The U.S. Canopy Piloting Team has just returned from the 8th FAI World Cup of Canopy Piloting at Nouvel Air Skydiving Center in Farnham, Canada, where it competed against an international field of 77 canopy pilots in a well-organized, beautifully run competition. USA’s Nick Batsch became the World Cup overall champion in a hard-fought contest, just ahead of Spain’s Pablo Hernandez and USA’s Curt Bartholomew. The 12-strong U.S. Team occupied seven of the top-10 overall places:
In the speed event, the U.S. Team swept the first four places: Batsch in first, Price second, Windmiller third and Bobo fourth.
In the distance event, Cornelia Mihai from the United Arab Emirates became the first woman to win an FAI first-category canopy piloting event, clinching the gold in the third round with the longest flight of the meet, 121.95 meters. Batsch took silver and Windmiller bronze.
In zone accuracy, Bartholomew waged an exciting duel against Italy’s Mario Fattoruso and achieved the near-impossible, winning all three rounds with scores of 96, 91 and a perfect 100 in the final round to cinch the gold. Fattoruso earned silver and Hernandez bronze. Price finished fourth and Batsch placed fifth.
Full scores and results are available online. Look for complete coverage and results in the November issue of Parachutist.
With the withdrawal of two candidates by the August 14 deadline, 35 members will appear on the ballot in the upcoming election for USPA’s Board of Directors. All 22 seats on the board are up for grabs, with 15 members vying for the eight National Director slots and 20 members running as Regional Director candidates. The election begins October 1, with a paper ballot appearing in the October issue of Parachutist. Members with valid email addresses on file with USPA will also receive an electronic ballot on October 1.
An international team of skydivers from 23 nations built a 164-way head-down formation on Friday, July 31, at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, eclipsing the 138-Way World Record for Largest Head-Down Formation set at the same location in 2012. It took 13 attempts to build the formation, which resembled a giant flower. International formation skydiving judges Randy Connell, Marylou Laughlin and Jami Pillasch certified the performance, which will now go to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale for ratification.
Organizers selected the elite participants by holding training and selection camps in Australia, Spain and across the U.S. The aircraft pilots' precision flying was vital to the attempt. The jumpers, who used oxygen during the flight, exited seven aircraft flying in formation at 19,700 feet and broke off at 7,500 feet. Their average fall rate was about 160 mph.
The jump drew the attention of major TV networks and newspapers around the world. Melissa Nelson-Lowe, sister of organizer Rook Nelson and a participant in the world record, commented , “It’s always nice to have something we are so passionate about go viral and spread something inspiring and positive to the world.” Ninety-four USPA members took part in the record jump. USPA congratulates Rook Nelson and the record-setters for their extraordinary achievement. Look for a full story in the October issue of Parachutist.
The canopy piloting portion of the USPA National Parachuting Championships completed Sunday, June 21, at Skydive Paraclete XP in Raeford, North Carolina, with Curt Bartholomew reclaiming his overall national champion title.
After three days of jumps and all rounds completing, Bartholomew took the overall gold, as well as gold in zone accuracy, silver in distance and bronze in speed. Last year’s national champion, Tom Dellibac, claimed the overall silver medal, as well as gold in the speed event. Nick Batsch placed third overall and earned gold in the distance event.
In the advanced class, the overall gold went to Matt Leonard, silver to Pawel Piotrowski and bronze to Scott Kasmar. Leonard took gold in zone accuracy, Piotrowski won the speed event, and Ben Lowe earned gold in distance.
The open-class results also determined the U.S. Team that will go to the Canopy Piloting World Cup in Canada this August. This year’s U.S. Team includes the top-12 fnishers: Bartholomew, Dellibac, Batsch, Greg Windmiller, Justin Price, Paul Rodriguez, Albert Berchtold, Rob Wallace, Ian Bobo, Matt Shull, Ryan Brownlow and Gage Galle.
Complete canopy piloting results are available on Control Tower. And don’t forget to check out the action in the daily broadcasts on Skydive-TV!
Skydive Paraclete XP ran a successful Nationals that went smoothly, even with record-high temperatures throughout the week. Look for a complete report in the August issue of Parachutist.
National champions in style and accuracy and canopy formation received their medals Thursday, June 18, at Skydive Paraclete XP in Raeford, North Carolina. The National Parachuting Championships began Monday with the style and accuracy event. By Thursday afternoon, both style and accuracy and canopy formation had completed all rounds.
In style and accuracy, Nancy LaRiviere earned the overall female championship, beating Cheryl Stearns for the first time in their long history of competing against each other. Stearns, who recently returned to jumping after a serious bicycle accident last fall, placed first in style, but fell short to LaRiviere by one centimeter in accuracy, giving LaRiviere the accuracy gold and the overall title. For the men, Jimmy Drummond won gold in accuracy, and Anthony Mouzon took gold in style. Mario Rivera, a former Golden Knight and U.S. Team member returning after a 15-year absence from competition, combined a third in style and third in accuracy to win the overall men’s title. In team accuracy, Skydive Rick’s earned its 10th consecutive national title, retaining possession of the prestigious Thacker Cup, which was presented by Mrs. Billie Thacker.
In canopy formation 4-way rotation, Elsinore Too Wrapped Up set a national record in round three with 20 points, matching it again in round four and earning the gold. Slotswitch won gold in open 2-way sequential, and Point Break won gold in 4-way sequential, with the sequential event ending after five of eight rounds.
Complete results for style and accuracy and canopy formation are available at Omniskore.com.
The canopy piloting competition is now in full swing, starting Friday morning with the speed event. Results are available on Control Tower.
Be sure to follow all the action on Skydive-TV, broadcasting daily from Raeford, and on USPA’s Facebook page.
On June 1, USPA begins the process that culminates in its members electing the 2016-2018 USPA Board of Directors. All USPA members in good standing who are at least age 18 on or before August 1, 2015, are eligible to run for one of the 14 Regional Director or eight National Director seats. To be on the ballot, all candidates must submit the required election materials—including a candidate biography, candidate statement, an acceptable photograph and a non-refundable $50 filing fee—to USPA Headquarters by the close of business August 3. The candidate biography and statement must be submitted using the online form on USPA’s website here. An acceptable photo can be submitted online, by email or mail. The filing fee can be mailed or phoned in with a credit card. The election period has changed from previous years and will now run from October 1 through November 30. Section 3-1 of the USPA Governance Manual, which is available here, lists other important changes and additional deadlines. Those elected will take their seats at the first 2016 board meeting, scheduled for February 26-28 in San Diego, California.
The USPA Board of Directors has adopted a selection method for the first U.S. Wingsuit Performance Team for the 2015 World Cup at Netheravon, U.K., in May. The team may include as many as 12 competitors. The first nine slots will be offered to the highest-seeded U.S. competitors drawn from the top three finishers at past Paralog Performance World Series meets (more recent competitions have greater weight than older ones):
2014 Performance Cup at Skydive Elsinore, California: 1. Travis Mickle, 2. Greg Marcinkowski, 3. Brian Caldwell
2014 Performance Cup at Skydive City Zephyrhills, Florida: Brian Caldwell, Travis Mickle, 4. Lori Butz
2013 Performance Cup at Skydive Elsinore: Brian Caldwell, 5. Simon Repton, 6. Joe Webb
2012 Performance Cup at Skydive Elsinore: 7. Scott Callantine, 8. Lawrence De Laubadere, 9. Scotty Burns
In addition, three team members will be selected from the top U.S. competitors at the upcoming March 28-29 meet in Zephyrhills. Other wingsuit competitors interested in being on the U.S. Team should send their competition histories to email@example.com to be considered at the upcoming March 27-29 USPA Board meeting, where the Competition Committee will fill remaining slots. The committee will also discuss how to conduct team selection in the future and whether to hold a Wingsuit Performance National Skydiving Championships.
Please note that like World Cups in all other skydiving disciplines, USPA doesn’t offer any direct financial support. Team members are responsible for their own entry fees, travel expenses, team uniforms, etc. Already-seeded competitors wishing to compete must pay the $845 entry fee (by check or credit card) to USPA by 5 p.m. Eastern time March 26 to guarantee a slot on the team.
Following last October’s world-record-breaking leap from 135,897 feet, Alan Eustace and the StratEx Team are among this year’s nominees for the National Aeronautic Association’s prestigious Collier Trophy.
For 103 years the Robert J. Collier Trophy has been the benchmark of aviation and aerospace achievement. The NAA awards the trophy annually “… for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America.” Previous projects, programs, individuals and accomplishments to earn the recognition include the crews of Apollo 11 and Apollo 8, Howard Hughes, the B-52, the Polaris Missile, the Surveyor Moon Landing Program and the Boeing 747.
Eustace, a longtime USPA member and a senior vice president at Google, teamed with Paragon Space Development Corporation for the StratEx Project. The successful jump on October 24, 2014, over Roswell, New Mexico, broke multiple world records: exit altitude above sea level—41,422 meters (135,897 feet MSL); vertical speed with a stabilizing drogue—1,320 km/hour (821 mph, Mach 1.22); and distance of fall with a stabilizing drogue: 37,623 meters (123,434 feet).
This year’s additional nominees are the Embraer Legacy 500, the F-16 Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance Team, the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee, the Gulfstream G650, the Orion Exploration Flight Test-1 and the Orion UAS Team. The NAA’s selection committee, which includes nearly 30 aviation and aerospace industry leaders, will select this year’s winner on March 11, and the NAA will announce the winner that evening at its Spring Awards Dinner in Arlington, Virginia. The formal presentation will take place at the Collier Dinner at a later date. More information is available at naa.aero.
Alan Eustace (left) and USPA Director of Competition James Hayhurst, the official observer for the record attempt, pose for a photo with the StratEx pressure suit and life-support system.
The USPA Board of Directors is seeking a USPA member from the Gulf Region to fill a vacancy on the board. Due to new job responsibilities, Gulf Regional Director Todd Spillers is resigning from the USPA Board as of the start of the March 27-29 board meeting in Daytona Beach, Florida. The board plans to fill the vacancy at that meeting.
USPA members in good standing who reside in the Gulf Region (Arkansas, Louisiana and eastern portions of Texas) are eligible for the position and must secure a nomination from a current board member to be considered. Between now and the board meeting, members interested in being nominated can email a resume or background information to USPA President Sherry Butcher or to the nominating board member. A list of board members and their contact information is available in the front of each Parachutist magazine and on the USPA website.
At the start of the meeting in Daytona Beach, the board will take the nominations and select the new board member. Nominated members in attendance will have the opportunity to address the board, and the successful nominee will immediately take a seat on the board for the meeting.
USPA would like to thank Spillers, who previously served as Safety and Training Committee Chair, for his service to the board and the membership. “Todd has contributed so much to Safety and Training and other committees since joining the board in 2007. He will be missed," commented Butcher.
In the annals of canopy piloting competition, the 5th Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Canopy Piloting Championships will surely go down as a championship of epic proportions—a world-class competition filled with chills, thrills, spills and mind-boggling performances. This was the first-ever Canopy Piloting World Championships on U.S. soil. The meet enjoyed outstanding aircraft, facilities and manifesting by the host, Skydive City Zephyrhills in Florida. The event was blessed with great weather and led by meet director and canopy piloting maestro Albert Berchtold. This all resulted in an amazingly efficient competition that finished a full two days ahead of schedule—even with 28 nations and 104 competitors taking part.
The rising tide of canopy piloting skill worldwide resulted in a slew of personal bests and new national, continental and world records. With a favorable five-meter-per-second tailwind in round one of distance, Nicholas Batsch smashed his own 2013 world record mark of 158.76 meters with a 167.88-meter landing, only to see Spain’s Pablo Hernandez land a mere two centimeters farther down the course to claim a new world distance record of 167.90 meters. In the same round, Cornelia Mihai of the UAE landed 161.50 meters down the course to outdistance all but a handful of men on the way to setting a new female world record. Not content to see his world distance record taken away without a fight, Batsch rose to Olympic heights in his last jump of the competition and flew the most amazing clutch performance of his life to go 169.19 meters to set a new world record. (Batsch also holds the distance world performance record of 222.45 meters that was set in 2011 under rules different from competition records.)
Reigning CP Overall World Champion Curtis Bartholomew of the USA retained his title that he first earned at the 2012 Mondial in Dubai. He was also the world cup winner at the 2013 World Cup of CP in Russia. Bartholomew flew consistently, scoring two of the fastest runs in speed to win the event, placing third in zone accuracy and fifth in distance to handily outdistance an extremely strong field. France’s Julien Guiho put in a strong silver-medal performance, while for the first time ever, a woman, Cornelia Mihai, claimed the bronze overall medal at an FAI CP World Championships, nipping the USA’s national champion Thomas Dellibac by less than a point. Overall, the U.S. Team did extremely well, taking medals in every event, with Jason Sanders winning distance—his first-ever gold medal at an FAI World Championships event.
Summary of the results:
Meet best: Sergey Romanyuk, RUS: 2.240 seconds, new general world record
Meet best: Cornelia Mihai, UAE: 2.339 seconds, new female world record
Meet best: Nicholas Batsch, USA: 169.19 meters, new general world record
Meet best: Cornelia Mihai, UAE: 161.50 meters, new female world record
Look for a full report in the January Parachutist. For complete results, go to the FAI Results Portal.
