Welcoming the 2017 Nationals Skydiving Championships!

It’s getting exciting! We are welcoming competitors from around the nation to compete at Skydive Perris for the 2017 USPA National Skydiving Championships beginning tomorrow!

USPA holds two national events a year – a freefall skydiving event that includes all formation skydiving, vertical formation skydiving, artistic, speed, and wingsuiting events. The Parachuting Championships (that is finishing this weekend at Skydive Paraclete) includes the parachuting disciplines: Classic Accuracy, Sport Accuracy, Canopy Formation (CRW), and Canopy Piloting.

The exciting week of freefall events from will take place as follows:

2017 uspa nationals schedule

 

Links to follow scores may be found HERE. Competitor updates, and more will be posted on our Facebook page.

2017 uspa nationals logo

Spectators are welcome and if any press is interested in covering the event, please contact us at email hidden; JavaScript is required
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Cheers To Local Skydive Perris Teams

The 2017 USPA National Skydiving Championships is just around the corner, AND – we are the host! We couldn’t be more thrilled to hold the largest skydiving event in the nation right in our own backyard. It’s an exciting time when teams from around the country come out and show their stuff, vying for the top spots. This year is also a special year as this event will determine the teams that will be invited by the national organization to represent the USA at the next World Meet! With all the excitement and commotion, we want to take a minute to thank all of the local teams training at Skydive Perris. We appreciate your support and will be in the front rows cheering you on!

4-Way FS

Perris 4Ce (Advanced) Grace Katz – Sandra Van Der Bilt – K Lynn Mackinson – Shannon Catalano – Lori Eyler (Camera)

Event Horizon (Advanced) Terry Dauplaise – Anders Mattsen – Erik Prime – Celine Pelletier – John Legge (Camera)

Perris Feathers  Grace Katz (player/coach) – Christina Chan – Rebecca Leung – Kellie Infante – Alex Sarmiento (Camera)

Perris Quattro (Advanced) – Keith Fennech – Andrea L. Curthoys – Christina Deglau – Mike Deglau – (+ Camera)

QuickSilver (Advanced) – Kate Cooper-Jensen – Carsten Cooper-Jensen – Pyia Navanugraha – Amy Haass – Gary Haass (Camera)

Perris Dauntless Five (Advanced) – Cathy Coon – Dan Pillasch – Jason Russel – Steven Walker – David Kerr (Camera)

Photo by Jason Reis

8-Way FS

Perris Sharks (Advanced) – Bob Bonetz – Cathy Coon – Shannon Catalano – Steve Briggs – Dan Pillasch – Mary SantAngelo – Christina Deglau – Mike Deglau – (+Camera)

10-Way FS

Perris X – Dave Schrager – Bonnie Buenaflor – Dan Stauffer – Jim Siaz – Josh Ratcliff – Keith Conner – Kelly Saltern – Laura Tyler – Rebecca Leung – Raider Ramstad – Kevin Kierce (camera)

16-Way FS

Perris Teamsters Union  – Erik Prime – Terry Dauplaise – Anders Mattson – Jason Russell – Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld – Christy Frikken – Grace Katz – Dave Shrager – Christina Dealau – Steven Briggs – Dan Pillasch – Kate Cooper-Jensen – Carsten Cooper-Jensen – Mike Deglau – Cat Isgrigg – Steven Walker – Zak Winoker – Kevin Kierce (camera)

 

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10 Skydiving Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

Your graduation might be well behind you, but nevermind that. Dust off your most scholarly glasses, because it’s always a great day to share fun skydiving facts!

1. Highest Skydive Without A Parachute

This distinction belongs to Luke Aikins, the US citizen who leaped parachuteless from a plane cruising along at 25,000 ft (7,600 meters, for you European types). He landed in a specially-designed net–and ran right into the arms of his relieved family. Luke is a professional stuntman and a sponsored skydiver–so chances are, he’ll do something just as crazy next time.

2. World’s Oldest Skydiver

Centenarians regularly make skydives. Just Google “100-year-old skydiver” and you’ll see just how true that is! The record for the oldest skydiver was recently set in July 2017 by a 102-year-old man in New Jersey named Kenny Meyer. Before going up for his record breaking jump he said,”I’m doing this for USA!” The previous record was set in May 2017 by a gentlesir in the United Kingdom who celebrated turning 101 years and 38 days young on a jump at Devon’s gorgeous Dunkeswell airport.

