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Found 275 results

  1. WASHINGTON -- Everybody knows it was Neil Armstrong that took that historic one small step. But now several parachutists are aiming to take giant leaps that could lead to a new form of extreme sport - spacediving. Technology and bravado are merging to create a new breed of high-altitude hopefuls - people ready to take the fall of a lifetime. The hope is to shatter a four decades old record by freefalling from the edge of space, break the speed of sound on the way down, and live to tell about it. Vaulting into the void In the 1950s, the U.S. Air Force took on the issue of hazards faced by flight crews bailing out from high-flying aircraft. As part of the research, Project Excelsior used a gondola-toting balloon to carry a pilot high into the stratosphere. From the end of 1959 into mid-1960, Captain Joseph Kittinger took three leaps of faith. He counted on himself, medical experts, protective gear, and a newly devised parachute system to ensure a safe and controlled descent to the ground. On August 16, 1960, Kittinger jumped his last Excelsior jump, doing so from an air-thin height of 102,800 feet (31,334 meters). From that nearly 20 miles altitude, his tumble toward terra firma took some 4 minutes and 36 seconds. Exceeding the speed of sound during the fall, Kittinger used a small stabilizing chute before a larger, main parachute opened in the denser atmosphere. Air Force Captain Joseph Kittinger, Jr. jumps from Excelsior III balloon gondola in 1960 test, freefalling toward Earth for over 4 minutes. CREDIT: U.S. AIR FORCE He safely touched down in barren New Mexico desert, 13 minutes 45 seconds after he vaulted into the void. The jump set records that still stand today, among them, the highest parachute jump, the longest freefall, and the fastest speed ever attained by a human through the atmosphere. Somewhat in contention is Kittinger's use of the small parachute for stabilization during his record-setting fall. Roger Eugene Andreyev, a Russian, is touted as holding the world's free fall record of 80,325 feet (24,483 meters), made on November 1, 1962. Spring of our intent Now take your own jump from the 1960s to 2001. Several individuals are after the freefall record, on the prowl to raise millions of dollars in sponsorship funds to claim the milestone. Rodd Millner, an Australian ex-commando is putting together the "Space Jump" project. Working with a film company, Millner's balloon ride and follow-on fall would be well documented. Taking two-and-a-half hours to balloon himself up to 130,000 feet (40,000 meters), and outfitted with the latest in survival gear, Millner would high step into the stratosphere. Hot air balloon platforms, a team of skydivers, a Lear Jet, and other aircraft are to be airborne to record Milllner's dive into the record books. "We have involved a special team of experts across a wide range of scientific and technological areas to ensure this project is successfully conducted with optimum safety and with spectacular visual effect," said Walt Missingham, project director of Space Jump, in a group press release from Sydney, Australia. If all remains on track, Millner plans a liftoff in March 2002, ascending from just outside Alice Springs, in the center of Australia. Realistic go-getter Another freefaller is Michel Fournier, a retired French parachute regiment officer. He has made some 8,000 jumps, and is the French record holder for the longest fall, from an altitude of about 37,000 feet (12,000 meters). "I love discovering and experimenting. I'm a realistic go-getter, a little stubborn at times, Fournier said. Calling his effort the "Big Jump", Fournier has assembled a team of experts to assist in strategizing his stratospheric jump from 130,000 feet (40,000 meters). Within 30 seconds of departing his pressurized basket, Fournier hopes to break the sound barrier during his plummet. Equipped with a pressurized suit and special gloves, the diver expects to thwart frigid temperatures and ultraviolet radiation. The fall itself is to last 6 minutes and 25 seconds. It will be the first big aeronautical exploit of the third millennium, Fournier explains. Fournier points to Jean-Francois Clervoy, a European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut, as "godfather of the project". The tragic Challenger accident in 1986 and ESA's work on its own space plane, the Hermes, are singled out by the skydiver as early motivation for his working on the Big Jump. First plans called for the Big Jump taking place in September 2000. The French liftoff site was in the Plaine of Crau. A website about the effort explains that Michel could not jump in France because of administrative reasons. His team is now scouting for another launching site somewhere else in the world. Skydiving skills The StratoQuest mission features world champion skydiver, Cheryl Stearns. She too seeks to break the Kittinger record by dropping to Earth from 130,000 feet (40,000 meters). Stearns is no newcomer to breaking new ground in the air. A commercial airline captain on Boeing 737's, at 13,050 skydives and climbing, she has made the most jumps of any woman in the world, with some 30 world records under her helmet. Carried by balloon to above 99 percent of the Earth's atmosphere, Stearns will wear a customized pressurized space suit. Her freefall velocity may exceed the speed of sound, heading toward Mach 1.3. Maintaining a head down position will get her through transonic, and supersonic speed regimes. But as she begins to enter heavier atmosphere, a dangerous transonic phase comes again. At this point, her skydiving skills are to be tested in order to maintain stability until parachute deployment. The jump is tentatively set for over New Mexico, perhaps in April 2002. Pushing the envelope Where is all this sky jumping headed? First of all, high-altitude skydiving is on the cutting edge, said Mark Norman, an instructor with Freefall Adventures in Williamstown, New Jersey. "Certainly, they are challenging themselves, that's for sure. They are definitely pushing the envelope without any shadow of a doubt," he told SPACE.com. Prior to "hitting the silk", spacediver uses balloon-like device to slow down and protect against forces during initial atmospheric entry. Credit: Canadian Arrow At Freefall Adventures, typical skydiving starts at around 13,500 feet (4,115 meters), Norman said, with a jumper paying $16.00 dollars for the aircraft ride. As one of the busiest centers in the world, the group handles upwards of 15,000 people a year, he said, all hankering for a minute's worth of freefall Norman said that high-altitude skydivers must think safety first, with regards to oxygen and pressurization issues. "So it lends itself to a lot of difficulties and a lot of impracticalities that we don't necessarily need to deal with in the commercial, mainstream skydiving industry," he said. Building a business on people swooping down from the edge of space doesn't seem too practical at the moment, Norman said. Drop zone: Earth But Geoff Sheerin, team leader of the X Prize entry, the suborbital, passenger-carrying Canadian Arrow, believes what is taking place is an early form of spacediving. "A rocket can take a spacediver to any altitude desired in just minutes, resulting in less time exposed to the dangers of vacuum and cold," Sheerin said. "I think this will ultimately lead to suborbital vehicles being the transport of choice for spacediving. Anyone using a rocket for spacediving can demolish any balloon record ever made," he said. To the general public, spacediving might seem impossible, Sheerin said, as most think everything coming back from space burns up on reentry. "If you look at the lower energies involved for suborbital flight, compared to orbital speeds, you realize that material and technology of today can turn spacediving from a suicide jump into a very survivable extreme sport," Sheerin said.
  2. When Todd Davis started skydiving, he had to scrape together every penny he could for the sport. "Once I did my first jump, I knew this is what I wanted to do, but I didn't know how I was going to do it," said Davis, 28, who started jumping 10 years ago. Now, he makes a living off skydiving as a co-owner of Chicagoland Skydiving in Hinckley. He and friend Doug Smith, 27, bought the business in December. Davis said he loves the sport and expects the business to grow. As an instructor and videographer at Chicagoland Skydiving for three years before taking over, he watched skydiving's popularity increase. About 300,000 people skydived last year, for a total of 3.3 million jumps, said Chris Needles, executive director of the U.S. Parachute Association in Alexandria, Va. Increasingly safer equipment and a wider acceptance of jumping out of airplanes for recreation have contributed to skydiving's steady growth, Davis said. "The gear is so advanced now that anybody can skydive, anyone from you to your grandmother," Davis said. In fact, one woman last year went skydiving on her 86th birthday. This year, a woman with Parkinson's disease jumped on Mother's Day. Standard equipment for students at the jump site includes an automatic activation device that will open an emergency parachute if the main parachute is not deployed during a jump. That and other equipment make skydiving costly. A tandem jump in which a student is attached to an instructor while they share a parachute, costs $175. Beginners jumping with their own parachute pay $275 for the required six hours of training. That compares with about 30 minutes of training for a tandem jump. Two instructors jump with each student for the first solo jump. For another $80, a videographer will jump too, recording still and moving images from the one-minute free fall and landing that takes place five or six minutes after the chute opens. Lisa van Deursen, a manager, videographer and instructor at Chicagoland Skydiving, said she would like to see more people hire videographers, but they seem put off by the price. "People can't understand why it's so expensive, but I have $3,000 worth of equipment on my head," she said, referring to helmet cameras. Planes that can hold up to 20 skydivers cost $800,000 to $1.5 million, while parachutes and other gear for one person can cost $5,000 to $12,000. Davis and Smith lease the planes as well as the land used for the business. They employ 25 independent contractors as instructors, pilots and parachute packers. About 6,500 jumps took place last year at the Hinckley site; in 1999, there were 3,200 jumps, according to van Deursen. The growth comes despite the presence of two regional competitors: Skydive Chicago near Ottawa and Skydive Illinois in Morris. Nationally, skydiving has grown at a rate of 2 or 3 percent every year for the past 10 years, Needles said. "It's not perfectly linear at all times because we are affected by movies that come out about skydiving, so you get these great spikes sometimes," Needles said. He said improved safety does seem to be a factor, and he noted that while there are still fatalities associated with the sport, there were only about 30 deaths in the U.S. last year out of about 3.3 million jumps. The number of annual fatalities has remained steady for 10 years, despite jumps increasing each year, Needles said. Davis said he thinks the sport will continue to grow because of the natural curiosity many people have about flight. "It's the closest to flying outside of your dreams," he said. For information or reservations, call 815-286-9200. Chicago Tribune
  3. admin

