I am very honored to have the guidance I have written on jump plane formation flying accepted and reproduced on the United States Parachute Association’s website.
Why has this been done now? In November of 2013 two skydiving planes collided while on a formation load at Skydive Superior in Superior, WI. To my knowledge this is the only inflight collision of two jump planes in my database going back to 1982. Should this be of great concern? Well, it’s one occurrence. But it was felt that the dynamics of flying jumpers have changed enough over the last two decades that there are fewer small Cessna dropzones. The experience in how to perform these formations has potentially decreased across the industry. Before we get a “trend” of more accidents, staff at USPA HQ and I collaborated to have my formation load guidance edited and reproduced by permission in their Group Member Program. This a very proactive move ahead of any potential NTSB recommendations like the ones that came out after the Special Investigative Report on skydiving operations in September 2008. In that case, the USPA responded by utilizing the Jump Pilot Training Syllabus and Written Test from this website. The NTSB classified the items “Closed – Exceeds Recommended Action”.