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Found 567 results

  1. admin

    Side by Side - A Two Out Story

    April 1st is typically a day for trickery, but the only fool this year was me, and the only trickster was my main canopy! I decided to make a last-minute trip to Skydive Perris with friends to make a balloon jump, but when it was winded out, the generous CReW Dawgs at Elsinore came up with all the gear my friend and I would need to make some beginner CReW jumps. The first jump on borrowed gear went great, but as we packed up my coach informed me the gear I was borrowing was a pull-out, and briefed me on how to use it. We planned a four-stack and lucked out with a camera jumper. As we get out of the plane, I pulled weak and ended up with no canopy. I knew from previous coaching that it’s a bad idea to take a Lightning terminal, so I went straight to reserve. As the reserve came out, I was kicking myself that I wasn’t going to be able to participate in the CReW jump, and would have plenty of time to think about how I got into this mess as my teammates got to play. I decided to fly over and watch, and that’s when I noticed the pilot chute bouncing around on my back. “I should get rid of that,” I thought, and reached for my cutaway handle. I didn’t even have a grip on it before my main came out and settled gently next to my reserve. Next thing I know, the camera flyer is in front of me, pointing and laughing. “What do I do?” I screamed, and he just laughed harder. “Well,” I thought, “if he’s not freaking out, why should I?” So I didn’t freak out. Instead, I worked to get back to the dropzone. No easy task, as I’d soon find out. A west-blowing wind was sending me back over the Ortegas, and with twice the fabric over my head, I was struggling to get any forward movement at all. Unbeknownst to me, my coach flew under me, shouting at me to chop. I tried to force some separation between the two canopies to do just that, but I couldn’t trust myself to hold the reserve away from the main long enough to go for my cutaway handle. Because the two canopies were trimmed so similarly, they really wanted to fly together, although the particular configuration I was flying really wanted to fly south. Considering the town of Elsinore was south, I spent a whole lot of time and energy just keeping the pair flying straight. Image by David Sands (D29444)Imagine pulling straight out of the plane under a large canopy, unable to do much besides try to keep your canopies flying straight and think about the sequence of events that got you here. Imagine looking down and going through your tree-landing procedure, and then multiplying that by two. Imagine trying to figure out how you’re going to steer the two canopies onto one of the small access roads on the mountains. With 1,000 feet to spare, I made it to the field I was aiming for, just at the foot of the Ortegas. I tried the usual landing-out procedure, transposing my pattern onto the field, but my canopies kept wanting to steer to the right, into the small neighborhood next to the field. So instead I just aimed my canopies at a small patch of grass in the field, and hit it gently without flaring. My legs were shaking and I couldn’t stop laughing nervously. It took me three tries to daisy chain my lines, and one of the Elsinore staff members had come to pick me up before I even made it out of the field. My coach, feeling responsible for me, landed in the mountains and called Elsinore to let them know what had happened. It took some time, but they found him, having landed without incident. Once I got back to the dropzone, I cracked a beer and waited for the shaking in my legs to go away. Lessons LearnedThe main takeaway from this is to know your gear. I was briefed very thoroughly by my coach on how to use a pull-out system, and practiced multiple times on the plane. Yet when it came time to pull, I didn’t fully extend my arm, and ended up with a pilot chute in tow. To me that was always one of the scariest malfunctions there are, because there are two schools of thought on how to handle it. One is to go straight to reserve, as I did, and one is to cutaway and go to reserve. In hindsight, I stand by my choice, because cutting away could have fired my main directly into my reserve. The other scary thing about this particular malfunction was that it was a two-out that was flying stable. One school of thought is that you should cut away to avoid a downplane, and the other is that if you’re flying stable, you can pilot it to an open area, which is what I did. If I had downplaned, I could have cut away my main and flown my reserve down, but I wasn’t convinced I could keep the canopies apart long enough to get to my cutaway handle. The problem with this scenario is that, under different circumstances, a dust devil could have blown my canopies into a downplane close to the ground, and I might not have been able to chop my main at all. One last thing I would change is that I would have taken my cell phone. If I had gotten hurt in the mountains without any way to access emergency care, things could have been a lot worse. I’ve since invested in a small prepaid phone to keep in my jumpsuit pocket. In the end, I stand by my choices, and acknowledge that there was a lot of luck that kept me from disaster that day. I regret that my coach got stuck in the mountains, but I’m grateful that he was willing to look out for me. I faced the two malfunctions I feared the most on one jump and managed to walk away with a swollen ankle and a wounded sense of pride. Will I still do CReW? Every chance I get! And I’d trust the riggers, CReW Dawgs, staff, and other jumpers at Elsinore any day.
  2. admin