    Three Jump Plane-to-Plane

    Joe Jennings is back at it again! Only this time, the stunt is bigger and better than anything like it before. The group shot this stunt at Skydive Arizona, in Eloy, for a television show called "That's Incredible"-a remake of the 70's show that inspired many of our current skydivers and stunt people today-which should air in late spring. Teaming up with some of the best skydivers in the world-Omar Alhegelan, Greg Gasson, and Steve Curtis - Joe planned a stunt that started three skydivers in one airplane and ended with them in a completely different airplane. Photos: Brent Finley Joe Jennings flew the main camera with other angles shot by Brent Finley (who graciously let us use his pictures) and Blake. Joe enlisted the piloting skills of Larry Hill and his son, Sean, to fly the two birds. Larry flew the Otter that the jumpers started in while Sean flew the Porter, which was the final destination for the jumpers. Joe also hired Scott Christianson to rig the drogue chute for the plane with an assistant, Chuck Ross. Carl Nespoli was in charge of turning on all the P.O.V. cameras mounted to the Porter and also jumping from the Porter with the drogue d-bag to deploy the drogue. Joe's team started testing the stunt on a Tuesday, but was only able to make one jump due to the production company dealing with legal and insurance issues. On Wednesday, the production company that was originally in this backed out, so Joe hired the crew under his own production company. Thursday came and the team did one jump, which resulted in a broken drogue chute. Sean Hill recovered the Porter and landed. After that, 60 mph dust storms and the broken drogue chute brought an early end to the day. Friday came early and yielded blue skies and a wind warning. The team rushed to the DZ and had a go at it. The team went up in the plane, ready to jump. They made their first practice jump for the day. Omar caught up with the Porter, climbed in, and waved to camera flyers! During jump number one, the three jumpers-Omar, Greg, and Steve-caught up with the plane and climbed in by 8,000 ft. This whole stunt was achieved in only 40 seconds! In an e-mail, Joe said, "We could have done it with five guys, but three was all we needed for a great stunt, so our work was done." Soon after the stunt was finished, the original producers returned and finished up the job. The final product seemed as though they never left. Congratulations to Joe and his whole crew on this unbelievable stunt. I am sure that we will be seeing much more from Joe after this.
  4. Sung Chang-woo, a member of the Republic of Korea Army Special Forces (KASF), has the highest record for the number of skydiving parachute jumps in Korea making some 5,000. The record was achieved in the "25th Skydiving and Parachute Contest," organized by KASF, on Saturday. Sung jumped off from 10,000ft above the ground with his 12 year-old daughter on Children's Day and later said in an interview that he was happy to find the time to spend with his daughter, which he finds difficult to do sometimes. Sung first joined the KASF in 1979 and began skydiving in 1989. Sung even held his wedding ceremony in the sky, despite the strong objections from the bride's family. He also has a license in scuba-diving along with many other outdoor pursuits, and is a skydiving judge in international competitions.
  5. admin

