20 April 2014

20 APR 2014

Temple Times
SKYDIVE TEMPLE Learn to jump at the closest Parachute training center to downtown Austin, Texas, Killeen, Fort Hood and Waco

A welcome break in the weather led to beautiful skies Friday and Saturday, letting students like Jasper Byrom get back in the air to work on their free fall and canopy flying skills.

Brian Lancaster got to make several jumps over the weekend. advancing to his Level 2 jumps.

Also getting to make several jumps, Tom Dean is now up to his Level 3 jumps and having a great time after a long weather hold.

Dave Garcia had a blast working on turns in his Level 4 jump, and had a great solo landing!

Saturday, Ilya got to take up Nick Lindsay on a coach jump who had a long hiatus from the air over Salado.

And even though the skies clouded up Easter Sunday, Saturday night we celebrated Spring long into the night, with Jasper, Brian, Opie and Elijah earning their official numbers in a certain SDT running ritual Good times!


Our 25th Anniversary boogie is now officially moved to the last Saturday of May and the first Sunday of June -- come celebrate with us!

Mark is working on brining in some awesome jump platforms for us to play with, to get the latest developments, go to Skydive Temple's Phun Jumpers Facebook page and sign up for our email list.


The United States Parachute Association is partnering with various providers in order to offer skydivers a host of financial and insurance products

Members can access the USPA member Benefits Portal online

And if you haven't yet joined USPA, you can easily do so completely online, so long as you don't have any ratings that require signatures (such as instructors or PRO rating holders) -- if so, you'll need to fill out and mail in the renewal forms.


This week, we link to a short safety article from Parachutist online about dust devils; where and when they form and how to avoid them.


13 April 2014

13 APR 2014

Temple Times
SKYDIVE TEMPLE Learn to jump at the closest Parachute training center to downtown Austin, Texas, Killeen, Fort Hood and Waco

The spring weather that has prevented us from jumping continues to keep us grounded, but on Sunday, Shelby taught three newbies the first jump course.

Welcome Ashley Campa, Jacob Bearl, and Gabriel Ward to hopefully bluer skies soon!

Skydive Temple Balloon Jumps

The weekend of May 17th and 18th is about a month away and Skydive Temple is planning a boogie to celebrate.

At a skydiving boogie, jumpers from all over camp out, jump out of special aircraft, make fun formations, or work on new skills with coaches and organizers -- oh, and and party all weekend long while we keep the planes up all day and the neighbors up all night.

This special 25th Anniversary boogie, we're bringing back the balloon for early morning and sunset loads. Stay tuned for more information on signing up -- but you will need at least a "B-license" to qualify for the balloon.



If you're rather unlucky and have need of a helicopter ride to the hospital, you might just meet Jason Arsenault at his regular job, at the controls flying you there.

Or, you can catch him flying camera or fun jumping at the DZ. Jason is also a coach, and you might just get to learn something handy from him.

Jason started jumping seriously several years ago here at SDT, while stationed at Ft. Hood flying Chinooks.

Now he wants to improve his free flying and get into big-way photography.


Not enough people signed up for the canopy control course, but if you're interested, email Ilya@Skydivetemple.com or facebook Ilya Kats to sign up

The canopy control class is not only a great idea, USPA requires it for your B-License, and here at SDT, we require it for your A-License.

Wendy is also available during the week (and on rainy/cloudy/windy weekends) to teach a packing class which is also a USPA A-license requirement.

So contact Wendy, and the next weekend you wanted to jump, but were weathered out, learn to pack instead!


Skydivers can qualify for and receive a variety of USPA licenses, from A to D as well as special ratings according to their experience, skill, and knowledge level.

SIM section 3 describes the requirements and privileges of USPA licenses.

Three separate types of USPA ratings can be obtained as an individual develops expertise in a specific area, such as student instruction, professional demonstration jumping, and competition judging. The FAA issues ratings for riggers and pilots.

For more details on the USPA instructional ratings, see the USPA Instructional Rating Manual.

For the USPA PRO Exhibition rating, see SIM Section 7, "Exhibition Jumping."

For information on competition judging, see the USPA Skydiver's Competition Manual.

