing the instructional rating process. The results were multiple changes, some of which went into effect immediately and others of which will come into play at a later date.
It took almost 25 years of skydiving, but I finally experienced an aircraft emergency as a skydiver. Actually, I would not even classify it as a true emergency, since the engine loss happened at 13,000 feet. As a pilot myself with many hours in this King Air, I knew what was going on and I had a good idea of how the pilot who was flying was going to handle the situation. But seeing how everyone reacted was interesting. Some looked nervous, and some seemed confused about what to do.
The length between the “cat’s eye” (the opening in the line where you set your brakes before packing) and the steering toggle can greatly influence whether you have smooth flights and great landings. An incorrect brake length can hamper ideal performance from your canopy, and the causes vary. Working with your rigger, you should be able to address any issues without spending a lot of money.
This bag-lock malfunction occurred when one of the packing tabs on the canopy entangled with the last closing-stow band on the deployment bag. Although this is a very unusual malfunction, jumpers can help avoid it by making sure that the stows are not near the packing tabs when closing their deployment bags.
At its July meeting, USPA’s board of directors approved a resolution that, eff ective November 1, USPA “will not use association resources to support the sport of ‘indoor skydiving,’ except to nominate international judges to such IPC [International Parachuting Commission] events as appropriate. USPA will seek to encourage, foster and cooperate with any emerging national governing body for tunnel flying.” As a result, effective next month, USPA is officially out of the wind-tunnel business.
(More articles being added every day!)
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