In 1984, with freefall video and media exposure as the main objective, I began designing the concept of universal skydiving to present new challenges to skydivers of the 1980’s and beyond. The object of universal skydiving is to bring all three axes of motion into effect on jumps that are relative work oriented. In other words, combine style, sequential, and formation skydiving to create universal skydiving, that is fun, challenging and suitable for an award.
TWO DIMENTIONAL SKYDIVING
The majority of flat relative workers emphasize almost all movement from the vertical axis, (which we are also capable of performing on the ground as seen with dirt dives and creepers) less movement from the lateral and virtually none from the longitudinal axis.
To broaden the spectrum of skydiving and enhance it’s visual appeal to the public, skydivers should be willing to utilize every facet of freefall imaginable. Gymnasts, springboard divers and even skiers all perform acrobatics within a comparatively limited amount of altitude. But in contrast to skydiving, these events receive steady media coverage.
With the video technology available in freefall today, there’s no reason that skydivers cannot be filmed in freefall with plenty of altitude to perform aerobatic maneuvers. Although these maneuvers are not performed alone as in style or free style, but in unison, as in relative work. The purpose of universal skydiving is to combine elements of style and freestyle with formation and sequential RW. To promote this new test of freefall skills, we’ve included it in our awards program, and named it the Universal Skydiving Award, or USA.
The Universal Skydiving Award requires at least 4 jumpers and a freefall photographer. There are a series of four aerobatic maneuvers to be performed between a series of 5 formations. The aerobatic maneuvers consist of – front loop – back loop – barrel roll and a 360-degree turn. A flat 360 turn must be performed in both directions. A single 360 turn must be performed either as a sit, back to earth or a T-turn. The formations can be any recognizable formation incorporating handgrips. A video of the skydive must accompany all applications. The freefall photographer is also included in the award, but for simplicity will be excluded from the following examples.
USA QUALIFICATION EXAMPLES
Basic Qualification: Round – back loop – round – front loop – round – barrel roll – round – right & left 360 turns - round held 5 seconds – separate – track – deploy.
(Like other Star Crest awards, this skydive can be kept simple for intermediate skydivers, or be performed as elaborately as the talent will allow.)
USA RULES AND POINTERS
The Universal Skydiving Award attempts may use a launched exit. The choice of aerobatic maneuver sequence is optional, but the aerobatic maneuver must be performed between each formation as planned. Before performing a front loop from a round formation, make sure everyone has backed away far enough to avoid colliding. Also, sequencing from an aerobatic maneuver to a non-round formation could likely put the skydivers out of position for a clean transition. Therefore 45 to 180 turns and reverses may be necessary with the more advanced technique USA. The skydive is judged by the video, so the cleaner, more uniform and easier to see, the better chance of qualification.
USA NUMBERING SYSTEM
An interesting and informative method of assigning numbers has been incorporated into the USA numbering system. The first digit of a USA number indicates how many times the jump has been accomplished. The second digit represents the number of skydivers involved in the jump. The third digit tells the total number of USA recipients. Example: 3/5/15 - Brad Gorman: Third USA dive accomplished, 5 skydivers on the dive, 15th recipient of the USA.
We believe the USA concept will encourage talent in areas of skydiving that have yet to be explored. The Universal Skydiving Award is designed to serve as a standard to test top level flying skill and teamwork in skydiving. We hope skydivers everywhere will benefit from the challenge of this award.