    Skydiver drops lead weights

    Bystanders at Rotorua Airport were sprayed with lead shot after a pair of 2.5kg skydiver's weights plummeted 762m, hitting the ground with such force that witness thought they were exploding bombs. The weights, made from black fabric bags filled with lead, are used as ballast to keep a falling skydiver stable. But during a routine jump on Sunday afternoon, skydiver Gregg Eagles left his weights tucked into the pouch that held his parachute secure in its backpack. When he released the ripcord, they fell to the ground, landing near the airport entrance with such force that police were called to investigate reports of homemade explosives being detonated. Police thought they might have been dealing with explosives left by a bomber and detonated when a car drove over them. They began an investigation to see if similar incidents had happened at other airports. Reports of the "bombs" were sent out on the news wires. One woman was slightly injured when she was peppered with lead pellets, but Detective Sergeant Mark Loper said someone could have been killed if the bags had scored a direct hit. Mr Eagles, a veteran of more than 500 jumps, had no idea he had lost the weights until he got a phone call yesterday morning. He said he did not see the weights because they "blended in" and he usually used larger ones made from 4-litre oil cans. "I really don't know how it happened ... I won't be using those weights again. "When I found out I thought, 'Oh no, what have I killed?' Somebody could have been really badly hurt," said Mr Eagles. Dr Chris Tindle, a physicist at Auckland University, said it was difficult to know the speed and force the weights would have reached when they hit the ground. But they were probably falling at terminal velocity. They would have had enough force to easily cave in a car roof and anyone hit would certainly have been killed. "It would put a great big dent in almost anything it hit." The Civil Aviation Authority is investigating.
  6. PALATKA — To celebrate his 60th birthday and his forced retirement as an airline pilot, Larry Elmore jumped out of an airplane 60 times in one day. He was forced to retire from Trans World Airlines at age 60 because of Federal Aviation Administration rules on commercial pilots. So Tuesday, Elmore, of nearby Melrose in northeastern Florida, got together at Kay Larkin Airport with a support staff of parachute packers from Skydive Palatka and jumped 60 times to prove a point about his age. Jeff Colley, drop zone manager at Skydive Palatka, said Elmore made his first jump about 6:45 a.m. Tuesday and finished up about 3 p.m. Three planes and three pilots were used to ferry Elmore up for his jumps. Elmore, who started skydiving in 1986, donned a parachute, hopped in a plane, and parachuted down. Upon landing, he would shed his used chute, put on another held waiting for him, hop in the plane and go up for another jump. For the first 59 jumps, he exited the aircraft at 2,300 feet and opened his parachute immediately. On the final jump, Elmore skydived from 13,500 feet, Colley said. Alison Duquette, an FAA spokeswoman, said at age 60 pilots begin a progressive decline that could affect levels of safety for commercial passengers. Elmore has started a new job as a corporate pilot, Colley said.
  7. A 33-year-old Kentucky man, lured to Manhattan by its skyscrapers, parachuted from a downtown office building last night and landed on the sixth-floor rooftop of an adjacent building, police said. Donald Mathis of Louisville was arrested at the scene, 310 Greenwich St., and charged with reckless endangerment and criminal trespassing. He was not injured. "Police said he came to New York for the stunt because "there are no tall buildings in Kentucky."
  8. admin

    Passenger's aerial exit was no joke

    AIR traffic controllers thought the pilot who asked permission "to come overhead at 1,500 feet and throw one of our passengers out" was joking. They watched, amused, as "a bundle" fell out and disappeared near hangars at Coventry airport. Only when they saw fire and rescue crews rushing across the airfield 20 minutes later did they realise that what they had seen was not a joke. The "bundle" dropped from the aircraft was Dave Clements, 45, a mechanic, of Dunkeswell, Devon, one of the crew of the 1944 Douglas DC3 which had been dropping poppy petals over a war memorial on Remembrance Day last year. Mr Clements had not, however, been thrown out. He had attempted a parachute jump. "His exit through the rear door was uneventful but before he cleared the aircraft he struck part of it, breaking his left arm," said an Air Accident Investigations Branch report on the incident, published yesterday. Mr Clements's descent became "violently unstable" as he struggled to open his parachute. He also failed to release the reserve chute. At 200 feet the main parachute opened partially but could not save him from landing on his back on the hangar, suffering broken ribs and internal injuries. The report said the control tower had asked the pilot what had happened and was told a parachutist had jumped. It added: "Because the bundle seen leaving the aircraft had appeared small the controllers continued to believe that they were the victims of a practical joke." The AAIB report recommended modifications to the aircraft to prevent similar accidents occurring.
  9. admin

    Woman goes skydiving for 85th birthday

    Iona DiFilippi makes one of her dreams come true by jumping out of a plane 10,000 feet in the air. Strapped to a ‘chute and sporting mechanic’s overalls — the skydiving suits were too big for her small frame — Iona DiFilippi said she had no fear as the plane ascended to 10,000 feet and she prepared to leap to the ground. “The first micro-second after I tumbled out of the plane I thought, ‘Why am I doing this?’ But after that it was wonderful,” she said Sunday from her Salem home. DiFilippi has wanted to jump out of a plane for the past 60 years. She finally took the plunge Saturday to celebrate her 85th birthday. Nose cold and wind rushing by, she said the 30 seconds of freefall was over too soon — a little like the years she was busy raising a family and didn’t have time to go leaping out of planes. “The time just goes by so fast,” she said of the years she wanted to skydive but never got around to it. So a few years ago she decided her 85th birthday would be the day to become a daredevil. Taking advantage of a sunny break in the rain and hail above Creswell, the skydiving crew jumped in the plane and made it all possible. Because it was her first jump, DiFilippi was hooked to an instructor. After the pair leapt from the plane and DiFilippi got over her brief moment of fright, she said the world was beautiful as they glided toward it. “It really is a wonderful sensation, floating down and seeing the horizon so far away,” she said. Landing firmly and safely on her legs, DiFilippi said getting hurt wasn’t any more a concern than her age. In fact, she welcomes people of all ages and abilities to try it out. “It isn’t just for healthy people. It’s something that people of all abilities can do.” DiFilippi’s only complaint was of the brisk spring air at 10,000 feet. “Next time I’m going to do it in the summer.”
  10. At age 24, after four years with the same fantastic person, I knew it was time to pop the big question to my wonderful girlfriend, Marie. But I knew that an extraordinary person like her deserved nothing but an extraordinary marriage proposal. I knew that it couldn't be over a dinner, or up in lights at a stadium or anything like that. Not that those ways are bad; they just aren't really me, and I wanted something that was unique. Then it came to me. I have been a skydiver for a few years and have accumulated 113 skydives to my credit. What better way to propose than to jump out of a plane! After all, marriage is "the big leap," right? So, on Valentine's Day, while my girlfriend and the rest of the world dutifully spent the day working, I hopped in my car and drove to Skydance Skydiving in Davis. The night before, I had taken a white bath towel, cut it in half and written the words "Marry Me" on it. When I showed up at the dropzone in Davis, I was a little more nervous than usual for the skydive. But once the cameraman and I got in the plane, the routines of the dive started coming back to me. The cameraman, Tim, who was going to be filming and photographing my skydive, turned to me at 11,000 feet in the plane and yelled, "You ready for this?" I wasn't sure whether he was referring to the skydive or the wedding proposal, but I shouted back, "Heck, yeah!" The door opened and the whoosh of the wind rushed in and filled my ears. Tim climbed outside the plane and turned to face me. I stuck my head out into the fierce wind and started the exit count: "Ready, set, go!" Free fall. There really is nothing like it in the world, and words do not do it justice. As soon as I exited the plane, the technique took over and all nervous energy turned into the magic flow of a skydive. I stabilized and unfurled the sign, which flapped madly in the wind. So there we were -- falling toward Earth at 120 mph. It was beautiful; peaceful, actually. After a little more than 30 seconds of free fall, my altimeter read 4,500 feet. It was pull time. The parachute opened, and I sank down to a tiptoe landing. The cameraman and I rushed into the video editing room to see how the video turned out. To our delight, everything turned out fantastic. Tim took the time to edit the song I wanted on it, Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes." It was now 6:30 p.m. on Valentine's Day, and Marie had just gotten home from work. I'd set up the family room with lighted candles and three packages. She had a note in front of her wishing her a happy Valentine's Day and instructions to not ask any questions until the final gift had been opened. She opened the first gift, Peter Gabriel's album "So," with the song "In Your Eyes" on it. She smiled and then went for gift No. 2: a roll of undeveloped film (which contained the still photographs of the skydive that she could develop the next day). She looked at me quizzically but remembered not to ask any questions. Now it was time for the big final gift. She opened it: the skydiving videotape I had filmed earlier in the day. She put the video into the VCR, not knowing what was on it. The tape began with me saying, "I'm ready to take the leap." Peter Gabriel's chorus of "In Your Eyes" rolled on and the video progressed. The door of the plane opened and Marie watched with eager anticipation. I exited the plane and unfurled the sign, which was at first so flappy she couldn't read it. The camera man flew in closer and then the words became crystal clear: "Marry Me." She read it ... she cried ... and she said yes. Brad Koch lives in Pleasanton.
  11. admin

