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 Coming Up! Make Your Vote Count!
Within the next week, all eligible USPA members with valid e-mail addresses on file at USPA will be sent an e-mail requesting their participation in a proxy effort to make several changes to the way USPA currently runs elections for its board of directors.
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.
Details and instructions to cast your vote online will accompany the e-mail. For members who do not receive this e-mail, there will be information and a proxy on the USPA website and in the May issue of Parachutist. Properly executed paper proxies can be faxed or e-mailed to USPA.
AAD Bulletins Continue
At the end of March, USPA announced that several container manufacturers had released service bulletins withdrawing approval of the Argus automatic activation device (AAD) in their containers. Several skydiving associations around the globe have also released notices. Aviacom, manufacturer of the Argus, has since posted a response to the issue on its website and followed up on April 5 with its own service bulletin. Most recently, Aviacom finally received the AAD that experienced the cutter problem and was able to determine what actually occurred with the cutter. The unit was taken to Sky Supplies in Europe for the inspection, and upon disassembly of the cutter, investigators found that a small steel ball had lodged between the closing loop and the cutter, damaging the cutter and preventing the loop from being completely severed. Sky Supplies determined that this had to be a foreign object, because there are no steel balls in the manufacturing of the AAD. The full report is available here.
So where does this leave all of the Argus owners? USPA has not yet heard from any of the container manufacturers, other skydiving associations or the Parachute Industry Association regarding the findings from Sky Supplies. Hopefully, all involved can come to a resolution for this situation as quickly as possible. As soon as we hear of additional guidance, we will forward it on to the membership through the USPA website and e-mail notices.
Get Your Own Customized Skydiving Credit Card Through CardPartner
You can now get a USPA Platinum Visa® Rewards Card that features a picture of you skydiving! Or you can choose from one of five skydiving cards.
USPA has teamed up with CardPartner to provide an affinity card program to USPA members. The card has no annual fee, offers a low APR and allows you to earn rewards points at hundreds of online and neighborhood retailers. Redeem your points for travel, account credits, gift cards, name-brand merchandise and more.
When you apply for and use the no-annual-fee USPA Platinum Visa® Rewards Card, the bank will donate $50 and a percentage of all your future purchases on the card to USPA.
All the benefits of a Platinum Visa® Rewards Card will be yours, along with the satisfaction of showing off your favorite hobby every time you use your card.
There are five skydiving cards to choose from or you can upload your own skydiving image! For more information and to apply for the card, visit www.cardpartner.com/app/uspa or download a credit application here.
NAA Honors Women’s Head-Down World Record
The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) recently honored the 41-way women’s head-down world record, set last November in Eloy, Arizona, as one of the most memorable aviation records of 2010. The NAA presented the award during its Spring Awards Ceremony and Luncheon March 15 in Crystal City, Virginia. Nancy Koreen, USPA’s Director of Sport Promotion and a participant on the record, accepted the award on behalf of record organizers Amy Chmelecki, Melanie Curtis, Sara Curtis, Melissa Nelson and Kimberly Winslow.
Nancy Koreen accepts the certificate honoring the women’s head-down world record as one of the most memorable aviation records of 2010 from Rod Skarr, chairman of the NAA Contest and Records Board. Photo courtesy of the NAA.
“We hope this record can be an inspiration to women everywhere, not just skydivers, and show that women can accomplish whatever they choose in this world and be amazing at it,” said Sara Curtis. “We are so proud of all the participants of the record event!”
Coming Soon: Life Insurance for Skydivers!
USPA has secured an important new benefit for our members—life insurance, plus a host of other insurance and financial products and services. We plan to introduce the new program in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for details coming soon.
Canopy Collisions Continue to Plague Sport
Canopy collisions continue to cause needless deaths each year, and March ended with two separate collisions that resulted in four fatalities. USPA continues to work toward keeping our landing areas as safe as possible. But it is up to each skydiver to maintain separation from other canopies and fly a predictable landing pattern. The statistics are proving that high-performance approaches will continue to lead to fatal collisions as long as jumpers perform them in the vicinity of other canopy traffic. Flying a canopy at a moderate to high wing loading requires a high level of skill. But more importantly, it requires sound judgment and decision-making skills. Swooping through any sort of traffic must be eliminated. USPA Group Member drop zones have pledged to separate high-performance landings from areas for those flying standard landing patterns. Is your DZ really following this rule?
The statistics also show that jumpers flying standard patterns are also having collisions, most commonly at the intersection of the base leg to final approach. At pattern altitudes below 1,000 feet, many jumpers are focused on the landing area and stop looking around for other canopies. Keep scanning the sky continually through your descent and even after you have landed to avoid walking in front of a landing canopy. Adjust your descent above 1,000 feet to help you remain clear of other canopies once you are in the landing pattern. Continue to scan for other canopies all the way through the pattern to touchdown. Work with your drop zone management and other jumpers to help keep our landing areas as safe as possible.
Seatbelts Save Lives
As the skydiving season approaches in much of the country, please remember that the effective use of safety belts or approved restraints in the aircraft can save your life, as well as the lives of other skydivers seated near you in the jump plane. Federal Aviation Regulations require that each occupant use a safety belt during aircraft taxi, takeoff and landing. Safety belts and restraints should always be adjusted to minimize occupant movement in the event of a sudden aircraft stop or loss of directional control during takeoff.
New Chair of Competition Committee Announced
Western Regional Director Scott Smith has taken over as Chair of USPA’s Competition Committee. He succeeds Northeast Regional Director Marylou Laughlin, who stepped down effective April 8, 2011. Laughlin, who has previously served as chair of the committee and was USPA’s International Parachuting Commission delegate from 2003 until this year, will continue her service as a member of the Competition Committee.
Parachutist Seeks Young Artists
For its 65th anniversary celebration, USPA is seeking art submissions from skydiving’s next generation. Selected pieces will appear in a pictorial in the July Parachutist, and all submissions will be available for viewing on Parachutist Online. All future skydivers who submit art will receive a certificate from USPA and a Parachutist sticker.
USPA prefers to receive digital photos or scans of artwork through the simple, online form. Submitted artwork should focus on sport skydiving. Paintings or drawings in any medium will be accepted, but we will not consider digitally altered photographs or computer-generated art. The deadline for submissions is May 15.
Are You Ready to Jump?
Warm weather is here, and the jumping season is upon us. Take a few moments now to make sure you have your current USPA membership card. Also review any ratings you may have and make sure they appear on your card—if you renewed them. If you believe your card is incorrect, contact USPA now to confirm the information in USPA’s database. Don’t wait until Saturday morning and then try to explain to the DZO that all your ratings are current, despite what’s on your membership card.
Skydiving in the News
Check out a few of the recent cool news stories about skydiving:
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