Voting Opens for 2013-2015 USPA Board of Directors

    This past week saw the opening of the voting process for the 2013-2015 USPA Board of Directors. Voting shall continue through the months of November and December with the closing date for submissions being the 31st of December 2012. The voting, which is open to all USPA members will result in the selection of representatives who will handle the direction and policies of the USPA until the end of 2015. The USPA allows for voting to take place either through written submission or through electronic voting. The voting form can be found in the November issue of Parachutist magazine, as well as online in a .pdf format.
    For those new to the process of the USPA election, the USPA's board consists of 22 members, with 8 national directors and 14 regional directors. These members are elected by the entire USPA membership and members from the regions where the directors reside, respectively. There is not a difference in the authority held by either a regional or a national director.
    National Director Nominees
    Members are able to vote for up to eight national director nominees. One is able to vote for any of the names that appear on the official ballot, or to write in the name of a candidate or multiple candidates that do not appear on the ballot. The eight nominees with the highest amount of votes will be elected as the 2013-2015 national directors.
    Regional Director Nominees
    Members are able to vote for one regional director nominee. The candidate must reside in the same region as the voting member, as per the address on the members USPA file. In cases where a region may have either no candidates or a single candidate running, members are able to cast a write-in vote for any member that is a resident of the member's reigion.
    Download USPA ballot form
    (Right click and 'save as' to save to your computer)
    Paper Ballot Voting
    The USPA has advized that members who wish to cast their votes via the method of paper ballots must do so either by using the voting form that is included in the November issue of Parachutist magazine, or by downloading and printing the voting form from the USPA website. As per the USPA, "Ballots containing more than eight national director votes, or more than one regional director vote will be disqualified." It is important to note that the forms which have been downloaded for paper ballot voting must be completed in the handwriting of the USPA member and digitally marked or signed submissions will not be accepted, further more these cannot be faxed or e-mailed.
    Electronic Voting
    USPA members received an e-mail from VoteNet which provided instructions and the means to cast an electronic vote. There were a number of cases where members failed to receive the e-mail, for those people who failed to receive the e-mail in question, the USPA advises that you either contact the membership department and verify your membership details and e-mail address, or that you resort to using the paper ballot method listed above. You are able to contact the membership department either by telephone at (540) 604-9740 or via e-mail at [email protected]
    Members are allowed one vote, either by electronic voting or via paper ballot, if more than one vote from a single member is received it will be the first received ballot that is counted, while any others will be discarded.
    The first board meeting of 2013 will occur on the 22nd to the 24th of March in Daytona Beach, Florida and will see the new directors for the 2013-2015 term seated, the meeting will also see in the election of the new USPA officers.
    You are able to partake in or follow discussions regarding the 2013-2015 USPA election process via the forums.