    Love is in the air

    TUJUNGA -- As they jumped from a plane at 1,300 feet above Perris Valley Skydiving Center and fell at speeds of up to 120 mph, a husband and wife kissed while their high-flying wedding party formed a heart-shaped formation around them in celebration of 25 years of marriage. Jim Papke and Titania Pashkova of Tujunga both agreed it was the best dive they've ever had. Papke, who dressed up for the April 1 jump in a white jumpsuit, tuxedo shirt, bow tie and corsage, said that despite several weeks of rain delays and bad weather on the day of the jump, it turned out to be a beautiful day for him and his bride. "To share the whole experience with our friends was great," Papke said. "Life is short, so enjoy the ride." The couple's actual anniversary is Feb. 21. Pashkova, who wore a white helmet, a veil and flowers Velcroed onto her wrist, said the jump was "fantastic." "It's just tumbling and dancing in the air," said Pashkova, who owns and operates Pashkova Studios, a dance studio in Tujunga. "We only gave our parents three days' notice the first time we were married, so this time we planned ahead and involved our friends." Though risk and fear factors certainly come into play when throwing yourself from an airplane and free falling for about a minute, both Papke and Pashkova said they were more cautious in their daily lives because of 15 or more years' experience skydiving. "I feel more at ease in the air than I do in city traffic," Papke, an aviation teacher and member of the Screen Actors Guild, said. "The whole idea of jumping out of a plane doesn't bother me." The Rev. Kathy Theodore of North Hollywood was in the plane to conduct the service, which had to fit into a 12-minute time window right before the group jumped. "I had to yell everything," said Theodore, who opted not to jump. "It was cool, and the most wacky wedding vow renewal ceremony I've ever done."
  12. Joel Griffin, who said she felt as though her body had exploded, after the accident, and leaving court yesterday. Joel Griffin thought she was dying. Having crashed to the ground from a height of 3,000 metres, she had no feeling in her legs and was in excruciating pain. Told by doctors she would never walk again, the 25-year-old skydiver has overcome that, but still suffers back pain, cannot play many sports and is unable to work fulltime, she told the NSW District Court yesterday. Mrs Griffin, who has a six-month-old child, is suing the Byron Bay Skydiving Centre, claiming it was negligent by misleading her and failing to safely supervise the jump. Her counsel, Mr Andrew Morrison, SC, said in his opening address that despite his client's concerns that the wind was too strong, she was persuaded to go and reassured it was safe. Mrs Griffin had been told in her training that she should not skydive if the wind exceeded 15 knots, he said. Meteorological evidence would show the wind was well over 15-20 knots. The accident happened on November 2, 1995. It was her 28th jump and part of a publicity stunt. The skydiving business had been sold, and the old owners had planned to exchange contracts in midair. Before the aircraft took off, Mrs Griffin said, the safety officer on the ground, Mr Steve Lewis, had said to her "the wind was a bit suss" and that he would measure it. She had told him she would not go, but he said: "It'll be okay. I'll radio the plane if it gets any stronger." "Once we got up I noticed there was a lot of white caps on the water, and trees were moving around a lot." She told the instructors in the aircraft, who told her "it'd be okay". As they were climbing out of the aircraft, she checked with the pilot whether Mr Lewis had made any communication about wind speed. He had not, and they went ahead with the jump. "I could tell the wind was very strong," she said. "I was flying along just going straight ... and I felt myself pull backwards really hard and looked up and saw my parachute was tangled. I just started to spiral." She landed extremely hard, she said, and it felt as though her body had exploded. "At first I thought I was going to die. I couldn't feel my legs." She was flown to Lismore Hospital with a fractured spine and was told she would never walk again. She was later transferred to Sydney for surgery. Since the accident Mrs Griffin has taken part in two tandem dives, but in these jumps the instructor took the full brunt of the landing, she said. "Skydiving for me is a passion, and I guess I was denying that anything was wrong with me to get up and do it again." She wants compensation for past and future medical expenses, and for economic loss. The hearing continues. Photos: Rick Stevens and Jon Reid
  13. admin

    BASE Jumper Cleared by Court

    Westminster man who smashed window trying to parachute off hotel has landed an acquittal. Harry Caylor found a thrill to match jumping off downtown buildings -- in a first-floor courtroom of Denver District Court on Wednesday. A four-woman, two-man jury had just acquitted the 31-year-old Westminster man of reckless endangerment. "I'm about to have an aneurysm," Caylor joked, noting that the feeling was similar to what he goes through in as a BASE jumper. "Racing pulse. Pounding heart. Sweaty palms," Caylor said before hugging his friends and lawyer. Prosecutors had charged Caylor in a botched Oct. 2 parachute jump that ended with his smashing through a window on the 21st floor of Embassy Suites. They contended that glass fragments would have rained down upon a hotel concierge on 19th Street if she had not stopped to pick up a pen beneath a canopy. But Caylor's lawyer Gage Fellows argued that it was just an accident and that the concierge, or doorkeeper, was not in harm's way. Fellows also emphasized the precautions Caylor took before jumping. He also pointed out that there is no law in Denver against BASE jumping, which stands for Building, Antenna, Span and Earth. Those arguments proved persuasive, said jury forewoman Larissa Hernandez-Ottinger. "We felt he took a lot of precautions," she said. "He planned this out carefully. "Something did go wrong, which is bad. But because of all the precautions he took, no one was injured." Juror Cecilia Sambrano said she agreed that the concierge did not appear to have been in danger. And several jurors said they believe the city ought to have a law against BASE jumping off public buildings. But since no such law exists, they saw their verdict as a separate issue. Hernandez-Ottinger said the jury might have convicted Caylor if he had been charged with trespass. Prosecutors did not file that charge, in part, because a door leading to the roof had been left unlocked, said Lynn Kimbrough, a spokeswoman for the Denver district attorney's office. "I'm still sorry I did it, and I'm definitely guilty of breaking their glass," said Caylor, adding he had offered to reimburse the hotel. But he was elated with the verdict. "We're going to name a cliff in Moab, Utah, after Judge Doris Burd," the trial judge, he said. "And we'll name a cliff for every one of the jurors."
  14. admin

