National Director Al King Steps Down After Decades of Service
Homepage USPA | Mar 13, 2023
National Director Al King Steps Down After Decades of Service

Laura Sharp

Above: National Director Al King (left) and President Chuck Akers shake hands at a board meeting in 2020. 

Just after the close of the USPA Winter Board Meeting on Sunday, February 26, National Director Al King announced to his colleagues that he was stepping down from his position on the board for personal reasons, effective immediately. King, who made his first skydive on June 1, 1969, had a long and illustrious skydiving career as a competitor, instructor and innovator. He used his considerable leadership skills and knowledge in service to USPA members across five decades.

There is scarcely an aspect of skydiving in which King has not been involved with helping others succeed. Shortly after earning his first license, he began competing in style and accuracy, and was a leading national competitor. He supported jumpers as president of the Mid-Eastern Parachute Association, which organized one of the largest competition circuits of the time. He also served as team leader of the 1982 U.S. Style and Accuracy Team.

King first served USPA on its staff as USPA Deputy Executive Director under Executive Director Bill Ottley from 1978-1985. During his tenure, he became a proponent of a new method of skydiving instruction: the accelerated freefall program developed by Ken Coleman. King was instrumental in educating the sport’s leaders about the method, developing the instructor certification process and bringing the program to fruition after Coleman’s untimely death in 1981. King was also one of the earliest tandem instructors, performing what is thought to be the South Africa’s first tandem skydive (at the time, drogueless) in 1983. Over the years, he’s earned just about every rating possible, including static-line, AFF, tandem and coach examiner ratings.

After leaving the USPA staff, King continued to promote skydiving in positions with International Management Group and Para-Flite. He also spread the love of the sport as a traveling demo jumper with Arch Deal’s team, performing high-profile demo jumps all over the country. He was involved in record events, as well, and was a member of the team that set the 200-way Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Record for Largest Formation Skydive in 1992. It is safe to say that his influence and positive attitude has inspired many, many people to try skydiving.

In 2013, King returned to USPA to serve its members as Northeast Regional Director, a position he held until 2018. During his tenure, he fought aggressively for airport access in his region and beyond. He also attended every Safety Day event possible. From 2016-2018 the board chose him to serve on the Executive Committee as USPA Chairman of the Board. In 2019, King became a National Director and was re-elected to that position in 2022. While serving on the board, he spent time on the Finance & Budget, Group Membership and Safety & Training Committees.

During his years in skydiving, King has quietly served the USPA membership and all skydivers in myriad ways. USPA is currently planning a special election to fill the National Director vacancy created by his departure. He certainly leaves very large shoes to fill!

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