Weather: Friend or Foe?
|Photo by Chad Wilcox
By this point in your skydiving career, you probably already know all too well how weather-dependent this sport is. During your student progression, how many afternoons did you spend on the ground at the drop zone because the wind picked up, a storm passed through or the clouds were too low?
As a licensed skydiver, you're likely to become an amateur meteorologist before you know it. Chances are you're already learning to recognize when the trees are swaying too much and to distinguish between pretty white puffy clouds and impending thunderstorms. Understanding weather patterns can help jumpers anticipate and recognize dangerous systems, know when the breeze is harmless or threatening and determine when it's best to stay on the ground and wait it out. Learn more about winds and clouds and their effects on your skydiving habit.
Welcome to USPA!
USPA is happy to have you as one of our 38,000-plus members! We want to help you continue to have a safe and fun skydiving career. As a voluntary membership organization of individuals who enjoy and support the sport of skydiving, USPA's purpose is three-fold: to promote safe skydiving through training, licensing and instructor qualification programs; to ensure skydiving's rightful place on airports and in the airspace system; and to promote competition and record-setting programs.
As a licensed skydiver, you can get a lot out of your USPA membership. Your membership allows you to jump at USPA Group Member drop zones, which have pledged to follow USPA's safety guidelines. You also get Parachutist magazine delivered to your mailbox each month, as well as third-party liability insurance when you skydive.
USPA can also help you stay up to date on the latest skydiving news and keep you connected with the skydiving community through the USPA website, social media and e-newsletters, including the monthly USPA Update. (If you don't already have a current email address on file with USPA, send one to email@example.com.) So make the most out of your membership and take advantage of all that USPA has to offer.
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Top 10 Things to Do Now That You Have an A License
10. Ask questions.
You know you have them. Lots and lots of them. Ask experienced jumpers about gear options, new things you can safely try in the sky, ways you can improve your skills, who they can recommend for you to jump with and anything else you want to know. One thing's for sure-skydivers love to talk about skydiving. You just have to get them started. So ask away!
9. Thank your instructors.
Whether you were a star student or a problem child, your instructors worked hard to help you every step of the way and are now watching their baby leave the nest. Let them know you appreciate all they've done to help you reach your goals. And the best thanks you can give them is to continue to grow into a safe and active skydiver.
8. Don't give up!
Just like during your student program, you're sure to encounter some hurdles as you progress through your skydiving career. Understand that it's not always smooth sailing, and keep persevering. Every challenge you overcome will bring you a great sense of accomplishment. Besides, it's not as much fun if it's always easy!
Especially early in your skydiving career, it's easy to get settled into your comfort zone at your local drop zone. But you'll be missing out if you don't get out and experience the world of skydiving beyond your home DZ. At other drop zones, you can find more load organizers, different airplanes, diverse skydives and lots more to learn. Go explore!
Often, the skydiving family you can develop will mean just as much to you as the skydives themselves. Our sport is rich with diverse personalities and people who stand by each other through the best and worst of times. It might not happen overnight, but make an effort to foster friendships that will continue to grow and enrich your life.
5. Learn your ABCs.
With so many new things awaiting you, it's easy to get ahead of yourself. But if you work on your basic skills first, you'll be so glad later on that you did. Building a solid foundation will make you a more versatile skydiver in the long run. You don't want to be that 200-jump wonder who can sit-fly but who can't dock on a belly-flying 4-way.
4. Crash the party.
Don't be afraid to invite yourself on other people's skydives and ask others to jump with you. They won't always say yes, and not every jump is right for you. But if you're honest about your skill level, you'll find that more experienced jumpers are willing to help you along, and you can learn a lot and have more fun jumping with others.
3. Tunnel tunnel tunnel!
You may have heard even the most seasoned skydivers giggle like school girls giddy with excitement when they talk about the wind tunnel. Tunnel time is expensive, but if you can swing it-even if only a short amount of time-it will improve your skills immensely. And you won't be able to stop smiling with all the fun you'll have.
2. Don't be shy!
You might feel intimidated about approaching experienced jumpers with your questions or asking them to jump with you. But at this point in your skydiving career, your progression rests largely on your own shoulders. Giving in to shyness will only make you feel more excluded. Be brave and outgoing, and introduce yourself to other jumpers. They most likely won't bite.
1. Keep skydiving!
Don't let the challenges of your novice skydiving stage get the better of you! You've come this far for a reason! Don't ever forget that! Tackle each hurdle you encounter-whether it's money, time, frustration, whatever. Where there's a will, there's always a way. Keep skydiving as long as you keep loving it!
If you have any questions, feel free to call us at (540) 604-9740 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll be happy to help. See you at the drop zone!
USPA Executive Director