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News

    Skydive America in Immokalee, Florida becomes Skydive Naples

    The original Skydive America in Immokalee, Florida, was sold and re-named on February 1st. 2001, to a small group of investors/skydivers. That's about the only change. We are still the friendliest DZ in Florida, reports Roy Torgeirson. The DZ operates a C-182 and a Grand Caravan. Jumpers from the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area don't mind the extra 10 to 20 minute drive to be able to get plenty of jumps from the Grand Caravan without the wait at some busier drop zones!
    Skydive Naples will try to attract more European jumpers as well. There are Motels, Gambling Casino, Drag Strip and Restaurants within walking distance of the DZ. A brand new Racetrack (oval) with a full service camp-ground is under way right next to the airport. And they are only about 40 minutes from Fort Myers Beach, and beach jumps they do on a regular basis.
    This drop zone is a must to visit next time you're on the west coast of Florida. You're guaranteed to have a great time.

    By admin, in News,

    Skydiver crashes into beer server at cole slaw wrestling event

    SAMSULA -- What was intended to be an eye-catching start to the annual Bike Week cole slaw wresting event at Sopotnik's Cabbage Patch turned scary this afternoon when a skydiver landed on a woman serving beer at the edge of the huge outdoor makeshift arena.
    Sherri Lee, 37, of Daytona Beach Shores, was knocked unconscious when the skydiver landed on top of her at about 1:40 p.m. The collision occurred in front of a beer truck where she was walking with a tray of beverages. Within minutes a Volusia County Fire and Rescue team responded, and she was airlifted by helicopter to Halifax Medical Center at about 1:40 p.m.
    "I didn't even see her," said the skydiver, Clarence Swimm, shortly after the accident. "It wasn't my fault."
    Swimm, 56, an independent parachutist hired by the Cabbage Patch, said he was uninjured, although "it knocked the wind out of me."
    He said there was no way he could stop the landing. "It wasn't my fault."
    Lee was reportedly a volunteer server for the Slovene National Benefit Society.
    Halifax Medical Center personnel could not release her condition until family members had been notified. But Sheriff's Department spokesman Gary Davidson said she had swelling to the face, left eye and mouth.
    Although the incident put a temporary damper on the festivities, which drew an estimated 25,000 bikers, the coleslaw wrestling went on as usual about 15 minutes later.
    Woman still hospitalized after being hit by skydiver 03/09/2001
    DAYTONA BEACH -- A Daytona Beach Shores woman injured when a sky diver landed on top of her at the Cabbage Patch in Samsula remained hospitalized Thursday in serious but stable condition.
    Sherri Lee, 37, was serving beer in the huge outdoor arena set up for the annual Bike Week coleslaw wrestling event when Clarence Swimm, a parachutist hired by the Cabbage Patch to kickoff the wrestling, collided with her as he made his descent Wednesday afternoon.
    Lee's attorney, Brian Toung of Daytona Beach, said she suffered injuries to her face, head and neck and is now conscious but "very confused." She is in neck traction in the surgical intensive care unit at Halifax Medical Center, and undergoing diagnostic tests.
    "There is a concern she may have brain and (spinal) chord damage," he said. Her mother, Barbara Mooney of New Smyrna Beach, has been with her at the hospital.
    Toung said Lee, who lives in Ormond Beach, holds down two jobs as a waitress -- at Pizzeria Uno in Daytona Beach and at the Old Florida Club in Ponce Inlet -- but has no health insurance. She was working as a volunteer server at the coleslaw event and walking in front of the beverage table set up at one end of the arena when the accident happened. Swimm was not injured.
    Toung said he planned to file suit Friday in circuit court against Cabbage Patch owner Ron Luznar and Swimm, as well as "anyone who could share liability."
    According to sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson, no criminal charges are being filed.

    By admin, in News,

    Skydivers feared lost have been found

    Malaysian maritime police rescued skydivers from the United States and Denmark who were feared to have been blown out to sea but actually had washed ashore on a deserted beach. Derek Thomas, 44, of Zephyr Hills, Florida, and Karen Willerup of Denmark, lost during a parachute competition off the island of Borneo, sang to each other for five hours Tuesday night (Karens birthday) before help arrived.

