Need a mobile version?

USPA Update
Oc.t 20, 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 info on file at USPA.

2011 Nationals Kicks Off Next Week!
Quick, name this skydiving “recipe”: perfect location in sunny Arizona, one world-class skydiving center, a skilled leadership and support staff numbering in the dozens, 21 exceptional judges, 550-plus competitors and 388 medals. Put it together and what to you get?

If you answered the USPA National Skydiving Championships, you’re right. In less than a week, the best-tasting skydiving banquet of 2011 will be served. USPA and Skydive Arizona are ready; are you? Have you downloaded the handy registration forms on Skydive Arizona’s website?

In addition to U.S. skydivers, this year we will be joined by a number of international teams, including several Canadians, at least two teams from Qatar and one from Dubai, likely the French 4- and 8-way teams, the Russian 4-way team and other top contenders using the meet to polish before the Dubai Gulf Cup later this year. Pack your bags, make sure your reserve is in date, and be sure to register early when you get to Eloy—avoid the last-minute rush!

Also, be sure to follow event coverage throughout Nationals. will air daily broadcasts each morning of all the previous day’s activities. You can also keep up on all the latest news and scores at, and on USPA’s Facebook page.

A few reminders: While you can’t pre-register online, we encourage you to visit the Nationals Facebook event page and click on “plan to attend.” In addition, you can help USPA promote the sport by filling out the competitor information sheet when you register. We’ll make sure the right media outlets learn about your participation and any noteworthy achievements. See you at Eloy!

Attention Argus owners: Skydive Arizona had decided to allow Nationals competitors to jump with Argus automatic activation devices installed in their rigs if the harness-and-container manufacturer has approved the device for that rig. However, Skydive Arizona will institute a specific gear check for Argus-installed rigs and may require Argus owners to sign a separate hold-harmless agreement acknowledging all liability related to their use of the Argus.

Notice to Vigil Owners
Advanced Aerospace Designs, maker of the Vigil and Vigil 2 automatic activation device (AAD), released an updated Product Service Bulletin (PSB), found here, regarding a recent discovery of a misassembled cutter on a Vigil 2. The error was discovered during an investigation of a September 14, 2011, fatal skydiving accident in Canada. The updated PSB provides additional guidance for testing cutters in the field, and an updated list of serial numbers for units that must be checked before the next jump.

Unrelated to this PSB, recently in the U.S., two different parachute containers—both equipped with early-model Vigil AADs—were involved in activations of the reserve system while the rigs were on the ground. In each case, the Vigil AAD activated and fired its cutter, allowing the reserve pilot chute to launch out of the reserve container. Advanced Aerospace Designs stated that there have been a few cases of similar ground activations involving Vigils—serial number 6799 and below—that were manufactured before August 2006. The activations have only occurred on the ground. The company is expected to provide additional information and guidance soon.

U.S. Team Sponsor Development Program
E-mails and phone calls received at USPA Headquarters after members read “Gearing Up” in the October Parachutist made it clear a 500-word summary of the new program was too succinct, leaving some readers with more questions than answers. Director of Competition Jim Hayhurst has provided a full explanation of the U.S. Team sponsor development program presented to the board of directors last July and approved unanimously by the board. Click here to read his blog. You’ll find it an interesting and informative read.

Skydiving Pioneer and Innovator Ted Strong Passes
The U.S. Parachute Association mourns the tragic loss of Ted Strong, one of the sport’s great pioneers. Ted started jumping in 1958; he was a competitor, coach and rigger-turned-innovator who formed Strong Enterprises in 1961 so that his friends might jump safely. Through the '60s and '70s, Ted helped lead the way in the transition from military surplus to modern sport equipment. In the '80s, he helped pioneer what is arguably the single-most influential technological advancement in skydiving in 50 years—tandem jumping—which opened our sport to the general public and made it the thriving recreational industry it is today. Ted’s innovations carried over to the sport aviation community with comfortable, reliable emergency bailout rigs, as well as into the military market with numerous technological advancements. An innovator and visionary, Ted was awarded USPA's Gold Medal for Meritorious Achievement in 2002, and in 2010, he was inducted into the first class of the National Skydiving Museum Hall of Fame. Those who knew him remember with affection his humility, a kind and generous spirit, and the infectious smile that lifted spirits wherever he went. Remarked USPA President Jay Stokes, "Skydiving has lost one of its greats, an influential pioneer who has made a lasting impact on the sport. We will all miss him greatly, but his legacy will not be forgotten."

