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News

    Skydiving Safety Day - What It Is

    Since 1997, USPA has selected the second weekend of March as National Skydiving Safety Day and encouraged DZs everywhere to participate. The idea is simple; have skydivers focus for a day on the skydiving information, issues, procedures and training that can keep them alive in the upcoming season.With just one life saved, the payoff is huge.
    Safety Day was the idea of a soft-spoken but enthusiastic woman named Patti Chernis who approached the USPA Board of Directors with the concept in 1996.The board applauded and endorsed her plan. Safety Day preparations were well underway when, in the ultimate of ironies, Chernis died while skydiving on New Year's Eve 1996, just a day before she would have been elected USPA Northwest Regional Director. It was in her honor that Safety Day began in 1997 and her legacy that it continues to grow each year. A majority of DZs now report Safety Day activities each March.
    Planning Safety Day
    How does it work? As simply as this: First, announce to your jumpers that your DZ is hosting a Safety Day. You may want to offer incentives to boost attendance. Many DZs offer free or discounted jump tickets, free food, discounted reserve pack jobs, door prizes, or any combination.
    Second, select a suitable location.Think comfort. If the hangar won't be warm or large enough, consider a restaurant, school gym, motel, or veteran's lodge. Anticipate a good turnout and be sure you have room for lectures, training-harness drills, and rig inspections.
    Third, put a training syllabus and staff together. Feel free to use the training ideas included here, which involve the four modules or stations below, with just some ideas on content.
    Gear Check and Review - Have jumpers inspect their rigs with a rigger. Check closing loops and flaps, pilot chute snugness and condition, velcro, three-ring condition, RSL routing, AAD compliance with battery and fac-tory check, etc.
    Skydiving Emergency Review and Drills - Review all types of problems, reinforce altitude awareness, discuss disorientation, practice in a suspended harness.
    Canopy Flight and Landing Patterns - Use aerial photos to show acceptable and unacceptable outs, review hazards, establish or review landing patterns, and discuss canopy handling toward preventing low-turn acci-dents.
    Aircraft Procedures and Emergencies - Review exit order and loading procedures, seat belt and weight and balance concerns, spotting procedures, visibility minimums and cloud clearances, air traffic control require-ments, and aircraft emergency scenarios.
    And Fun,Too!
    Last, don't forget the PR. Give recognition to those who turn out and those who teach. Remember that many local news organizations may want to provide news coverage. Take pictures and send them with a brief write-up to Parachutist. And consider that the skydivers who don't participate may need more of your staff's attention when the season kicks in.
    Ed Scott

    USPA Director of Group Membership
    For more information got to the USPA web site