3. World’s Highest Skydive

You’d think that this record would be held by skydiver Felix Baumgartner, who performed the highest skydive ever achieved on Oct. 14, 2012. He jumped from 128,000 feet–24 miles up–for the stunt, which was officially called the “Red Bull Stratos Mission.” Indeed, the energy drink wunderkind didn’t keep that record for long. In 2014, Alan Eustace jumped from a balloon that was 135,890 feet above the Earth, breaking the record by more than 7,000 feet. Take that, taurine!

4. Most People On A Skydive

Really big big-ways are scary for lots of reasons, so it’s no wonder that a creaky old record–set in 2006–still stands today as the most-meat-in-the-sky jump ever jumped. 400 of the worlds most experienced skydivers came together to make this jump happen in Thailand, so the celebratory party afterward was ostensibly boss.

5. Largest All-female Skydiving Formation

In 2009, Jump for the Cause organized an all-female world record, sending 181 women from all over the world up into the skies over Perris, California to raise money for the cancer foundation City of Hope. They nailed it!

6. Most Skydives In A Day

Jay Stokes jumped out of an airplane 640 times during one day in 2006, thereby setting a Guinness World Record for most skydives in 24 hours. To pull it off, Jay performed each one as a very-low-altitude (2,100-foot) jump, landing only long enough to shed one parachute and strap on another while running to a waiting plane to take off again. We’re tired just thinking about it.

7. First Person To Ride A Bicycle Out Of A Plane

Since practically inventing modern trick BMXing in the 90s, American BMX athlete Mat Hoffman has spent a lot of time on his bike in the air. He took it a little higher than the high jumps, however, when he rode out the back of a Skydive Arizona skyvan.

8. Largest Formation Of Skydivers Over Sixty

It’s hard to get 65 people over the age of 60 to agree about anything, but y’know what? At least once, they definitely did. We at Skydive Perris were the proud hosts of the SOS (Skydivers Over Sixty) record for Largest Formation, putting 65 seniors in the spotlight.

9. Youngest-ever Skydiver

The youngest person to have skydived is four year old Toni Stadler, the child of German parents living part-time in South Africa, where the jump was made in 2000. Yeah–we can’t quite figure out who was signing off on that, either…

10. Clumsiest Skydiving Proposal

One day, a nice fireman-skydiver decided to propose to his lovely fiance-skydiver by presenting her with a ring during the jump. He set everything up perfectly–even going to some pains to make sure she was in his arms for the big question*. Then–predictably, if we may be so bold–the ring he’d brought along plummeted to the earth below. We suppose they got married anyway, despite the red flags re: predictive skills and sound judgment.

*The maneuver is called a “Mr. Bill,” and if it doesn’t break your arms, it’s a fun time.

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Why Continuing Education & Mentorship Are So Important

Earning your first basic license in skydiving is beyond rewarding. Getting that A-license stamp delivered joyfully to your forehead feels like becoming an adult in skydiving. (Finally, you can jump without someone holding your hand!) At that point, you’ve officially mastered the rudimentary basics of making a skydive. After you do that first solo jump as a licensed skydiver, it feels like the world is your (windy) oyster!

From there–as in any process of “growing up” in any given field–it gets a little more complicated. Ask any skydiver you come across, and she’ll tell you: Continuing education and mentorship in the sport are the keystones to skydiving success. Even as unequivocal as that statement stands, there’s another inarguable truth: In the wide-open spaces after a new jumper gets her A-license, it’s easy for it to seem terribly mysterious as to what direction to go next. After a few solos in the absence of the structured guidance you’re under as a “baby bird,” it’s easy to get frustrated.

man holds up skydiving license at Perris

We’re here to help. We say, as skydivers, that skydiving is freedom. Finding the next goal after student status is important for the longevity (and giddy enjoyability!) of your skydiving career. What can you do if you’re looking for that next step? Here are some steps you can take.

Jump with Other Licensed Skydivers

Your newly earned ‘A’ license gives you license to jump with other experienced jumpers so stop doing solos and start doing some 2-ways or 3-ways! Our LO’s can’t wait to jump with you! Hit them up!

Earn Your Next License.

The next license after the A is, naturellement, the B. You can earn that baby with just fifty jumps–a totally do-able number!–as long as you can prove mastery of a few additional skills. Your B license is the next logical step, so get crackin’! Pro tip: The surest-fire way to earn your license efficiently (and progress forward in every other way, besides) is to reach out to one of our world-class Perris skydiving coaches to hone your skills.

Take A Canopy Course.

It doesn’t matter if you’re on jump 26 or jump 2,600: Completing a canopy course is a great idea. Canopy mastery is the difference between moving forward as an injury-prone jumper and an injury-proof jumper, but it’s not even just about that. Consider this: We spend considerably more time under canopy than we do in freefall. There’s always something to learn and–heck!–you might even fall in love with the discipline.