Auto and Home Insurance Now Available!
USPA members now have access to discounted auto and homeowner’s/renter’s insurance through MetLife. MetLife will provide quotes from several of the nation’s top carriers, with USPA’s group buying power earning members discounted policies. Discounts are available based on the number of years of USPA membership, as well as discounts for multiple policies, multiple cars and more. For more information and to get a quote, visit USPA’s MetLife website or call (877) 491-5087.

Additionally, USPA members continue to have access to life insurance, as well as other insurance and financial products and services, through Insure Easy Life. Visit the USPA member benefits platform at or call (877) 437-0821 for a complete list of products and services and to obtain quotes.

SIS Photo of the Month!
This month’s Sisters in Skydiving Photo of the Month comes from Big Sis Angela Muhs and features her with her Little Sis, Melinda Cantor Evans, on a mustache jump over Skydive Arizona in Eloy (photo by John McDaid). Muhs reports, “Melinda took a 10-year break and is just recently getting back into the sport (about 30 jumps that are current). Sometimes I do silly things, like have them wear mustaches or make them do jazz hands in between points, just to set the nerves aside and get a smile out of them. Love the Big Sis program!”

USPA’s Sisters in Skydiving program continues to grow, with more than 200 Big Sisters across the U.S. and internationally. The program invites experienced women jumpers to act as mentors to female novices, offering moral support, friendship and encouragement to help keep them progressing in the sport. Being a Big Sister is fun and easy and can create lasting friendships. To learn more about SIS and to register as a Big Sister, visit the USPA website here.

It’s Not Too Late to Submit Your Skydiving Film to X-Dance!
Each winter, the X-Dance Action Sports Film Festival draws extreme sports enthusiasts to Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah. The four-day festival features the best films across a range of action sports including skiing, snowboarding, surfing, moto-cross and more. The next festival is scheduled for January 22-25, 2012.

X-Dance is now accepting film submissions in both the short film and feature film categories, with a final deadline of November 20. With so many skydivers taking up videography and video editing, what better way to show off the excitement and stunning visuals of our sport?

Skydivers interested in learning more about X-Dance can visit the festival’s website at The website also includes film submission guidelines here.

Packing Main Parachutes
Most skydivers pack their own main parachutes, and according to Federal Aviation Regulation 105.43, that’s OK as long as the person doing the packing is the person who will make the next jump on that parachute. If someone else is hired to pack the main parachute, that person must be an FAA-certificated parachute rigger or must be under the direct supervision of a rigger. According to the FAA, direct supervision “means that a certificated rigger personally observes a non-certificated person packing a main parachute to the extent necessary to ensure that it is being done properly, and takes responsibility for that packing.” FAA penalties for non-compliance range from certificate action against the jump pilot to civil fines against the drop zone operator or fines against individual skydivers.

If you’re not sure whether your main packer is a rigger, ask him. If he’s not, ask whether he’s packing under the direct supervision of a rigger.

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

Please do not reply directly to this e-mail. Instead, send comments to

This edition of the USPA Update was sent to ##Email##. To unsubscribe, click here.

Did someone forward this edition to you? Subscribe here - it's free!


Ben Maitland, Director of Advertising Sales

To contribute news to the USPA Update, contact

Recent Issues

  • Sept. 15, 2011
  • Aug. 18, 2011
  • July 18, 2011
  • June 16, 2011

  • 7701 Las Colinas Blvd., Ste. 800, Irving, TX 75063