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  1. You're on the right track, NWFlyer! Basically, here's how the third-party liability insurance works for USPA members: •US citizens jumping anywhere in the world: covered •Canadian citizens jumping anywhere in the world: covered •Everyone else: covered while jumping in the US or Canada only. If you have a unique situation and want to know how this applies to you, feel free to contact us at [email protected] In the meantime, we'll work on clarifying this information online! Read the USPA blog!
  2. After hearing from some of you and speaking with others, it was clear that we needed to give more information about the plan to use members of the U.S. Parachute Team and others to create public awareness of the team and publicize the opportunity for major sponsorship. Attached is a more detailed explanation. -Ed Scott USPA Executive Director Read the USPA blog!
  3. Among the discussions currently taking place in Washington, D.C., about reducing the deficit and finding new revenue streams is talk about imposing new user fees on general aviation. There has been similar talk in the past, but Congress squashed the idea. There’s not yet any formal proposal, but there are enough rumors from official sources that many of the general aviation associations representing pilots and businesses that operate aircraft have asked their members to contact their Senators and Member of Congress to oppose the idea. General aviation users already contribute to the aviation trust fund by paying a federal tax on every gallon of fuel purchased, and general aviation users want to stay with that method. The basic idea of a user fee is to charge aircraft operators a set fee per flight. The charge could be anywhere from $25 to $100, and it could be assessed per takeoff or per radio contact with air traffic control (ATC). Skydiving operators—with multiple takeoffs each day and a requirement to contact ATC on each flight—would pay more than most operators; the cost of jump tickets would go up. A new fee could be aimed at jets only, or it could be aimed at all turbine aircraft, or all aircraft in commercial operation, or simply all aircraft. Regardless, if enacted, it is a sure bet that the fee would eventually increase and also be expanded to other users in the future. Adding insult to injury is that the FAA would have to create a sub-agency to track billing and enforce payment. USPA joins our general aviation brethren in fighting the user fee concept. Please take action now to ensure that Congress rejects the user fee idea. On the Senate website,, select your state from a dropdown menu in the upper right corner to be directed to your two Senators’ contact information. On the House of Representatives website,, enter your zip code to be directed to your one Representative’s contact information. A phone call is best, followed by an email, and even a fax; mailed letters take too long to arrive. In your contact, identify yourself as an aviation user, and explain how increased costs would affect your participation in skydiving—an FAA aeronautical activity. Ask them to reject the idea of new user fees for general aviation and to continue the collection of federal taxes on aviation fuels. Read the USPA blog!
  4. The U.S. Parachute Association is issuing an Action Call to skydivers, DZOs, and S&TAs in an effort to reduce canopy collisions above our landing areas. Conferring with our sport’s leading experts, USPA has identified immediate actions that can help keep our skies collision-free. Please review it carefully and identify the actions you can implement or be responsible for. Meanwhile, USPA will continue to work toward developing other viable solutions that will help each of us stay safer under canopy. Read the USPA blog!
  5. DSE, you said: Your last statement first—I’ve never spoken to you about canopy safety, downsizing progression, or any related topic. And I’ve never said to anyone that USPA shouldn’t address downsizing due to perceived liability. (And in fact USPA already does recommend downsizing progression in the SIM.) I don’t know whose words you think you’re repeating, but they’re not mine. As to your first statement, there is no USPA position that holds that restrictions on downsizing or landing areas can only be recommended, not mandated. Recommendations and education may have been USPA’s methods of choice to date for some of these issues, but that doesn’t mean that the USPA board has taken a position that it can never mandate something in this arena. Overall, we’re glad this thread is so active and we’re pulling some good ideas from it. I’ll also invite anyone to give us their thoughts on our new web page as well. As I’ve said here and elsewhere, we want the full range of ideas to consider how to attack this problem; nothing is off the table. Ed Scott, USPA Executive Director Read the USPA blog!
  6. I’m pleased to see that someone reads Gearing Up!
  7. USPA and the Parachute Industry Association (PIA) have issued a joint “Skydiver Advisory” to advise skydivers and riggers of concerns about some yet-unexplained fatalities in recent years. While the exact causes are not fully known, there are actions every skydiver and rigger can take to reduce the chances of a similar occurrence while PIA gathers more data for an in-depth review by equipment and rigging experts. See the Skydiver Advisory. Read the USPA blog!
  8. Here is a letter from Marylou Laughlin, US Delegate to the IPC and Bill Wenger, Chair of the Competition Committee regarding the IPC meeting and wingsuit records. Read the USPA blog!
  9. There is no Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) requirement for a pilot to wear an emergency parachute while flying skydivers. However, there can be a requirement in the aircraft’s STC for operating with the door removed or in the FAA 337 Field Approval for an in-flight door. Some approvals require "all occupants" to wear a parachute, while some specify that the pilot must wear a parachute, yet other approvals don’t even address the issue. A pilot should check each aircraft’s modification paperwork to determine if an emergency rig is required to be worn by the pilot. Randy Ottinger, USPA Director of Government Relations Read the USPA blog!