    By admin, in News,

    Vincent Reffet Dies in Dubai Training Exercise

    The legendary French skydiver and BASE jumper Vincent Reffet has passed away during training exercises in Dubai. Vincent's name is most recognizable from his involvement in Soulflyers. He also gained mainstream media attention with his involvement with Yves ‘Jetman’ Rossy and the 'jet-pack'. In 2015, on the heels of extensive training Vincent was announced as Rossy's protégé where he would become the second person ever, aside from Rossy himself, to fly the jet-pack. 
    A true athlete, Vincent had mastered aerial flying and various disciplines to a level that few are able to. Outside of skydiving and BASE, he was also a wind tunnel instructor and speed rider pioneer. Together with his good friend Fred Fugen, who came from a similar background of skydiving, the two would go on to form a partnership that was well recognized in the industry for their accomplishments together.
    At the time of his passing Reffet had amassed a number of accomplishments and records, both in the fields of skydiving and BASE jumping. His most noteworthy recent achievements, as sourced from his Soulflyers profile were:
    2017 - Making history by flying into the open door of a Pilatus Porter in mid-air after BASE jumping from the summit of the Jungfrau in the Swiss Alps
    2016 - The creation of the MUTANT swooping harness by UPT, a vision that Vince had for a decade prior.
    2014 - A 33 000ft altitude mountain swoop (Mont Blanc) and BASE jumping from the world's tallest building (Burj Khalifa)
    And this is to name but a few.
    Vincent Ruffet was one of few in the sport who transcending the direct skydiving industry, with his achievements almost always being impressive enough to land in the mainstream news outlets and even an appearance on Conan. He became a recognized name for adrenaline junkies around the world.
    We'd like to recognize his contributions by paying respect the best way we know how to, celebrating his life by reliving his accomplishments.
    Born into a family of skydivers, the thirty-six-year-old Reffet had made his first skydive by the age of 16 and showed no signs of slowing down once he got started. Just two years after making his first jump he joined the French freefly team which was joined by Fred thereafter. Shortly after Fred had joined, the team went on to win the 2004 World Championships in the freefly category.
    The rest of Vincent's life would go on to follow a similar formula, being unstoppable in the world of aerial sports, in many cases raising the bar and achieving what few thought possible. And he had achieved all this just within two decades of making his first jump.
    The loss of Vincent Reffet is a loss for human flight and our thoughts go out to all his colleagues, friends, family as well as fans. 
    Read more about Vincent's life and achivements:
    Soulflyer's Profile
    Redbull profile

    By Meso, in News,

    Vigil Service Bulletin - 19 April 2018

    Issue Date: 19 April 2018

    Bulletin Number: PSB-01-2018

    Subject: Firmware Update and High Altitude Jumps

    Status: Mandatory Prior to the next jump with any aircraft altitude exceeding 27,000 ft MSL

    Identification: All Sport Vigil II and Vigil 2+ with firmware versions 05.05, 05.06, 06.01, 06.02
    This product service bulletin does not apply to Military Vigils
    Background: Due to an internal calculation algorithm, units with firmware versions 05.05, 05.06, 06.01, 06.02 will enter protected CTRL-ERR mode when the measured pressure is less than 300 hpa. (Approximately 30,000 ft MSL).
    Compliance: Vigil II & Vigil 2+ (does not apply to Military Vigils).
    All Vigil II and 2+ units with firmware versions 05.05, 05.06, 06.01, 06.02 MUST be updated to a new firmware version.
    The current firmware version MUST be checked in the info menu during the startup of the Vigil. (See Road Map - Parameter Sequence Flow Chart in the User's Manual).
    Compliance Date: Compliance is the mandatory before any jump during which the aircraft is anticipated to reach, or reaches, any altitude above 27,000 ft MSL. DO NOT MAKE ANY JUMP IF THE AIRCRAFT, AT ANY TIME ON THE FLIGHT, EXCEEDS 27,000 ft MSL WITHOUT HAVING FIRST FULLY COMPILED WITH THIS PSB.
    For all users NOT making, or planning to make a jump with an exit altitude above 27,000 ft MSL, or planning to make a flight above 27,000 ft MSL, compliance is still mandatory for all affected firmware versions, however compliance may be at the user's convenience during any repack between the date of this PSB and 31 May 2020.
    This is to prevent risk of possible future high altitude use by a new owner or user, without compliance with, or awareness of this service bulletin.
    Compliance Procedure and Costs:
    Please follow the return RMA procedure online at https://www.vigil.aero/servicing The unit update, maintenance and return shipping from AAD Belgium or Vigil America to the customer will be at no charge to the customer. The shipping cost to AAD Belgium or to Vigil America will be the customer's responsibility. Repack costs and expenses are solely the customer's responsibility. No claims for repack costs and expenses will be accepted. Authority:
    Jo Smolders

    Managing Director

    A.A.D. nv/sa

    Bd.A. Reysers, 193

    1030 Brussels - Belgium - Europe

    Tel: +32.2.732.65.52

    Fax: +32.2.736.06.27

    www.vigil.aero - [email protected]
    Vigil America, Inc.

