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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.
May 24-27, 88 elite formation skydivers from more than a dozen countries and a team of five in-air videographers (Niklas Daniel, George Katsoulis, John Lyman, Jim Stengell and David Wybenga) came together at Skydive Arizona in Eloy to participate in the 23rd annual Arizona Challenge and celebrate the 25th anniversary of world-renowned formation skydiving team Arizona Airspeed.
Many top world-class competitors had a difficult time at the 14th Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Cup of Freefall Style and Accuracy Landing in Cordoba, Argentina, May 18-26, and the members of the U.S. Accuracy Team were no exception.
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.
I was a late starter when it came to skydiving. I began at age 37 in 1969 when several of my firefighter buddies and I were watching our 10-inch black-and-white TV in the station and saw a program about skydiving at Skylark Airport in Lake Elsinore, California. “What the heck,” we said.
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.
John Mitchell, D-6462, started skydiving in 1974 and has been a positive presence in the sport since the first day he set foot on a DZ. He is a longtime AFF, static-line and tandem instructor and a weekend fun jumper who is always willing to jump with others, regardless of skill or experience.
I have been a USPA member since 1969. This month’s cover is the most dramatic photo I’ve seen. I did a double take when I pulled the magazine from my mailbox. Well done to stuntman Eric Salas!
Jim McCormick, D-12379, is a big-way and demo skydiver who has earned 15 world records (including the 400-way Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Record for Largest Formation Skydive) and jumped over the North Pole.
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.
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.
PRO-rated skydiver Mary Tortomasi of Bodyflyers.com recently organized a PRO-rating course at Skydive Elsinore, where seven participants had the privilege to learn from two of the most experienced demonstration jumpers in the world: Jim Wallace of 21st Century Skydiving and Rich Piccirilli of Just in Time Skydivers.
Skydiving has had many great moments, but none surpass the first skydive by President George H.W. Bush. Now it is with great sadness that the skydiving community bids farewell to one of its own. President Bush was 94 years old.
At Skydive the Ranch in Gardiner, New York, Jim Cupples, D-23572, ﬂies his canopy back to the DZ during his 10,000th jump.
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.