Duane Hall under canopy

Go To A Tropical Boogie

This is a fun one. You’ll need to set about earning the licenses the boogie requires (which are generally not a baseline “A.”) From there, it’s a straightforward checklist: get your jump numbers up; complete a canopy course; register; get your vaccinations; buy that ticket!

Help Other Skydivers!

Did you know that you only need a B license and 100 jumps to become a skydiving coach? It sounds a little crazy, but it’s true! Pursue the USPA coach rating progression in order to turn your focus from lil ol’ you to the skydiving community at large. Helping others along their path will help you along yours. At this point, you can start hanging around our rockstar Perris Load Organizers and bugging them to help you learn to load organize. (They won’t mind a bit!)

Join A Team.

Now that you’ve joined the meta-team of the skydiving community, it’s time to think about knuckling down and joining a smaller one to specialize and go for the gold! Signing up for a rookie team will put you on a strong path forward–and you’ll build skills (and skyfamily feels) like crazy.

 

formation skydiving team jumps at Perris

Photo credit: Craig O’Brien

Are you ready to forge ahead in your skydiving career? We bet you are! Come on over to Perris and get ready to stick quite a few more feathers in that shiny new cap.

 

 

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Behind the Scenes of Point Break (Part II) With Dave Donnelly

Photo credit (above): Tom Sanders

headshot of Dave DonnellyDave Donnelly was only 16 years old and not yet a skydiver when he was hired on to the Point Break production as a parachute packer and ‘gopher.’ Here, he shares his incredible tale from behind the scenes of one the most iconic, adventure-seeking movies in the 90’s and how he ended up making his first jump during a plane crash on set. 

How did you get involved in working for the Point Break movie?

I had two skydiving parents, and grew up on drop zones. My Dad was a skydiving stunt man, and progressed to be an aerial coordinator for TV and motion pictures. While I was in high school, I would go spend my summers with him. When he was working on a project, he would get me hired on the job. That was usually packing parachutes, with other light duties mixed in as well. In the summer of 1990, he was hired on as aerial coordinator to a movie called “Johnny Utah”, but was later re-named “Point Break”. 

point break skydiving scene

Photo by Tom Sanders

We spent over a month on the aerial sequences. We started out filming at Lake Powell and got a lot of great shots there including the iconic shot Tom Sanders got of the 5 way dropping out of the foreground down toward the lake. I was in a safety boat right under the shot fishing for stripers and watching the stunt doubles land on the remote edges of the lake. Later in the summer, we moved to the drop zone in California City to shoot a different sequence in the film. That’s where things got weird.    

You were so young at this time, and not yet a skydiver. Did you have an inclination of the impact Point Break would have in skydiving?

Not really. As you said, I grew up around it but I didn’t look at the sport in terms of member growth and how many jumps were being done at the time. But 18 months later when I was doing AFF in Perris Valley, I realized that the sport was experiencing a lot of growth in large part, due to the amazing cinematic images shot by Tom Sanders and Ray Cottingham.   

You stated that you had an interesting story about Patrick Swayze in your Dad’s T-210. Can you elaborate on that story?

After the production was complete, Patrick wanted to do some jumping on his own to supplement what the stunt doubles had done during production. They did these shots at Skydive Perris, and because the ground was different than anything in the movie, they were all shot with the camera looking up at him. Patrick had met my Dad that morning to fly out to the DZ from Whiteman airport, to save a drive out there. My Dad had a really nice Cessna T-210 with a great jump door on it. The in-flight door had a handle that the pilot could operate to open the door and lock it in place. It could then be lowered and locked in place with another latch on the door itself.

On the flight home that night, Patrick was sitting on the floor of the plane and had not locked the door. At some point, he decided to get up and grabbed the in-flight door handle to help himself up. Since it wasn’t locked, the door instantly popped open and the handle moved toward the open door, as it is designed to do. I’m not sure how close Patrick came to going out the door, but my Dad grabbed his shirt and pulled him away from the door until he got it closed. The T-210 cruises at around 170 knots and the door opens quickly and with a lot of noise at that speed. From what I was told, they were both extremely startled by the event, but laughed it off.    

You weren’t yet a skydiver at this point, but you happened to make your first jump during the production. Tell us the events that lead up to that first jump:

While we were in Cal City working on the sequence that was supposed to take place over Mexico, it was really hot. It is the Mojave desert after all. It was early August and well over 100 degrees. For the shot we were working on, the stunt doubles would exit the aircraft with a helicopter flying left trail. A Twin Otter had a camera crew shooting out of the side door and zooming in the doubles and they fell away from the camera. They did several takes, and I was in the Otter with an emergency rig on during these flights to get off the ground and out of the heat. I remember very clearly on the first flight being surprised that the pilot and DZO, Van Pray Sr., wasn’t wearing a pilot rig. I asked him about it and he brushed me off saying something like he didn’t need one.