    The Legend of Roger Nelson

    Roger Nelson: If you're a skydiver, chances are you've heard the name. If you're not a skydiver, chances are you've watched one of the few movies that were inspired by this man. While the tales of Roger's life have been passed around to keen ears, mostly between jumpers, as a kind of folk lore, the words that have been spoken have often been words bound in mystery. The lines between truth and exaggeration, as with most stories passed through word of mouth, can get a little blurry at times. However there is no doubting the colorful nature of Roger Warren Nelson's life. Skydiving CareerRoger began skydiving in 1971 at a dropzone in Hinckley, Illinois. He was always a bit of a rebel and never quite fitted in with the then aesthetic standard that prevailed within the skydiving community at that time. In the beginning of the 70s recreational skydiving was still in its early days, with many of the then participants coming from military backgrounds, and both Roger and his brother Carl stood out from the crowd. It's said that the term 'Freak Brothers' which was given to both Roger and Carl stemmed from their less than ordinary presence at the dropzone. As skydivers, Roger and Carl were pioneers. They both laid the groundwork for what is known today as Freeflying. At the time, skydives were done belly down, in a standard practice, but the 'Freak Brothers' threw a spanner in the works when they started what was then known as 'freak flying'. Freak flying was the Nelson brother's own unconventional freefall style, which was described by Roger in 1978 as any body position that saw the flyer's stomach facing up and their back down, towards earth. So while Olav Zipser is recognized as the father of freeflying, the 'Freak Brothers' were already laying the groundwork for unconventional freefall positions years before. In the mid 1970s the brothers started a "zine" called the Freak Brother Flyer, which ran from 1973 until 1976. Freak Brothers became more than just a term for him and his brother Carl, after a while Freak Brothers became an organization and a community with thousands of followers around the world. The Freak Brothers Convention was later organized with the help of Jeanie (Roger's wife) and Carl. These boogies were some of the largest around at the time and drew in over 600 passionate skydivers. In 1979 the Freak Brothers suffered the loss of Carl, who died in a skydiving accident. From 1986 to 1989, Roger ran the Illinois dropzone "Skydive Sandwich". Later in 1993, he went on to found Skydive Chicago, which is now recognized as one of the world's leading dropzones. Roger spent much of the 80s partaking in world records, while spending much of the 90s organizing them. Between the years 1999 and 2002, he won 2 silver and 2 gold medals as Captain of the Skydive Chicago STL 10, in the 10-way speed event. The Other Side of Roger NelsonWhat separates Roger's story from the average accomplished skydiver's, is the other side of his life. While Roger was a well loved individual with much support, particularly in the skydiving community, during the 1980s, he was dealing in some rather shady operations, to put it lightly. Roger used aircrafts to smuggle drugs into the United States, while also working as an informant for the US government. After he was arrested in 1986 on charges that included racketeering, conspiracy to distribute drugs and currency violations, his life would become a enveloped in court dates and uncertainty. He pleaded guilty and in 1987 was sentenced to 10 years behind bars, but was released after serving half of his prison sentence. After his arrest, Roger called out the DEA on not acting to tips he had provided them, that would have helped capture Carlos Lehder, who at the time was considered one of the largest cartel leaders in the world. Despite the information Roger provided to the DEA with regards to being an informant, the DEA would later shrug it off, saying that Roger had not played any significant role in slowing down the influx of drugs into the United States. In 2003 Roger was killed in a canopy collision incident. There was more to Roger than just criminal controversy and skydiving, he was also a family man. His eldest of two children, Melissa recalls in a recent piece of writing, how her and her father wouldn't always see eye to eye, but in his death, has come to realize the leadership he instilled in her. She continued to say how her father had taught her to stand on her own feet, and create her own legacy as opposed to living in her family's. Sugar AlphaThis is all but just a fraction of Roger's life and the reality is that it's hard to summarize such an eventful life. Roger and Melissa have authored the newly released book entitled "Sugar Alpha: The Life and Times of Senor Huevos Grandes". A description of the book offers some insight in what to expect: "Skydiving and drug smuggling pioneer Roger Nelson lives life out of the box. Fueled by a love for adrenaline and adventure, Roger goes after everything he wants with gusto. But now Roger is ready to retire from smuggling. With a parachute center to run and a family to raise, Roger knows it is time to stop the cat-and-mouse games he has been playing with the authorities for years. He and his longtime partner, Hanoi, plan one final run to Belize, where they intend to fill their Douglas DC-3 with enough cannabis to set them up for life. But then Hanoi dies in a plane crash in an attempt to make some "legitimate bucks" flying fish in Alaska while they wait for the growing season to end. Left without a partner or plane, Roger remains determined to return to his family for good. To do so, he decides to stay true to himself and follow through with his retirement run. Roger must rely on a colorful cast of characters and the most unlikely airplane for a gig ever-Sugar Alpha, the legendary DC-3 with the secret fuel tanks and not-so-secret paint job-to help him complete the most daring run in the history of smuggling." With extremely positive early reviews, this book is a must for any skydiver, though you definitely don't have to be one to enjoy it. Get your copy from Amazon.com
  3. Unfortunately, we weren't able to attend the recent 2019 PIA Symposium which took place in Dallas, TX from the 4th until the 8th of February. However, our friends over at Skydive TV did an amazing job at the event, creating a number of videos from the various stalls. We've put together some of these videos in a quick collection, allowing you to recap what was going down at the PIA Symposium if you were like us and unable to be there, or whether you're just interested in hearing what some of the vendors and stall managers had to say. PIA Symposium 2019 | EPISODE 1 from Skydive TV® on Vimeo. Sigma & Burble The video kicks off with an advert for the direction that Sigma has gone with their new partnership with Burble. An interview with Dylan Avatar from Sigma then commences to discuss the way in which the two companies have eased the pains of manifests when working with the software. The software focuses on syncing data between the jumper's Sigma profile with that of the manifest. By doing this, the dropzone is able to receive the necessary certifications from the jumper without the exercise of excessive forms or card management. The software is set for release in the Spring, with additional development work still in progress. Franz Gerschwiler from Burble then discusses how the system works, the desire for a March release date and gives a short demo of how data that is contained on the app, as well as the success that Burble has seen in recent years being adopted by more than 100 dropzones. NZ Aerosports Next, Skydive TV talks with Attila Csizmadia from New Zealand Aerosports who initially discusses the loss of company founder Paul ‘Jyro’ Martyn, who passed away in 2017, and how his visions shaped the company. With a memorial to Jyro, placed at the stall in his honor. Attila confirms that there won't be any new NZ products unveiled at PIA, however the company has recently launched the JFX II, which is discussed in its advances to the original JFX. The discussion then shifts to a new wingsuit canopy that the company have in the works and is currently undergoing testing, though no specific release date is mentioned. The interview moves to Julien Peelman, who discusses the future of the company and what's on the horizon for NZ Aerosports. He mentions the "Anna" which is a high performance canopy that fits between the JFX II and the Leia. Peelman then goes on to discuss the move from 2D to 3D software for the company and the advances in the development software being used. Sun Path Products At the Sun Path booth, Rob Kendall talks passionately about the company's new Javelin Odyssey design, which draws heavily from feedback received by customers of the old Odyssey. He talks about several new features on the container, from the adjustments to the side panel to enhanced safety aspects, though states that the design is still a prototype and will be further tested before launch. Doug Baron then takes over to discuss the adjustments made to the back piece of the container, a feature which will offer enhance ergonomics to the user, as well as briefly discussing the new single lateral padding. Revl Revl provide a product of interest mostly to dropzones, as they offer an intelligent hardware and software solution to video capture, editing and publishing. Eric Sanchez talks to Skydive TV about how their product will capture each jump in high quality video, then use AI technology to process the video and edit it in such a way that it removes the need for video editors. Their product will then automatically upload the edited video to the cloud in, and in a matter of minutes one is able have the video automatically edited and uploaded to the cloud for each client. They use a QR code system to tie each video to the client. Not only does this product edit automatically, but it also goes through the process of charging the battery and erasing the previous data after cloud syncing, by itself. It also has the ability to merge multiple videos together during the editing process, so outside and inside videos will be merged into a single final edit. Definitely an interesting product, and we'll be watching to see whether this does get picked up at dropzones. Elite Rigging Academy Derek Thomas, with more than 50 years of rigging experience, discusses a bit of his back story and how Elite Rigging Academy came about. He explains his desire to create a rigging course that isn't just a week long experience, but rather a comprehensive 3-week course
  4. nettenette

    Why We Boogie

    The History of a Silly Name Image by Andrey Veselov It’s hard to imagine that, not too long ago, a skydiving get-together was a rare thing indeed. Today, as you’ve no doubt noticed, there are hundreds of ‘em. In fact, almost every drop zone, no matter how small, has at least one official yearly boogie to celebrate its local jumpers. Namibia! Fiji! A tiny little beach town in Kenya*! A big field in Montana! Where two or three are gathered in its name, behold: you’ve got a boogie on your hands. Some of these events are immense, filling the skies with dozens of wildly various aircraft, hundreds of skydivers and a whirling (terrifying?) smorgasbord of disciplines. Others are comparably tiny. Despite their differences, most boogies are a reliably good time. It stands to reason that a group of skydivers would find any excuse to come together in a frenzied combination of daytime skydiving and nighttime frivolity–but when did the first one take place, and how did it come by such a goofy name? Read on. The Birth of a BoogieThe modern skydiving boogie may owe its existence to a film: specifically, the first major skydiving film released to the public, called Gypsy Moths. Shortly after the film’s much-lauded debut, one of the skydivers featured in the film – a prominent skydiving athlete named Garth “Tag” Taggart – was asked to put together a “just-for-fun” skydiving event in his hometown of Richmond, Indiana. Until then, skydivers only really, officially gathered for USPA-officiated competitions at regional and national meets. In September of 1972, Garth arranged that seminal event, which is recorded in Pat Work's fascinating record of early skydiving (entitled "United We Fall"). Where Did the Term “Boogie” Come From?The term “boogie” derived from a comic motif developed by fringe cartoonist R. Crumb.** The motif features a “boogie man” striding confidently across an abstract landscape with the phrase “Keep On Truckin’” emblazoned above. The word “boogie” doesn’t appear anywhere within the motif, but the story goes that Garth Taggart was inspired by the image. He was also probably influenced by use of the word in New Zealand skydiving circles, as well as by its use as a then-trendy name for an, ahem, wild party. In any case, Taggart picked that moniker to describe the Richmond RW Festival on its event t-shirts, and the term stuck. Firmly. These get-togethers have sometimes been referred to as “jumpmeets”--in the olden days, when the organizers didn’t want to saddle the event with the term’s then-obvious, hard-partying implications--but “boogie” is how we’ve really come to know the phenomenon. Hilariously enough, those historic shirts didn’t actually use the word “boogie.” Due to an unfortunate misspelling on the hastily-printed giveaways, they described the event as a “boggie.” Snicker snicker. The First Boogie Kicks OffHowever confused the naming, that original event brought together more than a hundred skydivers from all over the US to practice the then-relatively-new RW discipline. The Richmond City Boys’ Club hosted the event, making significant revenue by charging non-skydivers an admission fee. That first boogie (or “boggie,” if we’re being historically accurate) saw some formations that were, for the time, pretty damn groundbreaking. In "United We Fall," Pat Work notes that the athletes “made several big stars out of a Twin Beech and a DC-3.” Work goes on to remember that “[a]ll the self-styled, super-hero RW types made three tries at a 30-man, and succeeded in FUBAR-ing all three in front of the lens of Carl Boenish.” The botched jump didn’t cripple the event, however. “Everyone else just giggled and went up and made 18-mans […] with no problems[.]” That night, the skydivers and some lucky spectators enjoyed a raucous bonfire, dancing and screenings of some of the most seminal skydiving videos on record. The Boogie EvolvesIn the years immediately following that first boogie, the quickly growing sport of skydiving started to earn a bad-boy reputation amongst the general public (who didn’t much care about it previously, when the sport was tiny and firmly on the fringes). For several years, the city of Richmond out-and-out banned skydiving for fear of its freakshow excesses.*** By the time the 1970s were drawing to a close, however, that original boogie had become very official. It turned into the USPA Nationals--whaddaya know. Boogies TodayThe phenomenon of the boogie holds to the much same spirit as Garth “Tag” Taggart’s founding principle: fun. These days, however, they’re also used as a venue for major skydiving competitions, world records, vendor demonstrations, charity efforts and loci for training. Across the board, these events retain one important historical value: the nominal “boogie” itself. We come for the party, right? *Which I just finished attending. **If you aren’t aware of R Crumb, treat yourself to a Google image search. You’re welcome. ***Apparently, it was proving too logistically difficult to lock up their daughters--and sons, for that matter.
  5. BrianSGermain