On October 24, USPA member Alan Eustace, D-7426, set the World Record for Highest Altitude Skydive by jumping from a balloon at 135,890 feet over Roswell, New Mexico. The jump also earned Eustace the world records for vertical speed (822 mph, Mach 1.23) and freefall distance (123,414 feet) attained with a drogue/stabilizing device. The feat broke the high-altitude record of 127,852 feet that Felix Baumgartner achieved during the Red Bull Stratos Project in October 2012. USPA Director of Competition James Hayhurst served as an official observer for both jumpers’ attempts. Hayhurst submitted Eustace’s preliminary claims for all three records through the National Aeronautics Administration to international skydiving’s governing body, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Eustace, a senior executive with Google, avoided the media frenzy that swirled around Baumgartner’s jump, making his self-funded leap following years of quiet development and testing. He ascended to jump altitude suspended under a stratospheric balloon (there was no capsule) for two hours and seven minutes, leaping at 9:09 MDT and landing 14 minutes and 19 seconds later. Eustace’s freefall lasted four minutes and 27 seconds and was assisted by a stabilizing drogue. He made a safe landing in great condition and with high spirits. Mission accomplished!
CLASSIFICATION: Class G—Parachuting
Sub-class: G-2 (Performance Records)
Group: Altitude/Fall Records
Type of record: Exit Altitude
Location: Roswell, NM (USA)
Performance: 41,420 meters (135,890 feet)
Parachutist: Alan Eustace (USA)
Sub-class: G-2 (Performance Records)
Group: Altitude/Fall Records
Type of record: Distance of Fall with drogue/stabilizing device
Course/location: Roswell, NM (USA)
Performance: 37,617 meters (123,414 feet)
Parachutist: Alan Eustace (USA)
Sub-class: G-2 (Performance Records)
Group: Vertical Speed Records
Type of record: Vertical Speed with drogue/stabilizing device
Course/location: Roswell, NM (USA)
Performance: 1,321 km/hour (821 MPH, MACH 1.23)
Parachutist: Alan Eustace (USA)
Photo credits to Paragon Space Development Corporation®
The 2014 Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Parachuting Championships of Formation Skydiving and Artistic Events wrapped up Saturday, August 30, after a dramatic week in Prostejov, Czech Republic. The U.S. Army Golden Knights reclaimed their world champion title in 8-way, but the U.S. had to settle for silver in 4-way, female 4-way and vertical formation skydiving.
For the first time in 4-way history, Belgium earned the gold in 4-way, taking the coveted Ottley Sword from the 2012 world champion U.S. team, Arizona Airspeed. Airspeed fought a tough battle but couldn’t catch the smooth Belgian team. Canada won the 4-way bronze, with the same Canadian team working double time competing—and medaling—in both 4-way FS and VFS.
The Golden Knights Female 4-way team also struggled, and after edging out the French in the first few rounds, fell behind mid-meet and couldn’t catch up. The U.S. settled for silver behind the French, and Great Britain took bronze.
The French team also earned gold in VFS, with the U.S. team, Arizona Arsenal, a strong second. The Canadians again earned the bronze.
In the artistic events, U.S. team Animare placed fifth in freestyle, and the U.S. freeflying team, Elsinore Ignite, finished in eighth. The French took the top two spots in freestyle, with Russia taking bronze. The Russians took gold in freeflying, with France winning silver and bronze.
For complete results, visit omniskore.com. Photos from the meet appear on USPA’s Facebook page. Look for a complete report in the October issue of Parachutist.
The 2014 U.S. Formation Skydiving and Artistic Events Team. Photo by Chuck Ackers.
One world meet is over and one has just begun for our US Parachute Teams, competing in Europe at Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Parachuting Championships.
In Banja Luka, Bosnia-Herzegovina, August 18-22, the US Canopy Formation Team, Clean Air, scored bronze and silver medals in CF 2-way and 4-way sequential, respectively. In the classic events, several male and female members of the U.S. Style and Accuracy Team placed in the top-10 of their events. In addition, the U.S. fielded two junior (age 24 and under) competitors for the first time: Ben Garlick, a 2013 United States Military Academy graduate on a midterm break from Army helicopter school, and Jarrett Martin, the first paraplegic to ever compete in an FAI World Parachuting Championships.
For complete results of the competition in Banja Luka, go to the FAI Results Portal.
Meanwhile, at the FAI World Championships in Prostejov, Czech Republic, our Artistic (freefly and freestyle) and Formation Skydiving (4-way open, 4-way female and 8-way open) teams are just getting started, with a smattering of first-round scores posted at OmniSkore!HD, the official scoring system of the championships. You can check out team photos and follow the action at Prostejov on the US Team’s Facebook page. The competition runs through August 31st.
Look for a complete story on the CF/S&A world meet at Banja Luka in the October Parachutist; the AE/FS world meet at Prostejov will be reported in the November Parachutist.
USPA will hold its annual General Membership Meeting Friday, July 11, at 7 p.m. in Memphis, Tennessee, at the Springhill Suites Memphis Downtown. The meeting will take place in conjunction with the summer meeting of the USPA Board of Directors, held Friday to Sunday, July 11-13, at the same location. All USPA members in good standing are invited to attend the General Membership Meeting, which will include information on the current state of USPA, as well as an opportunity for members to bring up discussion items with the board. The Springhill Suites is located at 85 West Court Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103; (901) 522-2100.
A vacancy has opened for USPA's North Central Regional Director. The regional director is one of 22 board members and serves the membership needs within the region, comprised of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A full list of regional director responsibilities is in Section 1-4 of the USPA Governance Manual.
USPA's by-laws (Article III, Section 5 in the Governance Manual) provide for filling the vacancy by either a special election or by nomination and election by the board of directors. USPA's board intends to elect a successor at the upcoming board meeting February 28-March 2 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Any USPA member in good standing who resides in the North Central Region and has an interest in serving as the North Central Regional Director may contact any current board member to secure a nomination. (All board members and their contact information are listed in the front of every issue of Parachutist and on the USPA website.) At the board meeting, nominations will be made, and then the board will vote. A nominee's attendance at the board meeting is not required. However, if a nominee is in attendance and is elected, that person may immediately participate in the rest of the meeting as a member of the board.
The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale’s International Parachuting Commission (IPC) held its 65th Annual Meeting in Vienna, Austria, January 29-February 2, producing several historic outcomes that will influence skydiving in the United States and around the world for years to come. USPA National Director and IPC Delegate Kirk Verner represented USPA, assisted by Alternate Delegate James Hayhurst (Director of Competition). Meeting highlights include:
Look for a complete report on the meeting in the April issue of Parachutist. A detailed report from the FAI is available online.
Following a two-year effort by USPA, the U.S. Department of Transportation formally responded to a USPA question regarding the efforts of states to tax revenues from skydiving. On December 30, 2013, USPA received an opinion letter from the Office of the DOT General Counsel asserting that the federal Anti-Head Tax Act (AHTA) preempts any state efforts to tax gross receipts on skydiving operations. The AHTA, passed by Congress in 1973, prohibits states or political subdivisions from “… collecting a tax, fee, or other charge … on the gross receipts from … air commerce …” The DOT letter says, “Aircraft operations carrying skydivers fall under the definition of air commerce …” and makes clear that states cannot tax the gross receipts from the retail sales of skydiving operations, no matter whether the state calls it an amusement tax, an entertainment tax or a tax by any other name. The DOT letter even rebuts one state’s assertion that it was taxing the skydiver’s freefall, not the airplane ride to altitude. The DOT notes that states are permitted to collect taxes on revenues derived from the sale of ancillary goods or services, such as DVDs or T-shirts.
In early 2012, with a growing number of skydiving businesses being audited by states, USPA recruited a legal team to research and draft a March 2012 USPA Memorandum that was provided to all Group Member DZs to use to inform their state departments of revenue that federal law preempts any state taxation of skydiving. However, many state officials dismissed the USPA memo as simply the opinion of a skydiving association. Now the U.S. DOT has issued an official federal opinion, which states cannot ignore. “This is a shining example of how USPA efforts on behalf of DZs also benefit individual skydivers,” said Executive Director Ed Scott. “Proliferation of state taxes on skydiving would surely drive up the cost of skydiving.”
The 2013 National Collegiate Parachuting Championships came to a successful close on Thursday, January 2, at Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales, completing (by a whisker) at least minimum rounds in every event--a modest but gratifying conclusion after competitors and meet management grappled with six challenging days of high wind, low clouds and rain.
To their credit, the approximate 80 collegiate participants (some individuals/teams had to withdraw as the meet drug out) endured the interminable weather holds and long, jumpless days with fortitude and grace--no injuries, malfunctions or protests and nary a gripe!
Open class formation skydiving 4-way team Eufouria set a new national collegiate record with a brilliant 40-point performance in round two. Five masters-class and three intermediate-class sport accuracy competitors dead-centered in the only completed round and shared gold medals (this after the judges staged an elaborate hoax spelling bee to break the ties). Several new Florida state collegiate marks were set, noteworthy among them a gorgeous 23-point 2-way vertical formation skydiving jump by team Eagle-Bear (comprised of brothers Andre and Joe Gerner) and a blazing 6-way FS speed record of 8.65 seconds set by Mo' budget Mo' Problems, a high-spirited team from University of Connecticut.
The meet is the longest continuously running competition in the skydiving world and received substantial positive media coverage. Complete results have been posted as a courtesy by OmniSkore!HD; look for a full report in the March issue of Parachutist.
USPA’s annual collegiate parachuting championships began in 1958 and is the longest, continuously running parachute competition in the world of skydiving. This year, 80 competitors from colleges around the nation (and one high school student) have come together at Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales to compete in six skydiving events: classic and sport accuracy, 2-way FS, 4-way FS, 2-way VFS and 6-way FS speed. So far the meet has been hampered by low clouds, wind and rain, but the forecast is promising and spirits are high. The competition runs through Thursday, 2 January. OmniSkore!HD has graciously offered to post official scores. Photo albums are posted at USPA’s Facebook page, randyswallows.com and LaszloImages.com.
The FAA finally published Advisory Circular (AC) 105-2E, Sport Parachuting, on December 4, 2013. USPA chaired the working group that collaborated with the Parachute Industry Association and the FAA to produce the comprehensive advisory circular guidance. The AC serves as a reference and resource companion to the regulations found in FAR Part 105, Parachute Operations. Skydivers will find topics that address the use of Automatic Activation Devices, as well as best-practice guidance for the use of seats and restraints. The AC reviews jump aircraft maintenance, jump pilot training, and jump pilot operational responsibilities. And much of the AC is dedicated to parachute equipment, repairs and rigging.
AC 105-2E: Sport Parachuting
The awards and closing ceremonies of the Fourth Dubai International Parachuting Championships took place Monday, December 9, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, concluding a fabulous competition that finished two days early. This afforded competitors plenty of opportunities for sightseeing while enjoying the incredible five-star hospitality of the DIPC hosts. Members of the U.S. Team took home $36,500 of the cash prizes. A few of many highlights of the competition for the U.S. Team:
Starting the competition with a bang, the U.S. 2-way sequential CF team, Clean Air, set a mind-blowing new world record with a 45-point performance in round one, eclipsing the existing 36-point mark held by the French National Team. Clean Air stretched its lead every round, ending eight rounds of competition with a superb 27.57-point average for a decisive victory and a cash prize of $12,000.
In canopy piloting action, reigning world champion Bartholomew took the gold medal in the speed event, silver in zone accuracy and gold overall, for a total cash prize of $9,500. Teammate Batsch won the distance event, setting a new world record of 158.76 meters in round two and collecting a cash prize of $3,500. Batsch also handily won the freestyle demonstration event and another $3,500 cash prize.
The U.S. Men’s Classic Accuracy Team finished ninth out of 20 teams against a strong field that featured an amazing eight-round 0.17-meter total for Slovenia, which took the team gold over Italy with 0.21 meters and Russia with 0.22 meters. To win the individual competition took a new world record, 0.02 meter for 10 rounds by French jumper Thomas Jeannerot. Throughout the competition, eyes were on junior competitor (and paraplegic) Martin, who flew beautifully on every jump, lacking only foot placement to be in contention for a top-10 placement. Even so, on round four, Martin landed perfectly on the pad and scored 0.06 meters, winning a huge ovation from the crowd. Martin’s determination and flying skills captured the hearts of fellow competitors and locals. His story was featured in the Dubai media and on CBS This Morning.
In formation skydiving, U.S. team SDC Rhythm XP put in solid rounds and finished the meet with a satisfying 20.9-point average after a difficult draw, claiming the bronze medal and a cash prize of $8,000. Russia took the silver with a 22.3-point average, and the Belgian team demonstrated it is arguably the best 4-way team in the world this year, churning out a blazing 25.1-point average for a decisive victory.
Start to finish, participants enjoyed five-star hospitality and many memorable moments, starting with delightful opening ceremonies that featured a riveting skydiving-oriented video perfectly tied to live stage action. Midway through the competition delegations were treated to a gala dinner at the world-famous Jumeirah Beach hotel, featuring a spectacular nighttime airshow and fireworks display in celebration of the UAE's National Day. To learn more about the competition and the U.S. Parachute Team’s performance, visit these links:
Full results are available at OmniSkore!HD, Weckbecker-Electronics, Björn Korth and DIPC4 Facebook page.
The Fourth Dubai International Parachuting Championships is off to a flying start. Twenty-eight competitors from the United States enjoyed a memorable opening ceremonies on November 29 in Dubai, U.A.E. Starting the competition with a bang, the U.S. 2-way Sequential Canopy Formation Team, Clean Air, set a mind-blowing new world record with a 45-point performance in round one, eclipsing the existing 36-point mark held by the French National Team. Clean Air is in first place with only one round to go.
Generally, the jumping pace has been leisurely to stretch the competition out through the scheduled ending on December 8-a luxury permitted by mild, sunny weather and a forecast of more of the same. Monday night, the delegations were treated to a gala dinner at the world famous Jumeirah Beach hotel, including a spectacular nighttime airshow and fireworks display in celebration of the UAE's National Day.
