Fredericksburg, Va., Jan. 11 -- Things are looking up for the skydiving industry.
According to the U.S. Parachute Association (USPA), America's premier skydiving association, 2007 made history as the year skydiving took a dramatic turn upward as one of the most popular adrenaline sports in the nation.
USPA reports that 2007 was one of the safest on record with 18 skydiver fatalities -- out of over 2.5 million jumps. That number surpasses a 1962 record for skydiving's fewest accidents.
Considering that in the early 1960s, USPA was only about 10% of its current size with 3,353 members and the aggregate number of jumps was considerably less than today's 2 million+ jumps, this record stands out even more as a testament to years of strict safety standards, training policies and programs.
"This has been a group effort," said Ed Scott, Executive Director of USPA. "USPA policies have been applied by every skydiver in the nation, as well as coaches, instructors, safety/training advisors, drop zone owners, riggers, pilots, manufacturers and gear distributors. We should all take pride in the strides we have made in skydiving safety the past half century."
And the good news doesn't end there. Significantly more people are taking up the sport.
USPA membership soared in 2007, with a significant number of new skydivers joining its ranks. USPA ended 2007 with more members (31,264) than the previous year for the first time since 2002. The total number of new members in 2007 was 4,900, reversing a five-year downward trend; it's also the highest number of new members since 2003.
The skydiving industry also saw an unprecedented upturn in the number of skydiving licenses issued by USPA; more than at any point in the last four years.
USPA's 2007 Skydiving Review with additional stats/demographics will be released in early spring.
USPA is dedicated to the promotion of safe skydiving nationwide, establishing strict safety standards, training policies and programs at 200+ affiliated skydiving schools/centers. The Federal Aviation Administration recognizes and supports USPA's successful leadership role in the self- regulation of skydiving.
USPA hosts the National Skydiving Championships, the sport''s largest and most exciting annual competition, October 18-25, 2008 (Skydive Arizona).
Information: 1-800-371-USPA, http://www.USPA.org.
Source: U.S. Parachute Association