And for FAA ratings, such as rigger, pilot, or aircraft mechanic, refer to the FAA documents included in the SIM


Earlier you read about staying on the wind line in higher winds; how would you alter your landing pattern?

When winds are high, move your pattern entry point both farther upwind (increasing the length of your downwind leg) and closer inward toward the target to shorten your base leg.

In high winds, going downwind greatly increases your ground speed; lengthening the downwind leg gives you more time, making it less likely you'll be blown too far downwind of the target.

Don't go as far downwind, but turn in sooner than normal onto a shortened base. A shorter base leg means less time to be blown downwind in high winds.

Remember when you turn back onto final approach, your penetration will be very little due to the high winds, so turn into your base and final legs earlier than normal.


08 April 2014

7 APR 2014

Temple Times

Despite the great jump weather Friday, no one came out until the clouds started to roll in on Saturday. Early that morning, many were on hand to make a spectacular balloon jump, but only the first group got to make it, as it soon became too windy for the balloon to make any more flights that morning.

But it wasn't too windy for students, and the overcast was high enough for Sidney Hoelscher to work on more advanced free fall skills with Li'l Buddy

And two new jumpers got to do their first training tandems. Kyle Austin made it back and had a fun jump with Scott and Brian Lancaster, aka "Sacajawea," jumped with Steve after taking the FJC earlier this week from Scott. Welcome Kyle and Brian!


There is still time to sign up for this great class, now moved to this Sunday, April 13th! Anyone from students already on their solo jumps to experienced skydivers can learn something valuable; and this class is required for getting your B license (A at Skydive Temple).

Class will be rain or shine, starting at 9am. You must be paid up and secure gear rental (if needed) by 9 a.m.

Cost is $45 (plus rental gear if needed) plus 3 hop and pops from 5,500 and 3,500”. Returning students (those who have taken the course within the past year) cost is only $15 for the class (plus gear and jumps)

Please email Ilya@Skydivetemple.com or facebook Ilya Kats to confirm.



When he was seven years old, Zach Bowen saw a demo jump on South Padre Island, and decided he wanted to be a skydiver: at 18, he started jumping.

Currently, Zach serves at Ft. Hood, but when he can, he comes out and helps take tandem passengers for a ride.

He is also a member of the Texas National Guard Demo Parachute team, inspiring new seven year olds.

Zach also earned his private pilots license, and flies a quick silver light sport plane when he can. One of these days he hopes to get back to doing more fun jumps!


For anyone wanting to make a balloon jump, but were not able to, the balloon guys will be available this week to launch from Skydive Temple.

Contact Mark Mark, or respond to the invite on the Skydive Temple phun jumper's Facebook page to sign up.

Cost is still $125 per jumper per jump, and you must have at least a B-license to jump.


You can access the United States Parachute Association's Skydiver Information Manual online for free!

Chock-full of basic safety recommendations, advanced skill requirements, license and rating information and acting as a repository for the accumulated wisdom of the sport, the SIM is something every jumper should have access to. You can buy a hardcopy, download the smartphone app for android or iOS,(search "USPA" in the app store) download the .pdf file, or simply read the SIM online in a web browser.

While the online version isn't currently linked to, you can still access it if you know the url; here is the link to Section 4, the Integrated Student Program, that includes the quizzes and jump videos which the current smartphone app lacks.

Last week, you read how you can adjust your landing pattern in high winds. This week: what to do in light or zero winds.

It's easy to overshoot the target on calm days. A common hazardous mistake: S-turn in the pattern to bleed off altitude; this greatly increases the risk of canopy collisions, and confuses and alarms everyone else in the pattern.

Instead, depending on the area you are overflying, if space permits, move the pattern entry point both farther upwind and farther to the side of the target, increasing the downwind leg, and increasing the length of the base leg.

Enlarging the pattern this way allows you to bleed off altitude safely and predictably. If space permits, you can also delay the turn to base and take the downwind leg even farther downwind -- this also increases the length of your final approach leg.

Remember to keep a sharp lookout for other traffic, especially when in the pattern.

There are other techniques and control input you can use as well: more advanced skills you learn and practice in the canopy control course. Everyone can benefit from some focus and practice, so sign up for the next one you can attend!