    Chopping Is Just The Beginning

    A reserve ride is an exciting adventure no matter how many jumps you have under your belt. Preparatory training is obviously the best way to ensure that you walk away unscathed, but it is my experience that the simulations we create are not as realistic as they could be. In many cases, many of us will argue, they are not as good as they need to be. The purpose of this article is to suggest possible improvements to the state of the art in emergency procedure training. If we envision beyond what we have done in the past, improvement is assured, and the safe conclusion of parachute malfunctions will increase in frequency. If we can simulate cutaway jumps more realistically, skydivers will be calmer in emergency situations, and more skillful. Elaborate simulation, in my experience, will also result in greater awareness and recall, more efficient actions, and less emotional trauma once the event is over. The first issue to be addressed by our sport as a whole is our simulation equipment. Although a vest with handles may be very helpful for establishing the general flow of handle-pulling, it is a far cry from what the event will actually feel like. Many jumpers have reported, upon landing from their first cutaway, that things did not feel or look remotely the way they expected. Handles were not where the jumper expected them to be, pull forces were not what they anticipated, nor was the feeling of the experience similar to the training process that was supposed to prepare them for this event. It is my experience, however, that when we take thoughtful steps to improve our training methods and equipment, the gap between expectation and reality can be closed significantly. The most important piece of equipment in any simulation is the mind. Creating a clear visualization of the scenario is essential, no matter how silly it may look to bystanders. The job of the Instructor in these situations is to provide insightful clarification, ideally based on their own experience. Set the emotional stage for the student in every possible way, describing the details as clearly as possible, leaving nothing out. Allow yourself to get wrapped up in the excitement that is inevitable in such experiences. This will not only make the simulation feel more real, it will help illuminate the natural mental reaction of the student to intense stress. If over-reaction or under-reaction is apparent, further training is necessary. If the student failed to perform, the instructor simply has more work to do. It continues to be my strong opinion that a suspended harness is absolutely essential for the best possible training. Given the vast amount of money we now spend on aircraft and student gear, skimping on this key element of teaching equipment is shortsighted, and most often a product of laziness and compromise. If building a hanging harness cost thousands of dollars, the financial argument might hold more merit, but this is most decidedly not the case. There are many possible methods that cost very little, and can be created in just an hour or two. I know, I build a new hanging harness at almost every dropzone I travel to in the process of running my canopy skills and safety courses. I do this because I want to offer my course participants the best possible training, and because an alarming percentage of skydiving schools have done away with this vital piece of training equipment. This needs to change if we are to improve the safety of our sport. Let's start with the actual harness. When I find suspended harnesses in use, most often the actual rig is an uncomfortable, dilapidated old rig from the early 1980's, hung from the ceiling by attachment points that are way too close together to simulate a realistic experience. In the best cases, there is a three-ring setup that allows the jumper to cut away and drop a few inches. This is a great training aid, but what if the rig was a more modern adjustable harness that could accurately reflect the fit and handle placement of the rig they will actually be jumping? For that matter, what if we hung them in the rig they were actually going to jump? What if the suspension apparatus was long enough to practice kicking out of line-twists? What if the toggles simulated the resistance of an actual parachute using bungees or weights? What if you pulled on straps attached to the bottom of the harness each time they flared, to simulate the pitch change? What if, as crazy as it sounds, you went to the local hardware store and picked up a high-powered carpet blower, a.k.a. “snail fan”, and angled it up at the harness to reflect the feeling of the relative wind? This is the kind of outside-the-box thinking that creates better simulations, and better training. Further, this is how we prepare our students for an actual malfunction and reduce the risk of pilot error. For experienced jumpers, I highly recommend hanging up in your own rig. This will clarify handle placement under load, allow you to explore strap tightness possibilities, and give you the opportunity to experience actual pull forces when your repack cycle is up. If you do not have stainless steel hardware on your rings, please use fabric connection points rather than the carabiner attachment displayed in these photos. Another key element of malfunction simulation is to follow through with the complete jump, rather than stopping after the handles are pulled. In reality, the adequate performance of emergency procedures is just the first in a long list of steps that lead to a safe landing. For instance, what if the cutaway harness had Velcro reserve toggles that needed to be first peeled upward and then pulled downward? Many people, myself included, have tried simply pulling the reserve toggles downward to find that they would not release. Missing details like this can lead to a student feeling more angst than is necessary, and can result in further stress-induced mistakes with major consequences. Additionally, proper exploration of the reserve canopy is important for a good flight pattern, accuracy and landing flare following a malfunction. How much slack is in the brake lines? Where is the stall point? What is the flare response on this brand new canopy? A good cutaway followed by a broken ankle on landing is still a bad day. Simulate the whole jump, and there will be fewer surprises. The final issue I want to cover on the topic of better emergency procedures training is the inclusion of deliberate adrenaline management efforts following the deployment of the reserve canopy. Carrying the emotional momentum of a malfunction all the way to the ground definitely increases the chances of a lousy landing. High levels of stress takes time to sluff-off, but a skilled operator also knows how and when to slow down. Once you have pulled all the handles you need to pull, taking three long, slow, deep breaths while gazing at the horizon with a smile of relief on your face can change your mood, and your fate. Get your composure back, and your optimism will follow. From there, skill is just a short step away. This process can and should be included in every emergency procedure simulation to create a habit that is likely to be carried out in the sky. Following such quiescent procedures allows the mind to more easily let go of the recent past and focus on the present moment and the near future: 1) Check altitude and location 2) Find a safe landing area 3) Explore the reserve 4) Fly a good pattern 5) Flare beautifully 6) Walk away with a smile on your face 7) Thank your rigger A malfunction does not need to be viewed as an emergency, especially if you are truly prepared; it is just a change of plans. A complete simulation can be the difference between a horrifying emergency and a well-executed contingency plan. If we handle it well, a main parachute malfunction can actually be fun. I have found few experiences more rewarding than a complicated situation that I figured out on the fly, and despite my fear, I kept my head and did the right thing. In short, a parachute malfunction is an opportunity to prove to yourself and the world that you can handle yourself in a crisis, and with realistic training, your success can be an inevitable conclusion. About the Author: Brian Germain is a parachute designer, author, teacher, radio personality, keynote speaker with over 15,000 jumps, and has been an active skydiver for 30 years. He is the creator of the famed instructional video "No Sweat: Parachute Packing Made Easy", as well as the critically acclaimed book The Parachute and its Pilot. You can get more of Brian’s teaching at Adventure Wisdom, Big Air Sportz, Transcending Fear, and on his vast YouTube Channel
  6. Image by Joel StricklandDoes exit order seem like some kind of obscure semi-religious ritual? Do you go through the motions without really understanding the moving parts? If so, yikes--but you’re certainly not alone. Luckily, understanding the logic behind the order is a pretty straightforward affair, and the entire sky will be better off if you wrap your head around it. Ready? Okay. Commit this to memory. 1. In the name of science, get the $#&$ out.It may seem like hollow tradition to hustle out the door on exit, but it’s not. As a matter of fact, there are serious calculations behind the art of exiting the plane efficiently. On a calm day, an aircraft on jump run covers around 175 feet per second of flight (that equates to a mile every 30 seconds or so). Translated into stopwatch terms, that means that--on that same calm day--no more than 60 seconds can pass from the moment the first jumpers leave the airplane to the moment the last jumper exits. For practical purposes, taking into consideration how much ground the average square canopy can cover, every jumper in the plane has to be out during a two-mile jump run. If they don’t, some are bound to land out (or a chilly second pass is going to be served up to the sulky remainder). 2. Don’t mess up the pilot’s math.If your group is about to be the first big handful of meatballs out of the plane but you suddenly split up into smaller groups, you’re messing with the pilot’s chi. After all, the jump pilot has more to calculate when he/she turns on that little green light than you might realize. He/she has to calculate about how much time each group will take to exit, and make sure the green light goes on at the correct distance from the DZ to accommodate the aforementioned 60-second countdown. As a rule, the group that will have the slowest climb-out should leave first. Big group? Light goes on farther out from the DZ to allow for a slower climb-out. Little group? The light goes on closer to the DZ. How can you help? Jump the plan you give manifest, and the pilot can give everybody a good spot. 3. Jealously guard your real estate.If you’re a Big Sky Theory kinda jumper who assumes vertical separation is going to save you from a meat-traffic collision, you are not working from scientific facts. Horizontal separation is the only separation that really counts up there, so make sure your group has a chunky slot of sky all to yourselves. Never place big bets (like: your continued existence) on your fellow skydivers pulling at the altitude they swear by. A tiny brainfart (or a big malfunction) will eat up that vertical separation before you can say “what happened to pulling at 3,500, toolbox?!.” 4. Horizon-pointing belly buttons go behind downward-pointing belly buttons.When freefly folks get out first, they tend to become part of an undelicious freefall sandwich. Here’s why: On a typical skydive, a pair of freefliers will clock a 45-second freefall and open at around 3,000 AGL. Let’s say that pair is followed by a belly group with a 10-second climb-out. This is going to sound like a math word problem, but bear with me: If one of those freefliers has a canopy with a 30MPH forward speed (which will move forward at around 45 feet per second, assuming little-to-no wind), opens 30 seconds before the belly group and turns right back toward the DZ, the variables are stacking up for a collision. Those 30 seconds of flight will drive the freeflier forward by about 1,300 horizontal feet--a measly 400 feet from the middle of the belly folks, which a solid six-second track can cover. If you add wind to the equation and the RW group gets blown even further into the path of the freefly pair, the likelihood of a meetup gets even uglier. When freefly groups get out after belly groups, the picture gets a lot healthier. The fast fallers get their horizontal separation, predicated on their shorter climb-out and faster descent rate. Wind becomes a positive safety factor instead of a negative one; slower fallers simply blow farther away. 5. With longer flights comes greater responsibility.Tracking groups, high pulls and wingsuits get to snuggle with the pilot (and/or the tandem pairs) in the way back of the plane. Why? First off, they’re mobile: if they’re doing it right, they’ll use all that horizontal power to get the hell away from jump run--and get back from a longer spot. If they’re not doing it right, however, they’re fully within their capability to truck through everybody’s personal piece of sky on the way down. The moral of the story: longer freefall (or, in the high-pull case, general airtime) requires greater awareness and responsibility on the part of the nylon pilot. 6. Don’t be the heat-seeking meat missile.That’s the bottom line, really. Everybody in the sky is counting on you. (Me, for instance.)
