Archive for the ‘sky diving’ Category

USPA Competition Blog – Big Boy Pants Comp

July 29, 2011

Who: 26 of the world’s best canopy pilots (by invitation only)

What: Big Boy Pants Canopy Piloting Record Attempts

When: Friday, July 29, through Sunday, July 31

Where: Mile-Hi Skydiving Center, Longmont, Colorado

Why: Set canopy piloting state, national and world records

Practice day is done, the competitor’s brief is complete, the course and judges are ready, and this morning begins the assault on the world’s canopy piloting records. General consensus, based on the practice runs yesterday, is that it’s not a question of if, but of how many times the world records for speed and distance will be surpassed. With the density altitude hovering at 8,000 from mid-morning to late afternoon, we saw some amazing speeds and distances on practice runs yesterday. Today we’ll begin with four rounds of speed, a right-hand carve with a slight following wind from the east. Everyone’s stoked about the format, which allows competitors to bail on bad or even mediocre runs, and then go right back up, make the adjustments, and go all-out on the next run. At the end of the competition, only the best three rounds of speed and accuracy are taken for each competitor, and the ranking from those two events will be combined with the best score out of two rounds of zone accuracy. Performance Designs has put up $6,000 of prize money—$2,000 for a speed world record, $2,000 for a distance world record, and $2,000 to the best overall competitor. My prediction is as follows: three new world speed records will be set, the best run will be sub-2.0 seconds; and six distance world records will be set, the best run will exceed 200 meters. Why fewer speed records? Because you still have to make it around the turn—the speed event is measured over a carving 70-meter arc, so it’s just like a Formula One racer going around a tight turn … you can only go so fast. Hence, the speed advantage of the thin air is limited by the radius of the turn. It’s going to be an exciting three days! Check back soon for updates and another post. I hope to have news of a new world speed record to report.

— James Hayhurst, USPA Director of Competition

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Skydiving Fatality Stats for 2009 at 40-Year Low

January 6, 2010

Following a November 11 fatality, we held our breath for the final six weeks of 2009; and on January 1, we could finally breathe a sigh of relief that there were no additional fatalities for the year. We ended 2009 with 16 total civilian fatalities, the fewest in more than four decades. In fact, you have to go back to 1961 to find a lower annual total. To put this in perspective, 1961 ended with 14 fatalities and just 3,353 members. The following year ended with 19 fatalities, and membership had nearly doubled in 1962 to 6,658 members. Fast forward to 2009, and membership is now at 32,177, and it is safe to say that the nearly 3 million jumps made in 2009 far surpassed the number of jumps made by 6,658 members in 1962. A 2009 membership total of nearly five times the membership in 1962, yet there were three fewer fatalities in 2009!

The reduction in fatalities can be attributed to lots of reasons, including safer equipment and better training. But, it is also a tribute to every skydiver, instructor, rigger, S&TA and drop zone manager who all worked to keep skydiving as safe as possible. Keep it up, and let’s make 2010 even safer for everyone, from the thousands of first-jump students, to those who are making thousands of jumps each year.

Blue Skies, Patrick Swayze

September 16, 2009

To the general public, Patrick Swayze—who died at age 57 this week—will best be remembered for the films Dirty Dancing and Ghost. To skydivers of the day he’ll be remembered for Point Break. And for two reasons. First, Swayze took up skydiving at Perris Valley so that he could film many of the skydiving scenes himself. According to co-star Keanu Reeves, the production company issued Swayze a cease-and-desist order to stop skydiving; he kept jumping anyway. Along the way he joined USPA and earned his A license. Second, the movie’s release in 1991 brought a flood of first-jump customers out to DZs nationwide. Those customers didn’t find skydivers bantering in five-minute freefalls, but many did find a sport of their own as shown by USPA’s membership totals. Membership rose from 20,000 at the end of 1990 to 26,150 in 1992, and steady increases in subsequent years. Thanks, Patrick, for boosting our sport. Blue Skies.

The Poetry of Skydiving

August 25, 2009

Scott Van Allen is one of the finalists in the mixed media category of the Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder Contest.

Rachel Carson was a renowned American biologist who dedicated her life to the preservation of nature. Now, the EPA, along with Generations United, the Rachel Carson Council, Inc., and the Dance Exchange, conduct an annual contest in her name with the purpose of combining nature and art. The Sense of Wonder entry criterion was to describe something “that best expresses the Sense of Wonder that you feel for the sea, the night sky, forests, birds, wildlife, and all that is beautiful to your eyes.”

Scott submitted a poem and picture as his mixed media entry titled “All We Need Is The Sky.”

The winner will be chosen through online voting, so head to http://yosemite.epa.gov/oa/agingepa/rcvote.nsf/fmVote?OpenForm and vote for “All We Need Is The Sky” under the mixed media category and help Scott promote our sport. Voting closes October 1st.

Let’s Do a Dive for Shifty—and his Brothers

July 22, 2009

You may have recently seen a sentimental email about the June 17 passing of Darrell “Shifty” Powers at age 86.  If not, read about it here on Snopes:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/shiftypowers.asp

While Snopes can’t verify the source of the reported encounter, “Shifty,” as he was known, was real, and so was his bravery as he served with Easy Company of the 101st Airborne in the dangerous days and months following his drop on D-Day.

It turns out that skydivers have a perfect opportunity to honor Shifty and his band of brothers. Sunday, August 16, is National Airborne Day, a day annually commemorated by Congress to remember and honor those servicemen who volunteered to earn their jump wings and serve our country as an airborne soldier. (Read my blog about last year’s National Airborne Day here: https://skydiveuspa.wordpress.com/2008/08/13/national-airborne-day/)

So here’s the thought: Let’s honor Shifty—and his band of brothers—with a memorial skydive. Actually with lots of memorial skydives. Why not organize a memorial dive at your DZ that day? You could form an “A” for Airborne, an “E” for Easy Company, or a “101” for the 101st. Or form a star (if large enough, let a veteran fly in the center), and facing each other with joined grips, give thanks to Shifty and all those who set aside their lives, answered their country’s call, and literally saved the world.

So do a dive for Shifty and his band of brothers and let us know how it went. Send your description of the jump and any photos or links to videos to communications@uspa.org. You don’t have to stop there. Nearly every assisted living facility has WW II veterans who would thoroughly enjoy a visit by a bunch of skydivers expressing appreciation for their service. After all, we not only owe them for their service; we also owe them for sowing the seeds for our sport. It was post-war veterans that wanted to continue jumping out of airplanes who began what became the sport of skydiving.

Rising Through the Recession

July 6, 2009

32,003. That’s the current level of USPA membership at the end of June. What’s the significance? Well, in addition to the fact that membership continues to grow, it’s the first time since May 2005 that we’ve exceeded 32,000. Here’s the full story: USPA membership reached its all-time zenith of 34,583 in August 2001. Then the following month came the attacks of 9/11. Like all of aviation, skydiving suffered for months from a public apprehension and mistrust of all flying. A stalling economy didn’t help either. Membership began a slow but steady decline, going below 32,000 in June 2005 and finally bottoming out in October 2006 at 30,488. Then began a slow but steady climb, and finally back over 32,000 last month. 32,003 is just a number, after all. But it signifies skydiving is holding its own through this recession. And that’s good news for all of us.