    Australian to Jump from 130,000 ft

    An Australian parachutist is planning to jump out of a balloon floating nearly 40 kilometres above the Earth's surface. Rodd Millner expects to reach speeds of between 1,600 and 1,800 kilometres (994-1,118 miles) per hour during his descent. If he pulls it off, he will become only the second man to break the sound barrier by merely falling through the air. Millner, who will begin his ascent just outside Alice Springs, will have to wear a special pressure suit to survive the cold and lack of oxygen at high altitude. The chute itself will have to be much bigger than usual to cope with the extra load being carried. 'Safe and alive' "Well, I believe with all the research that it's safe, but really no-one's ever been this fast before in this environment," the former army reservist and night-club bouncer said. "Ultimately, we don't know but research suggests it will be a stable and safe fall and my decision to do this is based on the fact that I want to come back safe and alive." Joe Kittinger Junior holds the current world-record high-altitude skydiving record. He leapt from a balloon that was 31,341 metres (102,800 feet) above the Earth in August, 1960. Kittinger reached a speed of 1,149 kilometres (714 miles) an hour during his freefall. Competitive environment Millner faces competition from elite skydiver Cheryl Stearns. The airline pilot has countless parachuting records to her name and has put together the StratoQuest project with the aim of making a 40 km jump next year. Both Millner and Stearns are now acquiring the knowledge and developing the equipment that will safeguard their descent. Millner said his fall would be slowed by the Earth's atmosphere so by the time he got down to about two kilometres he would be at or below normal parachute speeds. "What I will be doing is that as I come closer to Earth the atmosphere will thicken and that will slow me down, so eventually I'll be getting to 5,000 ft (1,524 m), 10,000 ft (3,050 m), and I will be going my normal parachute speed, probably slower actually, and then I will be able to release my parachute as per normal and then land as in training," he explained. Computer games The jump may be a relaxing change for a man who teaches explosives and mine warfare to Australian army recruits. Millner hopes to turn his plunge into a virtual computer game using film from cameras that will be fitted to his suit and the balloon. "It's basically extreme science to see how far we can push it - this is going to change the face of a lot of things...including emergency procedures for people exploring space," Millner said. Project Space Jump will be launched from Alice Springs in March 2002. Although 40 km may sound high, it is still not regarded as space. Most experts mark that boundary as beginning somewhere between 80 and 100 km (50-62 miles).
  15. People who skydive or engage in other recreational activities could be denied health coverage by their employers' group health plans if new regulations are left intact by the federal government. USPA urges all skydivers to submit letters to three federal agencies in an effort to overturn the new rules. The new regulations were jointly issued by three federal agencies on January 5TH, in the closing days of the Clinton administration. While published as final rules, there was also a request for comments by April 9, 2001. The new regulations were the final step in a rulemaking process begun in 1996 by the federal government to amend and clarify the rules that apply to employers and group health plan insurers. In 1996, Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to protect workers from discrimination in the health insurance plans offered by employers. Importantly, Congress specifically prohibited employers or health insurance providers from denying health coverage based on a worker's pre-existing medical conditions or participation in legal recreational activities. Quoting from the Congressional Record of that time, the law "is intended to ensure...that individuals are not excluded from health-care coverage due to their participation in activities such as motorcycling, snowmobiling, all-terrain vehicle riding, horseback riding, skiing and other similarly activities." USPA strongly argues that skydiving is a similar activity for the purposes of the law. Applied to skydivers, the new rules do not allow a person to be excluded from his or her employer's group health plan due to skydiving activity. Ironically however, the rules would allow medical claims to be denied in the event of a skydiving injury. In a kind of government double-speak, a summary of the new rules states that "While a person cannot be excluded from a plan for engaging in certain recreational activities...a plan can nonetheless exclude benefits for injuries because they were sustained in connection with various recreational activities..." Unless the new rule is modified, USPA fears that it's members could face denied coverage after being injured while skydiving. USPA urges all skydivers-and others engaged in recreational activities-to voice opposition to the new rules to the three federal agencies involved-the Internal Revenue Service, the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, and the Health Care Financing Administration. USPA is coordinating its efforts with other sport and recreational organizations and associations. USPA also plans to appeal directly to the Bush administration. For more information including customized letters and organizations that you can petition please visit the USPA Site
  16. SAMSULA -- What was intended to be an eye-catching start to the annual Bike Week cole slaw wresting event at Sopotnik's Cabbage Patch turned scary this afternoon when a skydiver landed on a woman serving beer at the edge of the huge outdoor makeshift arena. Sherri Lee, 37, of Daytona Beach Shores, was knocked unconscious when the skydiver landed on top of her at about 1:40 p.m. The collision occurred in front of a beer truck where she was walking with a tray of beverages. Within minutes a Volusia County Fire and Rescue team responded, and she was airlifted by helicopter to Halifax Medical Center at about 1:40 p.m. "I didn't even see her," said the skydiver, Clarence Swimm, shortly after the accident. "It wasn't my fault." Swimm, 56, an independent parachutist hired by the Cabbage Patch, said he was uninjured, although "it knocked the wind out of me." He said there was no way he could stop the landing. "It wasn't my fault." Lee was reportedly a volunteer server for the Slovene National Benefit Society. Halifax Medical Center personnel could not release her condition until family members had been notified. But Sheriff's Department spokesman Gary Davidson said she had swelling to the face, left eye and mouth. Although the incident put a temporary damper on the festivities, which drew an estimated 25,000 bikers, the coleslaw wrestling went on as usual about 15 minutes later. Woman still hospitalized after being hit by skydiver 03/09/2001 DAYTONA BEACH -- A Daytona Beach Shores woman injured when a sky diver landed on top of her at the Cabbage Patch in Samsula remained hospitalized Thursday in serious but stable condition. Sherri Lee, 37, was serving beer in the huge outdoor arena set up for the annual Bike Week coleslaw wrestling event when Clarence Swimm, a parachutist hired by the Cabbage Patch to kickoff the wrestling, collided with her as he made his descent Wednesday afternoon. Lee's attorney, Brian Toung of Daytona Beach, said she suffered injuries to her face, head and neck and is now conscious but "very confused." She is in neck traction in the surgical intensive care unit at Halifax Medical Center, and undergoing diagnostic tests. "There is a concern she may have brain and (spinal) chord damage," he said. Her mother, Barbara Mooney of New Smyrna Beach, has been with her at the hospital. Toung said Lee, who lives in Ormond Beach, holds down two jobs as a waitress -- at Pizzeria Uno in Daytona Beach and at the Old Florida Club in Ponce Inlet -- but has no health insurance. She was working as a volunteer server at the coleslaw event and walking in front of the beverage table set up at one end of the arena when the accident happened. Swimm was not injured. Toung said he planned to file suit Friday in circuit court against Cabbage Patch owner Ron Luznar and Swimm, as well as "anyone who could share liability." According to sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson, no criminal charges are being filed.
  17. admin