    1400 Flightline Blvd., Suite C

    Deland, FL 32724

    Tel: +1.386.736.8464

    Fax: +1.386.736.8468

    www.vigil.aero - [email protected]
    Distribution of this Advisory Product Service Bulletin shall include, but is not limited to:
    All AAD dealers. Parachute Industry Association. All identified parachuting publications. All identified parachuting Federations and Associations. All National Aero Clubs, Parachuting Section. IPC Technical Committee

    By admin, in News,

    Vicar takes a plunge for charity

    A daredevil vicar has raised more than £1,000 for his parish by parachuting from 13,000 feet over a Nottinghamshire airfield.
    Reverend Simon Foster, vicar of St Mary's Church in Anstey, Leicestershire, made his jump over Langar on Tuesday.
    "Just for one brief second I was very scared, but as soon as we were falling I thought: "I am going to do this'," he said.
    Clive Taylor, a friend who suggested and helped organise the skydive, said: "It is a good way of collecting money and he is a great guy. I hope he enjoyed the view."
    His tandem skydiving instructor, Chris Harrison, said it was a good dive.
    "He enjoyed the landing and was very happy.
    Before the jump Mr Harrison said: "He is going to see his boss a little closer than usual."

    By admin, in News,

    USPA Board of Directors Meeting Summary

    There was a huge amount of review work that went into the documentation changes to the Skydiver’s Information Manual and the new Instructional Rating Manual. There were over a dozen people including volunteers from the membership as well as S&T; committee members who had given written input into the documentation being proposed and coordinated by the Director of Safety and Training (Jim Crouch), the Director of Publications (Kevin Gibson), and the Executive Director (Chris Needels). Even with all of this input which was collated into the proposed documentation where appropriate or explained adequately as to why it was not necessary in some circumstances, there were still sufficient further review tasks that the Chairman of the Safety and Training Committee (Glenn Bangs) asked us to come to the Skydive Chicago facility a day early to help with the review process. By having that many eyes and minds meticulously go over the documentation, at the end of over 600 person hours of work prior to and during the meeting, the S&T; Committee was finally able to present a motion to the BOD that the documentation, once re-corrected and retyped would finally be ready for the BOD’s approval. The BOD members who were not on the committee did not take this task lightly as they kept checking in on the S&T; Committee throughout the meeting’s progress, offering their own views on some items.
    To give you an idea of the meticulous nature of the review process, one single section of the BSRs took up more than 1.5 hours of Committee and full BOD time. This was the section dealing with age limitations. Very serious discussions on legalities and protection of the organization’s assets being exposed to liability were held with several motions being proposed with varying degrees of legal phrasing being utilized. What finally came about was actually a very simple statement that Tandem jumping must be performed only by persons who are of the age of legal majority, but the fact that three states have that age as greater than eighteen weighed heavily on the minds of the BOD members. I am sure the manufacturers of the Tandem equipment will soon be involved with DZs in those states, letting them know of the legal position of the manufacturer and the DZ in those cases. Other statements of importance are that the age limitations of the non-Tandem jumpers would remain as previously stated in the BSRs, but the waiver authority of that section would be changed from non-waiverable to waiverable by the full BOD.
    In further trying to address some issues of minors below the age of 16 being jumpers already in existence, it was discovered that there was a By-Law that prevented any permission to waive that was in effect, thus for anything to even be attempted to change that, the item for the change must be on the BOD’s agenda prior to the meeting. As such, people who are less than 16 years of age are still not permitted to skydive according to the current USPA BSRs. There are other ramifications to that situation and if you want to go into if further, I suggest you consult with your regional director as to those particulars.