30 March 2014

30 MAR 2014

Temple Times
SKYDIVE TEMPLE Learn to jump at the closest Parachute training center to downtown Austin, Texas, Killeen, Fort Hood and Waco

Some crazy weather this week to recap. For most of March, we've had great weather in the week, and awful jump weather on the weekends. But on Thursday and Friday, the trend reversed. Friday had some beautiful weather in the early afternoon, by by 4 pm, ominous clouds started to roll in.

Soon, we had a downpour, followed by walnut-sized hail -- a first, according to Mark Mark, who says the DZ owes beer.

Austin spotted some large ones he wanted to keep, but they melted.

Once we got the precipitation out of the way, and the runway dried and rolled, we were crazy busy the rest of the weekend, with many students jumping on Saturday, once the winds died down.

Sunday was too windy for students to jump, and almost too windy for even Tandems, but we got them all up before the winds kicked up too high.

On Saturday, David Garcia waited out the high winds most of the day, and got back up in the skies with Scott and L'il Buddy and completed his level 3 release dive and is all set to practice turns on level 4 next!

German Martinez also returned to the skies on Saturday, getting back in the air with Ilya and L'il Buddy.

Also completing level 3 on Saturday, Jasper Byrom had a great jump with Ilya and Steve.

And finally getting to go up and do his Category A Training tandem, Robert Lowe spent the whole weekend at the DZ and helped out catching Tandems.

But the big news this weekend: Sladyn Howell graduated off AFF status and is now cleared to jump solo! Congrats Sladyn!


April 5th Skydive Temple will be hosting hot air balloon jumps for jumpers with at least a B-license.

Cost is $125 per jumper per jump, and you must arrive at the DZ by 6:00 am!

To sign up, go to SDT's Phun Jumper page on Facebook and accept the event to RSVP.

There will be a drawing this friday at 5:00pm to determine load & jump order; jumpers will be notified of their placement.

Balloon jumps are not high altitude, but you do get something of a falling feeling on exit; they are very rare, cool, and highly memorable experiences! RSVP ASAP!



Two years ago he was a living the pirate life in California on a sail boat, drifting between LA and San Diego, but one day, perusing dropzone.com he found Skydive Temple, and now wants to learn to free fall.

Today, you might catch Brian Lancaster mowing, cleaning, doing auto mechanic stuff, and a host of other chores, as he is working at SDT. Thank him personally next time you appreciate a clean restroom.

Brain is a local, growing up in nearby Georgetown where he owns a motorcycle repair & customization shop called Sun Ciy Power Sports. While he still likes everything in cycling, injuries prevent him from competing in motocross and area cross.


Learn to be a better and safer canopy pilot and land standing up on every jump in the canopy control course this Saturday, April 5th. This class is required for getting your B license (A at Skydive Temple). Pre-requisite for this class: AFF soloists and up.

Class will be rain or shine, starting at 9am. You must be paid up and secure gear rental (if needed) by 9 a.m.

Cost is $45 (plus rental gear if needed) plus 3 hop and pops from 5,500 and 3,500”. Returning students (those who have taken the course within the past year) cost is only $15 for the class (plus gear and jumps)

Please email Ilya@Skydivetemple.com or facebook Ilya Kats to confirm


One of the benefits of joining the United States Parachute Association is getting a monthly subscription to Parachutist, the magazine of the USPA.

This week, we link to an informative and useful article on density altitude. If you've never quite understood it, or were unsure how to apply knowledge of density altitude to your canopy flying, don't miss this short and sweet explanation.


Springtime winds can be tricky; often at the high end of your limits, and often in variable directions at different altitudes.

After opening and checking your canopy and locating the DZ, turn into the wind and look down between your feet to determine ground speed into the wind. Note any sideways push, and turn into the prevailing winds.

Move to a position directly upwind of your target. This is called getting on the wind line -- the wind is now blowing you directly back to the DZ.

Next, if altitude, position, and traffic permits, turn downwind and look down to check ground speed. Once you know your penetration into and with the wind, it's much easier to hit your pattern entry point at your target altitude.

Note any changes in wind speed or direction on the way down -- spring winds can surprise -- and adjust accordingly. With just a little practice doing this, you can get quite accurate and consistently, safely hit your target!


