For three days at the end of February, members of the USPA Board of Directors trudged uphill (both ways) through violent Reno snowstorms in order to serve USPA members at the 2023 Winter Board Meeting. They addressed a wide array of subjects important to the skydiving community from February 24-26 at their committee meetings and plenary sessions, which were broadcast via Zoom to all skydivers interested in attending virtually. The full minutes of the meeting will be available at uspa.org once they are collected from the committees and finalized, but highlights include:
- USPA officially adopted all applicable rule changes from the 2023 International Skydiving Commission Plenary Meeting.
- The board unanimously passed a motion to designate the sixth and final round of 10-way formation skydiving to be formation 8 (Star), if that formation has not been drawn in the first five rounds.
- The board unanimously agreed to officially institute the 4-way beginner formation skydiving class at the USPA Nationals, which was previously a test event.
- A motion to amend the rules of Canopy Piloting to include a beginner class in order to attract more competitors passed unanimously.
- The full Board of Directors accepted a bid from Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, and Paraclete XP in Raeford, North Carolina, to jointly host the 2024 National Skydiving Championships.
- The Competition Committee accepted a bid from Skydive City Zephyrhills in Florida to host the 2024 National Collegiate Skydiving Championships.
Finance & Budget
- The committee reviewed the interim 2023 budget and accepted it as the official 2023 USPA Operation Budget.
- Board members reviewed the current USPA support for the International Skydiving Hall of Fame.
- During the review of the USPA Team Trust, the committee discovered possible interpretation discrepancies. Board members will work with board advisors to consider updates to the document for potential future changes.
- The committee discussed a proposal for a one-day student insurance policy through a third-party vendor. The committee decided this would be best introduced to drop zones via direct marketing of the product by that vendor through one or several of USPA’s advertising channels.
- The committee held a discussion, led by National Director Ed Scott, regarding the tandem instructor shortage and ways to address the challenge. The committee generally acknowledged that improving pay or providing scholarships may be the most effective way to recruit and retain tandem instructors.
- A motion passed for USPA to officially recognize the benefits of Safety Management Systems for skydiving operators. The organization will take steps to educate staff, board members, members and operators on the voluntary adoption of SMS programs.
- USPA staff provided the board with an update on the new uspa.org website, which includes the organization’s database and back office. USPA has opened a job position for Web Application Developer, which will improve USPA’s ability to update and improve the website as needed moving forward.
- The committee and full board passed a motion to again make the Skydiver’s Information Manual and Instructional Rating Manual available online via free PDF download.
- USPA staff and the Sport Promotion Subcommittee announced the new Parachutist Starter Mag, a student-retention tool available for free to USPA Group Member drop zones. For more information, visit uspa.org/startermag.
- The committee discussed a motion regarding an increase to the Regional Directors’ travel expense allotment from $1,000 to $2,500 annually per director. The committee took no action, but the USPA Treasurer will collect data over the next year in order to make an informed decision at a future meeting.
- Regional Directors discussed the process through which they handle disciplinary actions and investigations regarding multiple topics such as harassment and Basic Safety Requirement violations.
Safety & Training
- The committee discussed raising the requirements for Safety and Training Advisors, specifically requiring them to hold or have held a PRO Rating in order to sign off on B-License Canopy Proficiency Cards. The committee, however, felt that the current rules suffice and saw no need to add requirements.
- The committee discussed adding a canopy coach instructor rating in order to address current incident trends. The motion was tabled until the summer meeting, but a subcommittee formed to investigate possibilities for addressing this topic.
- The committee adjusted Instructional Rating Manual Section T-1 to remove the requirement for a tandem instructor to be current at the date of their renewal in order to renew their rating. Currency requirements still remain in place to exercise the duties of that rating at any time of the year.
- The committee moved to support the Parachute Industry Association’s petition to the Federal Aviation Administration for the development of an FAA-administered Main Parachute Packer Certificate.
General Membership Meeting
USPA’s annual General Membership Meeting, held Saturday evening, was very well attended both in person and virtually (with nearly 100 members attending via Zoom). Executive Director Albert Berchtold made a PowerPoint presentation on the state of USPA and answered member questions.
The USPA Board will hold the 2023 Summer Board Meeting July 21-23 in Spokane, Washington. All members in good standing are encouraged to attend, either in person or virtually.