For more news updates, visit usparachuteteam.org and click on the “DIPC 2013” tab.
Full results are available at OmniSkore!HD, Weckbecker-Electronics and Björn Korth.
On Saturday, November 30, on the third jump of the day over Skydive Arizona in Eloy, an international team of 63 women completed a head-down formation to set a new women’s vertical world record. The team exited three planes in formation from 18,000 feet above the Arizona desert. The jump was the 12th attempt of the event, which began on Thanksgiving day, following two days of warm-up jumps.
The effort drew 95 women from 18 countries, who came to Eloy to try to earn slots on the record attempts. Over the three days, the women attempted jumps ranging from 65- to 69-ways. Although several of the jumps came very close, none completed. On the final jump, organizers slimmed the group to 63, and success resulted.
Event organizers Amy Chmelecki, Sara Curtis, Domitille Kiger, Melissa Lowe and Anna Moxnes held training camps in the U.S. and Europe over the past couple years to help train women for the attempts. Niklas Daniel, Norman Kent, Martin Kristensen and Jason Peters flew camera for the record jumps. Look for a complete report in the February issue of Parachutist.
The 63-way women’s vertical world record. Photo by Niklas Daniel.
On Saturday, November 23, a group of skydivers completed a two-point 110-way to set a new large-formation sequential world record. The jump was part of the World Team Kaleidoscope Dives invitational event November 22-24 at Skydive DeLand in Florida. B.J. Worth led the World Team, which previously set the large-formation world record with a 400-way over Thailand in 2006.
The International Parachuting Commission created large-formation sequential as a new Fédération Aéronautique Internationale record category in January 2013. Since then, the World Team attempted a two-point 222-way in April, coming just shy of completion. Then, a group in Empuriabrava, Spain, completed a two-point 106-way in September, submitting the claim to the FAI as the first world record in this category. If ratified, the DeLand jump will eclipse this as the new world record.
In DeLand, the World Team built the first formation of the 110-way on Friday. At sunset on Saturday, the team successfully completed the first formation followed by a second, different formation to score two points and claim the sequential world record. Look for a complete report in the January issue of Parachutist.
The 2014-2015 Skydiver’s Information Manual is now available in hard copy and as a PDF download. The SIM App is currently being revised and will soon be available. Change documents will also be added to the website as soon as they are available and will serve as a handy quick reference to indicate what was changed from the previous edition.
With the release of the new SIM, the most notable change to keep in mind is the raise in minimum deployment altitudes for C- and D-license holders. SIM Section 2-1 H. now reads as follows:
H. Minimum opening altitudes [E] [S]
Minimum container opening altitudes above the ground for skydivers are:
A Safety & Training Advisor (S&TA) may issue the waiver to individual jumpers for a specific jump or series of jumps. However, the intent of the waiver is not to serve as a permanent drop zone waiver, such as those in place for student wind limits. Nothing is required to be submitted to USPA to issue the waiver. However, the S&TA should make a note of the waiver date and who was waived for the jump(s) for his own records.
Quantity discounts are available for orders of as few as five manuals for those who would like to order the SIM in bulk, such as equipment dealers and drop zone gear stores.
MarS A.S., manufacturer of the M2 automatic activation device (AAD), has released a product service bulletin that requires the owners of the affected units to return the AAD to the manufacturer. Error messages found in seven units have been attributed to a faulty sensor. The bulletin lists the serial numbers for the units that need to be returned to the manufacturer. The AAD will either be repaired or replaced by the manufacturer, according to the service bulletin.
The bulletin is considered mandatory by the manufacturer, and it also states that all costs related to the repair or replacement of the AAD, and return shipping costs, will be covered by MarS A.S.
USPA’s recent efforts to reinvigorate the judging community are paying off! The first full-scale National Judge Training Program in many years will offer multiple judge rating courses with the help of Skydive Arizona this coming February 14-17 in Eloy. In conjunction with the Valentine’s Day Money Meet, USPA will offer judging courses in formation skydiving, canopy formation, and style and accuracy, as well as artistic events if sufficient candidates come forward. Courses are open to any Regional Judge who wishes to earn a higher rating, any National Judge who wants to expand his ratings or judges who have taken an extended hiatus and wish to become current. Those currently without a judge rating who are interested can request information and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Additional Fédération Aéronautique Internationale courses are planned in a similar time frame for National Judges wishing to take it to the next level. For more information or to sign up for a course, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at (540) 604-9740.
This October, after receiving a unanimous vote of approval from the USPA Board of Directors, USPA approached the organizers of the Dubai International Parachuting Championships regarding a junior competitor, Jarrett Martin. Martin, a paraplegic, has competed at the last three U.S. National Championships (2011, 2012, 2013) and has qualified as a junior member of the United States Parachute Team. He is also the subject of a documentary film. USPA requested that the organizers of the Dubai event allow Martin to compete, a first in the history of FAI parachuting competition. They responded with two thumbs up: “We should do everything in our power to support such a young man's athletic desire and ideals.” Martin’s accuracy teammates came together to cover his airfare and entry fee, so now he’s headed to Dubai! Read more on CNN.com!
The 2013 USPA National Skydiving Championships—a delicious, deep-dish skydiving pie served up at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, to a full house of over 600 hungry competitors—is officially over. The championships ran from September 12-23, enjoying favorable Midwest late-summer weather and excellent host support to finish two days early on Monday. Now Skydive Chicago is sweeping up the crumbs while USPA staff has collected some interesting statistics:
Complete results, daily blogs and tweets, photos and videos can be found at uspanationals.com. You can view replays of competition videos in the freefall events at omniskore.com (be patient, this is an ongoing project by OS!HD). Overall, the championships turned out to be a wonderful event with outstanding performances. Look for a full report in the November issue of Parachutist.
The National Skydiving Museum is currently seeking a partnership with wind tunnel entrepreneurs. At its most recent meeting, the Museum’s board of trustees agreed that building the museum adjacent to a wind tunnel would bring business to both parties and further promote skydiving. Interested individuals or corporations should visit the NSM website at skydivingmuseum.org for a copy of the Request for Proposal.
A Part 16 complaint partially funded by the USPA Airport Access and Defense Fund recently received a favorable final decision from the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA handles formal complaints, called Part 16 complaints, using administrative law—outside of the court system—at airports that receive federal funding. Throughout the four-year battle, USPA staff worked closely with USPA member Jeff Bodin of Garlic City Skydiving and his attorney, building a solid case that will benefit not only the DZ, but all of skydiving.
Bodin filed a Part 16 complaint after failed negotiations with Santa Clara County for airport access at South County Airport in San Martin, California. Bodin filed the complaint after Santa Clara County denied access for an on-airport drop zone based on its own safety reviews, ignoring two FAA safety reviews that found the airport could safely support skydiving operations.
The County lost the initial Part 16 determination and received a federal order requiring it to allow Garlic City Skydiving the use of the airport for skydiving, or alternatively lose access to federal funds. All three County airports have had their federal funding suspended since 2011 because the County elected to appeal the determination.
In its final agency decision, the FAA upheld its initial order: that the County had violated a federal grant assurance when it denied Garlic City Skydiving access to the airport for the purpose of skydiving. This decision strongly reiterates that skydiving is an aeronautical activity with the same rights as all other aviation activities and that the FAA is the sole arbiter of safety—not the County. This pivotal decision firmly cements the right to skydive on federally-funded airports and establishes that skydiving can safely coexist with other aviation activity on and over those airports.
The FAA ordered the County to take immediate steps to accommodate Garlic City Skydiving—though the process does allow the County 60 days to file a petition for judicial review in a U.S. Court of Appeals. At that point, the case would become the County vs. the FAA.
U.S. Canopy Piloting Team member Curt Bartholomew won the overall gold medal at the 7th World Cup of Canopy Piloting last week in Kolomna, Russia. Bartholomew and 11 other members of the U.S. Team competed against an international field of 80 canopy pilots for the overall medals, along with event medals in speed, accuracy and distance.
Bartholomew continues his championship reign after coming away as the overall champ at the 2012 World Championships, the 2013 U.S. Nationals and the recently completed 2013 World Games in Cali, Columbia. In Russia, he also won gold in speed and zone accuracy, as well as bronze in distance.
U.S. Team member Greg Windmiller set his fourth competition speed world record, running the course in 2.371 seconds. Jessica Edgeington also set a new U.S. national distance record with a 136.49-meter run in round one.
Competition for the top spots in each event stayed tight, as competitors waited through weather holds and tension mounted. American Tom Dellibac came away with the overall silver medal, as well as the silver in speed, a mere 0.3 points behind Bartholomew. And American Nicholas Batsch took gold in the distance event.
Other U.S. Team members who competed in Russia were Ian Bobo, Ian Drennan, Gage Galle, Scott Harper, Jason Sanders, Mikael Stevens and Robert Wallace.
For detailed by-day coverage and complete results, go to the FAI website.
You asked and we listened! The new USPA SIM app is now available! New features and an easier-to-navigate design make it a practical tool for instant information. Best of all, it's free! Have access to the most comprehensive skydiving manual in the world at your fingertips, no matter where you are, anytime of day or night! Make sure you’re up to date on all the latest skydiving rules and recommendations before you head to the drop zone! Just search "USPA SIM" in the Apple Store and Google Play today!
The USPA Board of Directors met July 26-28 in Fredericksburg, Virginia, for the second meeting of its term. A highlight of the results follows:
A full report will appear in the September issue of Parachutist. The next board meeting will be held February 28 to March 2, 2014, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Emirates Aerosport Federation (EAF) and Skydive Dubai have released the first official bulletin for 4th Dubai International Parachuting Championships (DIPC). One of the most anticipated events on the FAI calendar for skydivers around the world, this year’s championships includes Accuracy Landing, Artistic Events, Canopy Formation, Canopy Piloting and Formation Skydiving, with cash prizes totaling $412,000. Dates are 27 November – 10 December 2013 at Skydive Dubai, near the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, UAE.
The top eight overall competitors from the CP Nationals (conducted in May) and the top open-class competitors/teams from the upcoming USPA National Skydiving Championships (Sept, 11-24, Skydive Chicago) will be invited to join the U.S. delegation for the championships. Scope/size of delegations:
The Championship site and landing venues are the same as the 2012 Mondial. Entry fees are $700 for officials, $800 for competitors and $1500 for accompanying personnel, and include travel to/from the airport, lodging at the Oasis Beach Tower Hotel, meals and social events. AADs are mandatory (except CP/CF competitors). An FAI Sporting License is mandatory, and health, repatriation and third-party liability insurance is highly advisable. The first official bulletin and annexes are available online. Teams can train at Skydive Dubai starting 1 September. The first official bulletin, annexes, registration forms and future announcements will be posted at eaa.ae.
Advanced Aerospace Designs, maker of the Vigil 2 automatic activation device (AAD), has released two service bulletins regarding the operation and use of the Vigil 2 AAD. PSB-9 requires that the AAD be returned to the manufacturer in the event that the unit has been in contact with or submerged in fresh or salt water. The unit is waterproof, but there have been at least two units that would not turn on after jumpers experienced unrelated water landings or water immersions. PSB-10 reminds Vigil 2 users to turn off the AAD before leaving the drop zone, because the unit could remain in airborne mode, and not turn off automatically. This is for units with a serial number below 26172. Vigil 2 units with serial numbers 26172 and above will automatically shut off after 14 hours, even if the AAD is in use on a skydive, so owners are cautioned to cycle the AAD off and back on if it is getting close to 14 hours since the unit was turned on, and jumping is still taking place.
Mike Truffer has succumbed to injuries sustained in a jump on Memorial Day weekend. He was 63. Truffer was a longtime active skydiver, but he was also so much more, contributing to the sport in myriad ways over many decades. He served on the USPA staff in the early- to mid-1970s, including as Director of Membership Services and as editor of Parachutist. Then, starting in 1981, he served a 16-year run on USPA’s board of directors, where he took on a variety of government relations issues at a time when USPA was short-staffed. But it was with Skydiving magazine, which he started in 1979, that Truffer became most widely known among skydivers. Whatever the topic, he wrote it like it was, or at least how he saw it, which was always well thought out. For his many contributions to skydiving, Mike was selected to receive USPA’s Gold Medal for Meritorious Achievement in 2006. The citation reads, “For service to the USPA membership as national director and for his vision and guidance in establishing the U.S. Parachute Team Trust Fund, which has and will continue to support those teams for many years.” USPA joins the skydiving community in mourning the loss of one of the sport's most devoted personalities.
A record 79 canopy pilots—57 from the United States and 22 guest competitors from around the world—took part in the 2013 USPA National Canopy Piloting Championships at Skydive City, Zephyrhills, Florida, May 8 -10. Canopy pilots divided up into two classes: 55 in Open Class and 24 in Advanced Class, competing for gold and glory while having a great time with their friends—more like a family reunion for the close-knit international CP community. Blessed with fair Florida weather and the “go-the- extra- mile” support of host Skydive City, the competition was fierce and performances spectacular, filled with zigs, zags, high drama and a climactic finish in Zone Accuracy between reigning world champion, Curt Bartholomew and his close friend and rival, Nick Batsch. Both men scored perfect 100 point landings in their final jump, with Batsch besting Bartholomew, 849.248 to 847.478 points—a scant 1.7 point spread to take the gold overall medal.