  10. All fair questions, Derek. Here are the responses: 1. How does this affect non-USPA Group Member drop zones? USPA can’t compel participation by non-GM DZs, but they may want to use the guidance to ensure they comply with the regs. 2. What happens if the drop zone does not return the Aircraft Status Form? Renewal of the Group Membership requires completed, returned forms. 3. If the drop zone does return the form, will it be verified for accuracy? USPA will ensure that the form is accurately completed, e.g. that a Twin Otter operator doesn’t indicate that it is on annual/100-hour inspections, that an operator lists the FSDO its program has been filed with, that all “last” and “next” inspection blocks are completed, and the certifying IA or repair station is listed. 4. If yes, how? USPA isn’t the FAA; we won’t be conducting surprise inspections or demanding logbooks. Though, as the result of a recent NTSB recommendations, the FAA might. 5. What will be done with the information on the Aircraft Status Form? We’ll note that the DZ provided the information for the aircraft they list. 6. Will USPA maintain a database that USPA Members can check to see what a drop zone is reporting? No. But a skydiver has always had the right to ask a DZO about their maintenance. 7. Will a drop zone’s Group Membership not be renewed or revoked for failure to submit or falsifying the Aircraft Status Form? Completed forms are required for Group Membership. USPA’s by-laws already allow for sanctions on any member who intentionally falsifies a USPA form. 8. If there is a lawsuit resulting from a jump plane incident, will the Aircraft Status Forms be made available to either party involved in the lawsuit? The form will be discarded after being received and checked for accuracy. 9. If the last addition to the Group Member Pledge, separating landing areas by either distance or time was a dismal failure with many DZ’s failing to separate landing areas, how will this be any different? We don’t agree that BSR has failed. Many DZs have chosen to separate landings by time, if not distance. Canopy collision fatalities are not only down in number, they are substantially down as a percentage of all fatalities; they were 30% of the total in 2007, 13% of the total in 2008, and so far are 8% of the total in 2009. The program may not be perfect, but it will clarify what the regulations require and it will urge the operators to make sure they comply. And it will accomplish this without heavy-handed government action. Ed Scott Read the USPA blog!
  11. Regarding comments made by the OP, neither I nor the USPA staff have the authority to implement any new program or policy on our own. New programs require approval by a majority of the board of directors. Fortunately, the board adopted, with modifications, the staff-generated proposal to implement changes to the Group Member Program to address some very serious recommendations by the National Transportation Safety Board. So everyone can see all aspects of the program, here’s a link to the packet materials recently sent to all Group Member DZs. Part of the problem has been that the Federal Aviation Regulations are easy to misinterpret, even by some in the FAA. We’ve found several DZs that were just conducting annual aircraft inspections with the full knowledge and consent of their overseeing FAA flight standards office. With the USPA narrative and the changes to the pledge, there should be no more confusion. You’ll also see that the Aircraft Status Form requires the operator to indicate not only which inspection program each aircraft complies with, but also asks the date or hours of the last and the next inspection. Finally, the FAA is still responsible for enforcement of the regulations, and the NTSB also recommended that the agency conduct more direct surveillance of jump plane maintenance and operations. An operator that participates in the USPA program should fare better as a result of such surveillance. Ed Scott Read the USPA blog!
  12. USPA received two reports of a packing error that led to unusual pilot-chute-in-tow malfunctions, with rumors of additional cases not reported. The malfunction can be easily avoided with proper packing techniques. A description of the problem and packing solutions can be found here: Read the USPA blog!
  13. Except for the very rare honorary award, license numbers are issued in the order that applications are received. D-30000 has not yet been issued but is coming up very soon. Find out who receives it in an upcoming issue of Parachutist. Ed Scott Executive Director, USPA Read the USPA blog!
  14. USPA Board Member and Pacific Regional Director Chris Quaintance announced his intention to resign from the USPA Board of Directors, citing personal reasons. The resignation will take place at the upcoming board meeting near Dallas, Texas, on July 10-12. The vacancy may be filled by a vote of the board at the upcoming meeting, but candidates must first be nominated by a board member at that meeting. For information on becoming a board candidate, see Article 3, Sections 3 and 5 of USPA’s Governance Manual which is available as a PDF file at Details about the USPA Board of Directors Meeting are available at Read the USPA blog!
  15. Like other associations, USPA submitted a request to the TSA for an extension to the comment deadline. The extension was granted so that February 27, 2009 is the new deadline. USPA has not yet submitted its detailed comments addressing the issue, though we are drafting them and we will submit them before the deadline. When comments are submitted online, one of the blocks asks your “organization.” A commenting USPA member may have filled in USPA as his organization, causing the confusion. Ed Scott Executive Director Read the USPA blog!