Sunshine State Summit — The 2024 Winter USPA Board of Directors Meeting
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Sunday, June 16, 2024
Sunshine State Summit — The 2024 Winter USPA Board of Directors Meeting
USPA Staff

Sunshine State Summit — The 2024 Winter USPA Board of Directors Meeting

Above: Photo by Nikko Mamallo.

Skydive City Zephyrhills in Florida opened the manifest windows on Thursday, February 22, to find a long line already formed. USPA staff and board members soon descended upon the DZ’s registration forms, waivers and stash of pens with locust-like efficiency, and before long the drop zone found itself overrun. 

However, USPA leadership wasn’t there purely to cause trouble. Local and visiting jumpers joined them that morning in a friendly 3-way speed star competition, the brainchild of Southeast Regional Director Brandon Radcliff. Each team had a board or staff member as captain, joined by two other USPA members. From a field of 15 teams, National Director Melissa Nelson surprised no one by leading her team (Nelson, Hunter Amundson and Maia Howard) to a victory. They were joined on the podium by Pacific Regional Director Brian Naiman’s team (Naiman, Craig Sagalow and Donnie Grenade), which finished second; and Eastern Regional Director Dave Grabowski’s team (Grabowski, Edward Szydecko and Dario Meloni), which took third. 

Next up was three days of hard work. USPA directors spent the rest of the weekend discussing initiatives to better serve skydivers, who made their presence known at the meetings. Friday’s general membership meeting was the most attended in recent memory, as more than 100 jumpers gathered to hear a status report on the organization, recognize Al King with the USPA Lifetime Achievement Award and Bob Feisthamel with the Gold Medal for Meritorious Service (which will be reported on in the May Parachutist), raffle off jump packages to local drop zones and enjoy food and drinks. 

Fee Structure Changes 

Perhaps the biggest news from this winter’s board meeting is the increase in membership, instructional, PRO-rating and Group Membership fees. In the first increase since 2018, USPA implemented a raise of in fees (excluding on-time instructional-rating-renewal costs, which did not change) in order to keep in line with increased costs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and general cost-of doing business and inflation issues over the past six years. These fees are as follows, effective July 1, 2024. 

  Current New
New Membership $78 $98
Renewal Membership $66 $83
Temporary Membership $30 $38
Licenses $36 $43
     
New Coach Rating $45 $54
New Instructor Rating $60 $72
New Examiner Rating $120 $144
Rating(s) Renewal $40 $40
Expired Instructional Rating $80 $96
PRO Rating New $80 $98
PRO Rating Renewal $20 $24
     
Group Member Cat 1 New $300 $330
Group Member Cat 1 Renew $150 $165
Group Member Cat 2 New $450 $495
Group Member Cat 2 Renew $300 $330
Group Member Cat 3 New $900 $990
Group Member Cat 3 Renew $600 $660
International Affiliate New $450 $495
International Affiliate Renew $300 $330

 

The updated fee structure came after multiple days of debate by board members devoted to best supporting jumpers. The agreed-upon increase will allow USPA to stay on top of operational costs, which have increased significantly over the past six years, without cutting services to members. 

While USPA will make the full minutes of the winter meeting publicly available in April, here are some highlights, organized by committee. 

Competition 

  • Awarded the 2025 USPA National Championships and 2025 USPA National Collegiate Skydiving Championships to Skydive Arizona in Eloy. 
  • Expanded the U.S. Speed Skydiving Team size for attending Féderátion Aéronautique Internationale World Championships and World Cups. 
  • Expanded the total scheduled number of rounds in mixed formation skydiving (MFS) from eight to ten. This change will be in effect at the 2024 USPA National Championships. 

Governance 

  • Formed a plan to update USPA’s bylaws. 
  • Created a referendum to hold a member vote on a requirement for U.S. citizenship or residency in order to serve on the board, as well as to remove the ability for members who do not reside in a region to vote in that region’s election.  
  • Amended the compliance group (CG) process to have two directors randomly selected and rotated each board meeting. 

Group Membership 

  • Discussed the possibility of creation of a USPA International Affiliate DZO Conference.  
  • Established a Safety Management System (SMS) template to be made available online as an optional resource for group members. 

Membership Services 

  • Explored possibilities for a new Skydiver’s Information Manual mobile app to better serve our members’ needs. 
  • Rescheduled USPA Service Awards to be given during the winter board meeting each year beginning in 2025, with non-USPA award nominations during summer meetings. 

Safety & Training 

  • Recommended tandem instructors have at least 200 tandem jumps before jumping a canopy smaller than 330 square feet. 
  • Amended the requirements for obtaining a tandem examiner rating. Effective in 2025, the number of category A or B training jumps required under the direct supervision of a tandem examiner has changed to at least 25. 
  • Expanded the rating-renewal process to give instructional rating holders the option to complete online continuing education modules provided by USPA as an alternative to the traditional rating renewal seminar. 
  • Added a recommendation urging all jumpers, regardless of experience level, to engage in mutual gear checks with another licensed jumper. 
  • Adopted a revised A-License Progression Card, effective in 2025. The current two-page A-License Proficiency Card will be retired January 1, 2026. 
  • Discussed a plan to explore alternatives to the current FAA Class 3 Medical requirement for tandem instructors. 

 

USPA will publish the full minutes of its 2024 Winter Board of Directors meeting at uspa.org/bod. The board will hold its final meeting of this term July 12-14, 2024, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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The United States Parachute Association is a voluntary non-profit membership organization of individuals who enjoy and support the sport of skydiving. The association is incorporated in New York and follows the by-laws contained in the USPA Governance Manual.

Membership in USPA provides education that enhances safety, benefits that keep you secure, and services to keep you skydiving.

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