• Content

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Feedback


Everything posted by Communications

  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!
  16. I am a bit pressed for time so this is all I'm responding to. I think this is what many including myself have a problem with. Why do most communication have to be private and or behind closed doors? It makes no sense to me. Of all the communications I have had with BOD members most have been by PM with the addition of being asked either not to reveal either content or who responded to me. I don't get it. Why not use This probably the single largest gathering on skydivers on the internet.If nothing else mirror the content from the USPA that you are looking for input on and provide a link. We're a bit pressed for time, too. That's why we can't respond to EVERY post about USPA on here - we never said we'll not respond to ANY post. We also never said to keep all communication quiet - for example, post a comment on our blog. That's very public and very transparent, and only one of the many public and transparent ways we're trying to get people to communicate with us. Private messages and phone calls indicate an actual desire to have a problem addressed, and will be responded to as such. If you had a problem with your canopy, would you really post it here first without contacting the manufacturer? We've set up communication channels that easily and quickly notify us when there's activity. The only way we know if someone has a question for us on is to come here and check it at least once a day - and some people would say several times a day. We do not have that kind of time. As for the topical concerns about the Solo Challenge, we are taking them into consideration and there will be a public response to all the suggestions. With that said, I can't see much more that we can contribute to this thread. Lara [email protected] ps - And Dave, it's a tough call whether I'd rather go back to talking about Neptunes. Ask me when this thread dies Read the USPA blog!
  17. HQ appreciates, respects and encourages the kind of member participation that is going on here. It's great, and really exciting that people are getting involved! For now, this topic has so many splinters that it is beyond our time capabilities to respond to each one in depth. If I have it right, the major issues are: the way in which HQ implemented the Solo Challenge motives of HQ employees in usurping the BOD the difficulty in communication with USPA privacy concerns with USPA HQ's e-mail communications approach #1 -HQ believes that we implemented the program as it was presented to the BOD at the last board meeting. (CSpenceFLY – We thought our original post answered your question; we weren’t ignoring it.) If there were missteps - real or perceived - they were not done with malicious or insidious intent towards anyone or for any purpose. This seques into #2: USPA HQ staff all work here because we are skydivers who want to help skydiving. If our purpose was to gain power, money and prestige, well, we've all chosen the wrong careers. You don't work for a non-profit membership assocation to get any of those things. #3 - We have a lot of online capabilities that we didn't have when the board last met, and are really looking forward to helping distribute information in new and more effective ways. Several people have expressed frustration at getting involved in the "process", and why doesn't USPA provide methods for discussion. The truth is that we've been trying to get member participation, with frankly dismal results. We have a blog, with one post in particular - Why? - specifically designed to get member questions. As you can see, there really wasn't much of a response, and certainly not the barrage that we were bracing for. Granted, if you don't visit the USPA website, read Parachutist, open the e-newsletters (which go to instructors, S&TAs, DZOs and BOD members), call headquarters, link up with USPA on MySpace or LinkedIn or talk to your directors, you never would have known the blog existed. Jan is absolutely correct, that page 15 blurb in the December Parachutist signifies a lot. It reads, by the way: We do not currently have forums on the USPA website because there is no staff member with the time required to moderate. does a fantastic job of fostering a (mostly ) ) on-topic, respectful community, but that takes hours of dedicated moderator work. We respect moderators an immense amount, but we simply do not have the time it takes to do it on a daily basis. The blog and other online communications stretch the workload as-is, so we've decided to focus on those before starting anything else, at least for the time being. USPA welcomes any comments and thoughts. While we can’t address every comment about USPA on, we will respond to every PM or call directly to USPA. (riggerpaul – we have our IT person working on the issue with your e-mail getting stuck in SPAM.) #4 - ConstantContact is a well respected company in the e-mail marketing world and link tracking is an industry accepted practice in the 21st century. E-mails are set to be delivered to the highest level a client allows - if your setting is such that you only allow text e-mails, you will receive a text-only version. All contact lists are cleared after use, and the only data used is first name, last name, company (for the DZO Streamline), and e-mail address - all of which is highly unusual for a marketing project. Most companies store lists for some time to track long-term clicks and views. You could actually argue that this is what USPA should be doing. In any case, we never sell member (or non-member, in the case of the Solo Challenge) e-mail addresses to anyone, for any reason, and chose ConstantContact because they are well respected in the marketing/communications industry for maintaining very high privacy standards. Lara Kjeldsen [email protected] edited to add hyperlinks Read the USPA blog!
  18. Only a few CASAs, DC-3s, and other specialty aircraft would be affected; the popular Twin Otter jump aircraft and most other jump planes fall below the stated weight threshold. Still, USPA will forcefully object. Further information on the TSA’s proposal appears at The new comment deadline is February 27, 2009. Randy Ottinger Director of Government Relations Read the USPA blog!
