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The 2019 USPA Parachuting and Skydiving Nationals determined which teams and individuals will represent the U.S. in every discipline at the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Parachuting Championships Mondial (all-events competition) in Tanay, Siberia, in 2020.
The name of this year’s giant boogie at Skydive Orange in Virginia—the Apocalyptic Big O Boogie—could not have been more fitting.
The USPA Board of Directors held its second meeting of the 2019-2021 term in Arlington, Virginia, July 12-14.
The French government arranged a series of tributes to the heroes of Normandy that attracted more than one million people from across the globe for ceremonies, speeches and commemorative airborne operations.
Near sunset on June 21, a Beechcraft King Air crashed shortly after takeoff from Dillingham Airfield near Waialua, Hawaii, killing all 11 aboard, including pilot Jerome Renck.
The USPA Board of Directors held its second meeting of the 2019-2021 term in Arlington, Virginia, July 12-14. The Virginia location gave directors, including those on the board for the first time, the opportunity to visit USPA Headquarters, an hour south in Fredericksburg, prior to the meeting.
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.
Each year for the past decade, the International Skydiving Museum has inducted a select few men and women who have “defined, promoted, inspired and advanced the sport at the highest levels” into its Hall of Fame. This year’s induction ceremony and banquet for the 10 newest honorees will take place during the 2019 International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame Celebration October 17-19 at Skydive Perris in California.
At Skydive Paraclete XP in Raeford, North Carolina, (clockwise from left) organizer Ashley Goldstein, Silas Davis, Ty Swansboro and Courtney McCarthy make a freefly jump.
On St. Valentine’s Day weekend, February 14-17, many of our sport’s founding members and innovators reconnected with lifelong friends in Felicity, California—the Official Center of the World (as declared by France’s Institut Géographique National in 1985)—during the Pioneers of Sport Parachuting Reunion. The event also included a celebration of USPA President Emeritus Jacques-André Istel’s 90th birthday (or, as Istel referred to it, his “100th birthday rehearsal”).
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.
Many people know that the Wright brothers developed their flying technology in Dayton, Ohio, even though their first flight was in North Carolina. But what a lot of people don’t know is that Dayton continued as a hub of aviation innovation long after the Wright brothers’ time there. By World War I, the U.S. Army Air Service was located in the city at McCook Field, where the development of aviation technologies—including the parachute—thrived. The field, named for the McCook family (Union General Alexander McDowell McCook, his seven brothers and five cousins all fought in the American Civil War), was the home of the first military aviation research facility in 1917 and the first intentional delayed freefall skydive on April 28, 1919.
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.
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.
Every two years, USPA brings together drop zone owners, operators and staff for a day full of presentations and discussions on all the latest important issues for DZs. This year, USPA held its 2019 Drop Zone Operators’ Conference February 3-4 in Dallas, Texas. About 100 DZOs, speakers, Federal Aviation Administration representatives and sponsors met to share information on everything from safety to marketing to keeping young jumpers in the sport.
In mid-November, some of the world’s best wingsuit flyers and canopy pilots joined an equally talented group of canopy formation skydivers to stretch their limits at Project Blacklist 2, a four-day invitational event at Skydive Sebastian in Florida. Made possible by the evolution of multiple skydiving disciplines in the past decade, Blacklist gives jumpers a chance to fly together and explore their diverse skill sets in spectacular fashion.
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
There was not enough room in the October issue’s “Profile” of B.J. Worth by Brian Giboney to include this anecdote, so we are printing it here. Worth was responding to Giboney’s question, “What’s your best bonfire story about being James Bond’s stunt double?”
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.
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.