    Skydivers Leap from Malaysian Tower

    Fifty-three skydivers have leapt off the world's fourth tallest communications building, the broadcasting tower in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur. Hundreds of people watched the jumps off the observation deck of the 421m tower to celebrate Kuala Lumpur's City Day. It is the second time in recent weeks Malaysia has allowed skydivers to parachute off buildings - a sport that has proved controversial in other countries. Base-jumping - or parachuting from buildings, bridges and cliffs - is considered more dangerous than conventional skydiving from planes and at least 39 people have died since 1980. It runs foul of trespassing laws in most countries, where governments and property owners fear lawsuits if there is an accident, and many jumps are now carried out in secret. However, Malaysia has welcomed the sport, which some say could be promoted as a tourist attraction. On New Year's Eve, 15 jumpers leapt off Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Twin Towers, the world's tallest buildings. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad expressed delight at the feat which was watched by 100,000 people. The company which set up the event hopes to stage an extreme jumping world championship in Malaysia in August. Freefall Those taking part in the latest leap included skydivers from America, Australia, Malaysia, Sweden, Canada, Britain, Iceland, Norway, New Zealand and Switzerland. Each parachutist was expected to make 10 jumps from the 300m mark on the tower during the six-hour event. The skydivers freefell for about three seconds before opening their parachutes. "It's a treat to be here," said British jumper Nikolas Hartshorne. "Malaysia has done something that America won't do." "Getting a building elsewhere is very hard," added American Avery Badenhop. "But here, people seem to realise we should be free. It's our life, it's our fate." Malaysian officials say they recognise the perils of base jumping and all 53 parachutists signed insurance waivers. Rozitah Idris, marketing manager for the broadcasting tower, said he believed the sport would help draw tourists to Malaysia.
  18. Results of the USPA Board of Directors Election (1/5/00) NATIONAL BJ Worth Roger Nelson Glenn Bangs John DeSantis Mike Mullins Michael Ortiz Don Yahrling Larry Hill REGIONAL Central: Gary Peek Eastern: Mike Perry Gulf: Madolyn Murdock Mid-Atlantic: Gene Paul Thacker Mideastern: Gary Cooper Mountain: Marty Jones North Central: John Goswitz Northeast: Marylou Laughlin Northwest: Jessie Farrington Pacific: Jess Rodriquez Southeast: Barry Chase Southern: Larry Stapleton Southwest: Lee Schlichtemeier Western: Harry Leiche
  19. Fédération Aéronautique Internationale and Discovery Wings Channel agree on production and broadcast partnership Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, (FAI), the world governing body for air sports, is proud to announce the first time ever long term partnership with a television channel: Discovery Wings Channel, the premier destination for airsports enthusiasts in the USA and North America. Eilif Ness, FAI President, and Tim Knatchbull, Director of development and programme partnerships for Discovery Digital Network, signed the agreement today in Linköping, Sweden, at the FAI annual General Conference, attended by delegates from the 93 member countries. "We are extremely proud to continue our work with FAI and our new agreement significantly augments Discovery Digital Networks continuing efforts to present timely, in-depth, and personal programming for our viewers, said Charly Humbard, senior vice president and general manager for DDN." Said Eilif Ness, FAI president: "FAI is pleased to have reached agreement with a prestigious network such as Discovery Digital Networks, and more specifically with a channel that intends to explain airsports to the public as well as show spectacular images. This agreement is undoubtedly a very important step in FAI's effort to give airsports the wide television exposure they deserve." FAI's TV production began in 1999, with a series of 6 programmes featuring World or Continental Championships in various airsports disciplines. The programmes were distributed worldwide and gained a total audience of more than 5 millions adult viewers. This was only a start as the series continues in 2000, with Discovery Wings Channel's partnership and other programmes. The 2001 plans are already very advanced as FAI is preparing daily programmes during the FAI World Air Games, in Andalucia, Spain, including coverage of more than 20 Championships. The Discovery Wings channel partnership will include three one hour programmes on the FAI 2000 World speedgliding championships in Greece, the FAI 2000 World Aerobatics Championships in Muret, France, and the FAI 2000 World Cup of skydiving in Eloy, USA. These events will be part of a new monthly series: "Sports on Wings", scheduled to launch in the second quarter of 2001. Discovery Wings Channel will also have the exclusive North American broadcast rights for the FAI 2001 World Air Games. The monthly, one-hour series, will air in the USA on Discovery Wings Channel, and on Discovery's international network in the UK, Latin America and Asia. Said Tim Knatchbull, "this is a partnership made in heaven - or at least in the skies". For more information, please contact: Mrs. Patricia Lamy-Airault (FAI Media Officer) Email: patricialamy@fai.org
  20. It would be difficult, at best, to write a complete and comprehensive guide to freefall photography. Patrick Weldon's "Flying the Camera" is the first attempt I have seen to do so, and is well worth the $34.95 purchase price for an aspiring freefall photographer. It covers a lot in a short book, and may fall just short of being 'complete,' but it sure is a great way to learn the basics. It may even save you some money by helping you avoid common 'beginner' mistakes. Review this Book Buy from Amazon.com By covering a complex subject in a short book, Weldon leaves a lot out - but he does so effectively, by making the information easy to read and follow. The information he leaves out is the sort that is usually more easily learned through personal experience anyhow. Most of the missing information is of the advanced or expert variety. If I noticed one thing that detracted from the overall impression I got from the book, it would be the quality of the illustrations and photos. The hand drawn illustrations were crude, but effective, and several of the photos seemed ill thought-out. Specifically, in the section where Weldon chides the neophyte photographer to always keep the subjects face in the sun, the example photos show the subjects face half-shaded. Nevertheless, even with cheesy drawings, the book does an excellent job of making a difficult subject into a set of tasks that are easily broken down and understood. Each area is thoroughly explained, from the equipment required to safely photograph each jump, to the proper editing technique for a tandem video. Weldon tries to cover it all and does a good job of doing so. No book on freefall photography can avoid personal technique - and there is an endless set of variations on this. Each individual has their own style, and this comes with experience. "Flying the camera" is a great introduction, but no book can teach technique. What a book can teach, however, is method - and at this "Flying the camera" is a huge success. It is in the specific methods and 'tricks' that Patrick Weldon shined the brightest - the book is full of useful hints that even seasoned photographers can benefit from - I sure did. But the book also had some controversial advice, and went directly against a personal philosophy - that of what to do when you open you parachute while wearing a camera helmet. The book specifically recommends that you put your head on your chest and look down - I was taught, and personal experience reinforced - that you always look at the horizon during opening and keep your head level to your shoulders. The difference is in the details and I am certain there are many sides to the argument. My opinion is just that - opinion. In freefall photography, whatever the technique - the method remains the same - and it really does come down to personal experience. That is what skydiving is all about, and photography just expands this - it captures an intensely personal experience and allows us to share that vision with the world. With rapid advances in camera technology, more and more skydivers are now flying a camera. This book will not cover all of the subject areas of interest, but for a novice freefall photographer this book can provide invaluable advice and guidance - and potentially save you a lot of wasted time and money. Even where the book is less-than-perfect, it is certainly better than nothing, and Patrick Weldon should be proud of his work. "Flying the camera" fills a huge gap of knowledge and will be a great benefit to anyone interested in freefall photography. Flying the Camera, the complete guide to freefall photography & skydiving video" Patrick Weldon$34.95 Available through Amazon books.
  21. admin

