NTSB Update

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As USPA has reported, jump plane maintenance and operations were the subject of a National Transportation Safety Board Special Investigation Report on the Safety of Parachute Jump Operations, and not in a good way. Knowing the FAA has a decision to make about how to respond to the NTSB, USPA met with the FAA and proposed a self-regulatory approach, believing that substantive improvements in jump aircraft maintenance and pilot training can be gained without the need for additional federal regulation. But first, USPA and FAA had to agree that all parachute operations that offer services to the general public and/or to experienced civilian skydivers for compensation are “commercial operators” as defined by the general definitions section of Title 14: Aeronautic and Space, Code of Federal Regulations.

14 CFR 1.1 Commercial Operator means a person who, for compensation or hire, engages in the carriage by aircraft in air commerce of persons or property, other than as an air carrier or foreign air carrier or under the authority of Part 375 of this title. Where it is doubtful that an operation is for “compensation or hire”, the test applied is whether the carriage by air is merely incidental to the person’s other business or is, in itself, a major enterprise for profit.

With that established, current regulatory requirements for aircraft maintenance will be reviewed with drop zone operators and a verifiable program developed by USPA. The program will then be implemented through our Group Member drop zones. Guidance for jump pilot initial training, recurrent training, and regular competency checks will follow similar development and implementation. Information on these programs will be distributed in Parachutist, the USPA website, and by direct e-mail communication with our Group Member drop zones.

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