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Photo by Dave Jourdan
During one of the test jumps for his successful high-altitude world record attempt, Alan Eustace waves to the StratEx ground crew as a balloon lifts him to the stratosphere.
In the beginning, there was accuracy or, as it was called at the time, “spot jumping.”
In 1997, Patty Chernis, newly elected to the USPA Board as a regional director, suggested that USPA create a special day to get jumpers current and prepared for the upcoming skydiving season. Now in its 25th year, Safety Day has grown increasingly popular, morphing from year to year to address current trends.
Michael Kearns, D-16816, began jumping in 1976 while in the military. He made more than 200 special operations jumps in 14 countries, including night jumps wearing tactical gear, and also became involved in sport skydiving.
From left, Junior Melton, Dana Parker, camera flyer Dave Durant, Floyd Kehl, Chuck Surges and Al Lavine pose for the camera in October at Skydive Indianapolis in Frankfort, Indiana, after setting the Jumpers Over Seventy State Record for Largest Formation Skydive with a 5-way.
On September 10, 1995, 10 skydivers, a pilot and one person on the ground died when a jump plane crashed shortly after takeoff from the West Point Airport (now called the Middle Peninsula Regional Airport) in West Point, Virginia.
Instructor Matt Leonard of Superior Flight Solutions films James Deller’s landing for use in the debrief during a canopy course at Jumptown in Orange Massachusetts.
We asked 16 camera flyers—those who have consistently contributed dazzling images to this magazine over the years—to send us one photo that speaks to what skydiving means to them and that would inspire our readers upon their return to the sport they love.
The Spring Fling at Skydive Sebastian in Florida, traditionally held each year in early March, is a big deal for both experienced and aspiring canopy formation skydivers from around the world.
As it planned for the 24th annual Safety Day, scheduled for March 14, USPA chose “Normalizing Excellence” as its theme. However, nothing was normal any longer when Safety Day rolled around and the coronavirus was relentlessly spreading across the globe.
The 50-staters are indeed an exclusive group, and each has a unique story peppered with meeting dozens of new people while traveling thousands of miles across the continent.
Dave Lunardi releases the ashes of longtime jumper Terry Zimmerlin, D-12981, at the Cleveland Skydiving Center in Garrettsville, Ohio.
Rich Grimm, D-18890, started skydiving in 1980. He has been a competitor and a DZO, but he’s best known for being the creator, facilitator and organizer of epic international boogies in exotic locations.
Longtime parachute rigging instructor and skydiver Dave DeWolf, D-1046, passed away late in the evening of Wednesday, May 22, at age 86. DeWolf was known to nearly everyone as “Handsome Dave,” and his friends, students and colleagues remember him not only for his extensive knowledge of rigging, but also for his playful personality and sense of humor.
The January issue of Parachutist made a big deal about celebrating 100 years of freefall skydiving and Leslie Irvin’s key role in it. I’m not saying he didn’t play a key role, but a recent article in AOPA Pilot and a letter to the editor in its February issue by Bruce Smith, grandson of James Floyd Smith, suggests there is more to the story.
Veterans Day is a time to thank those who have served our country through military service. So, on a brisk, sunny Veterans Day weekend in November at Skydive Arizona in Eloy, Team Elite and Arizona Airspeed joined forces for an invitational 42-way sequential skydiving event that paid tribute to those who have risked life and limb for their country. Organizers Niklas Hemlin and Guy Wright and skydivers from all over the world enjoyed early morning takeoffs, great vibes and extra altitude to accomplish their celebratory jumps.
Skydivers all belong to a big mixed family. What was once a niche group has developed into a large, interconnected community. Despite this large network, there are small pockets within our sport that have become isolated. It’s within these small, isolated pockets that bad habits traditionally flourish.
Lew Sanborn, D-1, was holding court outside the Bird House bar, relaxing with old timers whose jump totals were in the thousands. Just a few yards away at the other end of the facility, a couple of tandem students were gearing up for the experience of a lifetime. Nobody knew whether they would become skydivers or were merely weekend seekers of a thrill ride. In between, skydivers of every age, from everywhere and from every discipline, champions and casual weekend jumpers, gathered. It was the kind of atmosphere that epitomizes our sport. It was the International Skydiving Museum’s Hall of Fame weekend at one of the iconic locations of sport parachuting: Skydive City Zephyrhills in Florida
At Skydive Spaceland–Dallas in Whitewright, Texas, Debbie Bohannon, the wife of the late Richard “Bo” Bohannon, releases his ashes during a tandem skydive with instructor Ernie Long and friends (from left) Dave Eisele, Gary Haas and Scott Kucel.
Zach Lewis | D-21616