For U.S. competitors, the meet was a fiercely-contested trial to determine which 12 competitors would win the prestigious opportunity to represent the United States at the World Cup of Canopy Piloting at Kolomna, Russia, 25 Aug-1 Sep., as well earn one of the coveted slots to compete later this year at the much-anticipated (and not yet officially announced) 4th Dubai International Parachuting Cup. In addition, canopy pilots of every nationality vied to break continental, national and world records, and some elite canopy pilots did exactly that. Top marks of the meet:
CP Competition Distance
(Standing U.S. & World FAI Records: Nicholas Batsch–154.09 meters; Jessica Edgeington, 120.18 meters):
CP Competition Speed
(Standing U.S. & World FAI Records: Greg Windmiller—2.404 seconds; Jessica Edgeington—2.605 seconds)
The twelve U.S. competitors chosen to the U.S. Team, in order of overall standings:
For complete on-line coverage and results, go to uspanationals.com
On April 10 President Obama unveiled his 2014 budget. Within that budget, the administration proposed a new aviation user fee of $100 per flight in controlled airspace, which is airspace in which air traffic control can provide services, e.g. Class A, B, C, D and E airspace. The administration proposed exemptions for piston aircraft and a variety of public and military aircraft, but presumably, turbine jump planes would be charged $100 for each takeoff. Given that some turbines fly 25 loads per day, some operators would pay $2,500 per day for each airplane flown.
On April 11, USPA wrote to the president explaining how such a fee would devastate businesses that operate skydiving airplanes. USPA described a new user fee as, “inequitable, duplicative and (requiring) a new, costly bureaucratic process to assess and collect the fee,” and requested that the president withdraw his aviation user fee proposal. Like virtually every other aviation association, USPA supports the current system where aviation users pay a federal tax on aviation fuels, the revenues of which are invested into the aviation system. Once an aviation user fee is implemented, chances are high that the fee will increase and it will be applied to more types of aircraft.
Since then, USPA has asked all drop zone operators to contact their members of Congress to advise them of the potential impact on their businesses. (Even piston aircraft DZs occasionally use turbines, and most aspire to grow into a turbine business.) Now we are asking skydivers to weigh in as well by asking your members of Congress to oppose an aviation user fee and support the current federal tax on aviation fuels. A $100-per-flight fee will increase the cost of skydiving from turbine airplanes by 20 to 40 percent; jump tickets would rise from $25 to $30 or more. Many members of Congress already oppose aviation user fees, so the proposal must pass a high hurdle in Congress. However, all skydivers should ensure their members of Congress know the impact on skydiving.
Use the link below and enter your zip code to go to the websites of your two senators and your representative. Each congressperson’s website has a “contact” page that will let you paste your letter into a portal directly to your member of Congress. Be sure to type your name and include your return address. Customize the model letter found below any way you want. This is so important. We all must fight the very concept of an aviation user fee.
Proposed Budget Sample
Executive Director Ed Scott's Letter to President Obama
Skydive Radio Interview with Ed Scott
Sample letter you can send to your representative
USA.gov – Find your elected officials
On April 11, one day after President Obama unveiled his 2014 budget containing a new $100 per flight user fee, USPA wrote to the president explaining how such a fee would devastate businesses that operate skydiving airplanes. The new fee would apply to each flight by a turbine aircraft in controlled airspace. “It is clear that no one within the administration understands that turbine jump planes routinely make up to 25 flights per day. An operator with one turbine airplane could pay $2,500 each day in user fees; an operator with two aircraft could pay $5,000 each day,” said Ed Scott, USPA’s Executive Director. USPA pointed out that those same operators already pay between $158 and $263 per aircraft per day in federal fuel taxes on jet fuel. USPA described a new user fee as “inequitable, duplicative and (requiring) a new, costly bureaucratic process to assess and collect the fee.” USPA requested that the president withdraw his aviation user fee proposal. Many Members of Congress already oppose aviation user fees, so the administration has a high hurdle to clear to get a bill through Congress. However, USPA and skydiving businesses need to take action now, rather than counting on Congress to defeat the proposed tax.
The newly elected USPA Board of Directors met March 22-24 in Daytona Beach, Florida, for the first meeting of its term. On Friday, the first day of meetings, the board elected the following Executive Committee:
Vice President—Randy Allison
Member at Large—Tom Noonan
Chairman of the Board— Jay Stokes
In addition, the board elected Kirk Verner to serve as USPA's delegate to the International Parachuting Commission.
The President selected the following committee chairs:
Constitution & By-Laws—Mike Mullins
Finance & Budget—Albert Berchtold
Group Membership—Randy Allison
Membership Services—Tony Thacker
Nominations & Elections—Jan Meyer
Regional Directors—Todd Spillers
Safety & Training—Rich Winstock
Additional highlights of the meeting include—
USPA staff has been talking this week with senior Federal Aviation Administration officials about the possible effects of the automatic federal government spending cuts known as sequestration, set to take effect on March 1. Even if full sequestration goes into effect on March 1, the impact will not be immediate. The FAA is required to provide employees with 30-days’ notice, so furloughs would begin no sooner than early April, followed by a steady throttling down of programs and processes.
The FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO) will start by cutting out and cutting back low-activity air traffic control towers located at some 300 airports around the U.S. For the handful of DZs at towered airports, a tower closure should mean that the airport reverts back to a non-towered airport with Class E airspace, and jump operations should be able to continue. For the majority of DZs, enroute and approach controllers should be able to continue providing the radio communication services described by Federal Aviation Regulation Part 105.13, which requires that a jump pilot establish radio communication with ATC at least five minutes prior to each drop. Again, there should be no immediate change for jump operations.
USPA has provided more detailed information to DZ operators. USPA staff will stay in close contact with FAA officials and advise DZs and USPA members of new developments.
The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale has ratified the three world records claimed by Austrian parachutist Felix Baumgartner for Maximum Vertical Speed, Exit Altitude and Vertical Distance of Freefall. On October 14, 2012, Baumgartner, supported by a team of experts from the Red Bull Stratos Project, took off from Roswell, New Mexico aboard a pressurized capsule attached to a helium balloon. Wearing a specially designed suit, Baumgartner was carried high into the sky up to the altitude of 38969.4 m (127,852 ft.), where he exited from the capsule and launched himself toward Earth. Baumgartner achieved a freefall distance of 36402.6 m (119,431 ft.) and reached a speed of 1357.6 km/h (843.6 mph) before opening his parachute and landing safely on the ground. By breaking these world records, Baumgartner adds his name to the list of FAI world record holders which includes prestigious aviators such as Charles Lindbergh, YuriGagarin and, more recently, Bertrand Piccard and Steve Fossett. For these achievements, USPA nominated Felix and the Red Bull Stratos Project team for the prestigious Collier Trophy. NAA will select the Collier Trophy winner on March 11.
Sub-class: G-2 (Performance Records)
Category: General Group: Speed Records
Type of record: Maximum Vertical Speed (without drogue)
Course/location: Roswell, NM (USA)
Performance: 1357,6 km/h
Parachutist: Felix Baumgartner (Austria)
Sub-class: G-2 (Performance Records)
Category: General Group: Altitude Records
Type of record: Exit Altitude
Course/location: Roswell, NM (USA)
Performance: 38969,4 meters
Parachutist: Felix Baumgartner (Austria)
Sub-class: G-2 (Performance Records)
Category: General Group: Altitude Records
Type of record: Vertical Distance of Freefall (without drogue)
Course/location: Roswell, NM (USA)
Performance: 36402.6 meters
Parachutist: Felix Baumgartner (Austria)
Sun Path Issues Service Bulletin
Sun Path Products, maker of the Javelin and Odyssey harness and container systems, has released Service Bulletin SPSB008 regarding a mandatory inspection of all containers manufactured between January 2009 and February 2013. Some containers may be equipped with cutaway cables that have not been trimmed to the correct lengths. The bulletin states: “Sun Path Products, Inc., has determined that we have had a quality escape, which has led us to believe that there may be a number of release handles that have been shipped to customers which were trimmed incorrectly. These incorrect cable lengths could result in an out of sequence main release and reserve deployment causing an entanglement.”
The bulletin provides instructions on how to measure the cutaway cable lengths to determine whether the cables are the correct length. Inspection of affected systems is mandatory before the next jump.
United Parachute Technologies Issues Service Bulletin
United Parachute Technologies, maker of the Micron, Vector 3 and Sigma Tandem parachute systems, has released Service Bulletin PSB-2012116 regarding removal of the staging loop washer on container systems equipped with an elastic staging loop for the reserve canopy. The bulletin states: “During recent inspections prior to repacking the reserve, extra normal wear was found on the reserve closing loop. Further investigation indicates that Vector systems fitted with a (bungee) “Reserve Staging Loop” with support washer may experience this problem. Some washers have sharp edges which had caused minor damage to the closing loop. Thus far, loop damage seen in the field following a 365-day repack cycle has not been considered serious, but is a concern. This Product Service Notification provides a safe solution without altering the function of the staging loop.”
The bulletin provides instructions for riggers to use on the next repack on how to inspect the reserve closing loop and remove the washer from the bungee elastic loop.
Competitors: Interested in attending 2013 FAI World Cup Events?
Events are open to individual competitors and teams, sanctioned by USPA, who competed in Open Class events at the 2012 Nationals (2013 Nationals applies to CP). This is a wonderful opportunity to get international competition experience!
Details of each event can be found on the FAI website. The organizers require a timely commitment from nations sending competitors, so if you are qualified/interested in attending, contact USPA as soon as possible.
UPDATE (02/04/13): Airtec and SSK Industries have created a webpage of frequently asked questions regarding the recently released Service Bulletin regarding a software and hardware update to address a recently discovered problem with what Airtec reports is a small number of CYPRES automatic activation devices. The new updates to all CYPRES units also include a user-selectable activation altitude.
ORIGINAL: Airtec GmbH & Co., maker of the CYPRES 2 automatic activation device, released a service bulletin dated January 31, 2013, that pertains to all CYPRES AADs manufactured from February 2009 through December 2012. Service Bulletin 31012013 instructs all CYPRES 2 users, after the unit is switched on, to check the unit before each jump by pressing the control unit push button one time and watching for the red LED light to flash to ensure the unit is functioning properly. If the LED light does not flash, the user should not jump with the unit, since, as Airtec states, “It is not in a safe working condition, and the unit will not function as intended on a jump.” Airtec reports that it "has become aware of a small number of CYPRES 2 units becoming 'non-responsive.' Although the subject units indicated a '0' (or the selected DZ setting) on the display, they were no longer operating." Additional details can be found in the service bulletin.
The election for the 2013-2015 USPA Board of Directors has concluded. All candidates on the ballot are listed below along with the number of votes each received. The winning candidates are designated by bold type. Two write-in candidates were also voted in. The new board will be seated at their March 22-24 meeting in Daytona Beach, Florida.
USPA’s 2012 National Collegiate Parachuting Championships wrapped up early on Monday, December 31, at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Eighty-seven competitors from 14 colleges and universities took part. Here’s a summary of the winners and eight new records:
On Saturday, December 29, Air Force Legacy won the 4-way open event and set a new collegiate record by scoring 36 points in round six, surpassing the 2009 record of 34 points. GT Special Needs from Georgia Tech won gold in 4-way advanced, and B’ween Team from the University of South Carolina took gold in 2-way and tied the existing record with a 16-point round. Air Force Hysteria ran away with the top spot in 2-way vertical formation skydiving, with an astounding 91 points over four rounds.
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point dominated classic accuracy competition, setting three new records. Kurt Yeager took gold in masters accuracy and set a new competition record with a cumulative 0.10 meters over four rounds. Silver-medalist Ben Garlick, also from West Point, set a performance record for consecutive dead centers with one dead center followed by a two-centimeter score. USMA’s Samuel Strader took the gold in intermediate accuracy. The Guardian Owls from West Point won the team accuracy event and set a new competition record with a three-round total of 0.43 meters, crushing the old record of 0.65 meters.
In sport accuracy, Dustin Weeks from the Air Force Academy won the masters class and set a new competition record with a four-round total of 1.97 meters. He also set a performance record with four consecutive dead centers followed by a miss of 1.54m. Joseph Gerner, a freshman at the Air Force Academy, took gold in intermediate sport accuracy, and Justin Jetmar from University of Connecticut won the novice sport accuracy event.
Competitors celebrated the last day of 2012 with the 6-way speed event to wrap up the meet. Competition was fierce between two USAFA teams for the top two spots. In the end, AF Wild Bill Wenger’s won the event and set a new record with a blistering 7.52-second jump. On New Year’s Day, taking advantage of the availability of national judges, jumpers from UConn and Georgia Tech combined to set a new collegiate 8-way sequential record of three points. The meet finished up Tuesday evening with a well-attended banquet and awards ceremony. Complete results are available on OmniSkore.com.
USPA’s 2012 National Collegiate Parachuting Championships kicked off Saturday, December 29, at Skydive Arizona in Eloy, with 87 competitors from 14 colleges and universities across the country.
With great weather on Saturday, 2-way and 4-way formation skydiving and 2-way vertical formation skydiving completed in one day. Air Force Legacy won the 4-way open event and set a new collegiate record by scoring 36 points in round six, surpassing the 2009 record of 34 points. GT Special Needs from Georgia Tech won gold in 4-way advanced, and B’ween Team from the University of South Carolina took gold in 2-way and tied the existing record with a 16-point round. Air Force Hysteria ran away with the top spot in 2-way VFS, with an astounding 91 points over four rounds.
Classic accuracy events completed on Sunday morning, with competitors from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point dominating the competition and setting three new records. Kurt Yeager took gold in masters accuracy and set a new competition record with a cumulative 0.10 meters over four rounds. Silver-medalist Ben Garlick, also from West Point, set a performance record for consecutive dead centers with one dead center followed by a two-centimeter score. USMA’s Samuel Strader took the gold in intermediate accuracy. The Guardian Owls from West Point won the team accuracy event and set a new competition record with a three-round total of 0.43 meters.
