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USPA Update
April 26, 2010

Members: USPA Needs Your Vote
USPA is initiating a proxy effort to change its by-laws to allow the use of an online voting process for electing its board of directors. The online voting process would be in addition to the current and continuing use of paper ballots for the election. Online voting can only be initiated by a quorum of the membership—10 percent or approximately 3,200 members—at a general membership meeting, which is nearly impossible without a proxy effort. Please read more details about the effort, including the specific language to be changed, here. If you do not intend to be at the next USPA General Membership Meeting on, July 16 in Nashua, New Hampshire, please download a proxy here. Please sign the proxy, then either mail it to 5401 Southpoint Centre Blvd., Fredericksburg, VA 22407, fax it to (540) 604-9741 or scan and e-mail it to

Summer USPA Board Meeting Scheduled
The Summer 2010 USPA Board of Director’s meeting will be held July 16-18 in Nashua, New Hampshire, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The annual General Membership Meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on July 16. For more information about the hotel, call (603) 886-1200 or visit E-mail or call USPA Headquarters at (540) 604-9740 for more information about the board meeting.

New Dates for 10- and 16-Way at Nationals
To ease some concerns from the competition community, meet director Bill Wenger and DZO Rook Nelson have decided to move the registration and competition start dates for the 16- and 10-way events at this year’s USPA National Skydiving Championships at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois. Registration for 16-way will now be on September 14, with competition on September 15-18. Registration for 10-way will be September 15, with competition on September 16-19. There is discussion with the canopy formation community to move the dates slightly for their events, but no decision has been made at this time. All other dates remain the same. E-mail questions to

Skydiving Hits Mainstream Media
CBS College Sports Network’s “The Alt Games: College Action Sports Championships” includes coverage of the 2009 USPA National Collegiate Parachuting Championships held last December at Skydive Spaceland in Rosharon, Texas. The Alt Games, an annual showcase of top college action sports championship events, kicked off April 15 with a preview show, launching 10 weeks of coverage in a variety of competitions, including snowboarding, freeskiing, wakeboarding, flowboarding and beach volleyball.

A crew from CBS Sports attended last year’s Collegiate Nationals to film a segment for the Alt Games. CBS included skydiving in the first two shows April 15 and April 25 and will feature the Collegiates in the next program, airing April 29. To find your local cable or satellite providers that carry CBS College Sports Network, click here. More information on the Alt Games appears at

“Good Morning America” is also planning to air a skydiving segment Friday, May 7, as part of a series entitled, “Living the Dream,” in which several of the program’s anchors travel around the country in pursuit of their passions. Find out more here.

2009 Nationals DVD for Sale
For the first time ever, USPA is offering a fully edited DVD of the USPA Nationals, the 2009 competition at Skydive Spaceland. Produced by Gravity Powered Productions, the DVD features interactive menus, a custom-edited highlight reel of each discipline, a photographic slide show and high-resolution photographs for printing. It also recognizes every medal winner graphically by category. The DVD is now on sale for $20 through the USPA Store.

Safely Learning to Freefly

Photo by Dan Bishop.
Many new jumpers choose freeflying as their preferred discipline. As with any other discipline, there are smart ways to learn and gain experience, and there are lots of not-so-smart ways to go about it. For most jumpers, it takes time and effort just to hold the basic sit-fly position, much less move around the sky with any control. Watching several new jumpers trying to freefly together is a lot like watching a swarm of angry bees—all of them going a million miles an hour in every direction imaginable.

This type of environment can lead to dangerous high-speed collisions, and it increases the chances of losing altitude awareness as the new jumpers become engrossed in learning a new task. And the more bodies you put in the air at the same time, the greater the chance of a collision or distractions that cause loss of altitude awareness.

So, what’s a young jumper to do? Skydiver’s Information Manual Section 6-2 contains recommendations for freeflying. The section recommends that beginning freeflyers receive coaching from an experienced freefly coach. It also recommends that novice freefly jumpers not jump together or attempt standing or head-down maneuvers until demonstrating the ability to control movement up, down, forward and backward in a sit position. While very few of us have the luxury of a nearby wind tunnel or a bottomless bank account, it is pretty easy to find an experienced freeflyer who will voluntarily work with new jumpers to help them advance as safely as possible. Professional coaching will usually cost more, but it can also help you learn more quickly.

Freeflying is both fun and exhilarating, but it also requires a cautious and methodical approach to help eliminate as much of the risk as possible. Make sure you are not getting in over your head while you learn to fly on it.

Show us Your Tatts!
Parachutist magazine is planning a pictorial featuring skydiving-related tattoo art. If you have a skydiving tattoo that you’d like to appear in the magazine, please send a high-resolution photo at least 5” x 7” at 300 ppi (1,500 x 2,100 pixels) by May 15 via this link. From these submissions, we will compile a full gallery to appear on Parachutist online and will choose select photos for a pictorial in Parachutist magazine.

Review Your Applications Before Submission
Too often, USPA’s membership department receives an incomplete application for a license or rating. It could be something as simple as the date of water training or score of the written exam. Although USPA Instructors and Examiners have received training in how to process applications, errors and omissions do occur.

When this happens, USPA sends a letter stating the application cannot be processed as submitted. To save yourself time and frustration, please thoroughly review the document before submission. Ask questions beforehand, and seek a second opinion if there is any doubt. Become familiar with the USPA forms; someday, you may be signing applications for your students.

USPA Accepting Awards Nominations
USPA is accepting nominations until May 15 for the USPA Lifetime Achievement Award, the USPA Gold Medal for Meritorious Service and for awards managed by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). Descriptions of the awards and procedures for nominating individuals appear in Skydiver's Information Manual Section 8. Those making nominations should become familiar with the procedures, which the Membership Services Committee will strictly follow when it deliberates at the USPA Board meeting in July. More information is available by contacting USPA Director of Competition and Special Projects Larry Bagley at or (540) 604-9740, ext. 312.

In May's Parachutist...
The May issue of Parachutist shipped last week. This issue is jam-packed with features, including part one of a series on D.B. Cooper, the next installment in the jump plane series featuring the Short Skyvan, coverage of the Skydive Expo, boogie reports from Skydive Sebastian’s Team Dirty Sanchez Luau in Florida and the Boogie in Belize, Safety Day coverage and more! Let us know what you think about this issue and others by e-mailing

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