• Content

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Feedback

  • Country

    South Africa

Everything posted by Administrator

  1. Administrator

    Streamlining Ratings: UPT Adopts Sigma

    by Laura Jane Burgess Shuffling paperwork, missing signatures, and problematic postal services: with so many moving parts issuing UPT Tandem rating cards has been a time-consuming process. Key word: has. United Parachute Technologies has led the charge in gear manufacturing for many years, and now, it’s leading the way into the digital age of issuing tandem ratings. We spoke with the director of UPT’s Tandem Program, Tom Noonan, to get details on the exciting partnership between UPT and Sigma. Background For those of you out there unfamiliar with Tom Noonan, Tom made his first skydive in 1999, and in the nearly 20 years since then, has acquired around 8000 skydives—6,500-7,000 of which are skydives with him as either the tandem instructor or passenger training someone to be an instructor! Having previously worked for Strong Enterprises and Performance Designs, Tom is now in his sixth year of employment with UPT working as their Tandem Program Director. How Sigma Entered The Picture Tom met Dylan Avatar of Sigma when he presented their Merit issuing platform to the USPA board several years ago. At the time Tom was on the USPA Board of Directors and had a front seat during USPA’s adoption of Sigma to issue licenses and ratings digitally as Merits. Tom says: “USPA’s success with [Sigma] with their membership of 40,000 people gave UPT a comfort level that Sigma could handle the…8-10,000 instructors around the world and 400-500 examiners (current or past) or national federation safety officers who we work with. After seeing that the USPA database migration and subsequent user interface was successful, I had high confidence that we would be able to do the same thing on our side with the tandem ratings we issue.” Why did UPT elect to move forward with Sigma? After a slight pause, Tom kiddingly replies “[Sigma] gave us free t-shirts…No the real reason/the tipping point for us was when Dylan met with Sheryl Bothwell, our Office Administrator, who is in charge of the rating issuance. Dylan was able to sit down and demonstrate the portal and the process and show how efficient it was going to be from the front office side, and that was really the “closer.” How Sigma Will Help What problems/pain points will Sigma solve for UPT as it relates to issuing ratings? Without hesitation, Tom responds “international delivery.” “We probably have 30-40% of our users that are international, which means we’re sending out anywhere from 200-400 international rating cards each year, and we’ve been doing it… as an analog process (postal) in a digital world.” Issues with international delivery were multifaceted: “Our international mailing was incredibly problematic. One in that the customer often didn’t receive their card in a timely manner or other times they didn’t receive it at all. It doubled and even sometimes tripled our workload to reproduce these again and again. From a cost perspective, while it wasn’t happening every day, it became more and more of a cost issue and a workflow problem. We were spending too much time re-issuing ratings that otherwise could be digitally accessible.” While forgery or someone misrepresenting their ability hasn’t really been the problem, Tom says “there has been an issue with candidates finishing the training process, and their rating application ending up in limbo somewhere, due to application correction issues.” “Individuals were going through courses and filling out the appropriate paperwork, which was then sent in. The problem was typically a mistake made on the paperwork. Either the examiner or the instructor failed to sign a necessary line on the log book or were missing a witness signature. Attempts to get additional information in from our instructors, in that capacity, can be challenging at times. So, someone will finish a course and have a paperwork problem, and whether they ignore it or neglect it, then they and the dropzone are missing confirmation that the rating has been issued. The adoption of Sigma’s platform will hopefully facilitate an easier remedy for the drop zone owner and the instructor to know for sure that they have their rating and that it has been issued.” Will UPT continue to mail out hard copy cards or do they anticipate phasing these out? For those of you looking to garner UPT tandem ratings in the future, physical cards will be offered as an “a la carte” option and only ad hoc as requested. “We will always provide them for the customer if requested to do so. There are people that have always wanted the tactile experience, to have a driver’s license in their pocket or a pilot’s certificate in hand, so we can always provide that. But now that we have the digital format, the workflow on [physical cards issued] will be less than 10%. But for that 10%, we will format the cost as shipping and a small processing/maintenance fee of $10.” What about Sigma excites UPT the most? “UPT’s front office is thrilled at the implementation of Sigma issued Merits for UPT tandem ratings. The excitement, in part, comes down to reduced workflow. And any time, we can reduce workflow, we can be more efficient, and if we are more efficient, we can then do more things for the customer and for the instructors. We’d rather spend our time thinking about ways to improve the process…and having more time to do that because we are spending less time dealing with processing issues and mailing ratings. It gives us more time to focus on other parts of the rating application process.” Looking to the Future Tom sees two potentials for further utilizing Sigma in the future: “one is going to be once the system is in place and running smoothly, we are going to look to use the Sigma platform to institute a hand cam proficiency Merit.” This will ensure instructors have “met the 200 tandem jump minimum, they have filled out our proficiency checklist, and sent it into us. First, before they start using hand cam and every two years as they renew, and two, so [drop zones] will be able to track [instructors] hand cam currency as a Merit.” Within the next two years, Tom and UPT are hoping to roll out “some form of a bi-annual review [for tandem instructors] that can be updated, whether it’s a proficiency card or a practical evaluation with an examiner—we haven’t hashed any of that out. But we’ve recognized there is a need to implement something similar to what pilots go through, where every two years the instructors need to validate their credentials. This can absolutely be an additional future merit that would end up living in the Sigma database” Tom even had an idea for how Dropzones could further utilize the Sigma platform and Merits. “I could foresee Dropzone Owners taking advantage of a Camera Flyer Merit, where it’s simply a qualification card that they are validating they have met the minimum requirements 500 RW jumps 100 camera jumps as one example, so when they have people flying video with their tandem instructors, they have some kind of validation that they have met the minimums” The practical takeaway here? These measures and issued Merits are a “liability prevention mechanism for everyone involved in the tandem jump process…making sure you have met those credential verifications only helps assure you have better liability protection in case of an incident or accident” Well put Tom, well put.
  2. Hey everyone! As you have probably noticed, we've moved over to our new content management system. We're exciting to bring you these changes which will provide more mobile support, easier navigation and more functionality. We're going to be continuing in our focus of making the site better moving forward and are looking forward to what lies ahead. You may notice adjustments, additions or removals of things you're used to, and we realize that it isn't easy having someone come in and rearrange your living room, but we're here to take your feedback and hope that the new website makes your experience better than it was. This has been no small task and there are sure to still be some bugs that pop up, but we're dedicated to resolving them ASAP. The way you can help us help you, is by letting us know of any problems you come across on the site. Errors, broken styling, problems with images etc. Simply comment in this thread with your experience, attaching screenshots where possible, and we'll be sure to make the fixes, and make the site a better experience for you. To make things most effective, you can use this template when reporting problems: Bug Description: URL that it occurred: Time of occurrence: Action being performed (where relevant): To give us feedback unrelated to bugs, please make a post in the suggestions and feedback forums.
  3. Administrator