  19. Hi Chuck, Yes, there are DZs that don’t want the tandem student to come back. Other DZs will grudgingly take the student, but aren’t encouraging at all about it. We hear from those students all the time. I agree that DZs (and their staff) are key to skydiver retention. For years we’ve been asking and suggesting that DZs do a better job. Some do okay but many, if not most, fail to make an adequate pitch and/or to follow-up. They’re simply too busy. At most DZs, after the first-jump, the customer is made to wait, then given their video, a certificate, a hearty handshake, and a “come back again,” then they head for the parking lot. We thought it was worthwhile to get an inviting, encouraging personalized newsletter in their inbox the following week that gives them a chance to see what skydiving is really about. They have a chance to read about real people just like them who found out how skydiving enriches their lives. In the end, all we’re trying to do is get the first-jump customer back out to the DZ for one more jump; it is still up to the DZ to turn that second-jump customer into a skydiver. The “t-shirt tandem” is by far the first-jump method of choice. We can simply assume they’ll never jump again, or we can make an effort to get them connected to our sport. I’d rather we make the effort. Is this the best way? It is one way; we’re certainly open to better ideas. Ed Read the USPA blog!
  20. The intent of the USPA Solo Challenge is to reach out to the 300,000 first-jump customers each year that go home with a video and great experience, but most of whom never receive an invitation to really try our sport. To do so, we need their names and their email addresses. We also want to promote those DZs that are eager to accept new students. As a result, we came up with the Training Center concept as a way for student-oriented DZs to help us reach those first-timers. The concept and the materials were presented at the last board meeting. To date, 746 first-timers have opened USPA’s e-newsletter, and 96 have actually accepted the solo challenge. The “TC” explanation is to help new skydivers find DZs that are encouraging and have student programs. Any Group Member DZ that agrees to promote student training, display promotional posters, and send first-jumper info to USPA, can be registered as a TC. The statement doesn’t say anything about DZs that don’t participate, just like the Group Member statement doesn’t say anything about DZs that aren’t Group Members. This wording was done here at HQ, without intent to "strongarm" or persuade anyone. It was simply created to summarize what the TC should mean to the public, without giving all the detail of what’s required. The requirement is that participating DZs make a card available to first jump students, then return those cards that do get filled out. This card asks for the student's name and e-mail address. We found this to be the only reliable way to get in touch with first-jump customers. We tried having DZs hand out cards with USPA web urls and contact info, but it didn’t work. The DZ is asked to have the customers complete the cards, then send the cards to USPA. E-mails from USPA are never sent unsolicited. First time jumpers are invited to fill out an information card which clearly states that they will receive an e-mail from us. There is no requirement for the first time student to fill out or return this card. The sample e-mail on USPA's website does not have an opt-out link because it is a sample. Every live e-mail newsletter that goes out from USPA HQ is sent via the ConstantContact service, has an unsubscribe link, and fully complies with all SPAM laws. Riggerpaul, I do not know why your e-mail was unanswered, and I apologize for that. E-mails sometimes get mis-routed to spam or junk folders - a phone call could have eliminated your confusion. I'll pass your concerns on and have them contact you. Can you send your e-mail or phone number? If anyone has any questions at all, I would hope you all know where USPA HQ is and how to get hold of us. If not, you can find everyone's phone extensions and e-mail addresses at: If you're not comfortable with a phone call or e-mail, we have a MySpace page (, a blog (, LinkedIn account & group, and this account. I hope that is enough for everyone's different communication styles, but if not, please let us know how else we should make ourselves available. Ed Scott Executive Director Read the USPA blog!
  21. In consultation with the FAA and the Parachute Industry Association, USPA has developed answers to some obvious questions on USPA’s blog. Rig owners with specific questions about their rigs should consult with their riggers and/or the manufacturer of a specific component. (Technical or rigger-related questions posed on USPA’s blog will be forwarded to PIA or the component manufacturer, if USPA is not able to answer with certainty.) Randy Ottinger USPA Director of Government Relations Read the USPA blog!
  22. Hi guys, just a quick update - Ed Scott, USPA's Executive Director, Randy Ottinger, Director of Government Relations, and Cliff Schmucker, PIA President, are headed to FAA offices as we speak to meet with officials on this ruling. We're posting updates to the USPA news page and blog as we get them and will try to get all questions answered! ~Lara [email protected] Read the USPA blog!
  23. USPA is aware of next Tuesday’s NTSB hearing on two subjects, the July 2006 Missouri Twin Otter crash, and the Special Investigation on Parachute Operations. USPA officials will be there, and we’ll report soon afterward on the results of the hearing, either on the USPA news page, the USPA blog, or most likely both. - Ed Scott, USPA Executive Director Read the USPA blog!
  24. With the new web site, virtually anything is possible. But your last question probably needs to be answered first. There is at least one regional director that sends email news regularly. And of course, all have their contact info, including email addy listed on the web site and in Parachutist. -Ed Scott, Executive Director Read the USPA blog!
  25. Hey Simon! The travel page was moved to its own new home, but you're right, we did forget that TSA letter. It's up now, on that page plus the Downloads page (where, incidentally, you can also find just about every USPA form, manual, pdf, anything in one handy location