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USPA Safety & Training Newsletter
A bulletin for the training community
Vol. 2, Issue 1 January 4, 2002

WAIVER REQUESTS Some drop zones have waivers to the Basic Safety Requirements for wind limitations or water gear requirements. The Safety and Training Advisor must renew any waivers at the beginning of each year. Once USPA Headquarters receives the waiver request from a current S&TA, the waiver will be written and mailed to the S&TA who made the request. One copy of the waiver should go to the Regional Director, one stays on file with the Director of Safety and Training at USPA Headquarters, and one should be kept on file at the drop zone that holds the waiver. Be sure to get your waiver completed and mailed to make sure that compliance with the Basic Safety Requirements is maintained.
USPA has received several calls from skydivers who would like to know how to calculate the wing loading for the parachute that they are jumping. Dividing the jumpers exit weight by the canopy square footage gives the wing loading, which is expressed as a ratio. For example, a jumper with an exit weight of 180 pounds making a jump with a 120 square foot canopy would have a wing loading of 1.5:1 (180/120=1.5). Wing loading is discussed with the student in Category C of the Integrated Student Program so that students have a better understanding of the effects of jumping with different sized parachutes. However, wing loading is not the only criterion that should be applied to canopy choice. A smaller canopy may exhibit lively performance even when loaded at what is generally considered a conservative wing loading. Jumpers who are particularly light or heavy should consult manufacturer's recommendations, especially when choosing their first canopy.
There were 35 skydiving fatalities for the United States in 2001. The average for the past 11 years is also 35. The largest problem areas continue to be canopy control and emergency procedures. In many cases, the jumpers were not adequately prepared for the equipment they were jumping. Training and education should not stop just because a skydiver has earned the A License. There is overwhelming evidence that many of those who were killed made poor decisions on how to handle an emergency situation. Frequent practice of emergency procedures is necessary to reduce the chances of making an incorrect decision in a stressful situation. Poor canopy control also continues to be a large problem caused by incorrect, poor, or no advanced training in most cases. Structured intermediate and advanced canopy training programs are rare at most drop zones, and it appears that many drop zones still need encouragement to take canopy training for the A license more seriously. Look for a recap of the fatality statistics in the April issue of Parachutist Magazine.
Should USPA develop a program to teach intermediate and advanced canopy flight? This might include a series of training jumps that canopy pilots could follow which offer guidance and practice for learning advanced canopy flying techniques. They could be in a self-study format or designed to use with an experienced canopy pilot as a coach.
More news on USPA's website

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