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Legendary aerial cinematographer Tom Sanders, D-6503, has filmed skydiving scenes for dozens of movies, including “Drop Zone,” many James Bond films and the original “Point Break,” which inspired thousands of people to become skydivers. His resume also includes countless TV commercials, the award-winning documentary “Over the Edge” and coordinating filming of the 1988 Olympic Rings skydive. In 2005, USPA awarded him its Gold Medal for Meritorious Service. He is the 200th person profiled since this column began in February 2000.
Currently with more than 18,000 jumps and 300 hours of freefall time, Carolyn “the Queen” Clay, D-3347, from Williamsburg, Virginia, doesn’t show any signs of slowing down after 47 years of continual skydiving.
The choices you make when purchasing skydiving gear can literally mean the difference between life and death. The data on the causes of skydiving injuries and fatalities makes it pretty clear that nothing is more important when it comes to gear than the size and type of main canopy you choose to fly and the decisions you make while flying it.
There is probably no other piece of skydiving equipment more misunderstood than the reserve static line (RSL). If you want 10 different opinions on why you should or should not equip your container with one, simply ask 10 different skydivers.
Whether it is a visit to a nearby drop zone during a weekend of normal jump operations or a long trip to a boogie or other special event, it is fun and exciting to head out for new adventures. But it can also be intimidating, especially if you are new to the sport and leaving the nest for the first time. A little planning and preparation will go a long way toward making your experience fun and painless.
Photo by Jim Harris | USPA #160885
Over Skydive Spain in Seville, freefly team Volare (from left, Daniel Parker, Frazer Smith and Mike Carpenter) trains for the 2012 FAI World Parachuting Championships held in Dubai.
Many canopy-related accidents are rooted in a lack of basic skill and knowledge regarding canopy flight. The USPA Board of Directors has taken a step toward reducing canopy-related injuries and fatalities by mandating new requirements for the USPA B license.
Jumping at an unfamiliar drop zone can be intimidating, especially to newer skydivers who may have jumped at only one place so far. Jumpers need to approach visiting a new location with caution and planning, whether it is just a weekend jumping out of a Cessna 182 or sharing the skies with hundreds of jumpers at a large boogie. And this caution applies to jumpers of all experience levels.
Skydivers have a special ability the general public just doesn’t have. Unfortunately, that special ability can be used in devious ways...
A single man, an immense amount of cash, four parachutes and a jump from an airliner. Where does the largest manhunt in the United States lead when authorities don’t have a clue as to who the suspect might be?
Photographer Jens Hameister captured this shot of Team Extreme's Nick Batsch (left) and Jim Slaton performing at the Al Ain airshow in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Photographer Jimmy Halliday took this shot of Miles Daisher (left) and Steven Blincoe, members of the Dust Devils freefly team, over the Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales while training for the upcoming U.S. Nationals.
Photographer Craig O'Brien took this shot of Jim Slaton swooping across the pond during the Pro Swooping Tour 2002 Team Challenge at Perris Valley Skydiving in Californina in October.
Photographer Craig O'Brien took this shot of members of the Performance Designs and Icarus Canopies factory teams flying their cross-braced canopies together over Perris Valley Skydiving in California. PD canopy pilots, top to bottom: Shannon Pilcher, Jay Moledzki and Heath Richardson. Icarus canopy pilots, top to bottom: Jim Slaton, J.C. Colclasure and Clint Clawson.
Photographer Thomas McDow took this shot of himself and his Orbit Punks freefly teammates, Jim Slaton and Danny Davis, in the reflection of a chrome ball over Skydive Houston in Waller, Texas.
Dave Major of Aerial Focus took this shot of tandem instructor Jim Wallace and student Paige MacDonald over Skydive Elsinore in Southern California. Wallace is one of America's most experienced skydiving instructors.
Photographer Pine Pienaar, D-13240, took this shot of tandem instructor Jim Wallace, his passenger Peter Gallagher and Gail Sims as the trio exited over the California countryside between the Perris Valley and Bear Creek airports. Gallagher, who normally pilots the balloon, said after his first jump, "Now I know why you guys love jumping out of my balloon so much."
Mike McGowan, D-5709, captures Pam Godwin's smiling Fly-by over the Paragators DZ in Umatilla, FL, during the annual POPS winter meet. Pam's parents, Jimmy and Wilma Godwin, run the meet.
Dave Keith, D-5441, led the FX-10 10-way team during a practice jump over Perris, CA. The team capatained by Bob Butt and including Scott Flanahghan, Bob Smith, Bob McCord, Jeff Rodenbech, Richard Eacobacci, Mike Swan, Jim Kelly, Ken Masters and Dan Pillasch, plans to enter the 10-way speed star competition at next month's U.S. National Skydiving Championships at Skydive Arizona.
Tom Sanders, D-6503, filmed this sequence for the upcoming FOX network TX show, "Ultimate Challenge." World-famous stunt pilots Craig Hoskings and Jim Franklin flew jumpers Jim Wallace (red) and Kevin Donnelly (yellow) to 18,000 feet, deployed drogues from their Stearman bi-planes and the two skydivers successfully switched planes. Norman Kent was also on hand with his cameras, and Jerry Meyers performed the first few attempts with Donnelly.