Welcome to the third issue of the USPA Update, a monthly e-newsletter designed to keep you, the member, informed of timely industry and association news. To ensure smooth delivery of this update, be sure to add email@example.com to your address book. If needed, please “whitelist” the following domains: multibrief.com and uspa.org.
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A Pilot-Chute-in-Tow Malfunction
In the last year, USPA received two reports of a packing error that led to unusual pilot-chute-in-tow malfunctions. Thankfully, in each case the reserve deployed cleanly past the main pilot chute and bridle, and the jumpers landed uneventfully under their reserve canopies. There have been rumors of at least two other cases of this same malfunction occurring with other jumpers. Neither of these was reported directly to USPA, so we suspect that this issue may be more widespread than we are hearing about. This malfunction has occurred on both a United Parachute Technologies Micron and a Velocity Sports Infinity container. However, it can occur on almost any container under the right set of circumstances. This type of malfunction is easily avoidable, but you need to know what to look for.
If the main container is closed without leaving enough slack in the bridle between the closing pin and the main container flaps above the pin, the closing pin can actually pierce the bridle after the pilot chute is thrown, which locks the container closed.
This appears to occur when there is little or no slack in the bridle between where it exits the container and goes to the pin, when the pin is oriented toward the top of the container and when the bridle completely covers the pin.
To avoid this type of malfunction:
1) Make sure there is some bridle slack between the pin and where the bridle comes up out of the container from under one of the main flaps above the pin. One manufacturer recommends three inches of slack. There should be at least enough slack that the pin will be extracted before there is any tension on the part of the bridle that is between the pin and the container flaps.
2) If possible, make sure that the bridle doesn’t cover the pin but is stowed beside the pin, with at least part of the pin remaining exposed and pointing up and away from the bridle.
3) Note that the closing pin’s attachment loop can be rotated around the eye of the pin. Be sure that the loop is positioned on the eye of the pin so that any tension on the bridle puts immediate tension on the pin and begins to extract it.
As always, check with the manufacturer of your container or refer to the owner’s manual for complete packing instructions.
SAFE Association Honors USPA
The SAFE Association (formerly the Survival and Flight Equipment Association) has selected USPA to receive the association's General Spruance Award, given annually to an individual or organization “for outstanding contribution to safety through education." USPA was nominated for the award by Mike Beck, chairman of the Parachute Industry Association's awards committee.
Said USPA President Jay Stokes, "This award is a testament to the daily vigilance of USPA's instructional rating holders and our appointed Safety & Training Advisors!" He continued, "It is also for the dedication to safety displayed by our board members, particularly those that serve on our Safety & Training Committee. It is without a doubt appropriate for Jim Crouch, who has served as USPA's Director of Safety & Training for nine years, to receive the Spruance Award on behalf of all of them.” The award will be presented next month at the SAFE Association Symposium in San Diego.
Claim Your Place in History
A quick glance at the state records pages
reveals a lot of empty record categories, and the year is still young. You have plenty of time to claim your place in history by selecting a category and setting a state record. The website contains instructions on how to claim that famous chunk of history, so don't delay. Any questions, please contact email@example.com, certainly before the snow flies.
USPA Addresses NTSB Restraint Recommendations
USPA has assembled an industry working-group to address the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations on the use of effective restraint systems for parachutists. The Safety Board recommendations followed their investigation of the July 29, 2006, Twin Otter accident in Sullivan, Missouri. The working-group, which will meet next month at the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) facilities in Oklahoma City, will be comprised of CAMI Researchers, representatives of USPA, FAA’s Flight Standards Division, the Parachute Industry Association, a restraint manufacturer, and two jump aircraft modifiers.
The NTSB reported that the Twin Otter accident airplane’s cabin was equipped with 20 sets of sidewall-mounted webbing restraint systems for parachutists. Some restraints were attached to the sidewall at a single point by means of a single ring. Other restraints were attached to the sidewall at two adjacent points with a single ring for each half of the restraint. The Safety Board concluded that based on the results of the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute’s past testing and the serious and fatal injuries sustained by some of the restrained parachutists in this crash, a single-point restraint system is not sufficient. The NTSB recommended that USPA and the FAA “conduct research to determine the most effective dual-point restraint systems for parachutists …” Once this is determined, USPA is expected to encourage their use.
Careful Packing Considerations
Did you ever finish a sloppy main canopy pack job and decide it was OK to take a chance jumping it because you have a reserve parachute? Some jumpers have a pretty casual attitude about packing their main parachute or maintaining their gear. The fact that reserve rides are somewhat uncommon is a testament to the reliability of our equipment. Although your skydiving gear has proven to be reliable, you should still be careful when packing your main parachute, and take care of any maintenance issues due to wear and tear that may pop up before your next trip to your rigger for a repack. This is especially true now that the reserve repack cycle is 180 days instead of 120, and your rigger is seeing your gear less frequently. Most malfunctions can be avoided with careful packing and replacing or repairing worn components before an issue arises.
Many malfunctions have been attributed to one brake releasing during deployment while the other remains stowed, or incorrect stowing of steering line after setting the brakes of the main canopy—both of which result in a main canopy that cannot be steered. Stowing the brakes of a main canopy is a relatively straightforward process, yet brakes can be stowed wrong or the excess steering line improperly secured. If you have any questions about packing and gear maintenance you should consult with your rigger or the manufacturer. Nobody wants to deal with a cutaway, especially when avoiding it is as simple as making sure the brakes of your main canopy are securely stowed.
Processing Your Membership
“Why should I pay extra for you to do your job?” This was one member’s response when informed that his membership could not be processed an hour after submitting it, but that USPA could process it before the end of the day if he wished to have it expedited.
The membership department is responsible for answering all incoming phone calls to USPA, processing all membership, license and rating applications; awards; address changes and answering general inquiries. To meet the needs of the 32,000 members and maintain efficiency, applications are processed in the order received. Depending on workload and staff scheduling, it may take three to five days before processing an application.
We realize that once in a while a situation may occur in which you need us to process something quickly. If a request for an expedited license, rating and/or membership is submitted correctly by 3 p.m. Eastern time, we will make every effort to process and confirm that it has been issued that same day. If you have any questions, give us a call at (540) 604-9740.
It's All About the Members
Have you ever heard this saying? There is a USPA banner hanging on the wall of the membership department saying just that. It was created partly to clarify our commitment to the members. Without members, there would be no USPA.
Did you know that the majority of the membership department is a USPA member (75 percent)? Did you know that your membership department’s experience includes:
The next time you give us a call with a question or problem, remember you are not only talking to staff but likely a fellow member. We have a vested interest in providing you the best service we can.
- The requirements for obtaining the license or rating have not changed.
- The correct fees are included or marked on the application.
In October's Parachutist …
The October issue of Parachutist went to press two days early and shipped three days earlier than scheduled, so look for your copy to arrive soon. October marked Parachutist’s 600th issue (or pretty close to it), so we included a special section highlighting unique covers over the years. Here are some other features to look forward to: a special skydiving demo unveiled a new product for T-Mobile, tips for becoming an AFF instructor, and an article on wingsuit records.
News You May Have Missed
In case you missed it, here is news posted on our website since the last USPA Update:
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