What Does It Mean to Be a USPA Skydiving Center & Dropzone

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

What Does It Mean to Be a USPA Skydiving center?

If you’re unfamiliar with skydiving, you may be unfamiliar with the United States Parachute Association (USPA). The USPA is widely regarded as the governing body of skydiving in the US because the FAA and Department of Transportation rely upon the self-regulation of participants through the guidelines and recommendations published by USPA. It’s important to note that it is not a requirement for skydiving centers to be a member of the USPA which creates a distinction between USPA-member versus non-USPA member dropzones.

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What Does It Mean To be a USPA Dropzone?

To hold the designation as a USPA-Group Member dropzone means that a skydiving center agrees to adhere to the ethical and operational guidelines set forth by the USPA. To pledge as a USPA Group Member dropzone includes the following:


  • Comply with the USPA Basic Safety Requirements (BSRs), which include compliance with the Federal Aviation Regulations relevant to skydiving operations, including aircraft operations.
  • Ensure that all pilots employed or utilized for the purpose of parachute operations hold at least a commercial pilot certificate and a second-class medical certificate.
  • Ensure that all aircraft utilized for the purpose of parachute operations comply with commercial maintenance requirements described in U.S. Federal Aviation Regulations Part 91.409(a) through (f) as applicable.
  • Ensure skydiving staff of the Group Member (i.e., the undersigned applicant) are appropriately qualified and trained in accordance with the Skydiver’s Information Manual and (where applicable) hold current USPA ratings commensurate with their duties.
  • Establish landing procedures that will include separation of high-speed and normal landings. These landing procedures must be prominently displayed and communicated to all jumpers at the drop zone.
  • Support USPA promotional programs at the drop zone.
  • Require temporary or regular individual USPA membership of: 1. all U.S. skydivers cleared for self-supervision 2. non-resident foreign nationals who do not have proof of membership in their national aeroclub.
  • Include USPA and manufacturers, distributors and dealers of skydive equip

The Difference Between a USPA Group Member Dropzone and Non-Member Dropzone

Skydiving centers not operating as a USPA Group Member are required to follow all restrictions set forth by the FAA, Department of Transportation and skydiving equipment manufacturer requirements; they are not obligated to follow the remaining recommendations as laid out above.

With that being said, does it mean that non-member USPA dropzones are any less safe than USPA member dropzones? Not at all. There are non-member USPA dropzones that operate safely, today. Like any USPA member dropzone, some skydiving centers have a greater or lesser culture of safety. Your job as the consumer is to identify which is the best skydiving facility for you and your family.

How To Identify a USPA Member Dropzone

As of this publishing, all skydiving centers operating in the Carolinas are USPA-member dropzones. To identify a USPA Member Dropzone, you may view the entire USPA member database, here.

Skydive Carolina’s Role as a USPA Member Dropzone

Skydive Carolina strives to maintain a culture of safety that goes beyond many of the guidelines set forth by the USPA. Despite our longevity as a company, we are driven to avoid complacency as we recognize that we are only as good as our last operational day.

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As we see it, skydiving is a life-changing event for many of our guests and we view this as an awesome responsibility. Our goal is to exceed expectations and to create memories that last a lifetime. If you have an interest in making your first skydive, we’d be honored to host you for this most amazing experience!

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