Photo by Raymond Adams | D-30158
Professional stuntman Eric Salas cuts away from a flaming tertiary canopy (which he set afire with a flare gun) before deploying his true main canopy at Skydive Georgia in Cedartown.
Photo by David Wybenga | D-31682
CT True Blue from the University of Connecticut turns points on its way to taking gold in 4-way advanced formation skydiving at the USPA National Collegiate Parachuting Championships at Skydive Arizona in Eloy.
Photo by David Cherry | D-33500
At the USPA National Collegiate Parachuting Championships at Skydive Arizona in Eloy, Air Force Rejects competes in 2-way vertical formation skydiving, in which they took the bronze medal.
Recently, USPA began to make changes to its data policies, due in large part to a law—the General Data Protection Rule—passed by the European Union in 2017. Effective last May, the law required organizations worldwide to take steps to safeguard the personal data of the citizens and residents of the 28 EU countries. Moreover, the law mandates that individuals have control over how, when and if organizations share their personal data. Violations can result in large fines. Personal data is defined as any data that can uniquely identify an individual … such as a membership or license number.
Logging three jumps before my senior year in high school probably did more for my general outlook and wellbeing than anything else. I’m not saying that jumping was the only thing that got me to think more positively about my future, but it certainly was one of the things that helped me to plan ahead and be more prepared for the next day and then the day after that.
Katie Hansen, D-29694, is a badass skydiver who can pretty much do it all. She can carve up the sky in freefall, in a wingsuit and under canopy. She’s an AFF and tandem instructor, holds a PRO rating and is a world-record holder in head-up and head-down flying. And when she isn’t in the sky, she is helping society as a registered nurse.
The following statement in “Incident Reports” in the January 2019 Parachutist stood out to me: "The vast majority of helmets used for skydiving offer very limited head protection." The report further stated that severe trauma is very likely even when wearing a helmet in certain collisions.
Acrylic on canvas
Josey Jones | B-48775
Johann Kruger, Rashid Abdullah and Darren Burke fly their wingsuits at the Skydive Dubai Desert Campus in the United Arab Emirates.
On January 2, Yvette Walter, D-22592, received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service for her exceptionally meritorious service to the Department of Defense and the U.S. Special Operations Command Demonstration Parachute Team, the Para-Commandos. Walter received the presentation, made on behalf of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for her immeasurable contributions over 12 years as parachute coach, media coordinator and team photographer for the Para-Commandos and for enhancing their mission as ambassadors for USSOCOM.
Jump for the Rose donated a record-shattering $70,000 to The Rose—a breast-cancer facility that provides healthcare to insured and uninsured men and women—at The Rose’s Christmas party on December 12 in Houston, Texas. Since 2010, Jump for the Rose has raised more than $230,000 for the facility.
The temperature was chilly but hearts were warm as women from the Parachutists Over Phorty Society met on December 22 to set records during the Skydive Arizona Christmas Boogie in Eloy. During the one-day event, the women set numerous POPS records, including the Tiny Broadwick Memorial POPS World Record for Largest Five-Point Formation Skydive with a 12-way.
Gian Franco Malinconi Reyes kneels down to greet his loyal companion, Frankie, in the landing area after a jump.
With the support of Larsen & Brusgaard, event organizers Amy Benton and Chazi Blacksher of the Working Girls brought together a party of 85 jumpers to learn and laugh at Camp Yahawannafly (yeah-I-want-to-fly), a Sisters in Skydiving event at Skydive Arizona in Eloy January 25-27. They kicked off the event with an evening huck jam at the SkyVenture Arizona wind tunnel on Thursday, the day before official check-in.
One of the classic forms of formation skydiving competition is experiencing renewed popularity. Ten-way speed—in which 10 jumpers work to build a formation in the shortest time—is making a comeback. The DC-3 10-Way Speed Money Meet, hosted by Skydive Arizona in Eloy during the last weekend in December, is an indication of the new energy surrounding the discipline.
There was something noticeably different about the December 27-January 1 Invasion boogie at Skydive Sebastian in Florida this year: the weather! It was phenomenal. With temperatures in the 80s, it was easy to forget it was the middle of winter. Of course, it wouldn’t be Sebastian if there wasn’t at least one minor cloud hold, but the weather gods got that out of the way on the morning of the first day. And the organizers made the most of the short hold by providing seminars in the packing area.
On December 30, three Kuwaiti Army officers and USPA members, Salem Almail, Nasser Alsabah and Fahad Alyaqoub, set the Guinness World Record for Largest Flag Flown in Freefall with a 63-square-meter (approximately 678-square-foot) flag at USPA Foreign Affiliate Skydive Qatar in Al Khor, United Arab Emirates.
In February, AXIS Flight School introduced the ChronoPrism stopwatch tool for use on computers and mobile devices. This tool provides a new and creative way for formation skydiving, vertical formation skydiving and mixed formation skydiving teams to visualize their performances and streamline the analysis of training and competition jumps. ChronoPrism generates a performance analysis that tracks data including a jump’s pace; points scored; penalties incurred; and best, worst, average and median times per point transition.
Apollo Brands CEO Troy Widgery, who founded the successful Go Fast energy drink brand, recently introduced Fly Gum, a spearmint gum with a liquid caffeinated core. The gum is aimed at skydivers, pilots and travelers who are looking for a portable, fast energy source. Fly Gum retails for about $5 for a five-piece pack and is available at airports, gear stores and online at flyenergygum.com.
On January 1, the Parachutists Over Phorty Society launched an updated version of its U.S. website at pops-usa.com (which jumpers can also access by clicking on the American flag at thepops.org). The organization is going green, and members can now correspond with POPS and access all forms and applications online.
Sigma, the company USPA uses to provide digital credentials (such as the USPA membership card), is in the process of integrating with Burble, a manifest program used by 130 drop zones worldwide. The integration will allow skydivers to grant access to DZs that use Burble to view their merits on Sigma (including USPA credentials). The drop zone will then instantly see verified, auto-updated information—including a record of currency—as a member checks in, which should make check-in times shorter and manifesting more efficient.
At Dallas Skydive Center in Caddo Mills, Texas, Ken Gillespie, D-2952, waves to the camera after making a jump with streamers to celebrate his 50th anniversary of skydiving.
Safety and Training Advisor Keri Bell points out the signatures of the 59 A-license holders that Skydive Kapowsin in Shelton, Washington, trained in 2018.
In the interest of safety, USPA formed a Compliance Group to investigate allegations against members of USPA. Although the Compliance Group focuses its efforts on retraining and education rather than penalties, it will suspend or revoke memberships or ratings if its investigations show that such actions are warranted. In 2018, the USPA Compliance Group conducted 21 investigations into allegations against members of USPA, 14 of which resulted in disciplinary actions.
Jumpers blame the occurrence of twisted steering lines on everything from how they collapsed their canopies to the Coriolis effect. But no matter how they occur, if left unattended, they can lead to problems. It does not take many twists before lines start wearing unevenly.
How do the best competitors in our sport reach success? Teamwork: individuals combining efforts to achieve a common purpose. Teamwork works best when each member understands their part in the whole. So, in the case of skydiving instruction, who does what?
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.
Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger D.J. Styles instantly knew there was something wrong with a new customer’s cutaway cables when reinstalling them after a routine reserve inspection and repack of a rig the customer had purchased used less than a year earlier. Styles routinely measures cables for new customers, as well as anytime he replaces a lost handle, but this time the cutaway cables were several inches longer than the manufacturer’s specifications, and it was apparent there was a problem even without measuring.
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