Safety Check | 2020 Compliance Group Actions
Safety Check | Mar 01, 2021
Safety Check | 2020 Compliance Group Actions

Michael Wadkins

Three board members and one staff member make up the Compliance Group, which conducts investigations on allegations of member misconduct. When an allegation arises, the four full-time members of the group and the appropriate regional director look into the possible violations of the Basic Safety Requirements, Federal Aviation Regulations or USPA training programs and make a determination based on USPA’s ethical principles.

The Compliance Group’s role is to provide stewardship and to help USPA police itself. Its role is not discipline-driven; its primary focus is to retrain, re-educate and ensure compliance with USPA’s guiding principles. Unfortunately, the outcome of an investigation sometimes requires the group to impose sanctions on a member. Imposing a disciplinary action is the least favorite responsibility of any director who serves on this group, but it is an important one.

In 2020, the USPA Board’s Compliance Group received 43 reports of possible infractions of USPA policies that could merit action. In most cases, local- or regional-level action satisfactorily resolved the situation, but in 13 instances, the group felt it necessary to investigate formally. Seven of these cases resulted in compliance actions, with the severity varying depending on the details of the violation. Those actions were:


  • Six-month suspension of membership for consuming alcoholic beverages within 8 hours of making a jump.
  • Six-month suspension of membership for inappropriate conduct while exercising tandem instructor privileges, with the possibility of early reinstatement after successful completion of a state-approved sexual harassment training program.
  • Six-month suspension of membership and required retraining with an USPA AFF Examiner for providing substandard training to USPA members and falsifying documents to license those individuals.
  • Six-month suspension of membership and required retraining with a USPA Tandem Examiner for consuming alcoholic beverages within 8 hours of making a jump and substandard performance while exercising their tandem privileges (primarily unacceptable exits, low deployments and failure to perform system-handles check after drogue deployment).
  • Revocation of a USPA Tandem Instructor rating and a prohibition against regaining the rating for the second instance in 45 days of failing to properly respond to a tandem emergency. The revocation followed a suspension and subsequent retraining by an examiner after the first incident. 
  • Revocation of USPA ratings for falsifying rating-renewal applications and medical certificates for two consecutive renewal cycles. 
  • Revocation of USPA membership for repeated offences involving the consumption of alcoholic beverages within 8 hours of making a jump.

More information about the Compliance Group and its role is found in the USPA Governance Manual available under the Downloads tab at

North Central Regional Director Michael Wadkins | D-18691 and
Coach, AFF, Tandem, Static-Line and IAD Examiner Chair, USPA Safety & Training Committee

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