    Here are some other important issues to make note of:
    The USPA will endeavor to work with the PIA and equipment manufacturers to obtain data, which will support a position of extending the repack cycle of sport reserve parachutes to 180 days. There is, however, still some concern about what will happen to the equipment if it is mishandled such as by leaving it in a car trunk or some other hot climate area, which will contribute, to the degradation of components of the parachute system. All of this needs to be researched under scientifically controlled conditions to get factual answers that will either support the proposition or show that the proposition is not valid.
    No additional AFF course directors were appointed.
    The existing instructional rating holder, regardless of the fact that they are not rated in an AFF program, will be enabled to make Integrated Student Program category E and F jumps in addition to the already permitted category G and H jumps once a student is signed off by an instructor for self-supervision in freefall. This means that USPA Coach Rating holders have gotten additional jump category privileges as well as allowing USPA Tandem and Static Line or Instructor Assisted Deployment rating holders those same privileges (because the privileges of their ratings includes working with students signed off for self-supervision). So, if you are a Tandem Instructor certified by a manufacturer and have not yet obtained your USPA Tandem Instructor rating, get with the program and get that rating if you want to have those privileges. (Yes, an S&TA; could still waiver that for you, but it sure would be nice to have that as an “automatic” rather than a “waivered” item.)
    A detailed progress report was made by the Finance and Budget Committee showing us exactly where we were in relation to market performance benchmarks and what our projected costs and incomes are. Due to increased insurance costs (premiums constantly going up due to claims increases), it is necessary to recover some of those past and projected cost of operation increases by an increase in dues which will be very reasonable in amount and will be very properly announced in all media formats used by the USPA.
    Skydive Lake Wales’ Betty Kabeller made the winning bid presentation for the 2003 USPA Nationals competition.Congratulations Betty.
    There are no changes to the Group Membership Program that I know of to report on at this time.
    The next BOD meeting will be in the Jacksonville, FL area in the timeframe next to the PIA symposium. I don't have the exact dates listed with me at this time but it is in the February 2003 timeframe. The meeting after that will be in the Fredericksburg, VA area in July 2003, close to the proposed site of the future USPA HQ and History of Parachuting Museum (I hope I named that correctly). Speaking of those future facilities, it is important to report that the initial work on the design phase of the headquarters facility was presented at this BOD meeting and showed much thought process of numerous parties. I can't give you folks the details of the finances yet (that will probably come out in the BOD’s minutes), but I can report that if things go the way they are planned, there will be a prime five (5) acre site shared by both organizations with a huge visibility to I-95 in that area. Folks might want to think about getting some tax benefits by donating equipment and money to the museum such that it will become a very important representation of our industry. Bill Ottley (who heads the museum’s organization) will always be glad to help you figure out what to do with your spare cash and materials.
    There was a disciplinary action taken against a member, but those proceedings were (properly) in closed session and the results will become evident when the USPA publishes the meeting minutes.
    There are other items that may be of interest to competitors, but rather than erroneously reporting on those from memory (which will undoubtedly lead me to make errors because I didn't write those items down), I will encourage you to look for the meeting minutes on the USPA’s web site in the near future.
    I think that is plenty for you folks to digest at this time.
    Blue, Clear, and Moderate-Wind Skies!
    Mike Turoff

