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!
USPA I/E, D-5957