  7. Regina from CYPRES shares information about the CYPRES unit, 'WSC' designed for the wingsuit community. Images by Randy Connell If you’ve never attended the Parachute Industry Association Symposium, you may not know what to expect. Maybe, you aren’t even sure what PIA is or why you even need to make the trip. If you’re afraid of sitting in stuffy rooms with an atmosphere as uncomfortable as a timeshare tourist trap, you can relax. PIA is nothing like that. The PIA Symposium is a time when the different branches of our particular segment of aviation all come together under one roof. Rather than draw things out, let’s get to it. Here are 5 things you didn’t know about the PIA Symposium. Just How Big the Skydiving Circle Is When you arrive at the PIA Symposium, get ready for a warm welcome: there is an entire booth set up to greet you. Get your swag bag, name tag, and seminar schedule, and be ready for a great time. Like a drop zone on a sunny steady summer Saturday, the air is nearly buzzing with energy. In one space, jumpers current and retired, drop zone owners and managers, and military personnel and skydiving teams are all gathered together. You’ll see people from around the world. We know our circle is a somewhat isolated one, but boy, it sure doesn’t seem like it at the PIA Symposium. It’s also not just jumpers and drop zone owners from the United States that are present. You’ll walk past groups speaking languages from around the globe: military teams from Poland chatting, fun jumpers from South Africa mingling by the complimentary refreshments. Nearly every continent and country is represented. Exponential Business Connections At the PIA Symposium, you have the chance to establish meaningful industry contacts. Top gear manufacturers both military and civilian, set up impressive interactive displays and booths to give PIA Symposium attendees the chance to see the most cutting-edge innovations in the skydiving industry. Whether you are looking for training equipment or student gear, you will find what you need here. The EXPO Hall isn’t just for managers and drop zone owners either, there is gear on display that is perfect for weekend warrior skydivers too. 85 Year Old British Skydiver, Dilys Price was the Keynote Speaker at the 2017 PIA Symposium. Ways to Improve your home Drop Zone They say a ‘smarter skydiver is a safer skydiver.’ Well, the PIA Symposium is the perfect place to learn. The PIA Symposium facilitates knowledge sharing through seminars which are teeming with information. During the symposium, you have daily opportunities to sit in on seminars dealing with rigging, skydiving, management, government and skydiving interaction, and BASE. If you want to run a better, safer drop zone, attending PIA is a great first step. However, fostering safe drop zones isn’t just a job for managers and drop zone owners: the community as a whole is responsible. Whether sport jumper, manager, or drop zone owner, when you leave PIA, you leave armed with a noggin full of knowledge to take back home to your drop zone and improve everyone’s experience. Everyone Feels Like a Potential Friend You wouldn’t assume that you would leave any sort of symposium with some lifelong friends, would you? Well, you might just leave PIA with a few more telephone numbers programmed in your cell and a long list of drop zones to visit. No matter the level, ethnicity, or country of origin, it seems skydivers click. The PIA Symposium is basically a melting pot of like-minded people all connected by a love of skydiving and a passion for the sport and industry. Sandy Reid of Rigging Innovations stands with his team. At the 2019 Symposium, RI introduces their new Mojo MARD. Opportunities to Explore New Places You don’t have to sit in seminars from sun up until sun down. Throughout the day, there are plenty of breaks and opportunities to explore. The PIA Symposium each year is held in charming cities with their own little secret niches and neat places to tour. This year is no different. The 2019 PIA symposium will be held in Dallas, Texas. So, grab a group of your new friends and do some sightseeing. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and we bet this PIA symposium will be one of the best yet!
  8. StarLog Skydiving & Rigging Logbooks Price: $12 Brand new line of Skydiver and Rigger Logbooks. All spiral bound for easy logging and fit inside all standard size logbook covers. StarLog Skydiver holds 304 jumps StarLog Pro holds 1456 jumps StarLog Rigger holds 684 logs Available at ChutingStar Power Tools Price: $19.95 Want a great stocking stuffer with a low price? Give your loved one a Power Tool packing tool in holiday colors! Available at Para-Gear Hanging Handcrafted Wood Swooper Dude Price: $20 Made of mahogany, coconut and jute, the details on this handcrafted swooper includes a canopy, lines, rig on the back, hair, determined swoop face and skirt. Available at ChutingStar Rig Hangers Price: $42 With these colorful hangers you can hang your skydiving rig wherever you want. Whether it's on a rack at the dropzone hangar, on the back of a door, in your closet or anywhere else you can think of. These powder coated hangers make it easy to spot your skydiving rig, as well as give it a nice accent. Available at Para-Gear The Summer I Became A Skydiver, Children's Book Price: $25 Skydiver Ben Lowe wrote this children's book that tell's the story of a boy's introduction into a summer of skydiving. This 29-page hardcover book is a great short story that also helps explain skydiving to youngsters. Available at ChutingStar Glow Face Alt III Galaxy - $169 Meters and Black Only. The phosphorescent face provides a background glow to assist in low light conditions. The glow lasts over 2 hours in complete darkness, and is perfect for either night jumps or those sunset loads when it starts to get dark. The Glow Face Altimaster III Galaxy features a field replaceable lens. In case your lens gets scratched or cracked you will now be able to replace it yourself instead of having to send it to get serviced. Available at Para-Gear Selections Skydiving Photo Book by Michael McGowan Price: $43 This giant, hardcover photo book from McGowan is the perfect coffee table book of some of the most amazing shots in skydiving. Packed with more than 100 large, full-page photographs. Includes forward by Michael McGowan as well as liner notes from Angie McGowan and Tom Sanders. Available at ChutingStar Para-Gear Parachute Gear Bag Price: $85 Durable fabric and heavy duty zippers make this bag ideal for storing and carrying all the gear needed for skydiving. ID sleeve for personal information Dual zippered main compartment with zip protector Back pocket with additional inner zippered-pocket for storing accessories and documents up to size A4 Rubber handle on top and side Heavy duty metal buckles and comfortable-shoulder straps Durable, easy to clean, splash proof material. Available at Para-Gear
  9. While some see skydiving as an activity that leads to death, others have quite the opposite experience, where they find life. There are countless stories from individuals who found that skydiving saved them from themselves, offering both a community and a purpose. Andrew Goodfellow is one of those people, and he recently submitted this piece which details his venture into the sport. I found skydiving on the run. Ten years of addiction, depression, self-loathing, countless failed relationships, a broken engagement, two suicide attempts (one near success), and the ever-present aching loss of a sibling, left me with a lot to run from. But for a long time, it felt as though I had no one and nothing to run to that could save me from myself. Almost overnight, skydiving filled a void that nothing had ever come close to filling. At its best, it’s the most pure and vital experience I’ve ever known. Totally thrilling and deeply fulfilling. And at its worst…well I had already tried that route twice…so I figured at least this way I’d part with the world on better terms. What I found in skydiving was more than I expected. Friends, community, support, inspiration, excitement, challenge, and pride. The rewards were all around. But I also came to realize how many crucial life lessons were on offer at the DZ. Skydiving is a great teacher. Its lessons are vital. Its truths are fixed and inarguable. It is indiscriminate. It is generous and unforgiving – rewarding and punishing in near equal measure. It teaches patience and perseverance. It fosters trust and forges self-reliance. It provides constant proof that learning is a perpetual process; perfection does not exist. All are fallible; none invincible. It necessitates calm under pressure. It demands you walk the fine line between confidence and recklessness. It requires you to train and focus and prepare. And then begs you to accept that which lies outside your control. Perhaps most importantly, it forces you to make hard decisions. It teaches you to recognize that crucial moment when the best course of action – the only choice that will save you – is to give up fighting, swallow your pride, and cutaway. Many of life’s toughest moments feel like a really slow opening, a line-over, a two-out, toggle fire. Blistering uncertainty meets coursing fear, raw emotion and instinct. And above all, a defiant will to survive. Looking back, I’ve had a lifetime of low-speed, high-speed, and total mals. Situations I found myself in – whether of my own doing, or simple tricks of fate – that called for precise and efficient emergency procedures I either couldn’t muster or was yet to learn. Without knowing it, I’ve spent a long time sacrificing altitude for stability in one form or another. My experiences in the sky have been exotic and intoxicating; yet not without great peace and tranquility. There is a magnetism about skydiving that consumes those it attracts. The primal, electric surges of dopamine and serotonin that flood your brain in freefall lay shame to any narcotic high I’ve ever known. This cannot be overstated. And the constant evaluations of risk and reward are, in themselves, a thrilling version of chicken that each of us plays against ourselves on every jump – at the intersection of the familiar and the unknown. One quickly realizes, as did I with much dismay, that the phrase “mind over matter” could scarcely be applied as accurately to another pursuit. All the strength and speed in the world won’t help you swim your way back into that plane once you’ve left the door. And good luck muscling your way to stability or control. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. The sky will disabuse you of many formerly held convictions in a matter of seconds, as it calls to you with its Siren’s song. Welcome to your second adolescence. There is much to learn.
  10. admin

