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USPA Update
May 19, 2011

Thank you for being a member and supporting USPA's programs and services. One of your many member benefits is this monthly "USPA Update," a free e-newsletter designed to keep you informed of what's going on in between your issues of Parachutist. If you’d like this to be sent to a different e-mail address, please change your contact information on file at USPA change your contact info on file at USPA.

USPA Proxy Effort Underway
Every eligible USPA member with a valid e-mail address on file at USPA was sent an e-mail last month requesting their participation in a proxy effort to make several changes to the way USPA currently runs elections for its board of directors. For members who did not receive this e-mail, there are details and a proxy on the USPA website and in the May issue of Parachutist.

At the USPA Board of Directors meeting this past February, the board voted to conduct a proxy effort that, if successful, will result in two changes to USPA’s election process: 1) extending future terms of board members from two to three years; and 2) eliminating the need for non-incumbent regional director candidates to obtain signatures of 10 percent of the members in their region before they can appear on a ballot.

If you are not able to attend the next General Membership Meeting on July 8 at the Aloft Broomfield Denver Hotel in Colorado, please fill out a proxy. Properly executed paper proxies should be faxed or e-mailed to USPA by 5 p.m. EDT on July 7.

USPA Seeks Competitors, Team Managers and Head of Delegation for Dubai Cup
The Emirates Aviation Association just announced the 3rd Dubai International Parachuting Championships and Gulf Cup scheduled for November 29 to December 10, 2011, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The past two Dubai events have been well-run, extremely popular events. This 3rd Dubai Cup will also serve as a dry-run for the 2012 World Championships, scheduled for the same location and dates one year later.

This 3rd Dubai Cup includes the following events: 4-way formation skydiving (male/mixed team and female team), accuracy landing (male/mixed team and female team), canopy piloting (speed, distance, accuracy and freestyle) and canopy formation (2-way, 4-way sequential and 4-way rotation). Each country may enter up to two complete teams for male and female in FS, CF and team accuracy events, and up to a total of eight CP competitors. Only one team per country, the “official nominated national team,” is eligible for money prizes.

Competitors who took part in the 2010 USPA Nationals and would like to be considered for the official U.S. delegation should read this bulletin and e-mail their names to USPA Director of Competition James Hayhurst. He will forward the names to USPA’s Competition Committee, which will determine the “official nominated national team” and approve members of the U.S. delegation at the July USPA Board meeting.

The Competition Committee is also seeking individuals interested in serving as team managers or the head of delegation. To distribute workload, there will be one team manager for FS and CF, and one team manager for CP and accuracy. In addition, USPA is already looking for team managers or the head of delegation for the 2012 FAI World Parachuting Championships in Dubai. Interested members should e-mail

Skydive Sacramento Wins FAA Part 16 Determination
On May 4, the FAA issued its Director’s Determination in the Part 16 formal complaint submitted by Skydive Sacramento and supported in part by the USPA Airport Access Defense Fund. The determination addressed several specific complaints by Skydive Sacramento. On the most important complaint—that an airport cannot impose a requirement that is “unattainable”—the FAA agreed with the DZ and USPA. This is a major, positive development for skydiving, because it means that federally obligated airports may no longer require operational liability insurance for skydiving, which is not available and therefore unattainable. Those insurance requirements by airports will no longer prevent new DZs from opening on such airports.

Skydive Sacramento had been trying to access the Lincoln, California, Regional Airport since June 2007—and has been leasing a hangar since August 2008—but had not gained approval for skydivers to land on the airport because of the insurance requirement in question. USPA staff members had been looking for the right airport access issue to test the FAA’s “attainable” language and were convinced they had found it with the Skydive Sacramento case. The USPA Board of Directors agreed and, at its February 2010 meeting, voted to support Skydive Sacramento’s Part 16 complaint with an allocation from the USPA Airport Access Defense Fund, which ultimately totaled $9,000.

The FAA determined that the unattainable insurance provision constituted an unreasonable denial of access and gave the airport 30 days to submit a corrective action plan that would allow Skydive Sacramento airport access for its drop zone. The complete Part 16 case may be downloaded here.

SIM App Now Available on Android Phones
The Skydiver’s Information Manual is now available as an app on the Android phone. Search “USPA SIM” in the Market or download it here. USPA released the SIM app for iPhones earlier this year, and the manual is also available in print and online. Special thanks to developer and USPA member Kane Crisler at Tutamen LLC for creating the apps.