    USPA I/E, D-5957

    By admin, in News,

    UPT - Sigma - #20132005 (20 May 2013)

    SERVICE BULLETIN: #20132005
    ISSUE DATE: May 20th 2013
    SUBJECT: Retractable Y-Strap Modification (Part#043-001-005) to Tandem Student Harness (Model TV3-SH-Part#043-001-001)
    Download the full document with relevant instructions here: Sigma Bulletin #20132005COMPLIANCE: Mandatory
    1. All Tandem Vector and Sigma Tandem Parachute Systems manufactured by The Uninsured
    Relative Workshop, Inc., on which a Tandem Student Harness manufactured by Uninsured United
    Parachute Technologies, LLC is used.
    2. All Sigma Tandem Parachute Systems manufactured by Uninsured United Parachute Technologies, LLC.
    3. All Tandem Student Harnesses which have the Model #TV3-SH printed on the orange warning label.
    Harnesses that do have horizontal back and belt straps (Belly band)
    At Uninsured United Parachute Technologies, LLC. (UUPT), we are always striving to produce the best and safest Tandem system available. With regard to the student harness, the present
    design has been in use for over 13 years. Based on field experience, we know that, if it is fitted and adjusted correctly, it is highly unlikely that a student can fall out of the harness. However, we also know that this type of incident has happened once before with a Tandem Vector harness, and we have had two incidents where students came close to falling out.
    In each of these cases, it was determined that the harness was grossly misadjusted. But, no
    matter what the cause, this scenario is unacceptable. To further minimize the risk of such an event, UUPT has developed the “Retractable Y-Strap Retrofit”. This Y-Strap modification has been in use for several years with only a slight decrease in student comfort, in some cases.
    The Retractable Y-Strap was designed to allow the student to still lift their legs for landing.
    UUPT now mandates the use of a Retractable Y-Strap Retrofit on all affected tandem student harnesses. Of course, both prior to and after the retrofit, it is imperative that each tandem instructor ensure that the tandem student harness and the instructor harness are properly adjusted, prior to each tandem jump, and that the proper adjustment is verified again just prior to exiting the aircraft. Retrofit and installation instructions are available upon request from UPT or can be downloaded from our web site at the following location:
    The modification must be completed no later than December 1st, 2013. After that date, no tandem student harness which does not have the Y-Strap Retrofit installed is approved for use on any jump.
    In an effort to reduce the financial impact on system owners, UUPT is selling the Y-Strap Retrofit components kit at its cost. The cost of a Y-Strap Retrofit components kit is $50.00 (Part#043-001-005). It can be installed by any certificated rigger with minimal effort.
    (Reference INSTRUCT-020-Student Harness Retractable Y Strap Installation attached)
    To order the Y-Strap Retrofit component kit, or if you have any questions, please contact Mike Maguire, at Uninsured United Parachute Technologies, LLC,

    1645 Lexington Avenue, Deland Florida 32724,

    Telephone: 386-736-7589;

    Fax: 386-734-7537;

    Email: [email protected]
    Mark Procos, General Manager

    United Parachute Technologies LLC

    1645 Lexington Avenue

    DeLand, FL 32724-2106 USA

    Telephone: +1 386 736 7589

    FAX: +1 386 734 7537

    - All identified owners of Tandem Vector and
    Sigma Tandem Equipment (to be notified by
    publication and through our dealers).

    By admin, in News,

    UK Serviceman dies in parachute accident

    A 28-year-old serviceman has died during a parachute jump at an airbase in Oxfordshire. The victim was taking part in a recreational jump with the RAF's Sports Parachuting Association at RAF Weston-on-the Green.
    Police and ambulance crews were called to the scene at around 1230 BST on Friday.
    The identity of the man and the cause of the accident have yet to be released.
    The incident was the second parachuting accident in the area this week.
    A man, aged about 60, died after suffering multiple injuries in a skydiving accident on Wednesday morning.
    It is thought his parachute failed to open when he made a jump at Northamptonshire's Hinton airfield near Brackley, near the Oxfordshire border.
    He was taken by air ambulance to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where he later died.
    The British Parachute Association and Northamptonshire Police are investigating the incident.

    By admin, in News,

    Two Texas skydivers die in canopy collision

    WHITEWRIGHT -- Two sky divers killed when their parachutes became intertwined in a twilight jump over Northeast Texas were veteran jumpers with more than 200 jumps each to their credit, officials with their skydiving club said today.
    Brad Walk of Dallas and Jason Fitzsimmons of Richardson were killed when their parachutes became entangled about 6,000 feet above the ground in the accident Saturday, according to a statement issued by Skydive Dallas.
    The accident happened about 50 miles northeast of Dallas near the Fannin-Grayson county line.
    The two jumped from a Cessna Caravan at about 13,500 feet and their parachutes appeared to open normally at 11,000 feet, the club statement said. However, as they arranged their equipment, they drifted together and got their shrouds tangled at about 6,000 feet, the club said.
    Both apparently were killed on impact with the ground, officials said.
    The statement said neither sky diver appeared to use their reserve chutes.
    "They were really well-liked in the skydiving community. Our thoughts and prayers are with their family and loved ones," said Joe Rekart, the general manager of the Whitewright-based club.