    Skydive Dubai Go Big with Go Fast

    Estimated to cost USD 1.3 Billion for a month, the billboard features a Jet Pack Man flying around the billboard in a seconds-long promotion for Skydive Dubai and Go Fast Skydive Dubai, the world's premiere skydiving center, in association with Go Fast, a global energy brand, showcased the world's most expensive billboard located in Downtown Dubai, yesterday, at 6pm. In what is deemed to be the most expensive billboard, Skydive Dubai and Go Fast have utilized a Jet Pack to create the interactive billboard. The billboard involves a man with a Jet Pack, initially hidden within the billboard, to emerge from the billboard and fly around it for approximately 20-30 seconds, before landing back on the billboard. If the Jet Pack act for the billboard were to continue for a month, it would cost approximately USD 1.3 Billion. www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ptr5gyLwq8 The billboard is strategically positioned at the entrance of the stunning Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building. Located in one of the most premier destinations in the world, Downtown Dubai, billed as 'The Centre of Now,' the Go Fast billboard by Skydive Dubai has created a new landmark for Dubai. Commenting on the Skydive Dubai's association with Go Fast for the billboard, Mr. Nasser Al Neyadi, Chairman of Skydive Dubai, said: "This is an epic moment, and we are very proud to be part of it. This initiative is another example showcasing Dubai as a world leader in innovation and technology. The billboard came into being with a simple idea that has transformed into an exceptional event to attract a global audience. Our gratitude to our partners, Go Fast and Emaar Properties, without whose support, this would not have been possible." "Skydive Dubai would like to acknowledge that the creation of such a monumental dropzone would not be possible without the support and extraordinary vision of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council and President of the Dubai Sports Council." Skydive Dubai is supported by Emaar Properties PJSC, the global property developer of iconic projects, and the provider of premier lifestyles. Emaar has been shaping landscapes and lives in the Emirate since its inception in 1997, creating value-added, master-planned communities that meet the full spectrum of lifestyle needs. Downtown Dubai is the flagship mega-development of Emaar, and features iconic developments including Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Mall and The Dubai Fountain, in addition to homes, commercial offices and leisure attractions. Mr. Troy Widgery, CEO of Go Fast, commented on the event, saying, "We are very happy to be in Dubai. During our first visit two years ago, the city left us mesmerized. Its people and the culture here is amazing. We were immediately convinced to bring Go Fast to the UAE and have introduced the Go Fast Halal Energy Formula, the first of its kind in the world, developed especially for this region. We are certain that the brand will be received very well here. We are grateful for the support of Skydive Dubai for our venture in this part of the world. With this billboard, we want the people to know that we will be here soon." The seconds of flight time for the billboard in Downtown Dubai would cost a minimum of USD 500 per second. If the number of seconds in a month (60 seconds x 60 minutes x 24hours x 30 days = 2,592,000 seconds) is multiplied by USD 500, the total amounts to approximately USD 1.3 Billion for the month long fly time for the billboard. Skydive Dubai is an all-turbine drop zone, offering safe, professional and fun skydiving experience over the breathtaking Dubai skylines. Skydive Dubai caters to skydivers of all experience levels from the first time tandem jumpers to fun jumpers and experienced skydivers. Go Fast is an independent, authentic, lifestyle brand. Based out of Denver, Colorado, Go Fast was established in 1996 to support the lifestyle of extreme sports enthusiasts. The world-recognized brand is known for the Go Fast Energy Drinks, Go Fast Energy Gum, Go Fast Gear, & and everything that Goes Fast! For Further information, please contact: Mr. Firas Al Jabi Skydive Dubai Tel: + 971-50-348-8802 Email: skydive.dubai7@gmail.com
  11. iFLY has continued its global expansion of vertical wind tunnel centers with the opening of iFly Dallas this week. The company, who now operate 27 facilities around the world, cut the ribbon on the new North Texas on Monday, 18th November 2013. The center is located at the Stonebrier Center Mall in Frisco. The company has claimed that the center boasts the world's most advanced wind tunnel with wind speeds of up to 175mph. The tunnel measurements are 14’ in diameter and 48’ in height. It will cater to persons aged 3 to 103. Whether or not we will see the iFly Dallas center hosting any competition in the near future is left to be seen, and it does seem that given the location and the focus of the press release, that the Dallas center may be catered more towards non-skydivers who are looking for fun, as opposed to other tunnels that tend to focus more on competitive training. Never the less, the center will still be open to competitive skydivers and will also no doubt expand the already explosive growth of indoor flying. Over the past decade tunnel flying has become an imperative part of freefly training and is now an almost mandatory aspect of competitive training. The expansion and increase in accessibility has also seen an entire new wave of tunnel flyers emerge, as children under the ages of 10 have become proficient flyers. The impact that this may have on the growth of the skydiving industry will be seen in a few years. With these children already skilled in freeflying, it will no doubt give them a large advantage should they take up skydiving and begin doing it competitively - particularly within the freeflying discipline. iFly is largest indoor skydiving company in the world with 27 tunnels across several continents. The company has plans of further expansion and will see more tunnels being erected in the coming years. The company opened their Orlando center in 1999, and 10 years later, at the end of 2009 iFly had 18 centers up and running. In 2013 alone, they have opened up an additional four indoor tunnel centers.
  12. admin