    Searching for posts

    Hey there, this is due to old Google results from the old website. With time Google will need to reindex all the forums again to get the new URLs (this may take a couple months). So it's more a Google crawling issue, but with that said we've tried to implement 301 redirects on our URLs to the relevant pages. Could you post a link from Google as an example so I can investigate further and confirm?
  4. Administrator

    Dropzone Site Launch & Bugs Megathread

    Can you please forward to so we can see why this occurred. Thanks!
  5. Administrator

    Ratings of gear on Dropzone

    Thank you for pointing out this bug! This could be related to the migration from the old site, a data integrity issue. We will resolve this asap to get the rating values where they should be. I'm moving this thread to the bugs forum so that we can update progress to the bug effectively.
  6. Administrator

    classified ads

    Was your ad initially a paid ad? If it wasn't, then there is something wrong that we need to adjust. The way it works currently is that there are packages we can set up. We can choose whether an ad package has a paid or free renewal. The problem is that while we can select for paid ads to have free renewal, we can't offer the ability to renew as a paid feature again. So it's a bit of a double edged sword. We can make it renew for free, but that isn't going to work for those looking to renew as a feature again. Or we can allow for paid renewal so featured ads can be renewed to be paid features, but then those looking to renew for free suffers. We're trying to find a way to offer both options. But we're also limited by the plugin that we are using.
  7. Administrator

    ad to do it??

    Unfortunately that email is being sent from our old server. Any email that contains a modify.cgi link in it can be ignored. The people receiving the error are users who had ads running on the old server. We told our hosts to stop the service but they evidently did not. To do renewals on the new site, click the drop down next to your name (top right) and click "My Renewals", if there's nothing there then your ad is still good. We're working to shut off the old mail server to prevent this outdated mails getting sent out.
  8. Administrator

    New Format Email Replies

    Thanks! We did some testing yesterday and came to the same conclussion. There's some permissions either in the database or the file server that need tweaking, which will also help a lot of the spam issues. Since the issue is preventing us from adding plugins. Our dev is working on it trying to find the area to adjust and then things should be better.
  9. Administrator

    Dropzone Site Launch & Bugs Megathread

    Thanks for the feedback guys. There's a few comments here that are very helpful and will assist us in making the neccessary changes to resolve many of these comments. Will update here as we resolve.
  10. Administrator

    Dropzone Site Launch & Bugs Megathread

    Thanks! We've resolved the first signature issue and there will now be a separation between post text and signature. We're looking into the issue about signatures not being brought over into the profile fields.
  11. Administrator

    Dropzone Site Launch & Bugs Megathread

    Thanks for all the feedback guys, our priority first is to resolve the classifieds submission problem. Then get started on the rest. Will update you.
  12. Administrator

    Notification Test - WT

    Reply received.
  13. Administrator

    Write for Us strives to be at the forefront of disseminating information about skydiving and the skydiving industry. We are always looking to partner with writers to supply us with current and relevant safety, training, gear and information articles. If you’ve got an idea for an article we’d love to hear from you! Our articles reach over 100,000 absolute unique visitors every month. This is by far the largest audience and the widest distribution of expert and new skydivers reached by any skydiving related publication - whether online or offline. There’s no better way to get your name out there, establish yourself as an expert in your field or simply 'give back' to the the skydiving community than by writing for us. We’re always interested in fresh content that’s relevant to skydivers. If you have an idea for an article and would like to bounce it off us before setting out to write, feel free to send us an email (with a short description of what you want to write about). For more information read the Article Submission Guidelines, which includes information on: - submission requirements - what we’re looking for - assignment of rights - compensation - how to submit your work Of course, if you have any questions about contributing content to, email the editor (
  15. Administrator

    How do I change which notifications I receive?

