(This is an on-line version of the hard-copy report sent to
Central Region Drop Zone Operators and Safety & Training Advisors.)
Gary Peek - 3201 Highgate Lane - St. Charles, MO - 63301 - Home Phone (314) 946-5272
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - WWW: http://www.freefall.com/~peek
Regional Director's Report - February 1998
Please post this report on your drop zone's bulletin board.
About this report:
This report is to help inform USPA members in our region of significant
issues and changes in our organization that may affect them, and to
reiterate and clarify those issues and changes reported in current USPA
publications. I try to issue these reports shortly after USPA Board of
Directors meetings take place, since that is when BSR's, recommendations,
and policies are most likely to change. Since there are about 2400 USPA
members in our region, I certainly can't send it to everyone, but I make
it available to as many people as I can by sending it to your drop zone
and to S&TA's. If you have any questions about USPA or the issues in
this report, a good place to start is with the person or organization
whose name appears on the mailing address of this report. It is likely
that they will have experience and familiarity with USPA matters.
No time to read it right now?
We all know how busy a drop zone can be when the weather is good, and
how little time we have for things like reading a newsletter when we
are there. For this reason I have put this issue and previous issues
of the newsletter on my Internet World Wide Web site ("home page").
So if you don't have time to read this right now, then please write
down my web site address or make a photocopy of this report and take
a look at it when you have more time. The address is
Send me Email
I am in the process of collecting email addresses to help fill out my
list of contacts with skydivers. I am particularly interested in getting
your email address if you are a drop zone, drop zone operator, S&TA, or
hold a USPA instructional rating. (See the section on my Sport
Development committee work.)
Awards Applications, Membership and Ratings Renewals
A reminder to those of you who have qualified for those thousand-jump
milestones and freefall time awards: See your S&TA for an application
form and for verification of the qualifications before sending the
application to me. Also, your membership and ratings renewals should
go through your S&TA unless your ratings require a sign-off from a
BOD member or if you cannot find someone with the required ratings
to sign your form.
The January 1998 Board of Directors Meeting
The January meeting was held in West Palm Beach, Florida. Although it is
nice to get away to warmer weather for a few days, most of our time is
spent in conference rooms. My big chance to enjoy the weather was part
of one committee meeting at a table outside by the pool. The summer 1998
meeting will be in the Portland, Oregon area, but after that, we may
decide to hold most meetings near USPA headquarters. Our organization and
its documentation is getting so large and complicated that we need as
many Headquarters staff at the meeting as possible to help keep it
straightened out and help us understand it, and it is much cheaper if
we do not have to pay for their travel also.
The Document Repair Project:
USPA headquarters and the Board of Directors have taken on the major
task of reviewing and updating USPA's complete set of documents. Over
the years, as our organization has grown, the paperwork has grown too,
but not in as ideal a way as any of us would have liked. Some documents
became obsolete but were never updated, and other were created but were
not consistant with previous documents. Work started on this project
after the last BOD meeting and will continue through at least the end
of this year. What we will wind up with is a more streamlined system
and some features that will help our members. In addition to the
Skydivers Information Manual (SIM), there will soon be a new Skydivers
Competition Manual that contains all organization documents pertaining
to competition, and a Policy Manual (mainly used by the Board and
My committee work:
Parachutist continues to improve and increase in number of pages, but the Publication department would still like to hear what you think of Parachutist, its content, its look, and what you would most like to see in Parachutist.
I must say that I was much too optimistic when I mentioned 6 months ago that
USPA's web site would soon be seeing major improvements. I found out that
Headquarters had basically put the web site work on hold until our new
Director of Communications, Dany Brooks was hired, which took much longer
than expected. She is now working for us from her home in California with
occasional visits to Headquarters, and I am told that she will be spending
considerable time on the web site.
Eventually, USPA forms such as membership applications will be available
on the web site to be download and printed. What Headquarters would like
to know from you now is which forms you would find most useful to have on
the web site. Please send your ideas to Director of Membership Services,
The Electronic Communication Task Force, of which I am a member,
is still active and is helping Dany with web site and other data
communications issues. The BOD approved a budget which includes the funds
required for much needed upgrades to computer hardware and software at
The program to investigate how USPA might be able to help skydiving professionals and the industry of skydiving continues, and some of you have gotten from me via email a survey requesting information about you as a skydiving professional. If you would like me to email the survey to you, just let me know. A future issue of The Professional should contain the survey, so please look for it if you need a paper version. As always, I look forward to comments and suggestions at any time about this topic as well as others.