    Bonehead Composite Gear Update

    We're happy to announce that we've updated the Bonehead Composite gear page with plenty of new items. We've been somewhat out of date regarding some of the new helmets put out by Bonehead Composite, so there is lots to check out- some of which you may already be aware of or own. Though this gives you the chance to head over to some of the new items and rate them, should you already have experience with them. Here's some of the new items we have added: The ZEUS Helmet "Take a walk on the wildside... Zeus is a new way to look at video helmets. The ZEUS from BoneHead Composites Is designed to be a versatile camera helmet with its flat side and a space provided for a Cam EYE II. One of the first things you'll notice about the ZEUS is the Retro-Roman styling. ZEUS provides more frontal facial coverage and a brim to keep the sun out of your eyes without being aerodynamically obtrusive. The ZEUS comes standard with BH's ingenious Thermal-Fit liner, our new buckle chin-strap closure and the great finish quality that you have come to expect from BoneHead. This helmet does not require a chin-cup and there is not a cutaway system currently available" The FLAT-TOP NARROW Camera Helmet "The other choice of professional camera fliers from around the world… The FLAT-TOP NARROW from Bonehead composites is the trimmed version of our almost famous FLAT-TOP PRO. The FLAT-TOP NARROW is a great all-around camera helmet for any discipline in skydiving. RW, freefly, tandem video or competition freestyle can be captured with your FLAT-TOP NARROW. This camera helmet is a rear-entry system to give the user better camera stability without sacrificing comfort. This NARROW version of the FLAT-TOP PRO has been made to allow the camera flyer less surface mounting availability and air drag but keeps the stability of the rear-entry configuration. The FLAT-TOP NARROW has plenty of space inside to run wiring, camera buttons, etc. to keep as much of the snagable surfaces to a minimum. You have the choice of where you would like a ring sight post placed. The FLAT-TOP NARROW comes standard with BH's ingenious Thermal-Fit liner, still camera adjustable platform, NEW cutaway system, and "Riser Slap" release button protector." Hells Halo Camera Helmet "Hell's Halo is Boneheads latest and greatest camera helmet. There are 3 mounting surfaces for all your camera mounting needs. What makes this helmet stand out is an internal "halo" band that is adjustable using the ratchet clip on the back for last minute size adjustment. The helmet comes in two shell sizes along with our thermo-fit foam and an adjustable chin strap. If you still feel you need a chin cup, that accessory is also available. You can choose from our regular chin cup or our new concealed chin cup which hides the ladder straps!" The MAMBA Helmet "Welcome to BoneHead's latest addition to Full-Face Flip-Up Helmets. The MAMBA from Bonehead Composites is a great choice for RW jumpers with its full face security and the ability to flip open the lens quickly and easily without sacrificing keeping closed in freefall. The new lens closing mechanism requires the jumper to squeeze the lens together to allow the closing pin to be released from it's locking position at the forehead area in order not to make a push-in button on the chin susceptible to knock and unwanted lens openings during the most intense skydives. The MAMBA features dual internal audible pockets on the inside of the helmet, great peripheral vision, a heavy neoprene neck liner to help with fogging lenses and noise, a FASTEX chin strap closure with padded strap, front Chin-Dam wind deflector to keep unwanted wind flow out of the inside of the helmet and a shape that allows full head movement and the ability to see and locate emergency handles. The MAMBA comes standard with BH's ingenious Thermal-Fit liner, chin-strap closure and also comes with the lens coated with anti-fog direct from the factory." The ALL-SPORT Helmet "Refined Sleek Shape For All Types of Skydiving. The ALL-SPORT helmet from Bonehead Composites is now available from your favorite retailer! Customers all over the world wanted a helmet that was simple, sleek and of course had the quality and design that has made BoneHead Composites famous in the skydiving world.. and we delivered! The ALL-SPORT features a very simple shell design that is flatter on the left and the right so that camera mounts can be added easier. We took all the best attributes of the Guner and Mindwarp and combined them to make the ALL-SPORT. Internal audible pockets have been integrated into the helmet so that there is no need to build out the sides of the shell to accommodate audibles and still keep the interior comfortable. The ALL-SPORT comes standard with BH's ingenious Thermal-Fit liner, neoprene padded leather FASTEX chin-strap closure. " These are just 5 of the new 10 helmet and helmet items added today. Head over to the Bonehead Composite gear page to see the rest.
  13. Big Air Sportz is proud to announce that their instructor discounts are back for a limited time. Big Air Sportz, Inc. is offering significant discounts on all canopies sold directly to current rated coaches and AFF, static line and tandem instructors. “We have recognized that students look up to their instructors for insight as to which canopies to buy,” says company President Brian Germain. Big Air Sportz is offering any size custom canopy for $1,399 until January 31st, 2003. Big Air Sportz is the maker of the Lotus, a 9-cell semi-elliptical airlocked canopy designed for beginning and intermediate jumper from 20 jumps up. The Samurai (the next-generation Jedei) is a 9-cell elliptical airlocked canopy designed for an experienced pilot with more then 300 jumps. The airlock design uses valves to seal off the cells of a canopy once it is inflated to provide stability and prohibit instantaneous deflation of the airfoil, thus increasing the safety margin when flying in rough conditions. More information about Airlocks is available here on Dropzone.com and on the Big Air Sportz site. In order to qualify for the discount, any current, rated instructor must fax a copy of his or her rating card to Big Air Sportz at (813) 977-5000. Valid ratings are coach, jumpmaster, instructor, and evaluator from any acceptable country or association. The applicant must present a current rating card to qualify for the discount. A deposit of $250 is required to confirm the order, with the remainder due upon the canopy’s completion. Retail prices on the Samurai and Lotus range from $1,905 to $2,048. Demo canopies are available for $50 for 2 weekends. Big Air Sportz also offers dropzones or clubs highly experienced speakers for a choice of seminars, with topics including Canopy Flight from A-Z, Freeflying, and the Psychology of Skydiving. To schedule a demo, a seminar or for any other information, contact Big Air Sportz at 8525 Bramwell Way, Tampa Florida 33647, or Tel.: (813) 788 4444, Cell: (813) 230-2161, e-mail: zenfreefall@aol.com, and on the web at http://www.bigairparachutes.com About Big Air Sportz: Big Air Sportz was founded in 1998, but its founder Brian Germain has long been involved in the parachute design and skydiving industry. Brian designed his first airlock while recovering from a paraglider collapse in 1993 that left him in a wheelchair for months. From those first drawings and tests eventually came the Jedei canopy. Brian has won various medals in X-trials and various other freefly competitions around the United States. He has taught hundreds of skydivers everything from canopy flight to freeflying. Most recently, Brian and the Big Air Sportz team were freefly organizers at WFFC ’02. With current research projects including the Shogun, a 7-cell airlocked canopy; an as-yet-unnamed cross-braced airlocked elliptical ultra-performance canopy; CRW airlock canopies; and kite-surfing training kites and recreational ram-air kites (http://www.bigairkites.com); Big Air Sportz is ready to provide canopies for the future of skydiving.
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. This past week saw the opening of the voting process for the 2013-2015 USPA Board of Directors. Voting shall continue through the months of November and December with the closing date for submissions being the 31st of December 2012. The voting, which is open to all USPA members will result in the selection of representatives who will handle the direction and policies of the USPA until the end of 2015. The USPA allows for voting to take place either through written submission or through electronic voting. The voting form can be found in the November issue of Parachutist magazine, as well as online in a .pdf format. For those new to the process of the USPA election, the USPA's board consists of 22 members, with 8 national directors and 14 regional directors. These members are elected by the entire USPA membership and members from the regions where the directors reside, respectively. There is not a difference in the authority held by either a regional or a national director. National Director Nominees Members are able to vote for up to eight national director nominees. One is able to vote for any of the names that appear on the official ballot, or to write in the name of a candidate or multiple candidates that do not appear on the ballot. The eight nominees with the highest amount of votes will be elected as the 2013-2015 national directors. Regional Director Nominees Members are able to vote for one regional director nominee. The candidate must reside in the same region as the voting member, as per the address on the members USPA file. In cases where a region may have either no candidates or a single candidate running, members are able to cast a write-in vote for any member that is a resident of the member's reigion. Download USPA ballot form (Right click and 'save as' to save to your computer) Paper Ballot Voting The USPA has advized that members who wish to cast their votes via the method of paper ballots must do so either by using the voting form that is included in the November issue of Parachutist magazine, or by downloading and printing the voting form from the USPA website. As per the USPA, "Ballots containing more than eight national director votes, or more than one regional director vote will be disqualified." It is important to note that the forms which have been downloaded for paper ballot voting must be completed in the handwriting of the USPA member and digitally marked or signed submissions will not be accepted, further more these cannot be faxed or e-mailed. Electronic Voting USPA members received an e-mail from VoteNet which provided instructions and the means to cast an electronic vote. There were a number of cases where members failed to receive the e-mail, for those people who failed to receive the e-mail in question, the USPA advises that you either contact the membership department and verify your membership details and e-mail address, or that you resort to using the paper ballot method listed above. You are able to contact the membership department either by telephone at (540) 604-9740 or via e-mail at membership@uspa.org. Members are allowed one vote, either by electronic voting or via paper ballot, if more than one vote from a single member is received it will be the first received ballot that is counted, while any others will be discarded. The first board meeting of 2013 will occur on the 22nd to the 24th of March in Daytona Beach, Florida and will see the new directors for the 2013-2015 term seated, the meeting will also see in the election of the new USPA officers. You are able to partake in or follow discussions regarding the 2013-2015 USPA election process via the forums.
  17. An employment opportunity has opened up at Skydive Arizona, one of America's leading drop zones. Located in Eloy, Arizona - the drop zone has spent the past 26 years establishing itself as one of the popular drop zones in the United States and are well known for their events, which includes the infamous Holiday Boogie. Skydive Arizona is a well respected and thriving business with a great environment and group of staff, as I'm sure anyone who has jumped there already knows. Their current arsenal of jumpships include 4 Super Otters, 4 Super Skyvans and a DC-3. The facilities at the drop zone are top class offering gear rentals, rigging services, team rooms, restaurant, bar, bunkhouse, pool, camping and much more. If you have experience in graphic design and marketing and are preferably a skydiver, don't miss out on this amazing opportunity. The specifications of the job are listed below. Marketing/Events/Graphics Designer Position Skydive Arizona is looking for a self motivated, enthusiastic individual with marketing and graphic design experience. Ideal candidate would also have a skydiving background. Below is a list of the most common duties associated with this position. Conception and implementation of all Advertising, Marketing and Promotions. Monthly Parachutist ads Other ad designs upon request (newspaper, billboards, brochures, etc.) Plan, organize, coordinate and promote all Boogies, DZ Events, Competitions, etc. Maintain Websites & Facebook Periodic articles in Parachutist for boogies/events that occur at our DZ. Obtain Sponsorship for things Nationals and our bigger Events & Boogies. Booths & Promos at different venues. Planning & organizing of Staff Events Periodic smaller customer events like contests, pool parties, Karaoke, DJ, etc Constant Contact emails T shirt and poster design Monthly Staff & Customer Newsletters Salary is DOE Skydive Arizona is a drug free work place.If interested please email your resume to sally@skydiveaz.com or fax it to 520-466-4973.
  18. admin

