During the 2019 summer board meeting, USPA adopted and implemented an updated PRO-rating program with new jump requirements, qualifying areas and distances (the old standard of 10 accuracy jumps into a 32-foot circle no longer applies) and types of qualifying canopies. Although these changes went into effect on January 1, 2020, USPA Headquarters and regional directors have still been receiving many USPA PRO-rating applications that use the outdated requirements and therefore need to be rejected.
USPA revamped the PRO rating to provide standards for the use of high-performance canopies on demo jumps. In setting these standards, the board aimed to ensure that the rating holders had the necessary skills to fly highly loaded canopies and land them in challenging situations (such as Level 2 or higher demonstrations), but also the ability to jump a lightly loaded wing when it is a more suitable option (such as when jumping with large flags or streamers). Therefore, the board set up the program so that applicants receive an initial PRO rating using a canopy loaded at 1.5:1 or lower. Then, if the rating holder wants to jump a smaller canopy (higher than 1.5:1, regardless of the type of wing) into demonstrations, they must receive a high-performance endorsement to the rating by successfully completing the requirements on an additional five jumps.
Skydiver’s Information Manual Section 7-2 outlines the new PRO-rating requirements. First, the applicant must have a D license, pass the written exam and complete two night jumps. Then the applicant must pre-declare and make 10 solo jumps, all under the same canopy loaded at 1.5:1 or below, with a stand-up landing into an area 40-feet long by 20-feet wide. Two of these jumps must include crosswind approaches.
To qualify for a high-performance endorsement to the PRO rating, applicants must pre-declare and make a series of five solo jumps, all under the same wing loaded at more than 1.5:1, into an area 40-feet long by 20-feet wide. At least one landing must demonstrate a crosswind approach, and two approaches and landings must demonstrate a heading change of at least 45 degrees during the final 150 feet of canopy flight. The jumper must start and complete the heading change no higher than 25 feet AGL. This flared, carving turn is a crucial part of the high-performance endorsement since it demonstrates the jumper’s ability to change heading while maintaining control of the parachute during a landing swoop.
In addition to the PRO-rating application, all applicants must provide video footage of each pre-declared jump to the appropriate regional director or the director of safety and training at USPA Headquarters. For each jump, the video must clearly show the applicant’s final approach and landing into a defined area 40-feet long by 20-feet wide. When a pre-declared jump is unsuccessful, the applicant must start the series over.
Jumpers who are planning to apply for the PRO rating should carefully read the new requirements in Section 7-2 of the 2021-2022 edition of the SIM or the online version, which is constantly updated, at uspa.org. Jumpers may also email the Safety and Training Department at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
North Central Regional Director Michael Wadkins | D-18691
and Coach, AFF, Tandem, Static-Line and IAD Examiner Chair, USPA Safety & Training Committee