    They hit gusty winds and overshot their landing zone in Menggatal district, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) from where the show "Survivor" was filmed.
    On Tuesday, five of the skydivers were found on shore after a two-hour search, but a bigger operation had to be mounted for Thomas and Willerup. It was believed they had been blown into the South China Sea or rugged rain forest.
    Thomas said he miscalculated his landing because of thick clouds. He and Willerup where doing a tandem skydive, they drifted downwind, nearly 5 kilometers (3 miles) from where they planned to land.
    Neither Thomas nor Willerup were injured.
    (Derek Thomas is the owner of SunPath Products, manufaturers of the Javelin)

    By admin, in News,

    Russian Skydiver injured at DeLand

    DELAND - A member of a Russian skydiving team was flown to a hospital Tuesday afternoon after being injured in what emergency officials described as a "hard landing."
    Larisa A. Sverdlenko, 31, of Moscow, was listed in stable condition at Halifax Medical Center, a spokeswoman with the Daytona Beach hospital said.
    Sverdlenko was participating in jumps offered by Skydive DeLand.
    According to EVAC officials, Sverdlenko's parachute opened, but she hit the ground at a high rate of speed. She suffered from leg fractures but was conscious when paramedics arrived.

    By admin, in News,

    Jim Slaton - Advanced Canopy Pilot

    Jim Slaton is widely recognized as one of the most accomplished canopy pilots in the world. Dropzone.com spoke to him and asked him about his involvement in the newly formed Para-Performance Pro Tour. We also wanted to know more about the Evolution Canopy Control School and used the opportunity to ask him about his thoughts on the wing loading and how small he thinks canopies will shrink. Here's what he told us and some more.
    Tell us about your involvement in the Para-Performance Pro Tour?
    I am the Para-Performance Pro Tour event director.
    Who are the drivers behind this new initiative and how did it all come together? Tell us a bit about the history.
    After several years of observation, it was clear that the evolution of the high performance canopy pilot was out growing our available competition circuit. I listened to what the competitor wanted and required. Almost every Pro competitor motivated me to build a tour in one-way or the other.
    What are the goals of the Para-Performance Pro Tour? What would you like to see happen in the next year, two years?
    The goals of the Para-Pro Tour are simple: "Provide intense, challenging swooping competitions in the safest manner possible for the evolution of high performance canopy flight". We have set goals and we plan to see them through. For example, none of the competitions or judging on the tour will be open for interpretation. Canopy pilots on tour will be ranked and competition records will be recorded.
    What do you consider to be the biggest challenges and obstacles on the road to success? What is success in the context of the tour?
    Three words: Participation, Education & Motivation

    Tell me a bit about the Evolution Canopy Control School.
    Elsinore Evolution offers professional canopy instruction tailored for today's modern skydiver. The school offers beginner, intermediate & advanced coaching. The school is the next step in the evolution of controlled canopy flight.
    Who's involved? How did you guys come on the idea?
    Elsinore Evolution is made up of Icarus Canopies factory team (Luigi Cani, J.C. Colclasure, Clint Clawson, Jim Slaton, Wyat Drews). The idea of creating a canopy control school is not new. In fact, professional skydivers have been onto the idea since the early 1990s and probably before. With the rising popularity of high performance parachutes and it's extreme canopy competitions, it's a good time to offer a structured alternative to learning the old fashion way.
    Any takers? Do you find that people are interested in formal canopy flight training?
    We have had a lot of students taking advantage of this program. Most of the students are learning the basics and several others are preparing for their first canopy competition.
    Who and how are you teaching? Who are you targeting - experienced swoopers who want to become great or will you take me too?
    The Flight training program starts with basic aerodynamics and then moves on to design parameters, flight environment, psychological approach, flight training & high performance flight training. The student starts the course based on his or her experience, learning objectives, and goals, etc. The school offers training for all levels of canopy pilots.
    How did you get into high performance canopy competitions?
    I started competing in competitions through a canopy manufacture. Parachute testing and just fooling around with my friends.
    What do you see as your greatest achievement in skydiving?
    That's a hard question. I guess I have enjoyed providing an additional opportunity for the skydiving community. I've enjoyed organizing canopy competitions for my friends and fellow skydivers.
    Besides swooping, what's your favorite skydiving discipline?
    I would have to say freeflying. I was part of the "Orbit Punks" freefly team and operated a freefly school before dedicating all my time to canopy swooping.
    What's your favorite canopy and wing load combination?