    New Beginning For Irish Skydiving

    The Irish Nationals were held at the Wild Geese Skydiving Centre in Northern Ireland the weekend of the 9/10th of September. It was the first time that clubs from the North and South of Ireland joined together to have the "ALL Ireland Nationals". It was decided by the Parachute Association of Ireland to go ahead with the proposal from the WGSC to host the Irish Nationals 2000 up north. In the last 18 months skydiving centres in Ireland have joined together to have "All Ireland Boogies". We are trying to do our part in the hope of promoting peace in Northern Ireland. The Wild Geese Staff were very friendly and helpful. The centre itself has excellent facilities including a brand new Cessna Caravan, which was used to haul the 4-way teams to 10,500ft AGL. A Cessna 206 was used for the Accuracy event. There were professional judges on hand to score competitors best efforts. Saturday proved to be the better day for weather so there was no time wasting in getting the competition underway. The Accuracy event was the first to begin, as cloud base for the early morning was 4,000ft AGL. There were three categories in this event, Novice, Junior and Senior. The Wild Geese had jumpers in the air at all times and this event completed at around 4pm. Congrats to the winners of each category. The 4-way event started a couple of hours after the Accuracy. Cloud base lifted and the warm sunshine dissolved the clouds to allow for blue skies to spread through the skies of Northern Ireland. This event had 2 categories, Junior and Senior. It was planned to have 6 rounds of competition in both categories. Competitors and staff worked close together to keep everything running smooth. In the end the weather decided that the 4-way event would end after 5 rounds. Teams posted respectable scores and everybody had a great time. In the end team IPC Vision posted a 7.6 average and will go on to represent Ireland at the World Air Games in Spain 2001. Many thanks to the Wild Geese for being very professional. Team IPC Vision would also like to say a HUGH Thank You to the Irish Parachute Club for their continued support since the beginning. Also the Parachute Association of Ireland, Sunpath Products and Performance Designs. We'll do our best at the World Meet and represent us all well. One final big THANKS to the Spanish National 4-way Team for their expertise and patience on our training camp in Empuriabrava, You guys are second to none.
  22. admin