In sport accuracy, the gold went to Dustin Weeks from the Air Force Academy. He also set a new competition record with a four-round total of 1.97 meters and a performance record with four consecutive dead centers. Joseph Gerner, a freshman at the Air Force Academy, took gold in intermediate sport accuracy, and Justin Jetmar from University of Connecticut won the novice sport accuracy event.
Competitors are spending December 31 on the 6-way speed event to wrap up the meet. New Year’s Day will include a collegiate sequential large-formation record attempt, followed by the banquet and awards ceremony. Complete results are available on OmniSkore.com.
Collegiate skydivers from around the country have been arriving at Skydive Arizona in Eloy to register and get in last-minute practice for the 2012 USPA National Collegiate Parachuting Championships. About 80 competitors are expected. Competition begins Saturday morning, December 29, at 8:00. With a forecast of good weather for the weekend and then possible clouds early next week, competition will likely begin with freefall events: 2-way and 4-way formation skydiving and 2-way vertical formation skydiving. If you want to follow the action jump-by-jump over the weekend, go to OmniSkore!HD, USPA’s scoring partner for the Collegiate Championships.
December 7 marks the end of the 2012 World Parachuting Championships Mondial in Dubai. With well over 10,000 competition skydives made, the US Team has made an impressive showing, taking home a total of 14 medals – six gold, six silver, and two bronze – the most of any nation.
Curt Bartholomew led the way with a total of four medals (3 gold, 1 bronze), the most of any individual on the US Team.
Better than the individual medals and trophies, two teams were also able to bring home two special prizes – the Ottley Swords. Crafted in 1982, two Excalibur-type swords were mounted on polished mahogany and awarded to the world championship teams – one for FS 4-way and one for FS 8-way. This year, Arizona Airspeed (4-way) and Golden Knights GK8 (8-way) were presented both swords by the previous French championship teams. The swords will have the team names inscribed on the frames and will be transported home with the teams where they will reside until the next world championships in formation skydiving.
Tomorrow evening’s closing ceremony represents the conclusion of this world-class event and is expected to be nothing less than spectacular, featuring a concert with artists Katy Perry and Usher, as well as fireworks and other stunts that haven’t been fully disclosed.
Keep an eye out for the full report in the February issue of Parachutist magazine.
Finally, congratulations to the entire US Team! The following shows the medal count by team and event:
Visit the FAI’s website for official results.
The 2012 World Parachuting Championships begins Thursday, November 29, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and runs through December 9. The U.S. Parachute Team is trained and ready, considered by many insiders to be the strongest in modern history, with contenders for gold in every discipline and event. The organizers have registered nearly 1,500 competitors from an unprecedented 58 nations who will compete in six disciplines: formation skydiving, vertical formation skydiving, canopy formation, style & accuracy, canopy piloting and artistic events (freestyle and freeflying). There are even demonstration events for speed skydiving (vertical freefall speed) and para-ski (indoor, of course)—all for the first time in the Middle East. The championships coincide with the United Arab Emirates' celebrations of the 41st National Day on December 2, which attract many visitors and tourists every year.
The U.S. Parachute Team website, launched this year, will provide visitors with meet news and the latest scores, with photos and links to the host website and official FAI meet website. Friends of the U.S. Team and their fans from around the world will be able to follow the activities, competitions and results of the championships.
About Skydive Dubai: The new and already legendary drop zone sits on a peninsula near the famous Palm Jumeirah, an artificial island in the shape of a palm tree.Next to the DZ are the Palm Jumeirah Marina and a two-mile sweep of beach fronted by resort hotels. Behind this is a phalanx of modern skyscrapers (including several luxury five-star towers where competitors are lodged). It’s an understatement to say this is the most dramatic backdrop for a drop zone in the world. Add the sparkling turquoise Persian Gulf waters, and the views are breathtaking. Competitors will be landing at four separate sites in the area, with busses and even boats shuttling competitors from the landing areas and the main DZ.
Skydiving competition begins the afternoon of the 29th, followed by opening ceremonies that promise to be Olympian in scope and grandeur, with international performing artists, lightshows and fireworks. Since Dubai is nine hours ahead of the Eastern Time zone and 12 hours ahead of the West Coast, check the U.S. Parachute Team website Thursday morning for news and photos of the first day of the biggest skydiving event in history.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, USPA understands that some of our members in the affected areas may be struggling to return to normalcy. While those impacted certainly have other priorities right now, USPA is standing by to assist with any delays in membership credentials or services that result from the storm’s aftereffects. Those in the Eastern and Northeast Region who may have inadvertently let a membership or rating lapse or who are missing a membership card or issue of Parachutist due to Sandy can simply contact USPA at email@example.com or (540) 604-9740. We’re here to help.
The USPA Board of Directors is considering the adoption of a new wingsuit instructor rating program. After much discussion, the board decided to seek the opinions of the membership at large by adding a non-binding poll question to the board election ballot that will be disseminated in early November. The new rating system documentation, available here, outlines the details of the instructional rating hierarchy. If the proposal iseventually adopted by the board, the Basic Safety Requirements would require any USPA member making a first wingsuit flight to be trained by a USPA Wingsuit Instructor. Currently, the BSRs require wingsuit jumpers to have at least 200 skydives and a USPA license, but there is no training requirement. The results of the poll will be provided to the board at its March 2013 meeting in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Also included is a point/counterpoint provided by two board members who have differing positions on the issue. Rich Winstock is a National Director and serves as the chairman of the Safety & Training Committee’s subcommittee reviewing the wingsuit instructor rating issue. Scott Smith is the Western Regional Director and serves as the chairman of the Competition Committee. These are their opinions.
A USPA-sanctioned wingsuit sequential formation skydiving test event is underway! The online event takes place October 6-14, which spans two weekends. Competitors may perform the dives as many times as they wish and submit footage of their best performances by October 15. Submitted videos will be graded online by a team of judges. USPA will use the results and competitor input to refine rules for a test event scheduled at the conclusion of the 2012 National Collegiate Parachuting Championships. USPA will announce the winners of the event October 17. Review the documents here for more information, including the dive pool and draw. The event is open to everyone, not just USPA members.
In comments filed today, August 27, with the Federal Aviation Administration, USPA urged the agency to withdraw its proposed standard for parachute landing areas (PLAs) for airports that have received federal grants. With 20 pages of comments supported by 32 pages of attachments, USPA showed that the FAA proposal is not supported by any history of incidents or accidents; that the proposal will not allow new PLAs to be established safely and efficiently, as the agency claims; and that the retroactive application of the PLA standard to current skydiving businesses will be economically harmful and may even decrease the current level of safety at some airports.
“There is no safety justification for the FAA’s proposed standard,” said Ed Scott, USPA’s Executive Director, “and it’s clear that the FAA has not fully considered the economic harm that will occur to skydiving businesses. Nor have they considered the unintended safety consequences of their proposal.” USPA is urging the FAA to start over and pledges to work with agency officials on a PLA standard that both skydiving businesses and airport managers can live with. “If the FAA believes it needs a standard, then it needs to take the time to do it correctly and not harm one of the few segments of aviation that is currently flourishing,” said Scott. USPA’s comments can be found here.
Skydiving icon Gene Paul Thacker passed away this morning, Monday, August 20, after a lifetime of dedication to his family and to the sport of skydiving. Thacker was the recipient of the 2004 USPA Lifetime Achievement Award, “for over 40 years of contributions to USPA and the sport of skydiving, particularly in the style and accuracy community as an athlete, coach, leader, inspiration, volunteer, conscience and catalyst,” according to the award citation.
Thacker joined the U.S. Army Parachute Team at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in 1962, the year the team adopted the nickname the Golden Knights. In 1970, he bought the airport near Fort Bragg and opened the Raeford Parachute Center. Since then, Thacker has coached and trained more world champions than any other skydiver at what was for decades the most popular drop zone in the world for style & accuracy competitors.
In 1971, Thacker joined the USPA Board as a regional director and continued his service as a board member for 32 years, the longest tenure in the organization’s history. He served as chairman of the board for 20 years.
The Thacker Cup, the most prestigious award for the U.S. style and accuracy community, given each year to the winning accuracy team at the USPA National Championships, is named after Gene Paul. It’s an iconic trophy not only because it carries the Thacker name, but because it represents the pinnacle of individual excellence married to teamwork—Gene Paul Thacker epitomized both. He was a coach, mentor and second father to a generation of style and accuracy competitors in the U.S. and abroad.
Gene Paul’s contribution to the sport, both to the competition community and to USPA as an organization, cannot be overstated. USPA President Jay Stokes remarked, “I met Gene Paul in 1978, and he was a direct influence on me to become a USPA Instructor Examiner. Gene Paul was a father figure to me. I really did consider him to be my ‘skydiving dad.’ I’ll miss him greatly.”
At USPA’s request, the Federal Aviation Administration extended the deadline for comments to the agency’s proposed Parachute Landing Area (PLA) criteria to August 27. Skydivers and DZ operators are encouraged to read the USPA presentation and then submit comments directly to the FAA using the e-mail address provided. More comments are needed on this important issue that could change existing on-airport drop zone areas. Please, do it now!
DZOs can use the DZ Memo and Survey, first sent by USPA on July 3 and found here, to establish whether their operations would be affected by the FAA proposal. Please send completed DZ surveys to firstname.lastname@example.org and DZO comments directly to the FAA, with a copy to email@example.com.
June 1 was the deadline for USPA members to submit a letter of intent to run in the upcoming election for the USPA Board of Directors. The respondents were also required to declare whether they would run as a national director or a regional director candidate. By the deadline, 31 members had submitted their intent to run—13 for National Director and 18 for Regional Director. National and Regional Director incumbents are identified by an asterisk "*".
The USPA Board of Directors concluded its summer meeting Sunday, August 5, in Minneapolis. The weekend’s meeting highlights include the following:
Look for a complete report on the meeting in an upcoming issue of Parachutist. The next board meeting is scheduled during the 2013 PIA Symposium March 22-24 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Wednesday morning, July 25, at 8:12 Mountain time, Red Bull Stratos jumper Felix Baumgartner exited a stratospheric balloon from approximately 97,000 feet for a freefall of 3 minutes 55 seconds. He reached an unofficial speed of 536 mph before deploying his parachute at approximately 13,000 feet above sea level, 8,000 feet above the desert southwest of Roswell, New Mexico.
USPA Director of Competition Jim Hayhurst and the National Aeronautic Association’s Brian Utley served as official observers. Pending analysis of GPS data, the Stratos team may potentially claim three new Fédération Aéronautique Internationale world records. Two are almost 50 years old, both held by Major Yevgeny N. Andreyev of the Soviet Union, who in 1962 jumped from a balloon gondola 83,529 feet above sea level, freefalling 80,380 feet before deploying his parachute. Baumgartner’s jump has potentially eclipsed both Andreyev’s records, as well as his own vertical speed record of 365 mph, which he achieved on the first Stratos jump in March. Unfortunately, the Stratos capsule sustained damage on landing, potentially delaying the third and final Stratos jump, planned for 120,000 feet to break Joe Kittinger’s historic mark of 102,800 feet, set in 1960.
USPA will hold its annual General Membership Meeting Friday, August 3, at 7 p.m. at the Minneapolis Airport Marriott. The meeting will take place in conjunction with the summer meeting of the USPA Board of Directors, held Friday to Sunday at the same location.
During the meeting, USPA will present the prestigious Gold Medal for Meritorious Achievement to Jeff Steinkamp. The board voted to award the 2011 Gold Medal to Steinkamp for nearly four decades of service to the competition community as a nationally rated judge and to the accuracy community in particular as an innovator of accuracy events and scoring systems.
All USPA members in good standing are invited to attend the General Membership meeting and show their support for Steinkamp. The meeting will also include information on the current state of USPA, as well as an opportunity for members to bring up discussion items with the board. The Marriott is located at 2020 American Boulevard East, Bloomington, MN 55425; (952) 854-7441; marriott.com/mspmn.
USPA is currently addressing an important issue with the Federal Aviation Administration that could have critical impacts on many drop zones across the country, and we need skydivers’ help.
The FAA has issued a new proposal to establish standards for on-airport parachute landing areas (PLAs) at federally funded airports. The proposal appears in the July 3 issue of the Federal Register, with the draft appendix here. The FAA has provided a 45-day comment period before finalizing the proposal.
The FAA is proposing that the PLA standard be adopted as a new appendix to FAA Advisory Circular 150/5300-13, which sets standards for airport facilities. Any airport that has received federal funds or that intends to apply for federal funds and that also accommodates skydiving must ensure that the PLA complies with the new standard. Moreover, the FAA must review and approve the PLA to ensure compliance, and the PLA must be reflected on the airport layout plan (an FAA-required engineering drawing of all existing and proposed facilities on the airport). The standard would apply to all existing and future DZs on federally funded airports, though other airports are likely to voluntarily adopt the standard. This proposal is part of an overall effort by the FAA to assist skydiving operators with airport access. While USPA fully supports that goal, we are concerned that this PLA standard is overbearing and may bring new costs and unnecessary burdens to new and existing drop zones.
USPA urges members to thoroughly review the FAA proposal along with USPA’s concerns and submit comments to the FAA before the August 17 deadline. Click here to read more about the proposal, USPA’s concerns and how it can affect skydivers across the country. The July 16 issue of the “USPA Update” e-newsletter will contain an analysis of the FAA proposal, along with specific talking points that may be helpful in preparing comments to submit to the FAA.
