Safety is No Accident
Features | May 01, 2019
Safety is No Accident

USPA Staff

To open Safety Day 2019 at Skydive Cross Keys in Williamstown, New Jersey, DZO and pilot Pico Mazure remarked, “Safety is no accident. Safety is an attitude and a core value of our community. We are happy to see not only students but also highly experienced jumpers attend Safety Day and help us instill that value in all generations of jumpers.”

USPA couldn’t agree more!

More than 100 drop zones in the U.S. and around the world participated in Safety Day on March 9 and alternate dates this year. Most parts of the U.S. saw unusually wet and windy conditions, even for early March, and many DZs’ post-event reports began with variations of, “We had a great turnout even though there were torrential downpours.” It’s clear that jumpers find value in showing up for Safety Day—now in its 23rd year—even without the lure of sunny skies. On top of offering seminars, demonstrations and emergency-procedure-practice sessions using hanging harnesses and virtual-reality devices, Safety Day organizers provided additional incentives to attend by holding raffles and giveaways and providing plentiful food. With all the pancakes, donuts, pizza, tacos and barbecue that DZs provided to their jumpers, it’s certain that no one left Safety Day hungry!

In addition to seminars on canopy and freefall safety, equipment checks, aircraft emergencies and general skydiving topics, many DZs held sessions especially for staff members. The instructional rating holders benefitted, and new jumpers witnessed their respected mentors engaging in lifelong learning. At Skydive San Diego in Jamul, California, the experience range of attendees ranged from 11 jumps to more than 20,000! 

Everyone who attended a Safety Day—from seasoned instructors to new A-license holders—came away with refreshed emergency-procedure skills and lots of important information to make the upcoming skydiving season the best and safest ever. Although Megan Cahill was speaking of Safety Day at Skydive Suffolk in Virginia, she could have been talking about many DZs when she said, “We spent time addressing all things safety and ensuring our DZ is ready for an amazing season … if it ever stops raining!”


The Chesley H. Judy Safety Awards

Ches Judy, D-1281, was a respected skydiving instructor who balanced his professionalism with a light-hearted good humor and easygoing attitude. He was a USPA member for more than 30 years and used his vast experience to help train and mentor other skydiving instructors. In 1995, just a few months after USPA hired him as its director of safety and training, Judy died in a plane crash in West Point, Virginia. Following his death, family members presented USPA with a grant in his name, and USPA used it to establish the Chesley H. Judy Safety Award, which drop zones traditionally present on Safety Day.

The Ches Judy is a truly grassroots award. Although USPA developed the award to honor those who have promoted safe skydiving through example, deed, training or innovation in the previous year, it is local drop zones and jumpers who choose the recipient.

The 2019 Chesley H. Judy Safety Award recipients are:

Stephanie Behnke | C-44522

Skydive Spaceland–Houston in Rosharon, Texas

DJ Marvin presents Stephanie Behnke with the Ches Judy Award.

Isa Bialick | D-35599

Skydive Tennessee in Tullahoma

Isa Bialick (center) receives the Chesley H. Judy Safety Award from USPA Southern Regional Director Paul Gholson and DZ Manager Leslie Fritz.

Ted Davidson | C-46710

Skydive Pennsylvania in Mercer

Ted Davidson (center) accepts his Ches Judy Award from Cory Smith (left) and Cecil Smith.

J.P. Furnari | D-23489

Skydive Orange in Virginia

Drop Zone Manager Pam Young presents J.P. Furnari with the Ches Judy Award.

Paul Gholson | D-17101

West Tennessee Skydiving in Whiteville

Drop Zone Owner and USPA National Director Mike Mullins (center left) presents USPA Southern Regional Director Paul Gholson with the Ches Judy Award for “promoting safety using training and innovation in the sport of skydiving.”

Christopher V. Hill | B-34092

GliderSports Skydiving in Clinton, Missouri

Drop Zone Owner Garrett Reed (left) presents head packer and videographer Christopher “Chill” Hill the Ches Judy Award for “always being willing to dedicate his time to learning, teaching and safety.”

Nick Kime | D-29480

Flight Providers in Bolivar, Missouri

Drop Zone Owner Nick Kime (right) receives the Ches Judy Award from S&TA Brad Barnett.

Norman Kofford | C-46891

Skydive Awesome! in Madras, Oregon

S&TA Stephen Rosier (left) presents Norman Kofford the Ches Judy Award for “being a steward of safety from day one and always wanting to help others be better and safer skydivers.” Kofford was the first jumper to receive an A license at the drop zone.

Ross Leventhal | D-36369

Skydive Suffolk in Virginia

The drop zone awarded Leventhal—chief pilot, videographer and USPA Coach and AFF and Tandem Instructor—the Ches Judy Award because “he personifies dedication and passion to the sport. We are fortunate to have him as part of our team at Skydive Suffolk!”

David Marquez | D-13354

Alaska Skydive Center in Palmer

T.J. Small | C-46683

Skydive Alabama in Vinemont

Craig Sprouse | B-46590

Skydive Spaceland–Clewiston in Florida

Tim Sundine | USPA# 337584

Skydive Snohomish in Washington

Shelton West | D-35984

Virginia Skydiving Center in Petersburg

VSC chose Shelton West as this year’s Ches Judy Award recipient because he “not only embodies safety, he is always more than willing to pitch in and help, volunteers his own time and truly loves VSC and the sport.”

No Photo Available

Kenneth Bader | D-6417

Lincoln Sport Parachute Club in Weeping Water, Nebraska

Branislav Brankov | B-42384

Skydive Sofia in Pernik, Bulgaria

Luke Breshears | D-37865

Madera Parachute Center in California

Marcello Costa | D-31884

Skydive Company Clube e Escola de Paraquedismo in Boituva, Brazil

Ted Grove | D-16821

Cleveland Skydiving Center in Ohio

Zack Line | D-36774

Oklahoma Skydiving Center in Cushing

Bill Lynch | D-29375

Above the Poconos Skydivers in Hazleton, Pennsylvania

Erin Orwig | D-35756

Skydive Arizona in Eloy

Daniel Secches | USPA #306969

Skydive Company Clube e Escola de Paraquedismo in Boituva, Brazil

Steve Verner | D-18944

Chicagoland Skydiving Center in Rochelle, Illinois

Ryan “Rudy” West | D-29576

Crete Skydiving Center in Nebraska


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