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A hard-opening parachute is certainly not a new phenomenon. Skydivers have been dealing with hard openings throughout the history of sport parachuting—particularly during the early 1970s when the first ram-air main canopies and the various devices used to try and tame their openings were developed.
So, you’ve been jumping for a few years and you’ve decided it’s time to work on earning a tandem instructor rating.
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.
Whether a fleeting thought or a serious consideration, many skydivers have entertained the idea of owning their own drop zone.
In 2019, USPA saw a five-fold increase in reporting from the previous year, receiving more reports for the year than in any year in the past two decades.
This annual summary looks at each 2019 fatality and places it in an appropriate category.
Oil and water, Red Bull and milk, brass grommets and rubber bands: all things that don’t mix together well.
My first year here at USPA as director of safety and training has gone by so quickly.
I stood at the deep end of the indoor heated pool while wearing a jumpsuit, helmet, goggles and a training harness connected to a 300-square-foot main canopy and jumped into the water.
At its summer board meeting in Arlington, Virginia, the USPA Board approved significant changes to Skydiver’s Information Manual Section 7-2—Professional Exhibition Rating.
The USPA Board of Directors held its second meeting of the 2019-2021 term in Arlington, Virginia, July 12-14.
At the USPA Board of Directors’ summer meeting July 12-14 in Arlington, Virginia, the Safety & Training Committee discussed several issues.
In the early 1990s, a skydiver reported that an automatic activation device saved his life. This jumper experienced a main parachute malfunction and pulled his cutaway handle but never pulled his reserve ripcord.
Hats off to Jim Crouch’s article “A Record Low—the 2018 Fatality Summary” (April Parachutist). Crouch’s article points out the significance of the fatality index rate being at its lowest ever in our sport: one in 254,000 jumps (or 0.39 per 100,000 jumps).
I don’t understand why you’re reversing the standard aviation placement of numerator and denominator, and I would urge you to adopt that standard.
The Rolling Stones sang a popular song titled “Time is on My Side.” Obviously, Mick Jagger never had a high-speed malfunction. After receiving a letter from a concerned skydiver who witnessed an incident resulting from a low cutaway, the Safety and Training Committee discussed the hazards of one high-speed malfunction—spinning line twists—during the February 1-3 USPA Board meeting in Dallas, Texas.
In 2018, 13 people died during skydives in the U.S. This is the lowest annual fatality number since 1961, when USPA (then the Parachute Club of America) began keeping statistics. That year, 14 jumpers died, and the number of fatalities steadily increased for the next two decades before they began to drop in the early 1980s. Considering the increase in skydiving activity over the last 57 years, this is a phenomenal achievement.
Four hundred and forty-nine. That’s a small number by some standards and a large one by others. To me, it is a much larger number than it should be. This is the number of civilian skydiving fatalities recorded in the United States during the 18 years and three months that I was the director of safety and training for USPA. Each one was a tragedy, with friends and family left in shock as they picked up the pieces in the aftermath of suddenly losing a loved one.
Real life often gets in the way of skydiving, and jumpers may find themselves away from the sport for 61 days, 30 years or something in between. One of the regular tasks of USPA Coaches and Instructors is to help these jumpers knock off the rust and get back in the air. Every jumper’s situation will be different, so it requires the instructional staff to create a training plan unique to each individual.
On October 31, Director of Safety and Training Jim Crouch spent his last day as an employee of USPA and moved on to other challenges in the aviation industry.
Twenty-five years is no small amount of anyone’s lifetime. A quarter of a century. Roughly one-third of the lifespan of an average American male. And the number of years Ed Scott has dedicated to the U.S. Parachute Association, the sport of skydiving and skydivers across the United States and around the world.
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.
After my fourth jump at the North Pole in 1997 (I made six in all), I decided I really needed to collect the complete set and make a jump at the South Pole.
For jumpers, earning a judge rating can be another means of progress and personal development within the sport.
Over the past six months, COVID-19 restrictions have paused the active and busy lives we lead. This, of course, has extended to skydiving.
Pablo Hernandez, D-29869, is a highly accomplished Spanish canopy pilot whose father taught him how to jump at a young age.
The D license represents that the holder has earned and demonstrated the highest level of expertise in our sport and is a master parachutist.
As most older skydivers are aware, the Midwest was the wild, wild Midwest in the early 1980s.
David “Junior” Ludvik, D-25148, started skydiving in 1999 at Skydive Tecumseh in Michigan.
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.
As chief judge at the 2019 USPA National Collegiate Skydiving Championships at Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales, Kirk M. Knight chose to receive USPA’s prestigious Gold Medal for Meritorious Service—bestowed on him by unanimous acclaim of the USPA Board of Directors earlier in the year—at the banquet following the event.
Photo by Bruno Brokken | USPA #96017
Jim Dolan, Brad Jessey, Janet Jessey and Casey Pruett fly a 4-way over Meteor Crater, the most well-preserved meteor-impact site in the world, in the desert of Arizona.
Around the world, October is the month dedicated to breast-cancer awareness. For many years, the skydiving community marked this month with Jump for the Cause, an event that brought women together to raise money for breast cancer research and set women’s world record formation skydives.