    ICARUS EXTREME CANOPIES. I enjoy flying at several different wing loadings. I can't tell you what my favorite wing loading is but I will say I feel the most efficient at around 2.3..... or is it 2.6?
    With your team mate Luis Cani flying a 46 sq Ft canopy and talking about trying something smaller, how small do you think we could go?
    Luigi & me spend a lot of time experimenting with wing loadings and airfoil types. I have seen Luigi load himself up with weights and fly the VX46 at over a 4.7 wing loading! However, Luigi is one of the best canopy pilots in the world and has one of the best testing grounds as well. There comes a point with aerodynamics that you start sacrificing one type of performance for another. When you reach a high enough wing loading for your airfoil type, you begin sacrificing lift for speed. The smaller the wing and the higher the wing loading, the more airspeed you need to create lift. All pilots need lift for a safe and productive landing. This is why parachutes flown at very high wing loadings don't always out swoop their competition and don't always land pretty. Overloaded canopies are not always efficient and are very tricky to land. However, just because they are not efficient doesn't mean they can't be landed safely. Technological advancements in canopy designs have open new doors for pilots flying at higher wing loadings with smaller wings. Future designs will make this opportunity even more epic! I feel Luigi Cani could successfully land an Icarus Extreme down to 28 sq feet! This is a bold statement, but I know he can and probably will. Keep in mind Luigi makes over 1000 jumps each year and trains daily in high performance canopy landings. He has some of the best aerodynamic engineers in the world behind him and is backed with the support of some of the biggest canopy manufactures in the business.
    What would you consider to be low, high, medium and extreme wing loading?

    Low 1.2-Med 1.6- High 1.9........Extreme loading are 2.0 and above
    What advice would you give someone just starting with swooping who plans to become good at it?
    Take advice, choose wisely who you listen to, train hard, stay current, be patient, make a plan, stick to the plan, explore all aspects of your current canopy before you move on, practice high speed approaches and new maneuvers over water, wear a helmet, don't panic, think ahead, make a smooth approach, make smooth inputs to the canopy, pay attention to what your canopy is doing, don't force it & BREATH!
    Thinking about the high number of people hurting and killing themselves under perfectly good canopies, what do you think is the most common mistake that can prevent a lot of these accidents from happening?
    A pilot needs to understand some basic aerodynamics. The pilot needs to know why canopies act the way they do when they do. If you understand the performance envelope of your canopy and it's limitations, you can better understand what to ask of it or what not to ask of it. To make things worse, the wind is never constant, turbulence is always waiting, density altitude is changing and the pilot has to deal with this all at the same time during his final approach. As a wise man once said, "Never initiate a turn you won't be able to complete before you hit the ground"
    About Jim Slaton
    Age: 30

    Hometown: Amarillo, TX

    Home Drop Zone: Skydive Elsinore, Ca
    Year of First jump: 1990
    Championships: 2000 Pro Blade World Freefall Champion, Para-Performance Games 3rd place-accuracy record holder-Distance record holder (321 feet!), PSST Caribbean Challenge 3rd place, 2000 Summer Jam Canopy Challenge Champion, Pro Blade Houston 4th place, ect
    Total Jumps: 3000 or so
    How many cutaways do you have? 20 (I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not)
    What gear do you jump?
    Icarus Canopies, Precision reserves, Infinity rigs, Cypress (waterproof housing) Pro Track/Pro Dytter, Jump Shack custom pilot chutes, Firefly jumpsuits, Bonehead helmets, Gatorz eyewear
    What canopies do you own or fly?
    Icarus Extreme VX 60,65,69,70,84
    How did you become interested in skydiving? Through the military
    Who have been your skydiving role models?
    J.C. Colclasure, Rob Harris, and that older guy that always jumped with his dog at Quincy!
    What do you like most about this sport?
    Skydiving allows us the opportunity to explore the limits of human flight.
    What do you like least about this sport? Politics
    If you had to quit skydiving tomorrow, what would you want to do instead?
    Become an astronaut
    Tell us something most people don't know about you.
    I spent 10 years on active duty in the Army Airborne Ranger Regiment. In addition, I lived in Germany and spent four years as a parachute test jumper for a European company.
    Anything else people should know about Jim Slaton?
    I think I have said enough already, Peace!!!!