    Canadian skydiver dies in Florida jump

    DELAND, Fla. (CP-AP) - An experienced Canadian skydiver died after making a tricky high-speed turn too close to the ground, crashing into the pavement at a popular Florida skydiving centre. Stephane Drapeau, 30, from Beloeil, Que., was making a routine jump until he made the high-speed turn at an extremely low altitude as he approached the landing area at Skydive DeLand near the municipal airport. Drapeau had about 4,700 jumps before Friday's accident. DeLand Police Lieut. John Bradley said Drapeau slammed into a strip of pavement at a high speed causing massive injuries. ''He was wearing a helmet, but at times they can go as fast as 80 mph (130 km/h) when they make that turn,'' Bradley told the Canadian Press. ''His chute deployed properly ... His canopy probably collapsed or when he made the turn he was so close he just impaled the ground.'' Though the case is being treated as an accident, it has been turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration, Bradley added. If performed correctly, the manoeuvre brings skydivers in at a high rate of speed but allows for a horizontal glide about one metre off the ground, usually resulting in a soft landing, said Skydive DeLand General Manager Mike Johnston. ''He misjudged his landing,'' he said, also noting that Drapeau appeared to have made the manoeuvre too close to the ground. A pair of paramedics joined a skydiving doctor in treating Drapeau at the scene. He was flown by helicopter to Halifax Medical Center in nearby Daytona Beach, where he later died, police said. Just an hour-and-a-half before the fatal fall, a 42-year-old sky diver from Holland suffered a broken ankle after making a hard landing at Skydive DeLand, the Daytona Beach News Journal reported Saturday. Johnston said Drapeau was a frequent visitor to the popular DeLand skydiving spot, making the trip from Canada almost every winter. Although he didn't teach there, he was accredited to do so and worked for a parachute centre in Quebec, the Journal reported. Drapeau became the second person to die at Skydive DeLand in four months. Chantal Bonitto, a 31-year-old New Yorker, died Dec. 27 when her parachute failed. In April 1999, Beatrice Vanderpol, a 55-year-old French woman, also fell to her death because her parachute failed. A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa said Canadian officials are looking into the accident. ''We're in contact with our consulate in Miami and we are trying to find out more,'' Patrick Riel said. Drapeau's family has been notified and are being offered consular assistance, he said.
  19. An Ohio man BASE jumping from West Virginia's New River Gorge Bridge early Saturday morning missed his landing spot and got tangled in some trees before releasing himself from his harness and falling some 40 feet. According to a report today by the National Park Service, 33-year-old Shannon Murphy, of Wadsworth, launched into the darkness at 1:40 A.M. The sky was overcast and the gorge was full of fog, making it nearly impossible for him to see his landing zone. After friends John Maggio, 37, and Andrew Pulton, 20, placed a 911 call, rescuers including a team of rangers, county police, fire and EMS personnel got to Murphy, who was semi-conscious and suffering from a severe head injury and a fractured arm, 45 minutes later. He was stabilized and taken to a local hospital before being transferred to a trauma center in Charleston, West Virginia. The NPS report stated that alcohol may have been a contributing factor in the accident. Murphy will be charged with illegal aerial moves; Maggio has been charged with aiding and abetting. An investigation is underway. Four men caught BASE jumping off the Virginia's New River Gorge Bridge in December were fined $600 a piece after pleading guilty to aerial delivery in a magistrate's court. Tourists visiting the Fayette Station area of the New River Gorge National River snapped photos of two of the four jumpers in mid-air and dialed 911 as the group was still free falling towards the gorge floor. Rangers and several law enforcement agents were dispatched to the scene and, aided by vehicle-descriptions given by the tourists in a second 911 call , - apprehended the men. BASE jumping from the New River Gorge Bridge is illegal except for one day of the year, when the annual Bridge Day is held. The 2001 Bridge Day is scheduled for October 20.
  20. admin