    By admin, in News,

    Tim and Ted Wagner - Judge(Able): The Great Debate

    "Judging was only a little bit better than last year's (Nationals). Only because it couldn't be worse." Ted Wagner at the U.S. National Skydiving Championships 2000.
    Many competitors and judges simply do not understand each other. They certainly don't agree on some of the scores that end getting posted. And maybe too often, judges miss making accurate calls, which ultimately determine some teams standing worldwide. This situation is not new to just skydiving; it's prevalent in many other sports. But observing the outcome of this year's Nationals and the numerous busts that the judges missed in their multiple viewings brings up the questions on how judges are trained and how they address their work task.
    In talking with Ted and Tim Wagner, both who have designed and revolutionized the sport with their scoring system, Omniskore, and Rob Work, who was a judge at this year's Nationals, they all agree that certain modifications would not only help everyone, but are desperately needed. All three are also former competitors and Golden Knights, so they're very aware of the views from both sides of the fence.
    Fifteen years ago, skydiving did not have full-time teams. Now, there are many, but there are still no full-time judges. Judging has not kept pace with the evolution of the sport.
    At the Nationals, the judges get paid a mere stipend of $40 a day. Tim suggests that maybe if they got paid $100 a day plus all expenses, the demand for the position would be greater.
    "Make it competitive. Sign up 15 judges, put them through boot camp before the Nationals and whoever pushes the buttons the best, put them in the meet," Tim says.
    He feels that teams that are already paying tens of thousands of dollars will be more than cooperative in paying more in entry fees just to get a higher caliber of judging. It is these very judges, who score their performance at the Nationals for example, who determine if they get to go to the World meet. This is not taken lightly by either side; however, competitors have more to lose from a false ruling or inconsistencies.
    The judges also need to practice more throughout the year. The Wagner brothers designed a piece of software a couple of years ago that mimics a judging panel, called the Omnitrainer. People can play the skydive on their VCR and practice pressing the buttons.
    More important is "knowing the dive pool inside and out like the chief judge needs to know the rules," says Ted Wagner. This is a valid reason why competitors make better judges and need to get more involved in the other side. Judges miss grips placed on the wrong leg or a jumper turned a 180 degrees in the opposite direction all the time.
    Tim brings up the theory of "perceptual judging vs. analytical judging." He compares it to reading a book. When one looks at a word in a book, one knows what it means as a whole and also knows instantly if it is misspelled. One is not dissecting its parts, or letters. Judging needs to more like that. More instinctual, instantaneous and less analytical.
    Rob Work defends the other side by saying that when he got into the judging room, he found it to be "an eye-opening experience." He notes, "They are doing their job better than I expected."
    Rob says that competitors don't understand all the elements going on inside the judging room and should experience it for themselves, if only once. Skydivers need to see how many things judges are actually looking for at the same time and the details that go into preparing a judging round. The judges can't talk to each other or shake their heads if a blatant bust occurs, and they only know a team by its number, not by its standing. Overall, it's hard, hard work.
    The judging volume at this year's Nationals of "47 skydives in a hour for 10 hours straight" does make it challenging, and human error does creep into the picture. With two panels of five judges, "hopefully, the majority catches (the bust)."
    Tim Wagner is putting together a Judge 2000 Training Tape. He did another video like this with the '98 Nationals. He compiles 40 to 50 of the more challenging skydives from the Nationals on a tape and proceeds to analyze every jump with a 30-40 page manual. He points out what the judges should look at and how they should judge, often comparing the results to how they were judged.
    He does have "the advantage of being at home, alone, with his VCR, without the pressure they're feeling here." But his goal is to supply judges with a competent tape and a full summer season in 2001 to practice.
    "The biggest obstacle is the concept of pushing the point button until they see a penalty," says Tim. "They should hover over the penalty button until they see a point, and that should be the modern concept."
    He continues, "You're not doing you're job if you don't have a lot of red marks. With fast teams like Maubeuge, you have to be on your toes. You have to be really fast."
    Because as Rob Works notes from his coaching and competitor background, it is a well known practice to try to "blind them with speed. The judges get into a button pushing mode and are not going to see it."
    "Judges are afraid to offend," says Ted, and Tim adds, "A really good judge is not there to make friends."
    But they need to know their job really well. So instead of taking a defensive stance when they're confronted by glaring, demanding competitors, judges can come back with a confident and informed response, "Show me your tape, and I’ll discuss in it what I saw or what I didn't see."

    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,

    ERAU Skydiving Club

    Embry Riddle Aeronautical University is not only one of the top ranked aerospace engineering schools in the country, but it also produces a large number of our airline pilots. The university sits just four miles from Daytona Beach, one of the world’s most famous beaches - home of Bike Week, Spring Break and even the birthplace of NASCAR. While some ERAU students spend their free time relaxing and soaking up the sun, a select group of students use the beach as a backdrop for their aerial playground.
    ERAU Skydiving Club offers the ultimate thrill to students, faculty and staff, who wish to participate in a tandem or complete their AFF course and become a licensed skydiver. ERAUSC utilizes the impressive facilities at Skydive Deland, located in Deland, Florida, only 15 minutes from the university. Skydive Deland graciously offers discounts to club members.
    Within the first three weeks of school this semester (hurricanes permitting), the Skydiving Club has grown to over 40 members. Over a dozen new AFF students have completed their ground school and are ready to start becoming skydivers.
    ERAUSC’s popularity has grown throughout the local skydiving community over the past year. As a university, ERAU has looked past the negative stereotypes of the sport and now embraces truly what skydiving tries to accomplish. This is evident by the request for demonstration jumps into almost every major event for the university, including ERAU’s homecoming air show and static display this November.
    This year, ERAUSC has vowed to promote the sport of skydiving to even a larger number of students and expose them to every aspect of the sport. As of now, four separate teams, including three freefly and one female 4-way team are training to compete in Collegiate this year, once again being hosted in Lake Wales, Florida.
    For these ten college students, classes are spent day dreaming about their next opportunity to jump from a plane, rather than fly one. Unlike most people who compete in the USPA Nationals, many of these students have full time jobs and are full time students. Four of the students are part of the Reserve Officer Tanning Corps program for the Air Force and Army, some are pilots, and even a few are engineering students. One competitor has even been working for NASA for two years.
    The teams are not sponsored by local skydiving companies or dropzones. Part of what makes Collegiate such a great sport is that most of the competitors did everything in their power to raise money to compete. Very little funding is available through schools or local companies to support such a dream. It is nice to see how dedicated these college skydivers are to our sport.