Skydive The Farm, 16 June 2012
At the end of two days of breathtaking canopy piloting competition, who would take one of the eight spots on the US Team was uncertain for all but two competitors--Tommy Dellibac and Nick Batsch, who had already secured spots on the team by virtue of their gold medal performances in speed and distance. For everyone else, it was an absolute nail-biter, and overall placement was the name of the game. So on a hot Georgia afternoon in a bucolic setting reminiscent to the final round of the Masters, it all came down to who would score the most water gates and land as close as possible to the center zone. When the dust cleared, Curt Bartholomew had not only won zone accuracy, but he also cinched his first national overall canopy piloting gold medal—joining the elite ranks of only five competitors who have claimed that title over the history of the event. As the final results were tabulated, it became clear that the top-eight overall finalists had qualified for spots on the 2012 US Canopy Piloting Team. After confirmation by the USPA Competition Committee, the next evening at a jam-packed awards ceremony, the 2012 US Canopy Piloting Team was announced. Congratulations to: 1) Curt Bartholomew, 2) Nick Batsch, 3) Thomas Dellibac, 4) Jonathan Tagle, 5) Ian Bobo, 6) Jessica Edgeington, 7) Brian McNenney and 8) Bryan Buechler. All will compete at the 2012 Mondial (world championships) at Dubai, UAE, 29 November – 9 December 2012. Become a sponsor of the US Team!
Photo by Ori Kuper.
The 2012 USPA National Championships of Canopy Piloting came to an exciting and early finish Friday, June 15, at Skydive the Farm in Rockmart, Georgia. With tight races in all events going into the final round and the prized slots on the U.S. Team at stake, competitors were feeling the pressure. The day included two new (not yet official) world competition records. In the speed event, Greg Windmiller set a new competition record of 2.404 seconds, and Nicholas Batsch surpassed his own pending world record from yesterday to set a new distance competition record of 151.95 meters.
The day started with the final round of the speed event, with Thomas Dellibac taking the gold, followed by Windmiller a mere 0.016 seconds behind in second and Batsch in third. Next up was the final round of distance, with Batsch taking the gold, Dellibac the silver and Curt Bartholomew the bronze.
With a close race in zone accuracy and the final opportunity to claim a slot on the U.S. Team, the competitors went up for the last round of the event. Bartholomew held onto his lead and won gold, followed by Scott Harper in second and Ian Bobo in third.
At the end of competition jumps, Bartholomew claimed the overall gold, Batsch the silver and Dellibac the bronze. In the advanced-class overall standings, William Mitchell won gold, Alex Hart silver and Nick Quigley bronze. Complete scores are listed below.
Tonight, USPA’s Competition Committee will review the results of the meet to determine who will earn the covered slots on the 2012 U.S. Team that will compete at the World Championships in Dubai, U.A.E., later this year. Saturday evening, everyone will gather for the awards ceremony and the announcement of the U.S. Team.
2012 CP Nationals Open Overall
2012 CP Nationals Open Speed
2012 CP Nationals Open Distance
2012 CP Nationals Open Zone Accuracy
2012 CP Nationals Advanced Overall
2012 CP Nationals Advanced Speed
2012 CP Nationals Advanced Distance
2012 CP Nationals Advanced Zone Accuracy
The new number to beat is 143.27 meters—Nicholas Batsch’s score in round one of the distance event at the 2012 USPA National Championships of Canopy Piloting, a new (not yet official) world competition distance record, the first under the new International Parachuting Commission (and USPA) rules. Two rounds of each event, a total of six rounds, were completed Thursday over 13 hours of intense competition at Skydive the Farm in Rockmart, Georgia.
In open-class distance, Batsch leads, followed by Thomas Dellibac (who flew 136.45 meters in round two) and Curt Bartholomew in third. In open zone accuracy, Stuart Schoenfeld holds the lead, with Bart Rogowski in second and Bryan Buechler in third. After two rounds of open speed, the standings are tight, with Batsch (runs of 2.429 and 2.543 seconds) in first, Bartholomew (2.520 and 2.59 seconds) in second and Dellibac (2.557 and 2.560) in third. In the open overall standings, Batsch sits on top of the leader board, followed by Bartholomew in second and Dellibac in third.
The dogfight for the eight spots on the U.S. Team couldn’t be more exciting. Using new team selection rules adopted this year, the first three slots on the team go to the open-class event champions of speed, distance and zone accuracy, with the remaining five slots going in order of overall standings.
Of course, with one round of each event remaining and overall standings tight, anything can happen—which promises to make for an exciting finish. Day two begins Friday, June 15, at 8 a.m. with the final round of the speed event. Look for complete scores, including advanced-class standings, early tomorrow morning before the start of jumping. With a great forecast, the meet is likely to complete by mid-afternoon. Results will be posted as they happen throughout the day.
Load one of the 2012 USPA National Championships of Canopy Piloting is set to take off at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning, Thursday, June 14, at Skydive the Farm in Rockmart, Georgia. At the Wednesday evening briefing, 57 competitors—41 in open and 16 in advanced—gathered in the hangar after a full day of practice jumps. This year’s event promises to be an exciting one with lots at stake, including slots on the U.S. Team that will compete at the World Championships later this year, as well as almost-certain new world records in the recently revised distance event. Zone accuracy is first on the agenda Thursday morning, and with a great weather forecast, it’s likely to be a full and exciting day of swooping. Check back for scores and updates!
Each year, nearly a half million people across the U.S. successfully jump out of an airplane for the first time on tandem skydives.
For more than three decades, tandem jumping has given millions of people the opportunity to easily experience the thrill of a lifetime while strapped to a certified tandem instructor. The U.S. Parachute Association and tandem equipment manufacturers have certification programs in place to ensure that only qualified, experienced skydivers can become tandem instructors and that anyone who earns a tandem instructor rating receives proper training and understands the procedures for correctly fitting and securing tandem student harnesses. Incidents can happen, as they do in any sport. However, the sport of skydiving maintains an impressive safety record, with roughly seven fatal accidents per 1 million skydives in the U.S. each year. The record of tandem skydiving is even better, with only 2.6 student fatalities per 1 million skydives over the past ten years.
The U.S Parachute Association has affiliated skydiving centers across the country that have agreed to follow USPA’s safety rules and recommendations and use only USPA-rated instructors. These centers conduct tandem skydiving in a professional manner and make the safety of the tandem student their top priority. For anyone interested in making a first skydive, USPA strongly recommends visiting a USPA-affiliated skydiving center. A complete list of these drop zones appears on the USPA website.
For additional information, contact Nancy Koreen, USPA Director of Sport Promotion, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540.604.9742.
*Compliance: Before Next Jump*
Parachute Systems of South Africa has released a Product Service Bulletin for two different products: The Decelerator reserve parachute, and the Vortex 2 harness and container. After a jumper found it difficult to release one brake of the reserve canopy following a reserve deployment, it was discovered that the brake loop size was too small on oneside of the reserve canopy. The small loop, combined with a soft toggle nozzle, prevented the jumper from being able to immediately release the brake on one side, causing the canopy to spin until he could release the trapped steering line. The service bulletin provides instructions for modifying the reserve toggles and, if necessary, the reserve brake loops. An FAA Master Rigger, or foreign country equivalent, must perform the modifications.
Dates for the 2012 USPA Canopy Piloting Nationals at Skydive The Farm in Rockmart, GA have been finalized. As has been true for the last several years, the meet will be a four-day event, held June 13 – 16th, coming on the heels of the final FLCPA meet of the year, which will also be held at Skydive The Farm the weekend before. Registration and official practice are Wednesday, June 13. Competition begins Thursday morning, June 14 and runs through Saturday, June 16, allowing competitors to travel home on Sunday, June 17 (Father’s Day).
The Red Bull Stratos project scored a major milestone today on its first of three manned flights to the edge of space, sending Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner up for the highest skydive in 50 years. Director of Competition James Hayhurst has been at Roswell, New Mexico, serving as USPA's (and the skydiving world's) official observer for the Red Bull Stratos high-altitude jump project. Red Bull assembled an elite team of aerospace engineers and physiologists and brought Joe Kittinger on board as a key project consultant and voice of CAPCOM (capsule communication). This morning after a flawless eight-hour countdown, at 8:10 a.m. Mountain time, the launch team released a 1.2-million-cubic-foot Raven balloon that lifted a pressurized capsule with Baumgartner inside, climbing up to 71,581 feet. At 9:44 a.m., Baumgartner stepped off the front of the capsule and fell with perfect stability for three minutes, 33 seconds, manually opening his parachute at 2,405 meters (about 4,000 feet above the local terrain). He is the third person to successfully skydive above 70,000 feet, joining Kittinger (102,800 feet) and Soviet jumper Eugene Andreev, who in 1962 jumped from 83,523 feet and holds the official FAI world record.Baumgartner set a new world freefall speed record, 364.4 mph, and he stood up his landing. To learn more about the Stratos project and summer plans to go after Kittinger's 102,800-foot mark, visit the official website here.
USPA’s Executive Committee took action yesterday, March 6, to delay implementation of a new Basic Safety Requirement that would have required all skydivers to comply with any minimum age requirements set by a parachute equipment or component manufacturer for any users of its equipment. Many, if not most, manufacturers want to require that any users of their parachute equipment be at least the age of legal majority for liability reasons. By interim action, the Executive Committee set the implementation date for this new BSR as October 1, 2012, unless further modified by the full board of directors at its August 3-5 meeting in Minneapolis. This delay will provide another opportunity for the board to discuss all the ramifications of the new rule at the summer meeting, as well to gather and consider member input. Please feel free to contact USPA Headquarters or any member of the board of directors with your input to this BSR.
The USPA Board of Directors concluded its winter meeting Sunday, February 19, in San Diego. The weekend’s meeting highlights include the following:
Look for a complete report on the meeting in an upcoming issue of Parachutist. The next board meeting is scheduled for August 3-5 in Minneapolis.
Collegiate parachutists from around the nation started the New Year with a bang, setting an astonishing 23 U.S. national and Arizona state collegiate records at the 2011 USPA National Collegiate Parachute Championships. The annual competition enjoyed glorious weather, a string of five perfect skydiving days with light winds, sunny skies and mid-70s temperatures, allowing the meet to finish on New Year’s Day, one day ahead of schedule.
Perhaps inspired by the weather, competitors from 16 universities broke or tied every record on the collegiate books. In team accuracy, Air Force Academy’s Lawn Darts set a new collegiate record of 0.65m, breaking the old standard by four centimeters—despite landing on the newly adopted, smaller 2cm dead-center target. In individual accuracy, Kurt Yeager of West Point and Shawn Johnson from the Air Force Academy scored a 0.17m four-round total to set new Arizona and U.S. National collegiate competition records. In sport accuracy, Sam Prescott from Annapolis smashed the previous best mark of 7.89m with a perfect score of 0.00 for four rounds—another collegiate record.
In 4-way formation skydiving, Air Force Legacy twice came tantalizingly close to breaking the collegiate record of 34 points (set by Virginia Tech at the 2009 Collegiates in Texas) but never could quite get that 35th point in time, settling for the new Arizona state collegiate 4-way record. Meanwhile in the 2-way FS event, two teams—Brandon Devereaux and Robin Marshall from Georgia Tech, and brothers Andre and Joseph Gerner from UCLA and Embry-Riddle—scored 16 points on a single round to set new collegiate and Arizona state 2-way FS records. In 2-way vertical formation skydiving, Air Force Inception, fresh off a gold-medal performance at the open national championships, blasted the existing 18-point mark with a fabulous 27-point single-round performance to set state and national records in 2-way VFS.
Competition concluded on Sunday, New Year’s Day, with the always-popular (nine teams entered) FS 6-way speed event, and once again the standing mark of 11.8 seconds went down, this time to Air Force Be With You, who put together a 6-way formation in 9.62 seconds—another Arizona state and national collegiate record. Not to be outdone on the record front, Sandusky’s Future Leaders of Tomorrow asked the judges if they could forgo the speed star on their final round and attempt to break the current 3-way VFS largest formation collegiate record. The judges assented, and the team—Kevin Drivas, Nathaniel Olson, Matthew Leonard, Daniel Schiermeyer, Cameron Haley and Thomas Eucker—built a solid 6-way head-down formation to set the new collegiate VFS large-formation record.
And so concluded what will go down in history as one of the most successful championships in over a half century of NCPC competition. But it wasn’t quite over yet: with a free day and another perfect forecast, on Monday a group of 40 collegiate skydivers went after the collegiate large-formation sequential record, and eventually put together a 3-point 32-way to set one final state and national collegiate record—a fitting capstone to the greatest record bonanza in NCPC history.
For complete final 2011 NCPC, scores go to OmniSkore! or check out the files below:
4-way FS Advanced
4-way FS Open
6-way FS Speed
Classic Accuracy Intermediate
Classic Accuracy Masters
Classic Accuracy Team
Sport Accuracy Novice
Sport Accuracy Intermediate
Sport Accuracy Masters
Eighty-eight collegians from 16 universities converged on Skydive Arizona to launch an assault on the collegiate record book while enjoying a respite from the grind of studies and the icy grip of winter. The collegiate competitors were rewarded on all counts: enjoying sunny skies and afternoon temperatures in the low-70s while they steamrollered the record book, setting five new state and national accuracy records—and that was only in the first event of the meet, classic accuracy.
