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Each year, the National Aeronautic Association selects what it considers aviation's most memorable records from the previous year and honors those records at an event near Washington, D.C.
Photo By Steve Shorten | D-27932
Jumpers Paul Cochran, Art Cross, Tim Guy, Daryl Harmon, Mike McCormick, Jim Nelson, Dana Parker, Dick Pigg, Bob Summers, Jim Trimby and Ed Zell set the 11-way Indiana Skydivers Over Sixty Record for Largest Formation Skydive over Frankfort, Indiana.
On April 19, 132 members of the Parachutists Over Phorty Society (and subgroups Skydivers Over Sixty, Jumpers Over Seventy and Jumpers Over Eighty) made the trek to the rural drop zone for the 14th POPS World Meet, temporarily increasing the town’s population by 11 percent.
The record series kicked off on April 20. First up was the three-day JOS world record event. Thirty-two skydivers in their 70s from Canada, Germany, Sweden and the U.S. participated.
Skydiving coaches, instructors and instructor examiners would much rather spend time in the air skydiving than on the ground handling paperwork. While this is understandable (hey, nobody likes to fill out forms, right?), each rating holder’s administrative responsibilities are extremely important.
“When can I downsize to a smaller main canopy?” This is probably the most commonly asked question at every drop zone around the world. It seems like everyone—from newly licensed jumpers to those with thousands of skydives—wants to jump a smaller parachute. The answer to the question is tricky and can mean the difference between an uneventful experience and a serious injury or even fatality.
After landing, a jumper set his brakes and left the rig for a packer. The packer noticed that the jumper had stowed the left brake incorrectly by placing the toggle through the cat’s eye above the metal guide ring, which will not secure the brake line. The brake line would have released during deployment and resulted in a spinning main parachute if the other brake remained stowed. This common packing error is easily preventable by paying attention and stowing your brakes correctly.
"Over 18 years, through profound changes in skydiving equipment, procedures, and methods of instruction, Jim has worked hard to produce the dramatic decline in serious accidents in our sport."
In a sport that requires correctly functioning equipment for your survival, how much do you really know about your skydiving gear? Each year, fatal and non-fatal accidents stem from issues with skydiving equipment. The vast majority of these could have been avoided had the jumpers simply known more about their gear or performed basic gear checks to discover the problem before boarding or exiting the airplane.
The Spring Fling—which started at the Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales back in 2004 with only 18 participants—has grown to be the world’s largest annual gathering of canopy formation skydivers (aka canopy relative workers or CRW dogs). The 2018 Spring Fling, which returned to Lake Wales this year, attracted 112 participants from 10 countries.
Last August, two tandem double fatalities occurred just a week apart. The details for both of those tragic accidents can be found in “Incident Reports” in this issue of Parachutist. While the casual observer may not see a correlation between the two accidents, they should be a flashing neon warning sign that screams for every tandem examiner, Safety and Training Advisor and drop zone operator to regularly review staff members’ tandem procedures.
Several changes that came out of the March 2-4 USPA Board meeting in San Antonio, Texas, affect USPA rating holders.
Over the years, many hoped that the wingsuiting community would develop safely without the need for heavy-handed regulation from USPA. Those who opposed a wingsuit instructor rating argued that USPA does not—and should not—require specific training for or regulate advanced skydiving such as freeflying or high-performance canopy piloting. The best example of a skydiving discipline that developed excellent training methods and safety guidelines without requiring USPA regulation is canopy formation skydiving. The pioneers of canopy formation skydiving learned what worked well and what didn’t work well and formulated the best processes and techniques for teaching jumpers who are new to the discipline. Those guidelines continued to evolve and improve, and now it is very rare that a fatality occurs during a canopy formation jump.
While it generally does not cause a malfunction, a stuck slider can greatly affect the performance of the canopy. Following a main canopy deployment, jumpers should perform a thorough visual inspection followed by a controllability check immediately after ensuring that the airspace is clear around them.
If you ever need a quick and easy way to make every coach and instructor in the hangar run away and hide, just yell, “I need someone to handle the student radio!”
For skydivers, springtime weather can be both tricky and frustrating. After freezing all winter, many jumpers head to the drop zone at the first sign of a reasonably warm day, and they may be tempted to jump even if the winds are high or there are lots of clouds. But as the old saying goes, “It’s better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground.”
On January 30 at Skydive DeLand in Florida, the two questions on the minds of the team of 48 international skydivers were, “What does it mean and why are we doing this?”
Each year, more states legalize marijuana for medical and recreational purposes. As the use of pot continues to gain acceptance around the country, the skydiving community needs to be aware that it may lead to some issues with students, licensed jumpers and instructional rating holders.