On the third flight of the day, I had asked the assistant director, Carla McCloskey, and the hair stylist, Bunny Parker, if they wanted to come for a ride to cool off. They said, “Sure!” My Dad agreed provided they had on emergency parachutes and that I trained them how to use them. On this particular load, there were three stunt doubles on board. I believe, (though I may be wrong), that the stunt doubles were Jim Wallace, Jake Lombard and Jeff Jones. Other doubles on the film were Ted Barba and Jeff Habberstad. Also on board was my Dad, and two other jumpers on the production crew, including Jerry Meyers, as well as myself and the two ladies I invited along. And of course, flying was Van Pray with no rig on.

The fun jumpers were there to get the camera angle right with the helicopter and to get the best sun for the shot. As they got ready to exit, I moved next to the door to watch them exit, while holding on to a seat belt. As they left the door, I saw the helicopter turning to the right to start circling over the jumpers. But this time he was MUCH closer and when he went out of my view over the top of the tail, I felt an impact, and the plane yawed hard to the side. Clearly, he had hit us. One of the stunt doubles went up to talk with Van and then he ran to the back and looked out the door at the tail of the Otter. When he came back in he was very wide eyed, and went up to report to Van the extent of the damage. The three way left the plane around 8,000 feet, and now were probably around 7,500 feet or so, and descending. I moved forward to hear what was going on. I got there in time to hear Van tell the guys to get out. One of them asked him what to do about us, and he quickly replied “Take ‘em with you”. That’s when I realized that after spending my 16 years on drop zones, I was going to make my first jump immediately.

All of the stunt doubles were AFF instructors, and two of them began their 15 second first jump courses with Bunny and Carla. The third double was still up front, so after taking off my favorite hat and throwing it up front, I walked to the door. I put both hands on the ripcord and hopped out poised, to look up at the plane. I was wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and Tevas. I had no altimeter or goggles. I don’t remember pulling, but I remember seeing the Otter flying away as I got opening shock under Jerry Meyers’ ram air pilot rig. I lost the free bag and the ripcord, which he still reminds me of. Bunny and Carla and their instructors got out just after me and they deployed under their rounds right in front of me. I spent the descent just flying around the two rounds so that we stayed together. We were way out over the open desert by now. I was able to tell which way the wind was blowing, and I turned into the wind and landed the square standing up.

Bunny broke her tail bone on landing, and Carla was fine. Van Pray was able to fly the Otter over to Mojave airport because they had a full fire rescue station. On the way over, he was able to straighten out the remaining rudder by stomping on the rudder peddle and got it flying straight. He landed without incident. The helicopter was in much worse shape. They (pilot and camera operator, neither of whom had a parachute) had a bent rotor, but it did not snap. It was vibrating like crazy though and they were forced to shut down the engine and do an autorotation. They did this successfully and walked away from it. I was pretty fired up about what had just happened. We were found out in the desert within an hour or so, and I was happy to eventually learn that everyone survived.  

Did you want to learn to skydive before that moment? And how did you handle the aftermath of your first jump? Did it inspire you to pursue skydiving or scare the hell out of you?

I had gone back and forth for years about whether I wanted to be a skydiver or not. And even right after the incident, I wasn’t sure. But once I got into college in Arizona and went to visit the DZ in Eloy, I started dreaming about skydiving. Then I knew it was happening. Jim Wallace graciously taught me how to skydive. I was very lucky to have him as my instructor.

What was your favorite part of working on the set?

I had been on sets since I was very young. I always liked it. On this film I was really seeing things more as an adult, and that made it much better. More freedom, more responsibility and now that I could drive I became a gopher. Go-fer coffee, go-fer doughnuts, etc. All the sets I was on were second unit, so I never met any of the actors on the film. I would have loved to meet Patrick Swayze.   

Overall, how did working on the movie change your life?

It got me into the sport. I probably would have gone that way anyway, but having the best first jump story at the campfire didn’t hurt. Skydiving changed my life in very profound ways. From collegiate skydiving teams and competitions to being in Eloy during the freefly revolution, to working as a jump pilot, I look back on those times with gratitude and appreciation. I don’t jump that much these days, but I still stay current. Skydive Truckee Tahoe opened last year in my backyard, and being able to ride my bike to jump in one of the most beautiful places on earth is amazing.

dave-donnelly-skydiving-300
dave-donnelly-under-canopy-300
dave-donnelly-after-landing-300

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