    Users have full control over which notifications are received for content. In order to customize how and what type of notifications you receive. Click on the down arrow next to your name in the top right hand corner of your screen. For mobile users, you will need to expand the menu on the right and click on Account Select Account Settings On the right, under the title Other Settings, click on the Notification Settings option On this page you'll be able to customize and adjust your site-wide notification settings.
  16. Administrator

    Notifications Testing

    Look for a TEST in your notification email template.
  17. Administrator

    Notifications Testing

  18. Administrator

    Notifications Testing

    This is getting exhausting now...
  19. Administrator

    Notifications Testing

    Another test... After changing email disabled.
  20. Administrator

    Notifications Testing

    Another comment after changing some backend stuff.
  21. Administrator

    Notifications Testing

    This is not a reply.
  22. Administrator


    From the album: New Album

  23. Administrator

    Privacy Policy

    This privacy statement is applicable to DROPZONE.COM does not collect personally identifiable information about individuals except when such individuals specifically provide such information on a voluntary basis. For example, such personally identifiable information may be gathered from a contest or sweepstakes registration, the registration process for subscription sites or services and in connection with content submissions, community postings (e.g., chat and bulletin boards), suggestions, voting/polling activities and transactional areas. Personally identifiable information on individual users will not be sold or otherwise transferred to unaffiliated third parties without the approval of the user at the time of collection. At such points of collection, the user will have the opportunity to indicate whether he or she would like to "opt out" of receiving promotional and/or marketing information about other products, services and offerings from DROPZONE.COM and/or any third parties. Further, notwithstanding any opt out of promotional information by the user, DROPZONE.COM reserves the right to contact a subscriber regarding account status, changes to the subscriber agreement and other matters relevant to the underlying service and/or the information collected. DROPZONE.COM reserves the right to perform statistical analyses of user behavior and characteristics in order to measure interest in and use of the various areas of the site and to inform advertisers of such information as well as the number of users that have been exposed to or clicked on their advertising banners. DROPZONE.COM will provide only aggregated data from these analyses to third parties. Also, users should be aware that DROPZONE.COM may sometimes permit third parties to offer subscription and/or registration-based services through a DROPZONE.COM site. DROPZONE.COM is not responsible for any actions or policies of such third parties and users should check the applicable privacy policy of such party when providing personally identifiable information. Additionally, users should be aware that when they voluntarily disclose personally identifiable information (e.g., user name, e-mail address) on the bulletin boards or in the chat areas of the DROPZONE.COM sites, that information, along with any substantive information disclosed in the user's communication, can be collected and correlated and used by third parties and may result in unsolicited messages from other posters or third parties. Such activities are beyond the control of DROPZONE.COM. Users also should be aware that non-personal information and data may be automatically collected through the standard operation of DROPZONE.COM's internet servers or through the use of "cookies." "Cookies" are small text files a web site can use to recognize repeat users, facilitate the user's ongoing access to and use of the site and allow a site to track usage behavior and compile aggregate data that will allow content improvements and targeted advertising. Cookies are not programs that come onto a user's system and damage files. Generally, cookies work by assigning a unique number to the user that has no meaning outside the assigning site. Users should be aware that DROPZONE.COM cannot control the use of cookies or the resulting information by advertisers or third parties hosting data for DROPZONE.COM. If a user does not want information collected through the use of cookies, there is a simple procedure in most browsers that allows the user to deny or accept the cookie feature; however, users should note that cookies may be necessary to provide the user with certain features (e.g., customized delivery of information) available on the DROPZONE.COM Site. Third Party Plugins: We allow the login of users through social network platforms, in the process you will be asked to provide permissions to certain data of your profile. We only request these permissions to fulfill your profile creation, and will not use these details for any marketing purposes. Upon request, DROPZONE.COM will allow any user to "opt out" of further promotional contacts at any time. Additionally upon request, DROPZONE.COM will use reasonable efforts to allow users to update/correct personal information previously submitted which the user states is erroneous to the extent such activities will not compromise privacy or security interests. Also, upon a user's request, DROPZONE.COM will use commercially reasonable efforts to functionally delete the user and his or her personal information from its database; however, it may be impossible to delete a user's entry without some residual information because of backups and records of deletions. The foregoing policies are effective as of January 1, 2001. DROPZONE.COM reserves the right to change this policy at any time by notifying users of the existence of a new privacy statement. This statement and the policies outlined herein are not intended to and do not create any contractual or other legal rights in or on behalf of any party.
  24. Administrator

    Dropzone Reviews Gone Bad