    By Airborne03, 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,

    Lack of oxygen caused skydivers' pilot to crash

    The pilot of a skydiving plane apparently lost control of his aircraft and crashed off Mokuleia in 1999 because he was suffering from hypoxia -- a lack of oxygen to the brain -- from repeated flights to altitudes above 18,000 feet without the use of an oxygen mask.
    Shawn Gloyer, 48, died when the Beechcraft B-90 he was piloting crashed into the ocean 1.5 miles northeast of Dillingham Airfield in Mokuleia on May 22, 1999. His body was never found.
    The impact was so severe that only pieces of the aircraft, owned by Pacific International Skydiving Center, were found after they sank to a depth of about 156 feet.
    A National Transportation Safety Board accident report said the crash occurred after the 12th sport parachute jump of the day. Witnesses said the plane went down nose first without the engines sputtering or popping or making any erratic movements.
    Skydivers said that two pervious jumps had been made from 18,000 feet, and the last jump was from 20,000 feet.
    "During the final jump flight, one of the skydivers stated he had a hard time breathing and felt nauseous," the accident report said. "The skydivers noted that the pilot was unable to maintain a steady course and did not respond well to minor course corrections. No supplemental oxygen was found during the recovery or subsequent inspection phases of the investigation."
    The plane's pressurization system would have been inoperable because the cockpit door could not be sealed.
    Hypoxia occurs when a person is deprived of oxygen, resulting in poor judgment and reaction time. It can result in loss of consciousness with little or no warning.
    A couple of the skydivers had paid Gloyer to climb to 20,000 feet for the day's last jump, which occurred 20 minutes after sunset. However, the parachutists jumped without any lights, which are required by the Federal Aviation Administration for night jumps.
    The pilot also had not made any of the required radio calls to the air traffic control center, nor did he report that he planned to make any jumps above 16,000 feet.

    By admin, in News,

    Small Skydiving Plane Crash in Utah Kills 9

    TOOELE, Utah (AP) - A twin-engine plane returning from a skydiving trip crashed into the Great Salt Lake, killing all nine people on board.
    The plane was on a flight from Mesquite, Nev., when it went down in about 5 feet of water around 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Airport officials didn't know it was missing until a relative of a passenger called hours later.
    Helicopters and boats were used to recover the bodies of the pilot and eight passengers early Monday, said Frank Scharmann, a spokesman for the Tooele County sheriff's office.
    The 35-year-old Beech 65 plane was headed for Tooele County Airport, about five miles south of the lake. It crashed about a mile offshore.
    Airport officials were not expecting the plane because the pilot had not registered a flight plan, so radar tape recordings had to be checked to determine the time of the crash.
    The tapes indicated the plane was banking and that it may have spiraled into the lake, Scharmann said. There had been no distress signal.
    Duck hunters along the lake's south shore found parachutes, clothing, the pilot's log book and other debris Monday morning.
    "It smells like fuel out here. It's kind of an eerie feeling," said Tim Bryan, 31, one of the hunters.
    Snow fell intermittently throughout the day Sunday, but there was no immediate indication if the weather contributed to the crash.
    The passengers, members of a group called Skydive Salt Lake, had spent the weekend jumping during the day and camping in sleeping bags at the Mesquite Municipal Airport at night, airport manager Ray Wilson said. He said they took off for Tooele about two hours before the crash.
    The dead were identified as the pilot, John T. Cashmen, 41; and passengers Mike C. Hurren, 51, a co-owner of Skydive Salt Lake; his wife, Gayle Hurren, 45; Lisa Ellise, 34; Nathan B. Hall, 29; Denise Stott, 26; Charles Wilson, 31; Merriah Hutson, 25; and Jay Johnson, 24.

    By admin, in News,

    Base Jumper Dies in off-heading Opening

    Michael "Schlefy" Schaefer was involved in a fatal BASE incident on Friday, December 29th due to an off-heading opening from a cliff in Arizona. Schlefy was a beloved staff member of Chicagoland Skydiving in Hinckley, IL.
    A memorial fund has been set up for Schlefy's young sister and the restof his family in Germany.
    The Schlefy Memorial Fund

    PO Box 758

    Hinckley, IL 60520
    Chicagoland Skydiving
    manifest@chicagolandskydiving.com
    www.skydive.com

    By admin, in News,

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