23 March 2014

23 MAR 2014

Temple Times

The weather this weekend wasn't great. But another beautiful Thursday let Jasper Byrom take to the air with Steve and Li'l Buddy and knock out his level 2 jump.

But the biggest news this week was that Dirk Boedecker returned to make two jumps Thursday with Scott and Shelby to finish up his A-license requirements -- then took the oral test from Wendy and actually passed! Huge Congrats to our latest licensed skydiver: Dirk!


Skydive Temple will be hosting hot air balloon jumps in a few weeks. Slots will be available on a first come, first serve basis. Cost is expected to be $125 per jumper per jump, and you must have at least a B-license to jump

Balloon jumps are a lot of fun; while not high altitude, you do get something of a falling feeling on exit, and they are very cool experiences! See Mark Mark to register



Or, as he is sometimes called "Ga-raj," as he sells and installs garage doors when he isn't jumping out of planes, Shelby Palmer often barbecues for the DZ and coaches and teaches the first jump course on occasion as well.

Shelby started jumping after Gary and Shiny invited him to drink beer DZ; Shelby came out on Saturday, by Sunday, was taking the FJC. Shelby started flying with his dad when he was three, and by age 10, was taking off, and by 14 landing Bellancas (that's a fancy, fast low wing, retractable gear civil aircraft)

Shelby wants to start shooting air to air video, get his Tandem and AFF ratings, and is working on his Pro rating. He says he feels more at home in the air than on the ground, so, next time you see him, welcome him home.


This year marks the 25th anniversary of Skydive Temple, and to celebrate, we're planning a number of activities for this spring and summer!

Keep an eye open for things like bi-plane jumps, boogies, t-shirts, and other fun to be announced!


The United States Parachute Association has a long history, starting out as the Parachute Club of America.

This week, we take a look back at the early days of the sport, before many of the basic safety recommendations were written -- and get a sense of why they came to be, in a "you-won't-belive-this" Parachutist article online: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?


Springtime in Texas is often marred by cloudy skies that prevent us from jumping. Ever wonder why we can't simply jump through the clouds?

It's important to be able to see the ground, not only from the plane, but under canopy so you can land back at the DZ. Relying solely on the GPS to spot the aircraft is no substitute for your own eyes. It's also important to look out for other air traffic; other aircraft from the plane, and other jumpers in free fall and under canopy.

There are relatively few rules in skydiving; this one is written in blood, and underscored with the deaths of 16 skydivers in 1967, in what still remains the worst civilian skydiving accident.


16 March 2014

16 MAR 2014

Temple Times

March is often windy, cloudy and wet in Texas, but on Thursday, the weather was perfect and Sidney Hoelscher took advantage and knocked out her level 4!

And Ames O'Boyle also got to get back in the air, jumping with Steve and Wendy that afternoon. Welcome back Ames!


The rain and clouds, kept us grounded, but it was perfect weather to hold Safety Day Saturday afternoon. Over a dozen jumpers showed up for activities, seminars, discussion, dinner and a bonfire.

Scott went over lessons to be gleaned from the 2013 fatality summary, and jumpers practiced gear checking Shelby, having fun trying to spot every last one of a dozen different problems. Gear check a buddy next time you're here.

Mark Mark went over some aircraft safety issues and asked everyone what they would do if the plane caught fire at different altitudes.

Andrew and Wendy went over gear issues and what common wear points we should look for every time we pack.

Afterwards, we feasted on a shrimp boil cooked up by our own master chief Bob, and told stories 'round the bond fire 'til the wee hours -- Good Times!



You probably have heard him called "Li'l Buddy," but Bryan Cavage, as his folks named him, is a second-generation skydiver. Bryan's folks own a drop zone in North East Pennsylvania.

Bryan is an AFF instructor and moved to Texas because his girlfriend, Katie Blue, another Skydive Temple AFF instructor serves at Ft. Hood, but is currently in Afghanistan.

Bryan says the things he loves most about skydiving are the freedom in free fall and the camaraderie in the sport.