In classic team accuracy, Air Force Lawn Darts (jumping on the new 2 cm dead-center electronic score pad) bested the old record, 0.69 m for three rounds (set on a 3 cm pad) with a 0.65 m total, setting new Arizona state and national collegiate records while winning the event over a field of five teams. Two competitors—Kurt Yeager in intermediate and Shawn Johnson in masters class—had identical 0.17 m for four-round totals to share new Arizona and national collegiate competition (best score for four rounds) records while winning their respective classes. In addition, Yeager briefly held a new performance record with a (now rare) dead-center followed by a 7 cm mark, only to see intermediate competitor Andrew Lopez score a dead-center in his fourth round, and follow it with a 5 cm strike to capture the collegiate performance record, state and national.
In sport accuracy, with three out of four rounds complete, three competitors—Sam Prescott in the intermediate class, Brett Jack and Ryan Schorer in the masters class—have scored an amazing three consecutive dead-centers, breaking the previous performance record of two consecutive dead-centers and threatening to smash the current sport accuracy competition mark of 7.89 m for four jumps.
Today’s competition begins with the final round of sport accuracy (plus possible jump-offs), followed by the start of 2- and 4-way sequential formation skydiving (FS). Six teams are registered in the 2-way event, and 10 teams will compete in the 4-way advanced and open events. Meet Director Bryan Burke expects to finish the sport accuracy and all six rounds of FS today, and tomorrow begin the 2-way VFS and 6-way speed competition. A superb weather forecast that extends into the New Year promises an early finish to the meet, scheduled to run through Monday.
Update: Sam Prescott, a prior service enlisted Marine now enrolled a third-year cadet at the US Naval Academy, scored his fourth consecutive dead center this morning to set two national collegiate records, one a national collegiate performance record of four consecutive dead-centers, the second a national collegiate competition record, a perfect 0.00m total for four rounds of sport accuracy.
For complete final scores and round-by-round results of today’s action, go to OmniSkore!
The 3rd Dubai International Parachuting Championships and Gulf Cup, arguably now the most glamorous international skydiving competition in the world and without question boasting the most lucrative cash prizes in skydiving history, is officially a wrap. The last morning of competition provided excitement in men’s individual accuracy with a five-way tie for first place with 0.07m after 10 rounds. In the jump-off, the local favorite, UAE’s Rashed Ahmed Al Gaith suffered a heartbreaking 0.16m landing, leaving him in fifth place. Just out of the money in fourth place was Jie Feng of China. Taking the bronze and $4,000 was Jindrick Vedmock of the Czech Republic. Also of the Czech Republic, Tabor Hynek took the silver and $6,000. Winning the jump-off and taking home the gold and $10,000 was Dmitry Maximov of Russia.
In women’s action, with the same prize money, Yan Cao finished 10 rounds of accuracy with 0.10m to win the gold. Just behind her and tied with 0.11m were Ning Wei of China and Olga Lepezina of Russia. Lepezina won the jump-off to take the silver, and Wei took home the bronze. In a hard charge in the last rounds was Cheryl Stearns, who ended up just out of the money in fifth place with a fine 0.13m total.
In open (mixed male/female teams allowed) team accuracy competition, it was a nail-biting close finish, with the Czech Republic team taking home the gold medal and $40,000 with a 0.24m total after eight rounds of team competition, just one tiny centimeter better than China and Italy, who tied with 0.25m. China won the silver by tie-break rules to take home $30,000, Italy the bronze and $20,000. Forty teams competed in open accuracy. In women’s team accuracy, eight teams vied for the same cash prizes. China took home the gold and $40,000 with a 0.29m finish, ahead of China’s second team with 0.35m and Belarus with 0.44m.
In canopy piloting, high winds foiled any hopes of completing the final rounds of speed and distance, leaving the standings where they had been for several days. In distance, Canada’s Jason Moledzki won the gold medal and $10,000. USA’s Jonathan Tagle took the silver and $6,000, and jumping for UAE, Marat Leiras took the bronze medal and $4,000. With similar prize money, the USA’s Thomas Dellibac won the gold in speed, ahead of teammate Greg Windmiller who took the silver medal. Moledzki won the bronze. The only CP event with all three rounds completed was zone accuracy. As reported earlier, the USA had a clean sweep in the event, with Curt Bartholomew in first, Nick Batsch in second, and Ian Bobo in third. There was no prize money awarded in CP overall, but most competitors consider those rankings the true measure of excellence. Placing first overall was Bartholomew, ahead of Batsch in second, Moledzki third, Bobo fourth and the UAE’s Billy Sharman fifth.
Medals and prizes for the formation skydiving and canopy formation events, previously reported, were also handed out at the awards ceremony Friday evening, capped by the now-traditional gala banquet that is a feast for both the eyes and stomach. With the meet over, already skydivers around the world are thinking about next year, when Dubai will host the all-events “Mondial” World Championships, which promises to be the grandest skydiving competition in history.
Check out skydivedubai.ae for full scores.
Video below courtesy of The PD Blog
The canopy piloting zone accuracy event finished Thursday afternoon at the 3rd Dubai International Parachuting Championship, with members of the U.S. Team sweeping the medals. Curt Bartholomew (who led from start to finish) took the gold, while Nick Batsch and Ian Bobo moved up in the final round to take the silver and bronze.
In addition, the last rounds of the canopy formation events completed Thursday, as well. Russian teams took first in 2-way sequential and 4-way rotation, while France took first in 4-way sequential. The U.S. teams tied for fifth in 2-way sequential and won the bronze in 4-way rotation.
In classic accuracy action, American Jimmy Drummond advanced into the semi-final rounds of open accuracy but dropped 5 centimeters, ending any chance of making it into the finals.
Click here for complete results. Two rounds of canopy piloting (one each of speed and distance) and the final rounds of team and individual accuracy remain for Friday. An awards ceremony for completed events will be held Thursday evening (Dubai time), around noon Eastern Standard Time. Check back later for pictures from the awards ceremony.*
*The awards ceremony scheduled for today has been cancelled in favor of a combined ceremony tomorrow.
Formation Skydiving wrapped up yesterday with the USA’s teams placing third and fourth:
In CP action, with 6 of 9 rounds complete, the US held top spots in most events. Curtis Bartholomew, Nick Batsch, Jonathan Tagle and Greg Windmiller hold first, third, fourth and fifth overall, with Canada’s Jason Moledzki in second. Bartholomew is standing first in zone accuracy, Jonathan Tagle second in CP distance, and Thomas Delibac holds the lead in speed. New results after today’s action should be posted soon.
In classic accuracy, the US Team is hanging in there against a very strong field, 15th out of 40 teams after 7 of 8 rounds. Jimmy Drummond leads US competitors individually with a fine 0.08m total after seven rounds, putting him 19th out of 195 competitors. Rick Kuhns is the next best US competitor, with a 0.13m total, putting him 54th. Mounting a charge with dead-centers in round six and seventh, Cheryl Stearns has 0.11m, moving her up to 11th among the ladies.
For detailed results, click here.
As the sun set late Monday afternoon on another day at the 3rd Dubai International Parachuting Championship and Gulf Cup in the United Arab Emirates, the competition had passed the halfway mark, despite minimal jumping Monday due to high winds. Following are the current standings:
The 4-way formation skydiving competition has completed seven of its eight rounds. France leads with a 26.4-point average, followed by Belgium in second. The two U.S. teams follow, with SDC Rhythm XP in third and Perris Fury in fourth.
The canopy piloting event includes 105 competitors. After one round of speed, Greg Windmiller of the U.S. is in the lead, followed by Thomas Dellibac of the U.S. and Marat Leiras of Brazil. Canadian Jay Moledzki leads the distance event after two rounds, with American Jonathan Tagle in second and Leiras in third. After one round of zone accuracy, American Curt Bartholomew holds the top spot with a perfect score. Italian Ulisse Idra is in second, and Austrian Wuzi Wagner is in third. Overall, with four of the nine rounds complete, Tagle is in first, Bartholomew in second and Moledzki in third.
The classic accuracy event includes 255 competitors—195 male and 60 female. Forty teams have entered the team accuracy event. With five of eight rounds complete, China and Slovenia are tied for first, with Germany in third. After five rounds of individual male accuracy, Ahmed Al Gaith of the U.A.E. is in first. Jie Feng of China and Tabor Hynek and Petr Smesny of the Czech Republic are in a three-way tie for second. After four rounds of individual female accuracy, Ning Wei of China is in the lead, with China’s Yan Cao in second and Russia’s Olga Lepezina in third.
In canopy formation, with 43 total competitors, nine teams have completed six of eight rounds in 2-way sequential, with Russia in the lead, followed by Australia and France. France leads the three teams entered in the 4-way sequential event with one round remaining, followed by Russia and the U.S. After seven of eight rounds in 4-way rotation, Russia leads the field of five teams, followed by France and Kazakhstan.
Tuesday’s forecast calls for sunny skies, light winds and temperatures in the low-80s, with all events except for individual accuracy likely to finish. For complete scores, including all the Americans’ standings, go to http://skydivedubai.ae/dipc/#scores. Skydive Dubai’s video of the day is available below.
Forty members of the U.S. Parachute Team have begun competition at the 3rd Dubai International Parachuting Championship and Gulf Cup in the United Arab Emirates, which runs November 29 through December 10. The FAI Category II event includes competition in 4-way formation skydiving, canopy formation, classic accuracy and canopy piloting. The U.S. contingent joined competitors from 47 nations, for a total of 28 FS teams, 18 CF teams, 41 accuracy teams, and 108 CP competitors—well over 500 total competitors.
The first two days included practice jumps and a spectacular opening ceremony. Thursday, December 1, was the first day of official competition. Scores and updates will be posted on Skydive Dubai’s website. You can follow the official meet blog and watch daily videos here. You’ll also find great coverage of the event at the PD Blog.
Latest from Dubai:
*First round accuracy incomplete, interrupted by winds.
The 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships at Skydive Arizona in Eloy wrapped up Saturday night, November 5, after 10 days of exciting action in multiple disciplines. Competitors completed all jumps in all events, with near-perfect weather and an incredible Skydive Arizona operation.
The final jumps Saturday included the remainder of the 10-way formation skydiving competition, which the Golden Knights won, along with a canopy formation ProAm test event. Saturday night, everyone gathered for the final banquet, featuring the medal presentations for the artistic events, canopy formation, and formation skydiving 10-way and overall winners.
Skydive Arizona meet management and staff did an incredible job organizing and running the meet, and the DZ will again host next year’s USPA Nationals.
Be sure not to miss any of the Nationals broadcasts at Skydive-TV.com, and check the complete scores at OmniSkore.com. Look for a complete report on the 2011 Nationals in the January issue of Parachutist.
On Thursday, November 3, competitors in multiple disciplines shared the sky, airplanes and excitement of the 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships at Skydive Arizona. With Friday’s forecast calling for high winds, meet management kept competitors busy completing their events during another beautiful day in Eloy.
All the artistic teams, both freefly and freestyle, completed all seven of their rounds in a single day. The judges will finish scoring all the jumps in the morning, so check back for final standings.
The 16-way formation skydiving event also started and finished today, with GKXP taking gold, Arizona Airspeed silver and Deguello 17 bronze.
Eleven canopy formation teams participated in the 2-way event, with Clean Air taking first, Stuck in Lodi second and 2 Live CRW third.
Nearly all events in all disciplines have now finished. The only remaining events are 10-way formation skydiving, along with canopy formation 8-way speed and a DZ event, a CF 2-way ProAm. Nationals will continue through Saturday, November 5.
Check back here for updates, as well as on USPA’s Facebook page and OmniSkore.com for complete scores and standings. Daily broadcasts of all the action are also available at Skydive-TV.com.
The 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships at Skydive Arizona in Eloy are continuing as the place to be for all the hot skydiving action. Wednesday, November 2, the planes again flew from sunrise to sunset. The day included seven rounds of 8-way formation skydiving and eight rounds of canopy formation 4-way sequential.
At the close of round eight of the CF sequential event, Clean Air walked away with its second gold medal in the past two days. Redline took the silver and Next Best Team the bronze.
With one round of 8-way formation skydiving remaining, the Golden Knights hold a commanding lead in the open class. Thursday will begin with the conclusion of that event, followed by the 16-way FS event. The artistic events also begin tomorrow, with nine freefly teams—three in open and six in intermediate—and six freestyle teams registered. The canopy formation competitors will also take to the sky with the 2-way test event.
Be sure to check back here for updates, as well as on USPA’s Facebook page and OmniSkore.com for complete scores and standings. Daily broadcasts of all the action are also available at Skydive-TV.com.
Tuesday, November 1, has been another full, fun day of competition at the 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. The day began with the final three rounds of 4-way formation skydiving, as well as the start of the canopy formation 4-way rotations event.
The 4-way FS event had some nail-biting finishes. In the open class, Arizona Airspeed held onto its solid lead to claim the gold, but the remaining medals were up for grabs between Golden Knights Gold, Perris Fury and SDC Rhythm. After an exciting final round, the Knights took silver and Perris Fury bronze. In the advanced class, Spaceland Lite took the gold by one point over Fallout and Start 4, who were tied after ten rounds. Start 4 won the jumpoff round by two points to take the silver. In intermediate, T-Minus:01 and Dallas Khaos XP were tied after round ten, one point ahead of bronze medalist Dallas Pulse. T-Minus:01 won the jumpoff by one point for the gold, and Dallas Khaos XP took the silver.
In CF 4-way rotations, Clean Air took the gold with a strong performance, 103 points. The silver medal went to Too Wrapped Up with 98 points, while Redline scored 92 points to take the bronze.
The 8-way formation skydiving event also got started, completing two rounds. Wednesday morning, 8-way will continue, and CF 4-way sequential will get underway. Wednesday is also the final day to register for the artistic events, which begin on Thursday.
Be sure to check back here for updates, as well as on USPA’s Facebook page and OmniSkore.com for complete scores and standings. Daily broadcasts of all the action are also available at Skydive-TV.com.