    By admin, in News,

    Two Killed in TV Tower Collapse

    HEMINGFORD, Neb. (AP) — A 1,965-foot-high TV tower collapsed, killing two workers who were trying to strengthen the structure, which had been taller than the Empire State Building.
    Three other workers were injured Tuesday, rescue officials said. The cause of the collapse was being investigated by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
    Two of the workers were repairing the roof to a small transmission building at the base of the tower. The three others had been hired to strengthen the tower so it could be equipped for high-definition television transmission, according to the owner, Duhamel Broadcasting Enterprises of Rapid City, S.D.
    "I happened to glance up and saw the tower toppling over. It looked like the center section kind of leaned out first and the top fell down", said Don Jespersen, a 46-year-old farmer who was working in his field about a half mile away.
    Jerry Dishong, station manager for ABC affiliate KDUH in Scottsbluff, said there was no apparent reason for the collapse, citing clear and calm weather. After the accident, the station could only be viewed by cable subscribers.
    Killed were Lawrence A. Sukalec, 59, of Valier, Ill., and Daniel E. Goff, 25, of Sesser, Ill. They were on the tower when it collapsed, according to the Box Butte County sheriff's office.
    Three other workers were taken to a hospital in Alliance. Two were treated and released and the third was listed in good condition.
    The tower, about 20 miles northwest of Alliance, had been the tallest structure in Nebraska and one of the world's highest. It was more than 500 feet taller than the Sears Tower in Chicago and 700 feet higher than the Empire State Building in New York City.
    In 1998, eight skydivers from Utah were arrested for trespassing after jumping from the top of the tower. They left a black flag at its top to show they had made it to what they deemed their "holy grail."

    By admin, in News,

    Two fatalities in Australia

    The double tragedy of two experienced skydivers plunging to their deaths in separate accidents has failed to deter hundreds of other thrill seekers taking to Sydney's skies. Brendan Cook, 34, from Griffith in Canberra, and Jethro Thornton, 24, from Ermington in Sydney's west, died yesterday after their parachutes failed at the Sydney Skydiving Centre in Picton, on the city's southwestern outskirts.
    Jumps were suspended yesterday, but Sydney Skydiving Centre owner Phil Onis said it was business as usual today with about 400 people expected to jump.
    "The investigation is still underway ... (however) we are operating as per usual ... (with about) 400 jumps per day," he said.
    Police and paramedics were called to the centre yesterday when the first man fell to the ground sustaining critical injuries.
    Then, to their horror, a second man fell to his death as they watched.
    The first accident was about 11am (AEST) when Mr Cook's parachute failed.
    He had notched up hundreds of jumps and held an international skydiving licence.
    He later died in Liverpool Hospital.
    Three hours later, the equally experienced Mr Thornton fell to his death when his parachute failed to open.
    There had not been a fatality at the centre for 15 years and staff were still in shock, Mr Onis said.
    Police were still gathering evidence for a coronial inquest into the deaths, a police spokeswoman said.
    Australian Parachute Federation NSW safety officer Leigh Shepherd said skydiving centres observe strict safety measures.
    "The extremes we go to for safety are very high," Mr Shepherd said.
    "Obviously, two incidents have now happened but until that's investigated we can't say why.
    "My understanding is there's nothing the drop zone could have done to supervise it any closer or prevent it."
    He said there was a 0.03 per cent chance of being injured during a solo jump and even less probability in a tandem jump.
    There has not been a skydiving fatality in NSW for two years.
    "I'm still confident that the most dangerous thing we do each weekend is drive to the drop zone rather than the actual skydiving," Mr Shepherd said.
    "I'd still encourage people to come and try and when you try tandem, it's still the safest way to do it."
    It is standard practice for skydivers to sign an indemnity form acknowledging they risk serious injury or even death when they skydive.
    Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter which airlifted Mr Cook to Liverpool Hospital, said it has airlifted three patients involved in serious skydiving incidents since March.

    By admin, in News,