    By admin, in News,

    Seven Die As Venezuelan Parachute Plane Crashes

    CARACAS (Reuters) - Seven people died on Saturday when a light plane carrying parachute students plunged into the Caribbean near the Venezuelan coast, local media reported. A Cessna 206 aircraft was carrying the amateur parachutists on a pleasure trip on Saturday afternoon near the tourist resort of Higuerote, 70 miles east of Caracas, when it went down.
    A private medical company, Elimedical, recovered the dead, apparently mostly Venezuelans, from the sea.
    Officials said it was unclear what caused the single-motor plane to fail.

    By admin, in News,

    Fatality in Shreveport, Louisiana

    A 28-year-old Shreveport man was killed Sunday after both his parachute and reserve chute failed to open in a 10,000-foot sky diving exercise near Downtown Airport. Jason Fisher was on a normal jump with three other members of Sport City Skydivers when he was killed. His body was found near the Red River levee about 200 yards north of the airport entrance, off the airport property.
    It's the second time since 1960 that a local sky diver has been killed in a jump there, said Bruce Deville, director of marketing for Air One. Deville described the accident as a "no pull" in which Fisher, who was described as an intermediate diver with little more than 25 jumps, "failed to pull anything.
    "A no-pull situation like this is extremely rare," he said. "He also was wearing an automatic opener on his parachute and, for some reason unknown to us, it failed to open properly. Then he failed to pull his main and reserve parachutes."
    Investigators said Fisher was found with his arms tucked close to his body, which might indicate he was trying to pry his chute open. The rip cord on his chute appeared to be broken, said Brian Crawford, spokesman for the Shreveport Fire Department.
    Fisher landed head first, another indication to investigators that his body may have inverted in air while he struggled with his chute. "I think he was doing everything he could until the last minute," Crawford said. Fisher's reserve chute "popped out on impact" in the accident that occurred about 4 p.m., said Shreveport police Sgt. C.K. Taylor.
    "It's a terrible thing. It's a calm day with beautiful skies, and then this happens."
    Detectives would interview the plane's pilot and the other divers, and the Federal Aviation Administration will conduct an investigation, Taylor said.
    He had jumped at Shreveport on a couple occasions, Deville said. Fisher's intermediate status means he still was under some supervision but was cleared to jump on his own without supervision, Deville said.
    "The young man pulled nothing. The parachute never had a chance to work," Deville said. "Before the jump, everybody was excited. But they're all shook up right now."

    By admin, in News,

    Skydive Daytona Beach to Close Doors

    Fellow skydivers;
    It is with a very heavy heart that I announce to you all that Skydive Daytona Beach will close for good on Feb 25th. After two years of trying, for whatever reasons, it hasn't worked out.

    We've had some great times, some great boogies, and some great parties. Most of all, we've all made some great friends. The drop zones may come and they may go, but the friends you meet are forever. For that I am grateful. We will be flying the Porter through the 25th, so try to come by before it all goes away.

    In addition, why not have one last blowout. We will have a party on Sat Feb 17th on the deck or in the restaurant which ever weather permits. Come on out. Also my good friend Jerry Bird will be with us that weekend.

    Thanks to all of you who have supported us over the past couple years--I'll never forget.
    Freddie (Owner)

    By admin, in News,

    Skydivers Leap from Malaysian Tower

    Fifty-three skydivers have leapt off the world's fourth tallest communications building, the broadcasting tower in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur. Hundreds of people watched the jumps off the observation deck of the 421m tower to celebrate Kuala Lumpur's City Day.
    It is the second time in recent weeks Malaysia has allowed skydivers to parachute off buildings - a sport that has proved controversial in other countries.

