Winter 2021 USPA BOD Meeting


You may get sick of hearing me say thank you, but THANK YOU! I am wholeheartedly grateful for this opportunity to serve as a National Director on the USPA Board! January 29th-31st, 2021 was my first official board meeting as a Director and it went swimmingly! I am thankful for the current board welcoming me with open arms and getting things done!

This post is a recap and highlights of the meeting – much of which has been discussed in my private FACEBOOK GROUP here for USPA Members to engage. This meeting was also hybrid and there were over 100 people registered to attend – that’s amazing!

I just want to take a moment to recap my goals with their progress (mind you, it’s been 60 days since the Special Election):

  • To get more member engagement – gaining traction and support
  • To create a Sport Promotion Committee – a sub-committee was approved at this board meeting
  • To represent the Vertical Disciplines – a new section in the SIM was approved and adopted at this meeting
uspa executive director albert berchtold


USPA’s new Executive Director, Albert Berchtold stepped into this role seamlessly. He presented a slide deck showcasing each department on their 2020 accomplishments, what was delayed due to COVID, and what the 2021 goals were. He also mentioned the following:

  • USPA celebrates 75 years this year
  • Next USPA Board elections will take place this fall to seat a new board for the 2022-2024 term


Ron reported the comparison of fatalities versus incidents reported. This gives us insight on how we can better utilize incident reporting. This is a brief synopsis of his report:
  • Medical Probs 18% but 0% ever reported – a quick assumption is that we must educate our older population
  • Unintentional low turn 1%, landing problem 9%, incident probs and low turns – 52% reported (found with B&C licenses)
  • Intentional low turn 36% – 10% reported
  • Incorrect emergency procedures 27% – 12% reported
Other Notes:
  • Haven’t been using reporting system robustly so we do not have a lot of historical data to compare
  • Using social media as a platform to quickly get info out; parachutist great for long term
  • Ron has a great article coming out in Parachutist elaborating on an incident report that stated: “Technically I was current” but not “mentally current”.
  • When incidents increase, so do fatalities; but when reporting happens, we can address immediately and continue for long term education
  • Currency isn’t about just jumping, but keeping the skills you use current (IE instructor, swooping, load organizing, etc)Here is what other skydiving organizations report:
USPA: 1 per 20,000

Incidents are defined in SIM 5-8 

Incidents can be reported here:…/Incident…/Submit-Online/Anonymous

Uspa director of sport promotion shannon searls


There was a great discussion in my FACEBOOK GROUP prior to this board meeting about the interest for a 4-way FS Rookie Class and the Board listened! It will be called “Beginner” (to keep in line with the current classification of classes) at the USPA Nationals – it was approved by the full board to begin with a test event! Skydive Arizona agreed to host the test event at this year’s nationals as well as Skydive Chicago for the 2022 Nationals!

Details: 6 Rounds
Dive Pool: 1,2,6,7,8,9,13,19,21 + All randoms
Altitude: a min of 12,500′
Working Time: 35 seconds

Each round will consist of 3-4 (whichever is drawn first) scoring formations. All other standard 4-was FS rules will apply (specifically, there will be no camera pool – videographer is a member of the team.)


Comp – Kirk Verner
  • New member, Director Lowe added to the committee
  • Adopted relevant changes from ISC plenary meeting
  • Location of 2022 Colligates, Skydive AZ (Dec)
  • Adopted new dive pool images
  • AE or FS judges for VFS performance records (valid rating)
  • National judges rating extension to Dec 31, 2025, due to COVID
  • CP Course Technical Director for minimum compensation to host for CP meet
  • 4-wayFS beginner category test event; 2021 AZ & 2022 SDC test event
  • US Parachute Team uniform fund in progress
Safety & Training – Michael Wadkins
  • 200 camera req’s; 100 with coach jump – no action
  • E-license – poll to see what membership at large wants, be on the lookout
  • Military transition pro card in development
  • Tandem video endorsement – no action, standards are sufficient
  • CAT B – teaching changes – let instructors teach their way
  • Angle Flying
    • New language accepted
  • Require RSL & AAD for demos – Depending on the type of demo jump, it is recommended to use an AAD RSL, SIM Sec 7-1.H. (recommendation only)
Membership Services – Chair Chris Wagner
  • Sport Promotion Subcommittee approved, President appointed Director Lowe as Chair
    • Josh Hall, Sherry Butcher, Shauna Finley with C Crinklaw Advisor, staff Jen Sharp, Laura Sharp, Shannon Searls
  • Online database for Profiles in Parachutist, separate from USPA – used for considering awards in the future
Governance – Ray Lallo Jr.
  • for interim RD vacancy, for the president to select a temporary replacement until special elections are held. This is so RD responsibilities are tended to until a new RD is selected
melissa lowe uspa national director


I have many ideas to share with the Competition Committee in supporting host dropzones, and meeting with Sport Promotion Sub-Committee. I have had a lot of incredible feedback from USPA members in which to do my due diligence investigating the process as many of these ideas are intended to add to next meeting’s agenda. I will report updates in my Facebook Group just as I had for this meeting to get feedback on agenda items, and the progress of the other work.

I also know the International Skydiving Museum is a hot topic as well and I will give space for people to express their sentiments and constructive feedback in the Facebook Group.

Thank you again for allowing me to serve!
-Melissa Lowe, USPA National Director

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