Tips to Avoid Canopy Collisions
Regardless of whether your canopy is small or large, fast or slow, we all need to maintain a safe distance from each other during the canopy descent. Canopy collisions most often occur at the intersection of the base leg and the final approach leg of a canopy pattern. Why is it that collisions frequently occur just before landing? There are several factors:
  • Even moderately wing-loaded canopies fly with relatively fast forward speeds. The higher the wing loading, the more distance covered in the same amount of time. Many jumpers are simply jumping parachutes that are too small for them to safely manage the canopy traffic on every jump.
  • Jumpers on a load tend to land in the same landing area, so all canopies converge into the same area at nearly the same time. This creates congestion below 1,000 feet over the landing area.
  • Once below 1,000 feet, jumpers tend to focus more on the landing spot than the surrounding canopy traffic.
  • If there is nearby canopy traffic, it is often difficult to determine when and where the other jumper will turn, unless there is a clear landing pattern established for everyone to follow. Even then, many jumpers will turn at different altitudes and points above the ground due to variations in their landing patterns.
  • Jumpers do not plan for an alternative in case they cannot execute the original landing plan. This creates panic and indecision at the last second.
So, what can you do to help traffic flow more smoothly, reduce congestion above the landing area, and help everyone stay safer under canopy?
  • Pay attention to who is on your load, the number of jumpers and the grouping of various jumpers.
  • Ensure that the drop zone has a landing pattern and that each jumper understands and follows the plan.
  • Know where the spot should be and the expected jump run direction.
  • Once under canopy, immediately locate the other jumpers on the load and work from that point to create a smooth flow of traffic. Use half brakes to remain above faster canopies and add front-riser input to increase your descent rate to gain separation from slower canopies.
  • Work to create enough vertical and horizontal separation at higher altitudes so that you will not be near any other canopies below 1,000 feet while flying your pattern.
  • Continually look for other canopies that may be creating a conflict—all the way to touchdown in the landing area. Plan ahead for different scenarios, if there is a canopy in front of you that you must follow through the landing pattern.
  • Never fly your parachute into a spot where another jumper could run into you with an unexpected turn.
  • Always have an alternate landing plan in place and be ready to use it if your first option will not work.
  • Land safe, not close.
  • Fly straight legs in the pattern. S-turns have caused many collisions in the past when two jumpers are on final approach and one of them unexpectedly makes a last-second sashay to shorten the approach. Learn to fix your accuracy by adjusting the downwind and base legs of your pattern instead of using S-turns.
  • Choose bright colors for your parachute.

Life Insurance for Skydivers—Finally!
For years, skydivers have struggled to obtain reasonably priced life insurance—and often can’t even get a quote—simply because they jump out of airplanes for a hobby. But that has finally changed. USPA has used its group buying power to negotiate on behalf of its members for life insurance, as well as a host of other insurance and financial products and services. USPA members now qualify for life insurance at preferred underwriting rates, not just the standard rates that skydivers have come to expect just because they jump. (You still must meet health requirements to get preferred rates.) There is no limit to the amount of coverage you can purchase, and every USPA member can receive a quote.

Through Insure Easy Life, USPA members and their families now have access to a one-stop shopping platform with dozens of products and services from the nation’s top insurance and financial institutions. Members can gain immediate access to life insurance, as well as health insurance, disability insurance, retirement annuities and much more. USPA has negotiated on behalf of its members for the best insurance rates, along with free unlimited telephone consultations with product specialists.

Simply visit the USPA member benefits platform at or call (877) 437-0821 for a complete list of products and services and to obtain quotes.

Check out these sample life insurance monthly premiums (assuming good health):

*Rates are guaranteed and never increase; however, they can go down for those who later make fewer jumps per year than when they first purchased the life insurance.

PRO Rating Holders: Last-Minute Invite to Sarajevo
The Aero Club of Sarajevo has just invited USPA, as well as 23 other countries, to send four jumpers each to make demo jumps into Otoka Stadium in Sarajevo June 3-5, 2011. The primary objective is social/cultural exchange and sport promotion. Participants must be PRO rated with stadium or flag-jump experience and willing to pay their own travel. Accommodations and jumps are covered. If interested, e-mail USPA for details.

Is Your Membership Card Current?
Have you looked at your membership card lately? Is all the information correct and current?

Expiration date—Just below your membership number is your expiration date. Make sure you are current and that you are carrying your most recent card.

Instructional ratings—Any current instructional ratings you hold are listed to the right of your membership number. Sometimes a DZ or S&TA forgets to submit a signature for a rating, or a member forgets to send in a copy of his medical certificate (for tandem ratings). Make sure the ratings you have are listed.

Years of membership—This number is located on the left side of the card below your name. The number represents completed years of membership, not the number of years you have been jumping.

If you believe anything is missing or incorrect, call (540) 604-9740 or e-mail to verify your current information. If you can not find your current card, you may request a replacement.

Skydiving in the News
Check out a few of the recent cool news stories about skydiving:

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