It’s been a full day of non-stop 4-way formation skydiving at the 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Competition load one took off at 7 a.m., Monday, October 31, and by the end of the day, 114 competition loads and 16 fun jumper loads had flown. All 65 4-way teams—16 in the open class, 19 in advanced and 30 in intermediate—completed seven of their 10 rounds. Skydive Arizona’s operation ran flawlessly, with five Twin Otters flying simultaneously all day.
At the end of the day, Arizona Airspeed holds a solid lead in the open class. Both the advanced and intermediate divisions have tight races for the medals. Spaceland Lite and Fallout are battling for gold in the advanced class, while Dallas Pulse is holding onto the lead in intermediate. Check OmniSkore.com for complete scores.
On Tuesday’s agenda are the final three rounds of 4-way, followed by the start of the 8-way formation skydiving competition. The canopy formation event also starts tomorrow with 4-way rotations.
Check back here for updates, as well as on USPA’s Facebook page. Daily broadcasts featuring interviews and all the latest action are also available at Skydive-TV.com.
Skydive Arizona is in full swing today, Saturday, October 29, for the 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships! The vertical formation skydiving and style & accuracy competitors finished up their final rounds this morning. Formation skydiving 4-way and 8-way teams are piling in, registering and getting practice jumps. And fun jumpers are making the most of the beautiful weather and the weekend’s Halloween Boogie. The drop zone is swamped, and canopies are filling the air non-stop!
The accuracy competition had an exciting finish with this morning’s final two rounds. The men were in a nail-biting race, with Jim Hayhurst and Jimmy Drummond tied with 11 centimeters each after eight rounds. In round nine, Hayhurst scored a dead center to Drummond’s three cents. With Hayhurst finishing the meet with one centimeter in the final round, Drummond’s round-ten dead center wasn’t enough to take the gold. Hayhurst finished two centimeters ahead, for the gold in men’s accuracy, men’s style and team accuracy. Drummond took the silver in men’s accuracy, with Mark Jones taking the bronze. Cheryl Stearns took the top spot in both women’s accuracy and style, with Elisa Tennyson in second and Mery Rose in third.
The vertical formation skydiving event wrapped up with yesterday’s leaders holding onto their top spots. SDC Standard won the gold in open, with an impressive 27-point lead over silver-medalist Arizona Arsenal. Arizona Drive took the bronze. In the advanced division, STF Friends of Warren took the gold. A tight race for second resulted in a jump-off round—with the two teams tying again! Friendship ended up taking the silver, since the team had the highest single-round score of 16 points. Elsinore Honey Badgers won the bronze.
This afternoon, everyone gathered for the style & accuracy awards, and tonight the DZ is hosting its big Halloween costume party. Sunday, 4-way teams will complete registration and have their draw, followed by the VFS and style & accuracy banquet in the evening. Competition will resume Monday morning with the 4-way event.
Be sure to check back here for updates, as well as on USPA’s Facebook page and OmniSkore.com for complete scores and standings. Daily broadcasts are also available at Skydive-TV.com.
It’s been a full day of competition here at the 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. The vertical formation skydiving and classic accuracy events both got off to an early start Friday, October 28, with another perfect-weather day.
Fourteen VFS teams—six in open and eight in advanced—completed five of eight rounds by mid-afternoon with some heated competition in both divisions. In the open class, SDC Standard is holding a commanding lead after five rounds, leading Arizona Arsenal by 16 points. Arizona Drive is holding onto third. In the advanced class, STF Friends of Warren is heading the pack with a solid lead. Battling for second, Elsinore Honey Badgers have a one-point lead over Friendship. The event will pick up Saturday morning with three rounds to go.
The classic accuracy competitors also had a busy day, completing rounds three through eight, which wraps up the team accuracy event. The final two rounds are scheduled for Saturday morning and will count toward individual standings only. In team accuracy, Skydive Rick’s has claimed the top spot, with US Won in second and Pacemakers in third. In the individual event, James Hayhurst and Jimmy Drummond are currently tied for first, with Cheryl Stearns in the lead for the women. The event promises an exciting finish tomorrow morning!
Be sure to check back here for updates, as well as on USPA’s Facebook page and OmniSkore.com. Daily broadcasts are also available at Skydive-TV.com.
The 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships got off to a great start Thursday, October 27, at Skydive Arizona in Eloy, with perfect skydiving weather—temperatures in the upper 70s, light winds and not a cloud in the sky.
The style and accuracy event was first on tap today, with 32 competitors completing all five rounds of the style event and two rounds of accuracy. In men’s style, Jim Hayhurst took the top spot, followed by Marty Jones in second and Jimmy Drummond in third. Cheryl Stearns took the win for the women, with Elisa Tennyson second and Mery Rose third. After two rounds of team accuracy, Skydive Rick’s holds the lead with an impressive 0.02 cm total team score.
The vertical formation skydiving teams were also pouring in today for registration and practice. At total of 14 VFS teams—six in the open class and eight in advanced—have registered for the event, which starts bright and early Friday morning.
Check back here for updates, as well as on USPA’s Facebook page and OmniSkore.com. Daily broadcasts are also available at Skydive-TV.com.
The big event is finally here! The 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships kick off at Skydive Arizona in Eloy Thursday morning, October 27, with the classics—style and accuracy. Thirty-two competitors attended the Wednesday evening briefing for style and accuracy, eager for the 7 a.m. Thursday start.
Thursday will also include the practice and registration day for vertical formation skydiving, with the VFS competition scheduled to start Friday morning.
Nationals will run through Saturday, November 5, with the formation skydiving events starting Monday. Scores will be posted as they become available at OmniSkore.com. In addition, check back here for daily updates, as well as on USPA’s Facebook page and at Skydive-TV.com for daily broadcasts. Make sure you don’t miss any of the exciting action!
As posted in a previous news update, Eric E. Florio resigned from his position as Southeast Regional Director—in accordance with the USPA Constitution—to accept the position of Director of Communications. With this, a vacancy was created on the board for the southeast region. The USPA Board of Directors has been working diligently to find a solution that is within its guidelines and to provide the members with a representative in a timely manner. We are pleased to announce that Kirk Verner—current USPA National Director—has temporarily accepted these duties and responsibilities, as appointed by President Jay Stokes. This interim appointment will last until the February board meeting in San Diego where the board will elect Florio’s successor to complete the remainder of the term. Nominations may only be made by board members, so any interested members should contact a board member for his or her support.
Verner, a resident of Raeford, North Carolina, is a renowned formation skydiving competitor and coach. He will undoubtedly apply the same passion he has for skydiving and USPA to assisting the members of the southeast region. Please direct any PRO-rating applications, wings and badge awards or other inquiries to him at email@example.com, or call him at 910-246-6038.
Advanced Aerospace Designs, maker of the Vigil and Vigil 2 automatic activation device (AAD), released an updated Product Service Bulletin (PSB), found here, regarding a recent discovery of a misassembled cutter on a Vigil 2. The error was discovered during an investigation of a September 14, 2011, fatal skydiving accident in Canada. The updated PSB provides additional guidance for testing cutters in the field, and an updated list of serial numbers for units that must be checked before the next jump.
Unrelated to this PSB, recently in the U.S., two different parachute containers—both equipped with early-model Vigil AADs—were involved in activations of the reserve system while the rigs were on the ground. In each case, the Vigil AAD activated and fired its cutter, allowing the reserve pilot chute to launch out of the reserve container. Advanced Aerospace Designs stated that there have been a few cases of similar ground activations involving Vigils—serial number 6799 and below—that were manufactured before August 2006. The activations have only occurred on the ground. The company is expected to provide additional information and guidance soon.
The U.S. Parachute Association mourns the tragic loss of Ted Strong, one of the sport’s great pioneers. Ted started jumping in 1958; he was a competitor, coach and rigger-turned-innovator who formed Strong Enterprises in 1961 so that his friends might jump safely. Through the '60s and '70s, Ted helped lead the way in the transition from military surplus to modern sport equipment. In the '80s, he helped pioneer what is arguably the single-most influential technological advancement in skydiving in 50 years--tandem jumping--which opened our sport to the general public and made it the thriving recreational industry it is today. Ted’s innovations carried over to the sport aviation community with comfortable, reliable emergency bailout rigs, as well as into the military market with numerous technological advancements. An innovator and visionary, Ted was awarded USPA's Gold Medal for Meritorious Service in 2002, and in 2010, he was inducted into the first class of the National Skydiving Museum Hall of Fame. Those who knew him remember with affection his humility, a kind and generous spirit, and the infectious smile that lifted spirits wherever he went. Remarked USPA President Jay Stokes, "Skydiving has lost one of its greats, an influential pioneer who has made a lasting impact on the sport. We will all miss him greatly, but his legacy will not be forgotten."
USPA Southeast Regional Director Eric Florio has agreed to join USPA as its next Director of Communications effective October 18. He succeeds Shonda Smith who, after nine years at USPA, has moved to Arizona to seek new opportunities. Florio has submitted his resignation from the board of directors, on which he had been serving as Southeast Regional Director since his election in late 2010. USPA’s by-laws provide for the board to elect a new regional director to carry out the resigning member’s term (in this case, up to the winter 2013 board meeting) from among candidates nominated by members of the board. Any current member in good standing who resides in the Southeast Region who wants to be considered for nomination should contact a board member prior to October 21. Contact information for each board member is listed in the front of every Parachutist magazine, and online here.
Advanced Aerospace Designs, maker of the Vigil and Vigil 2 Automatic Activation Devices (AAD), has released Public Service Bulletin #7, which asks that all Vigil owners check their AAD serial numbers to see if replacement of the cutter unit is necessary. An investigation following a recent fatal accident in Canada revealed that the Vigil 2 installed in the container had not been assembled correctly and was missing the knife blade that should have been installed in the cutter housing. The Public Service Bulletin includes the serial numbers of 299 units manufactured in October 2007 that may be missing the cutter blade. If your Vigil 2 serial number is included in the bulletin, the unit must be removed for inspection and cutter replacement before the next jump.
As an added precaution, the Public Service Bulletin also states that all other Vigil cutters outside of the range of serial numbers listed should be tested at the next reserve repack. The bulletin includes guidelines for testing the cutter with a magnet to determine if the blade is installed. Additional details, including contact information and replacement procedures, are included in the bulletin.
Administration Proposes a New User Fee
On September 19, the Obama Administration released its plan to reduce the deficit and grow the economy. Among many proposals to raise revenues is one to implement a $100-per-flight fee on “operators who fly in controlled airspace.” Simply put, because controlled airspace is simply airspace in which air traffic control services can be provided, the new fee could be applied to just about anyone who flies. Realistically though, since the plan describes how general aviation operators don’t pay their “fair share” when using ATC services, the administration is targeting operators who actually do use air traffic control services. The full plan is here; the aviation user fee is addressed on pages 22 and 23.
The Effect on Skydiving
Part 105 of the Federal Aviation Regulations requires a jump pilot to establish and maintain radio communication with ATC prior to every jump. So would jump operators be required to pay the government $100 for every takeoff? But wait, the plan does exempt certain operators, including “recreational piston aircraft.” While that describes the majority of light single- and multi-engine general aviation aircraft (including single-engine Cessnas) found in the national airspace system, it presumably wouldn’t exempt the hundreds of Cessna 182-type jump planes currently flying, since most skydiving flights are for hire, i.e., commercial in nature and not recreational. So, assuming an operator passes the cost of the $100-per-flight fee to his customers, an operator of a Twin Otter carrying 20 jumpers would need to increase jump tickets by $5 per jump. A Cessna 182 operator would also pay the $100 fee and would need to increase jump tickets for a 4-way by $25 per jump.
It’s Not the Cost; It’s the Concept
In reality, though, our concern is as much about the concept of user fees as it is about the cost of user fees. General aviation operators already pay for use of the system via a federal fuel tax—19.4 cents per gallon for avgas and 21.9 cents per gallon for jet fuel. It’s easy, it works and it’s equitable; the more you fly or the more horsepower you use, the more you pay. In contrast, a new pay-per-flight fee would require the FAA to set up a new bureaucracy to track and enforce fee payments. And even if the concept is first aimed at only jet or turbine operators who file instrument flight plans, once established, the concept of pay-per-flight is easily modified to start reaching down to other users.
Aviation Associations Opposed
USPA joins all other general aviation users in opposing a new user fee, in favor of keeping the current fuel tax system. USPA has offered its support to the other associations that are gearing up to oppose this effort. As a result, the National Business Aviation Association, which represents companies that use aircraft in the furtherance of business, asked to interview USPA Executive Director Ed Scott for one of its recent podcasts on the subject. You can hear the podcast here.
Sign a Petition
USPA is currently coordinating with the other associations on member initiatives. Meanwhile, there is something you can do on your own, right now. A petition has been started on a site recently inaugurated by the White House that allows anyone to petition on a specific issue. If within 30 days 5,000 people sign a petition, the White House staff will issue an official response and direct it to the appropriate agency. The petition is Take User Fees off the Table. You have to create an account to sign the petition. Even though this petition has already reached the 5,000-person threshold, additional signatures still send an important message to the White House, so every signature counts.
According to Karel Goorts, Managing Director for Aviacom SA, production of the Argus automatic activation device (AAD) for the sport parachuting market has been discontinued. The current group of service centers will continue to provide service for units currently in use. A limited number of cutters and spare parts will be available. Many container manufacturers rescinded the approval of the Argus to be installed in their containers earlier this year, following questions about the effectiveness of the cutter. Argus owners should check with their container manufacturer to determine whether the Argus may be installed.
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