    Becoming a Camera Flyer

    They're out there every weekend - you see them with the students, following the teams, part of the Freefly revolution. And now you've decided to join them. So you want to be a camera flyer, huh? Here's a few tips to consider before you rush out and buy that first video camera. This article is intended to be a brief introduction to some of the things you need to consider if you want to fly a camera, and is in no way comprehensive. The intent is to get you to consider the choices and options available, and to try to match that with the intended use of the camera. Still cameras, camera helmets, and technique are not covered in this article. Flying a camera is as fun as it gets skydiving - but it can turn your fun into an expensive and frustrating affair in a big hurry, and eat away at your precious jump money even faster. What's that? You don't expect to pay for your jumps if you fly a camera? Well, you will - for at least the first 50 to 100 jumps, until your proficiency (NOT your flying skills) with the equipment and techniques has improved to make it worth while for someone else to pay your slot. This is an additional reason to ensure that the precious money you spend on camera equipment is not wasted due to inexperience. First, as with any major purchase, you have to know what you are going to do with it. The same camcorder may be useful for tandems, AFF, 4-way, and Freeflying, but if you don't know which brand and model that is, you'll likely end up with something that does not do what you expect. Next, start a list - are you intending to make money or just expand your fun? There's a huge difference in between those two answers, and while one does not preclude the other, you may not end up with the right tool for the job. If at all possible, find a mentor! Go out of your way to find an experienced camera flyer and ask for their input. Find out how they got started and why, and what equipment they bought. Ask what hard and expensive lessons they learned - any camera flyer with experience will have a few eye-opening stories for you. They may cause you to reconsider the whole idea - and that's the point. Don't expect that they can drop everything on a Saturday afternoon to help - be reasonable and try to work within their hectic schedule. Obviously, once you've done your homework, it's time to go shopping. In today's consumer environment, there are so many choices and options available it may seem overwhelming to know who to trust and where to go. Do you buy mail order or locally? Do you get the extended warranty they try to sell you? Do you need an extra battery? What about a wide-angle lens? How wide? This is one time it really pays to have a mentor. Personally, I tell every new or want-to-be camera flyer to be careful and ensure that their purchases are what they intend. If you're intending to shoot the Freefly revolution and make awesome head-down videos, a large 3-chip camcorder is probably not what you want to buy. Of course, if you plan on challenging one of the well-known freefall photographers for title of "Top Dog" you may wish to find the most powerful and feature-heavy camera on the market. By contrast, if you are just intending to shoot video for fun and as a point-of-view when you fun jump, then a basic camcorder with an ultra wide-angle lens (0.42x to 0.45x)may be just what you need. Most of Sony's PC series have become very popular as point-of-view cameras, with even the seasoned pros. For freeflying, they're a dream come true, offering great features, top quality images, and a fair price all in a tiny package that is easy to use. In between is a vast assortment of choices, manufacturers, models, and formats. With both Sony and JVC making fine models that are as small as a paperback book, Mini-DV is now the single most popular format to shoot skydiving in. If you intend to shoot videos for hire, such as tandems, check with the local video concession to see what they require. They can also give you an idea of what sort of experience they expect, and how to get it. If you buy an analog camera, even Digital-8, it may be hard to sell later, and it surely will not produce the clear and crisp image you're used to seeing from Mini-DV. Analog camcorders are also not nearly as small and light as Mini-DV. Once you've decided on Mini-DV, the usual manufacturers are JVC and Sony. There are other options, but their equipment is not as robust or well-built as Sony and JVC. They are also not as popular, and while being popular does not mean much - it does mean others have similar equipment, have experience using it, and know what works well and what fails miserably using the camera.Both manufacturers seem to be widely discussed on some of the Internet chat rooms related to video cameras, so there is a ready source of information for those with access. I have a personal preference for Sony - but that is solely based on MY opinion. Sony is without question the most popular brand of camcorder that is found in the sport today. Sony builds top-quality equipment that is small and light, yet packed with features - some of which are useful and some of which are useless. Overall, the Sony line has a reputation for quality and is widely used - therefore it will probably be the easiest for you to learn and understand. The models available seem to change almost daily. In 1996, when I first purchased the Sony PC-7 I own, it was a new and radical departure from camcorder design and sparked an entire line of miniature cameras from both Sony and JVC. Most of these models have very slight differences in features and functions, and are too numerous to discuss at length here. JVC is also popular, but many models do not offer Firewire ports (for perfect digital copies) and do not offer the same image quality as Sony. Prices for Mini-DV camcorders have dropped dramatically. My first Sony VX-700 cost over $2000, and the PC-7 was about the same. Today, many of the PC models from Sony sell on the street for $1000 or less. I have seen JVC models advertised as low as $750. Once you have narrowed your search to a specific brand and model (or models) it's time to decide where to buy. I always try to go to a local business and make a point to get to know one of the sales people. I make them show me the model(s) I am interested in, tell them I'm serious about buying it, and inquire about price. I also tell them I am considering buying mail order, and why. In many cases, the local retailer will not be able to match a mail order price. However, any mail order purchase has its own risks - which often outweigh the potential cost savings. Most on-line or magazine-ad merchants have large restock fees if the equipment is returned - even if it's their fault or broken when you get it. They may also try to charge you extra for items the manufacturer intended to be included with the basic package - including batteries! I know of at least one merchant in New Jersey who shipped me an empty box - and charged me for it. When I called to complain, I was told I'd be charged a restock fee even though the box was empty. Buyer beware, indeed. At any rate - wherever you buy your camera, ensure it is packaged with all of the accessories that are supposed to be included. It may require a visit to the manufacturer's web site, but the effort may save you heartache later on if something important is missing. Most camcorders do NOT include a wide-angle lens, or the adapter 'Step-up' ring that may be required to mount one. Again, do your homework and know what to expect and what you will have to purchase separately. Personally, I always buy one extra battery and if I do not already have one, a wide-angle lens with the required adapters. Once you actually do purchase the unit, I recommend one more step prior to purchasing your camera helmet - read the owner's manual thoroughly! Aside from being the best way to find out what buttons do what, it is also the only place you can learn what the different indicators and icons really mean. Knowing that may help you later, when you're on jump run at sunset for the coolest dive of the year. There you are, fat, dumb, and happy, when your camera begins to display funny codes and weird symbols, while making grinding noises and spitting out digital tape. Next up is buying a camera helmet - but that will have to wait for another installment. Remember - this was your idea! You wanted to fly a camera, even after I warned you… About Robbie Culver Robbie Culver is a freefall photographer with 2800 jumps, about 1800 with cameras. Robbie's still photography has been featured in Skydiving and Parachutist magazines, the USPA Calendar, and in various industry ads. His video credits include the staff of Roger Ponce's Color Concepts at the World Freefall Convention, the 1999 Lost Prairie Boogie video, and annual dropzone highlight videos. He and his wife Brenda skydive in the Chicago area, where Brenda is an aspiring 4-way competitor and CReW dog. They can be found most weekends at Chicagoland Skydiving in Hinckley. Examples of Robbie's work and tips on freefall photography can be found on his web site, www.skydreams.net.
  23. Please pass this on The Skydog Skydiving "Dog-House" is no longer located solely in Washington State. Should you wish to get membership or chapter cards- bumper stickers- t-shirts or sweats or wish to find out what is going on with skydog contact Mr. Richard Hutchinson (skydog#0037) in Houston Texas skydog@ix.netcom.com Hutch can also be found in tent#4 at Quincey this year as an organizer if you're going ...Woof! Hutch has been a great skydog from the beginning and his friends in the lone star state seem to embody the spirit of camaraderie that "is" skydog. Skydog will continue to be a group USPA member for many years to come and as such has (as you may know) moved it local affiliation to Olympic Skydiving Association located both in Port Townsend and Sequim. You can reach OSA through Lynn Beckhorn skydogpack@waypt.com The website http://www.skydog-skydiving.com should be back up running soon... Skydog #0003
  24. Skysurfers, Skydivers, jumpers at all levels remember Rob Harris as the twice World Champion Skysurfer, as the first Extreme Games Skysurfing Champion, but most of all as The Humble Champion. Rob helped to bring the sport of skysurfing to the public eye in an exciting, fun, and classy style. He accomplished this through his creative talents, his disciplines, his passion for skysurfing, and most importantly through helping others while seeking his personal best. Rob became a role model in the sport he loved the most, inspiring many to do their first jump and some to go into competition. He was the Pied-Piper for many DZs. Now, in Rob's memory, TRHF is zealously asking all DZs and jumpers to help continue Passing the Torch of a Humble Champion. The Harris Family has donated Rob's AAD Cypres by AirTec to TRHF. The Foundation is now offering chances for the Cypres in hopes of generating funds for its charitable obligations in the year 2000. SSKI Inc. has donated the 4-year check plus batteries!! The drawing will be announced and held some time during the year. Your help is needed in distributing and/or posting entry form flyers at your DZ as soon as possible (Please make your own copies of the entry form flyer). This same information is on TRHF web site http://www.robharris.org/ as all tickets will be sold through the mail by the Foundation.All you have to do to help is: Make copies of the entry form flyer and distribute them or post them at your DZ in a place accessible to all students and jumpers. Encourage your students who plan to be future jumpers, and those jumpers who don't own an AAD to purchase a chance. Any PR generated at your DZ for this worthy cause will be most appreciated. The Board of Directors of TRHF and the Harris Family thank you in memory of Rob's passion for living, and hope to hear you say: "Yes, we'll help to continue Passing the Torch of a Humble Champion." Blue Skies Forever! You can download a PDF Enty Form here. THE ROB HARRIS FOUNDATION 1217 Third Street Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 Phone: 310.379.1697, Fax: 310.374.1712 Email: BlueSkies53@earthlink.net Website: http://www.robharris.org/ TRHF is a non-profit organization (501C3)
  25. Wellington (dpa) - Police were called when passers by complained a pornographic video was being shown in a shop window in the main street of New Plymouth, in New Zealand's North Island, a report said Friday. The Taranaki Skydiving Club was using the empty shop window as an advertising space, continuously running an eight-hour video on the exhilarating attractions of the aerial sport, the local Daily News reported. At one stage two women were shown skydiving completely nude, legs wide apart. One naked woman was then seen celebrating her dive by doing backflips across a field. Club members later claimed they knew nothing about the naked skydiving but the video tape had been removed. The Daily News reported they declined to say whether their advertising had led to a rise in new members.