Safety and Training:
The Safety and Training committee further defined the details of exhibition
jumps, their "levels", landing areas, alternate landing areas, and jumper
requirements. Professional Exhibition rating proficiency cards are going
"to print" and will soon be required for initial applicants for the rating,
and rating ID cards will soon have printed on them the size of the smallest
canopy used to qualify for the rating.
(Check for details of these and other changes in future issues of
Parachutist and The Professional, and in updates to the Skydivers
Information Manual (SIM).
And now for the bad news: Exhibition jump insurance is almost surely going
to go up, maybe way up. The insurance company has simply had to pay out on
too many claims. Let's hope we can even get insurance in the future. And if
you know of skydivers who cut corners and otherwise don't give exhibition
jumps the attention they need, then tell them what you think. The really
professional exhibition teams don't make the kinds of mistakes that lead
to insurance claims.
Waivers to the BSR's:
Waivers to USPA's BSR's, or Basic Safety Requirements provide for the
development of new techniques and methods as well as allowing certain
qualified individuals to meet a temporary need. Those wishing a waiver
to the BSR's need to write a letter to the Safety and Training committee,
send a copy to their Regional Director, and, to really have a good chance
of obtaining the waiver, either attend the BOD meeting where the committee
plans to discuss the request, or ask their Regional Director to attend.
(Very often, the committee has questions about the waiver request, and
cannot get them answered if someone is not available.)
At the January 1998 BOD meeting:
The BOD once again confirmed their belief that altimeters are a minimum
standard of safety for all student skydivers by not rescinding their
decision at the last BOD meeting to make altimeters on Static-Line students
"not waiverable" rather than waiverable by the full BOD, even though
representatives from drop zones were present at the meeting to request
this waiver again.
J.E. Van Natta, Jr. obtained a waiver to be a BIC Course Director at the
present time having participated in only one BIC rather than the 3 normally
required, due to his extensive instructional experience: 4300+ hour ATP
with CFI and Ground Instructor ratings, multiple skydiving instructional
ratings, Skydive University coach rating, (and more).
Skydive Chicago received a waiver to the BSR requiring a ripcord activated
spring-loaded pilot chute on student jumpers, to enable Skydive Chicago to
continue their innovative research in teaching students to safely use
throwout pilot chutes.
Group Membership Program:
USPA hosted yet another Drop Zone Operator conference as part of its
Group Member program. The latest conference was held in Las Vegas, NV
from January 13th to 15th, 1998. The conference included presentations
and discussions among drop zone operators concerning business, legal,
staffing, instructional, insurance, and pricing issues.
The Skydiving Operators Association also held another meeting in
conjunction with the DZO conference. The SOA is an independant
organization that represents drop zones.
Be sure to ask your local drop zone operator if they attended these
meetings and what they learned. Running a drop zone is difficult work,
and the more you know about skydiving operations, the more you will
appreciate your local drop zone and what it takes to keep you in the air.
How to get things done in USPA:
Although our organization is not terribly bureaucratic or cumbersome in most respects, it may sometimes seem so when you are having difficulty finding an answer to a specific question. If you are a drop zone owner or a veteran skydiver you have already figured out how to get things done that need doing and do not need this guide, but for those of you who are new to some of these things, a little help may be in order. The following is a guide to getting things done in USPA: Where to look, and who to contact (and in what order).
HQ = USPA Headquarters: (703) 836-3495 RD = Your Regional Director
SIM = Skydivers Information Manual S&TA = Your drop zone's Safety and Training Adviser
PARA = Parachutist magazine CD = Jumpmaster/Instructor certication Course Director
PROF = The Professional DZ = Drop zone management
For Member Services:
- Copies of the Skydivers Information Manual (SIM) DZ, HQ (USPA Store)
- Requirements for licenses, ratings, and awards SIM
- Skydiving license applications S&TA
- Award applications (wings, freefall time, RW & CRW, etc. S&TA
- Instructional Rating pre-certification course material HQ
- Upcoming instructional certification courses PARA
- Information about USPA programs and changes PARA, PROF
- 10, 15, 20, etc. year USPA membership certificates: Issued by HQ automatically,
if overdue by more than 2
months, contact them.
To Register Complaints:
- Parachutist magazine delivery problems HQ
- Membership card delivery problems or accuracy HQ
- Ratings cards post-course delivery problems or accuracy CD, HQ
- Safety concerns at USPA group member drop zones DZ, then S&TA, then RD
When You Have Large Problems:
- Airport access issues HQ, RD
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issues HQ, RD
Making Your Suggestions Heard:
- Concerning USPA programs and policies S&TA, RD (in writing),
HQ (in writing),
BOD committee (in writing).
end of report