    Adventure Volunteerism

    Imagine throwing a weekend supply of backpacking gear out of an airplane, then jumping out after it and hiking around the desert for a couple of days. That's what the nine students in Airdrop Assist's Basic Boot Camp did in December, at Skydive Arizona. Why did they do this? It was to train for future remote-area humanitarian expeditions with volunteer organizations like Remote Area Medical and its "RAM Airborne" team. The Volunteer Training Course Of course, this is not all they did. The desert airdrop and hike was preceded by two and a half days of training activities, in the classroom and in airplanes. There were prerequisites too, in order to ensure a basic incoming skill level, including: a USPA-B or equivalent license, a 150 jump minimum, basic first aid certification, navigation skills, outdoor living, and more. Instructors covered old, sometimes forgotten, skills plus new ones; including: spotting, landing accurately and softly under a low-loaded wing, packing round parachutes, and preparing cargo bales for airdrops. In the short 4 ½ day period, students covered a lot of ground, during 12-hour days, and wanting more. The first course of this type was held in March 2006, where another nine students got to experience the thrill of pushing out cargo, jumping into remote sites, and testing their hop and pop skills. The revised syllabus maintained the core content of cargo bale handling but included a more physically challenging aspect, including a 12-mile hike with full backpacks, a 1,300 foot climb against the clock, and outdoor living for the duration of the course. Courses are planned to be held at least twice per year, roughly in March and December. The dates may vary, with the next one scheduled from March 9-13, 2007, and all events are posted at www.airdropassist.org/schedule.htm Humanitarian Aid - At Home Airdrop Assist is a newly-formed nonprofit school, aimed at meeting the gap between volunteers and the rigors of remote-area volunteerism, among other things. Given the fact that the majority of Americans are overweight, a person's ambitions may not meet the standards imposed by a harsh environment; some people have it, others need to work toward it. This school is here to bridge that gap. The potential volunteer is someone who savors the outdoors, accessible only by airdrop in some places, and who is willing to endure hardship while providing humanitarian aid to those in need. It is a privilege to be in the position to provide care for another person, and an adventure when you add skydiving. Airdrop Assist seeks to train volunteers who can provide a wide variety of humanitarian aid; this aid begins at home, with local volunteerism. In addition to remote-area aid, local drop zone care is another area of concern. Work is being done to create a higher standard of safety on the home front. As part of this, the well-established "Wilderness First Responder" training program is being proposed for this fall, at Skydive Arizona, geared towards skydiving-related injuries. In coordination with members of drop zone operations, such as Skydive Carolina and Skydive Arizona, we are seeking ways in which to establish training and certification programs, along with practical protocols and procedures, which proactively deal with emergency care during skydiving activities, through a network of volunteers. In addition to the Wilderness First Responder training at Skydive Arizona, Skydive Carolina has been actively developing procedures and protocols, for medically and non-medically trained members of their drop zone, to use in the event of an emergency. The goal is to develop a globally acceptable program, which can be adapted to the distinct needs of differing drop zone operations and skydiving events. Both of these programs are under development and are seeking ways to increase support and to research ways in which to make the training, protocols and procedures effective at drop zones worldwide. More Information and More Ways to Join Volunteerism with Airdrop Assist and Remote Area Medical, a.k.a. RAM, are not limited to airdrop activities in foreign countries. RAM holds medical clinics year round, focused around Knoxville, TN. For more information on this and other clinics held by RAM, go to www.ramusa.org Airdrop Assist also offers many other opportunities to get involved. Being a new nonprofit organization, all skills are needed, in order to make the school a success. This is an exciting time in skydiving and enthusiastic, creative volunteers are in high demand - in the air, on the ground, and over the internet. Also, for anyone who has an old skydiving rig, or other gear, an easy way to get value out of it is to donate it! Let Airdrop Assist find a way to put your gear to use, towards a humanitarian purpose. For more information, contact Airdrop Assist at airdropassist@gmail.com or visit our website at www.airdropassist.org. Students: Marc Bucaro Kyle Ewing Anne Helliwell Raistlin Majere Paul Maresca Matt Oakleaf Victoria Smith Jaap Suter Alex Volk Instructors: Bryan Burke Karen Hawes Larry Richardson Rene Steinhauer Volunteers: Stuart Pearson Gabe Restine
  21. Each year the boundaries of skydiving are expanded, giving way to new avenues of progress and to endless possibilities. The year 2012 was a big year for the sport, with a number of records being set. But aside from the records, there are also groups or individuals who slowly push the standards up with a display of skill. Other times we're inspired more by the surroundings and the cinematography of the video. We take a look at some of the most inspiring skydiving related videos from 2012. 1. Felix Baumgartner jumps from the edge of space One doesn't really have to say anything about this video, I'm sure everyone reading this knows all about it already, but for those that don't; on the 14th October 2012, millions of people around the world were fixed to live streaming of a world record attempt by Felix Baumgartner to set the highest ever skydive. The final confirmed exit height was 128 100 feet, allowing Felix to reach speeds of 833 mph during his freefall. Whether you love him or hate, one cannot deny the magnitude of this jump. 2. Gary Connery lands a wingsuit without a parachute This jump had a lot of media hype, not as much as the previous video - but the idea of skydiving without a parachute was obviously a subject that brought a lot of attention. The idea has been something that Jeb Corlois had been talking about for years prior, though his idea for landing was and still is quite different. Some argue that Gary Connery's jump was less landing without a parachute, and more just crashing into a pile of boxes. Though the technicalities of the jump aside, there is something liberating about the idea of being able to exit a plane without a rig on. Over the coming years, we will not doubt see further attempts to perform the act of landing without a parachute, and this first step - was definitely a jump worth the attention. 3. Vertical Skydiving World Record While this video was technically uploaded in early 2013, the footage is from 2012 and comprises of a record setting 138 person vertical skydiving record. The video was created as a marketing strategy by GoPro for the Hero action camera - and regardless of your POV camera preference, it's hard to argue that they didn't put together an absolutely amazing video. While only lasting just over a minute, it's a pretty awesome minute of viewing. 4. Skydive Dubai - Part 2 This video was a follow up to an extremely popular video that Skydive Dubai released originally in 2011, the original video has over 11 million views on youtube, and if you're looking to attract potential clients, what better way to do it than using viral networking to show just what an amazing place to jump Dubai is. While the footage may not show all too much groundbreaking skydiving, you can't help but want to head there immediately and get on a plane when you look at the view. If the point of a video is to get you up in the air, this video accomplishes that flawlessly. The best way to describe it, is fun! 5. Soul Flyers tear up wind tunnel Something for all the tunnel rats out there. Soul Flyers always manage to get one amped with any video they're in and this wind tunnel video is no different. There's some absolutely amazing flying in this video and for anyone who hasn't stepped inside a tunnel yet, it may well get them wanting to. The cinematography is also extremely good for a discipline that's notoriously difficult to get good footage of. Which of these videos inspired you the most. Let us know, or share your favorite skydiving videos of 2012 in the comments section below.
  22. admin

    Saving lives with your computer

    Dropzone.com users have formed a team to help with a world-wide effort to understand proteins and their role in certain diseases. It is called "Folding@Home" and this effort is already producing results. Some of you may have heard about SETI@Home, and it's search for extraterrestrial intelligence by scanning the skies with radio telescopes and analyzing the signals they pick up from space. Folding@Home (F@H) works much the same way, in that analysis of data is shared by many computers. Collectively, many computers become one, huge, super-computer. This "super computer" studies protein folding, misfolding, aggregation, and related diseases. Something much more meaningful to most of us than searching for extraterrestrial intelligence. To help in this effort is very easy. You simply download a program from http://folding.stanford.edu/. And install it on your computer. The program only runs when you are not using your computer, so it doesn't interfere with any work you are doing. When you install the program, you can also join the Dropzone.com team. Simply put "31515" for your team number. You can also do this later, or change to a different team at any time. Join the conversation in the forums
  23. admin

    Skydiving From a Drone - A World First

    The world’s first human jump from the drone is accomplished Latvians have accomplished the world’s first human flight with the drone and jump at high altitude. On May 12, a 28-propeller drone built by Aerones has lifted a skydiver Ingus Augstkalns at a height of 330 metres, from where he accomplished the planned jump and landing with the parachute. Successful achievement shows the reliability and lifting-ability of the drone technology that approves unlimited possibilities for its use in saving people, fire-fighting, sports and entertainment. Ingus Augstkalns, an author of the idea and skydiver: “Emotions are fantastic. Both feeling how easily and quickly the drone lifted me, and because Latvia proves itself in innovations of technology. It is obvious that we will experience an increasingly important use of drone in our everyday life. Definitely also my friends skydivers all over the world will be excited about these new opportunities. We live in an exciting time.” Jānis Putrāms, a chief engineer of Aerones and a pilot of the drone: “Already in the near future, our technology will save human lives, will help to fight fires and carry out other challenging and significant work. With this project, we show that we are ready for serious tasks in the field of civil defence and sports.” The jump was accomplished in Māļi, rural area of Amata, Latvia, in cooperation with the State JSC Latvian State Radio and Television Centre (hereinafter -– LVRTC), whose communications tower of 120m was used as a platform for the jumper. In order to reduce potential risks, the drone took the jumper from the tower of 120m and then lifted up in the height intended for the jump. Preparations lasted six months, at which time the payload of the drone increased up to 200 kg and a number of tests were carried out, including the flights with the jumper over the river Daugava. Aerones is the Latvian drone manufacturer that is focused on the development of drones with high lifting power. Ingus Augstkalns is an experienced skydiver and a wind tunnel flyer. He also is a co-founder of innovative technologies companies AERODIUM Technologies, Cube and Captomatic. We thank our partners Latvian State Radio and Television Centre, FILMORY, FlyVision, SABI, f64, AERODIUM, Civil Aviation Agency and Skydive Latvia for cooperation and support for project implementation. Editor's Note: With the exit altitude being just 330 meters, some may consider this more of a BASE jump than a skydive. Whatever you classify it as, we classify it as awesome. www.aerones.com www.facebook.com/aeronescom www.twitter.com/aerones_com
  24. admin

    Aerodyne - New season, new website!

    The Skydiving season is starting to come to life as spring approaches and boogie calendars start to become published. New canopies & gear, new drop zones and new faces... What's more, there will be another change in 2004: You will now discover a whole new www.aerodyne-int.com. The actual version of the website appeared in 2002 and gave us the opportunity to increase our audience by offering complete news coverage and interesting features. Now is the time to introduce an improved version of the website, giving you faster access. A more user friendly version with optimized features that lets you browse more easily on the new and improved aerodyne-int.com. Check it out! www.aerodyne-int.com
  25. 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.