    Base-jumping - or parachuting from buildings, bridges and cliffs - is considered more dangerous than conventional skydiving from planes and at least 39 people have died since 1980.
    It runs foul of trespassing laws in most countries, where governments and property owners fear lawsuits if there is an accident, and many jumps are now carried out in secret.
    However, Malaysia has welcomed the sport, which some say could be promoted as a tourist attraction. On New Year's Eve, 15 jumpers leapt off Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Twin Towers, the world's tallest buildings.
    Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad expressed delight at the feat which was watched by 100,000 people.
    The company which set up the event hopes to stage an extreme jumping world championship in Malaysia in August.
    Freefall
    Those taking part in the latest leap included skydivers from America, Australia, Malaysia, Sweden, Canada, Britain, Iceland, Norway, New Zealand and Switzerland.
    Each parachutist was expected to make 10 jumps from the 300m mark on the tower during the six-hour event. The skydivers freefell for about three seconds before opening their parachutes.
    "It's a treat to be here," said British jumper Nikolas Hartshorne. "Malaysia has done something that America won't do."
    "Getting a building elsewhere is very hard," added American Avery Badenhop. "But here, people seem to realise we should be free. It's our life, it's our fate."
    Malaysian officials say they recognise the perils of base jumping and all 53 parachutists signed insurance waivers.
    Rozitah Idris, marketing manager for the broadcasting tower, said he believed the sport would help draw tourists to Malaysia.

    By admin, in News,

    Skydivers interested in renting at Garrett

    MCHENRY -- Tandem skydiving may come to the Garrett County Airport if the Pittsburgh Skydiving Center Inc. meets four requirements set by the Garrett County Commissioners on Tuesday.
    Saying an agreement should be no more restrictive nor more liberal than others operating out of the airport, the commissioners agreed with the recommendation of the Garrett County Airport Commission.
    Director of General Services Gary Mullich presented an official request from the Pittsburgh Skydiving Center in December for a formal lease agreement with the airport by Jan. 31.
    The commissioners approved the request but did not agree to a waiver of liability insurance. The county does not have any building space to lease to the center, and area for land lease would need to be added to the Airport Layout Plan and approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. Electricity and water are not provided to land lease tenants; they provide their own.
    "You would have to have a good reason to deny anyone the use of the airport," Mullich said, since it receives federal funds. The skydiving center would have to give the county a hold-harmless agreement and would have to have an agreement with the county if it uses the airport as a base of operation.
    Don Bick of the skydiving club, which operates out of Connellsville (Pa.) Airport, met with members of the advisory group in December. He would like a standard three- or five-year lease, beginning May 1, with an option to renew. The group is interested in leasing appropriate building space or installing a mobile office.
    The county requires $1 million general liability coverage. The skydiving group has $1 million in premise or "slip and fall" insurance, and $50,000 in third-party insurance for all licensed skydivers through the United States Parachute Association, but says it cannot get general liability coverage, Mullich said.
    Bob Railey, a local pilot, said the group seemed to have a pretty smooth operation at Connellsville. He said it might be possible for them to just use a trailer as an office on weekends. He felt it would be an attractive business for the county and could not see any airplane operations vs. skydiving issues that would hinder either activity.
    Ken Wishnick, president of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, said the skydiving club had joined the chamber and asked if any staff members wanted to jump. "A few are actually considering it," said Wishnick.
    "I would love to do this myself," said Deb Clatterbuck of the chamber. "You would be jumping with a jump master," she said, stressing safety must be first.
    The addition of the skydiving, Clatterbuck said, "would be an inclusion of another adventure sport and of course, the increased amusement tax received off that." Also the number of take-offs and landings at the airport would help make it eligible for an increased runway.
    "Dick assured us the jump would not interfere with any planes coming in, and would not take up much room at the airport," said Caroline Hill, co-manager of the Garrett County Airport. "He said they were quite busy up in Connellsville. They haven't had any problems, but there are a lot of questions to be answered.
    "Some local people have supported him and I think there is an interest," she said. She is worried some about parking problems because of the participants and curiosity-seekers the event would draw.

    By admin, in News,

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