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For those uninformed souls, the purpose of Safety Day is to incite a renewed interest in the important aspects of conducting a safe skydiving operation. The supposition is that skills and interest languish during the winter months; at least in most of the nation, certainly in the mid-Atlantic region. Also, equipment which lay dormant needs inspection before airing out the aroma of mothballs. 


 "Blessed is he who succeeded in finding out the cause of things." -Virgil (17-19 BCE)


The intention is to bring our brains and our muscles back into the condition that existed before activity level tapered off in the fall; in most cases, to zero. That includes the investigation into the undesirable events that occurred throughout the skydiving universe during the previous year. 

Well, you’d never have known it was April Fool’s Day! The packing loft at Skydive Delmarva Inc was occupied by about 70 or 80 very serious attendees. This annual symposium of anxious adventurers was deadly serious about resuming their favorite activity with all available survival skills current; … and that was the occasion of Safety Day. … Oh, by the way, no fools were allowed. 

The previous day saw the Instructor, Coach, packing, and other staff in a day-long meeting to assure that all were consistent with DZ policies, procedures, and currency of skills; polished to a professional shine. Capping off the evening was an introduction to the new Debrief Lounge, configured by Sarah Kaitlyn and John GrossThat DZ location promises to be popular, especially after jumping hours. 

The Safety Day presentation was inaugurated beneath cloudy skies, against 15 – 25 mph winds packing a cool 45 degrees of temperature, but the loft was warmed by a spirited dialogue between Ben Harris, DZ Manager, as coordinator, and several significant staff members who reviewed all pertinent categories of operations and activities with the prudent attendees. (see video clip). The heart of the skydiving operation, the anchor upon which all good is connected, is the degree of professionalism of the staff; the people who oversee and conduct operations and supervise the less proficient of the aspiring aerial athletes. Delmarva is blessed with a broad-ranged, highly experienced group of supervisors, who apply themselves diligently to provide a quality organization, ready to entertain and exhilarate its clientele, neophyte and experienced. 


“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” - Cicero (106 – 43 BCE)

Though not a pleasant subject, Ben reviewed the Fatality and Serious Accident Summary, published by United States Parachute Association (USPA), of which Skydive Delmarva Inc is a Group Member. This topic always elicits rapt attention and question from the audience, masking a subliminal ‘glad it wasn’t me’ sentiment, which motivates most observers to appreciate the effort of major purveyors of the excitement of skydiving who contribute to the education of all us. Contemplation of the experiences of those who went before, articulating and quantifying the potential troubles that befall the less than cautious and caring, brings to mind another quote from antiquity; specifically, Cicero (106 – 43 BCE), “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” In the universe of skydiving, this is an oblique way of saying to oneself, 

‘I will always perform safely, for my benefit and that of my skydiving companions, including following the rules, even if I have a passing notion otherwise; and I appreciate that all others will behave likewise’


Ben’s presentation continued with an address regarding an increased emphasis on canopy safety, including an expansion of the AFF training phaszes through Category H, as specified by the USPA AFF program. The new training syllabus, composed by John Williams, DZ Chief Instructor, and Ben, can be observed and downloaded from the DZ Website, which has also been upgraded. New items include ground-radio instruction procedures by Instructors and Coaches, which will be enhanced by in-air radio oversight by AFF Instrctors who may opt to carry a transmitter on the skydive, allowing more personalized oversight of the student’s behavior under canopy. Markers in the landing area will specify landing areas for students, tandems, and experienced jumpers with higher performance canopies. There followed discussions about angle flying, separation of groups on aircraft exit, off-DZ landings, tracking, wingsuits, and especially canopy patterns on landing near the target, to prevent potential conflict. 

A detail familiarization with the aircraft and its maintenance history was presented by Keith May, Chief Pilot. The aircraft had just returned from an extended engagement at Skydive City in Zephyrhills, FL, where extensive periodic mechanical and structural modifications were made to keep 69JW up to current standards, while also keeping Keith current and practiced in his piloting skills. 


'You are responsible for your skydive.'

What followed next was an interesting demonstration of proper inspection of parachute gear by the user. This was effected by a test of awareness of the rigging configuration of a student system. Needless to say, several implanted aberrations were overlooked by the volunteer inspector, Chad Lockard. The audience participated in comments and discussions about common errors and problems for which vigilance is a most effective method for avoidance of potential trouble. Everyone is conscious of the golden rule: You are responsible for your skydive.

'Come, join Skydive Delmarva Inc, experience the awesome thrill of skydiving; from a large aircraft'


Considerable time was appropriated for discussing exit procedures from the aircraft by Tyler Hudson, Tandem Instructor & Aerial Videographer, with cogent comments from Pat Filipowski, AFF & Tandem Instructor & Videographer. 

A final demo was performed by Tyler (Tater) Naiman, Tandem Instructor, showing the pertinent aspects of preparing a Tandem parachute system for the skydive. In place to add perspective was Troy Droegemeier, AFF & Tandem Instructor, as well as Wingsuit Instructor. Troy also provides seminars on base jumping, although neither USPA nor Delmarva sponsors this activity. 

We couldn’t jump on Safety Day; it was unsafe due to low cloud cover and high winds, but the following day, Sunday, was the busiest skydiving day in April for the DZ in many years. Fifteen Twin Otter loads went aloft, exercising the new 20-jumper capacity of the aircraft, allowing the jumpers to enjoy the panorama of the new jump door. It’s optimistic to say, but all indications are that the staff, clientele, and other visitors are in for a stellar year. Safety Day goes a long way to add confidence to the environment, assuring proper preparation for all events. 



Mike (Iron Man) Schultz

AFF Instructor, Tandem Instructor, S&TA.

D -1180




Skydive Delmarva Inc is proud to be the epicenter of the skydiving community, uspa certified instructors, highest altitude and longest free fall, largest plane and fastest climb, 3rd person videographers


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