Teacher skydives for special needs student

9News Interview with Denver Broncos Thunderstorm Skydive Team

Jump and run 50 miles in Skydive Ultra Run

Skydiving Proposal Takes Love to New Heights

At Harvey Field, the spirit of aviation's early days lives on

A Journey to the Center of the World


The United States Parachute Association has a short safety quiz you can take online?

As we wrap up our month of special emphasis on safety, why not take the quiz and see what action you would choose in some unexpected situations? It's easy, fun, and you just might learn something that could save your life!


How you load the airplane, where you sit, and moving around inside the airplane affects the weight and balance of the aircraft and, if done improperly can increase the time to climb to altitude, or even cause the plane to stall, flip inverted, or crash.

When the airplane is on the ground, it is supported by the landing gear, but when airborne, the plane hangs from the wings. If most of the weight is balanced under the wings, the plane can easily climb and maneuver, but when jumpers move back towards the door, all the weight is aft of the wings, and the plane wants to pitch up, which can cause loss of lift, a stall, and loss of control of the plane.

When loading, try to keep most of the weight centered under the wings -- you will get to altitude faster and safer. Stay seated under the wing until its your turn to exit. Don't move aft until it's time for you to take your position in the door. If jumping in a large group, make sure only the base and floaters and the first few divers are aft. Make sure everyone else stays forward in the plane, or else the plane could stall and loose control.


09 March 2014

9 MAR 2013

Temple Times

The weekend weather was awful, but Thursday was great and Elijah Tienda, after months of nursing an injured leg, finally got out from behind the manifest desk and once again took wing in the skies over Salado. Welcome back, "Heywood!"

And on the same load, Slayden Howell got to flip and back loop and barrel roll on an awesome jump that actually made him smile in mid air. Great job, Slayden!

Finally, a big Texas welcome to Kyle Austin and Robert Lowe who got up extra early on Sunday after the time change and took the first jump course from Isaac.

While the sun did come out on Sunday, it was too little too late to dry out the runway, and so both are anxious to come back and make their first skydive! Be patient, stay ready!



Due to the poor weather this weekend, we postponed Safety Day for this Saturday, March 15th.

We'll review accident trends from last year across the sport, talk about gear inspections, safe flying habits, and have tons of fun doing safety day activities.

And after jumping, we'll have dinner at the DZ and a raffle!

This week's issue of Temple Times includes this download link to USPA's PowerPoint presentation on avoiding canopy collisions. (Right click on the link, and save as or save target as to download -- you must have MS PowerPoint to view.)



If you haven't yet met the man, the myth, the legend in his own mind who is the owner of Skydive Temple, you have missed out on one of life's most interesting experiences.

In what brand of cereal did he find his pilot's license? How old was he when he discovered piggyback rigs? Who won the bet that left him in charge of the zoo that is SDT? Why does he have two first names exactly the same? And, most importantly, how much money can he save me on my new gear?

Be the first courageous enough to actually ask Mark Mark these questions in person, and if you survive to report his answers, you will win an AWESOME Norman Kent Skydiving DVD!


As part of our ongoing switch to the new logo and new look for Skydive Temple, this week, we launched the redesigned website!

Check it out and explore all the links when you have some time, and let us know if you experience any problems. Thanks!


The United States Parachute Association is raising the minimum age for jumpers to 18 years.

New Basic Safety Requirement: Effective May 1, all first-time skydivers in the U.S. must be 18 years of age or older. All student skydivers who have made a skydive prior to May 1, 2014, must attain an A license by December 31, 2014, in order to be exempt from this rule.

All currently licensed skydivers still under the age of 18 are exempt from this rule. For skydivers jumping outside of the U.S., USPA will issue licenses only to those 16 or older..



If you haven't seen the incredible pictures of the collision between skydiver and small plane that happened in Florida on Saturday, take a look at this!

While both parties remarkably survived, it could have ended up much worse. This is why we jumpers need to stay well clear of the runway, as well as the approach and departure corridors on either end.

While both the FAA and the NTSB are still investigating the accident, and all the reports are not in, note how the jumper appears to be clearing the power lines behind him. If he was trying to make it back to the DZ from a long spot, don't make the common mistake of waiting too long to decide to land in a safe alternative landing area. It's ALWAYS better to hike back to the DZ than to be carried away from the DZ.