Welcome to the new version of the “USPA Professional.” This free e-newsletter is distributed to all USPA instructional rating holders with an e-mail address on file with USPA Headquarters. Additionally, this new version also incorporates material that was previously sent only to drop zone owners in “The DZO Streamline” e-newsletter. At your next staff meeting, ask any current instructional rating holder who is not receiving this e-news to update their contact info. with USPA Headquarters here. We hope you enjoy the new format of the combined newsletters.
FOR THE SAFETY & TRAINING ADVISOR
New Forms and New Prices
Last week alone, we received outdated license applications from 17 different Safety & Training Advisors. Beginning April 1 of this year, USPA increased the prices of new and renewing memberships, licenses, new ratings and PRO and instructional rating renewal fees. Be sure to throw away your old forms and use only forms with the current prices. You can download the forms from the USPA website. Printed forms can be requested online or by calling (540) 604-9740. Outdated applications require additional staff time to process, and this delays the processing of all other membership applications and renewals.
FOR THE RATING HOLDER
AFF Standardization Meeting
Currently, the AFF Standardization meeting is scheduled for every other year, with the last one held in January 2009. The meeting is mandatory for anyone who desires to become an AFF Instructor Examiner; all current AFF IE’s must also attend the biennial meeting. There have been several requests for USPA to offer this meeting annually, so that those who could not attend the last meeting do not have to wait two years for the next one. If you are interested in attending a standardization meeting in January 2010, e-mail email@example.com. If there is enough interest, USPA will arrange for the meeting and announce the dates and location here in the USPA Professional, as well as in Parachutist magazine. This would not be a required meeting for those who have already attended the January 2009 meeting.
New PRO Rating Logo
Many USPA PRO Rating holders suggested that USPA change the PRO logo, so here it is! Anyone receiving a new PRO rating or renewing one will receive two stickers with their new membership card. Additional stickers will soon be available for purchase through the USPA Shop. We are also looking into offering an embroidered patch.
Student Training Video Demonstrations
Thanks to the U.S. Army Golden Knights, USPA now offers video examples on its website of each of the freefall dive flows for Category A through F of the USPA Integrated Student Program (ISP). The videos are in the online version of the SIM and on the Downloads page.
Accelerated Freefall (AFF) is the method used in each of the examples. However, IAD and static-line students share the same freefall objectives from Category C and beyond, so the video examples will help all students, regardless of the method they are using to progress through their training. Each skydive is presented with a front view and a top view, then both views are combined in a split screen. Many thanks to SGM Michael Eitniear, Major Jim Bean and Jay Stokes, who made the jumps as the instructors and student; SSG Ben Borger and SSG Steve Robertson who filmed the jumps; and Douglas Spotted Eagle, Phil Zidek and Chris Warnock who worked on the editing and production for each of the video examples.
Plans are in the works to add more video and multi-media training tools on the USPA website. Video examples for each of the Coach jumps and all of the drills used for canopy training in the ISP are just two of the planned projects.
USPA Tandem Instructor Renewals
At the July USPA Board of Directors meeting, the language in the Basic Safety Requirements regarding medical requirements for USPA Tandem Instructors was clarified. Any skydiver acting as a parachutist in command on a tandem jump must possess a current FAA Third Class Medical Certificate, or a medical certificate acceptable to USPA, or, if residing outside of the United States or its territories or possessions, a current aviation medical certificate recognized by the Civil Aviation Authority of the residence country.
To renew a USPA Tandem Instructor rating, each rating holder must send USPA Headquarters a copy of the current Third Class Medical Certificate along with his rating and membership renewal. Any tandem instructor rating renewal submitted without a copy of the medical certificate will be placed on hold until it is submitted.
Tandem is Not Just Another Skydive
A recent tandem accident resulting in a double fatality should serve as a valuable lesson for all current tandem instructors and anyone interested in becoming a tandem instructor, about the importance of proper training and equipment maintenance. The investigation revealed that the tandem instructor was rated for another tandem system, but he was not rated to jump the type of equipment involved in this fatal accident, the Strong Enterprises Dual Hawk tandem system. In addition, the tandem system had not been properly maintained and also included a main canopy that was not approved for use with the Strong Dual Hawk container. Between the training and maintenance issues, and using an unapproved main canopy, a chain of events unfolded that resulted in a main-reserve entanglement and a double fatality. The problem with the rig maintenance that resulted in the canopy entanglement could have been easily detected with a pre-flight inspection of the rig by a trained professional before the gear was put on for the jump.
FOR THE DROP ZONE OWNER AND OPERATOR
Making Our Ride to Altitude Safer
USPA continues to assemble guidance for jump plane operators. This effort is in response to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Special Investigation Report on the Safety of Parachute Jump Operations and the NTSB’s recommendations to USPA. The guidance will contain a review of applicable maintenance regulations and industry standards for the training of jump pilots. USPA’s board has approved changes to the Group Member Pledge, which will require verification of compliance with federal regulations for aircraft being flown "for hire" during parachute operations.
USPA is currently designing an aircraft maintenance status sheet, a copy of which must be submitted to USPA at the time of annual group membership renewal. Operators will be required to denote the specific maintenance program used for each of their aircraft, including the times of the last and next required inspections.
USPA Seeks Bids to Host 2010 USPA Collegiates
USPA is looking for a group member drop zone to host the 2010 USPA National Collegiate Parachuting Championships. Bid procedures are stipulated in the Skydiver's Competition Manual, available online. Bids must be received at USPA Headquarters by December 1. At the USPA Board of Director’s meeting in Phoenix next February, the Competition Committee will consider all bids received by the deadline. For additional information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
USPA Training Centers
Many drop zones have signed up with USPA to be designated as USPA Training Centers that promote student training and the USPA Solo Challenge. Some drop zones that have signed up for the program are not providing USPA with the student names and e-mail addresses, which allow USPA to follow up with each student to encourage them to continue jumping. If your drop zone is designated as a USPA Training Center, please ensure that the student information is sent to USPA each Monday morning, which can be done electronically online, by e-mailing email@example.com an Excel file or by mailing the post cards. This page provides more information regarding the USPA Training Center requirements and the Solo Challenge.
DVD Available to Assist DZ Marketing
Two years in the making, a new DVD is now available for drop zones to use as a promotional tool. The Parachute Industry Association (PIA) requested and financed the project, which was developed by skydiving cinematographer Joe Jennings. The DVD was provided free of charge by PIA to every USPA Group Member drop zone in the United States.
It includes a DVD intro that can be customized by each drop zone as a DVD header for student videos, a 12-minute segment designed to air in various public gatherings, four different 30-second segments that can be customized with graphics for each drop zone to be used in television ads, and a stunts section that includes footage of various commercials and stunts that Jennings has filmed in the past. (The stunts section is not to be used for any drop zone promotions.)
The footage is broadcast quality and provides a fast-paced look and feel that should work well in drawing new students to the drop zone to pursue the sport.
Got a Promotional Idea?
If you have a useful and effective marketing and promotion idea you would like to share with others, pass it along to firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can include it in the next issue of the “USPA Professional.”
Do you have any competitors or teams training at your drop zone for USPA Nationals? Do they have an interesting story to tell? Perhaps an all-female team, a competitor with a physical challenge, a team competing for the first time, or something that might separate the team from others? USPA’s public relations firm is looking for inspirational or compelling stories to share with the media to help promote Nationals. If you have a lead, please e-mail email@example.com a short summary along with the team’s contact info.