Photo by David Cherry | D-33500
Mixed formation skydiving team Fallhalla (Chris Gunter, Paul Harris and Emily Royal) turns points on its way to taking fourth in the advanced class at the USPA National Skydiving Championships at Chicagoland Skydiving Center in Rochelle, Illinois.
Ben Harris | D-30873
Today, USPA membership stands at 40,512 and continues growing with over a half-million people in the U.S. making their first jumps every year. General aviation, however, is still in a downward arc despite the best efforts of general aviation groups to attract and keep more pilots.
It appears to be almost mandatory that the person who announces a jump over the radio must garble the name or location.
I just began my 41st year of skydiving at age 82. I have been current throughout all those years, rarely missing a single month. I once went 34 years and 11 months without a miss until a bicycle crash sidelined me for three months. However, I notice myself becoming more apprehensive every time I drive or fly to the jump center, and I do not know why and wish to stop being that way.
At the Big O Boogie at Skydive Orange in Virginia, (from left) Nancy Koreen, Zachary Hoffman and Grayson Hoffman enjoy a head-down skydive.
Photo by Craig O'Brien | D-19294
At Skydive Paraclete XP in Raeford, North Carolina, the U.S. Army Golden Knights 8-way formation skydiving team trains for the World Championships.
Photo by Elliot Byrd | D-32251
All USPA Foreign Affiliate group memberships expire December 31. Drop zones that have not already submitted renewal applications should do so as soon as possible.
So, you’d like to form a skydiving team and you’ve found other skydivers to join you. Congratulations! Now what? The good news is that the greatest hurdle is behind you. The next step is to come up with a team budget.
Photo by David Cherry | D-33500
Dallas Disturbance builds a formation on its way to taking the silver medal in 16-way formation skydiving at the USPA National Skydiving Championships at Chicagoland Skydiving Center in Rochelle, Illinois.
Hannah Betts, D-30022, is a competitive skydiver, instructor and stunt performer who began her jumping career in the U.K. but now lives in California. Betts’ 4-way formation skydiving team—Bodyflight Storm—won the Féderátion Aéronautique Internationale Women’s World Championships and twice won the British Championships, and she was a member of the 181-way team that set the FAI Women’s World Record for Largest Formation Skydive. Skydiving opened the door to a career in Hollywood, where she now does stunt work for TV shows and movies, which have included “NCIS,” “The Walking Dead” and “Antman.”
I have an intense fear of heights. My hands sweat on carnival Ferris wheels, during cliff scenes in movies and in my office (I’m on the 44th floor of a downtown building). Whenever I mention this, people just shake their heads in disbelief and say, “How did you skydive?” My answer is simple: a very persistent friend. And I will always be thankful his persistence paid off.
Labor Day weekend in Central Texas means a lot of different things to different people: a tasty plate of barbecue with friends and family, another fun outing to the lake or one last trip to the coast. For skydivers, the lure is Skydive San Marcos’ once-a-year Jump Your Ass Off event. For almost a decade, the DZ has dedicated the first weekend in September to the pursuit of fun jumping (with the emphasis on fun). The terms are simple: Pay $99 and jump as many times as you wish on Saturday and Sunday.
Sometimes in life, things just click. Almost like the universe decided that, yes, you will be successful this time and not too many ordeals will be placed in your way.
On August 18, USPA Tandem Instructor Jen Stewart took her mother, Janell, on a skydive at Mid-America Sport Parachute Club in Taylorville, Illinois. Janell was marking the day when she would’ve been married to her late husband, Dennis, for 50 years. It was a memorable jump for both mother and daughter, and to make the skydive even more noteworthy, Lew Sanborn, D-1, joined them for it.
Photo by Juan Mayer | D-26130
At Skydive Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Adbulrahman Mohammed Almaamari flies over Bluewaters Island and its famous Dubai Eye Ferris wheel.
Determining world champions is not the only purpose for holding world championships. Promoting the sport, exchanging knowledge and information and strengthening friendly relationships between participating nations are equally important. The 35th Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Freefall Style and Accuracy Landing World Championships at Dropzone Erden near Montana, Bulgaria, August 24-31 offered the chance to do all of those things.
In the Olomouc region of the Czech Republic lays Prostějov, a city of more than 44,000 people that dates back to the 12th century. Home to the 601st Special Forces Group of the Czech Armed Forces, the airport in Prostějov has a history in parachuting going back to 1960. The drop zone Jump-Tandem, owned by Martin Dlouhý, a professional skydiver of more than 33 years, has been host to multiple world events, including two Vector Festivals, the CYPRES 25th Anniversary Boogie, three European Championships, two Féderátion Aéronautique Internationale World Cups and now two FAI World Championships.
For the first time in the U.S., a swooping competition came to the heart of a major city, giving the non-jumping general public a front-row seat to the dynamic, high-speed, spectator-friendly sport of canopy piloting. The Swoop Freestyle FAI World Championships came to the waterfront in downtown San Diego September 14-15, and the action lived up to the hype.
When it happened, Chief Petty Officer Kenton Stacy, a Navy explosive ordnance disposal operator, had already been serving his country for a dozen years. Those years had been good, full, strong years. On the day in question, the mission at hand was most certainly not Stacy’s first. All the way back in 2010, the USO presented its Service Member of the Year award to CPO Stacy for his key role in more than 50 combat missions while he’d been deployed to Afghanistan. Over the course of that decade-plus, Stacy had destroyed improvised bombs, trained both Afghan forces and U.S. Special Forces members on delicate clearing techniques and helped ensure the zero-casualty rate in the province where he was doing the good work.
Chicagoland Skydiving Center in Rochelle, Illinois, hosted the 2018 USPA National Skydiving Championships September 4-18. This was the first time the mid-sized Midwestern drop zone hosted a national championships and despite a few unexpected challenges, DZO Doug Smith, Director of Marketing Becky Johns and the rest of the CSC staff rose to the occasion to ensure a successful event.
Section 4 of the Skydiver’s Information Manual contains the Integrated Student Program, now in its 18th year as the progression that USPA recommends for students working toward the A license. It is a very detailed program, which can make it look intimidating to the casual observer, but it’s actually easy to implement and use. The program makes it simple to track exactly what students have completed and what they still need to accomplish as they work through each of the tasks required for the USPA A license.
Harry S. Truman once said, “There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.” This quote (and many others like it) warns us all that we must know our history to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. It comes as no surprise that this also applies directly to skydiving.
This jumper deployed his main parachute at approximately 3,500 feet, and it was immediately obvious the parachute had malfunctioned and would not inflate. He released the main parachute a few seconds after the deployment and opened his reserve parachute.
From left, William Middlebrooks, Cate Allington and Lauren Byrd practice an AFF exit from the Otter during CarolinaFest at Skydive Carolina in Chester, South Carolina.
Photo by Jeff Johnson | D-21060
At Pacific Northwest Skydiving Center in Mulino, Oregon, Scott Harris officiates and Zac Rubenson shoots video as Jesse Castillo, A-76089, and Lauren Lopez, B-49142, recreate their wedding that took place on the ground moments earlier.
The National Aeronautic Association updated its process for issuing Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Sporting Licenses, which anyone participating in an FAI World Championship, World Cup or World Record must hold. Applicants must apply for their sporting licenses and pay their fees electronically at naa.aero/membership/membership-application. Processing time is five business days.
(More articles being added every day!)
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