Complete Parachute Solutions (CPS) is hiring!

Complete Parachute Solutions (CPS) based in DeLand, Florida has a few positions open. If you’d like to work in the industry, perhaps one of those would suit you! More information below regarding what is available when this post is written, but please visit the CPS Employment page for latest updates. Contact for more information or to apply.



Instructor: Responsible for adherence to all TTF SOP’s, USPA Safety and Training, and FAA Regulations. Ability to assist in the development of and provide input for training course curriculum and maintaining training records for assigned students. Individual should have the ability to communicate effectively with customers, co-workers, contractors and the general public, both orally and in writing. Ability to work independently, learn quickly and work under pressure also a must. Position includes possible world travels and long hours. Passport required. Qualifications: USPA qualifications to include Tandem, AFF, and Static Line Instructor required, Tandem Examiner, AFF Evaluator (recommended), Air-to-Air Video, Minimum (4) years Parachute Instructor, Military Freefall Parachutist, Instructor (preferred), Prior military service and training (preferred). Position is located at the CPS Tactical Training Facility in Coolidge, AZ. Salary is commensurate with experience.


Para Loft Rigger: Inventory, clean, inspect, pack, maintain and store all personnel, cargo, bundle parachutes and associated air items equipment. Provides rigger training, pack in progress checks and assistance to TTF clients and staff. May perform duties as parachute malfunctions officer (if qualified) and equipment retrieval as required. Qualifications: Ability to communicate effectively with customers, co-workers, contractors and the general public, both orally and in writing. Ability to organize, analyze, interpret and evaluate problems and provide practical, cost-effective solutions. Proficiency in Outlook, Word and Excel are required. Ability to work independently, learn quickly and work under pressure. FAA Senior Rigger Certificate required. USPA qualifications to include Tandem, AFF, and Static Line Instructor recommended.


Loft Manager – DeLand, FL: Manage and track the receipt, movement, usage and shipment of all product and demo inventories. Supervise all loft activities and resources within the scope of receiving, inspection, assembling, warehousing and shipping, and participate when necessitated by workload. Responsible for regular, periodic physical inventories of product and demo gear inventory, and the accuracy thereof. Maintain currency of demo configurations, and compliance with all DOD contractual requirements, and import/export regulations, with respect to inspection, acceptance and shipping of products. Responsible for the facilities and maintenance requirements of the DeLand campus. Qualifications: Individual must be proficient in Microsoft Outlook, Word and Excel, and exhibit excellent written and oral communication skills. Prior supervisory experience is required. Experience with QuickBooks, Parachute Rigging, Shipping, Receiving and Inspection is preferred.


Sales Account Executive – DeLand, FL: Develops and maintains favorable relationships with new and existing clients in order to increase revenue, exposure and consideration. Ensures that organizational products or services consistently meet client needs. Is responsible for providing sales quotations as well as sustaining and renewing client contracts. Explain and demonstrate the use of tactical parachuting and related equipment to current and potential customer accounts. Assist agents/distributors during the sales process. Support trade show and customer events when appropriate. Travel within the US and foreign countries as required.
Qualifications: Prior jumper experience is required (Military or Civilian); Proficiency in MS Outlook, Word, PowerPoint and Excel are required; Broad familiarity of the Parachute Industry and the leading tactical parachute suppliers; Broad understanding of tactical parachute hardware and training solutions; Maintain job specific certifications as necessary (i.e.: FAA Senior Rigger, Master Rigger, USPA Static Line rating, AFF rated, Tandem Master).
Skills / Abilities: Team player; Self-starter, self-motivated and ability to work independently; Strong verbal and written communication skills; Strong ability to multitask and manage multiple projects simultaneously; Ability to communicate effectively with customers, co-workers, contractors and the general public, both orally and in writing; Problem solver; Ability to learn processes and applications quickly and work under pressure.
Working Conditions: Up to 50% domestic and/or International travel with the remainder in the office.
Educational Requirements: Minimum High school diploma or GED; Prior Military service and training recommended.



Petition: Help Skydive Tecumseh stay open in current location


Michigan dropzone Skydive Tecumseh had intended to open its doors on April 1, but will be delayed at least two weeks, due to a dispute between the dropzone and the owners of Al Meyers Airport, where the dropzone is located. Unfortunately this is not an April Fools joke, but quite the serious matter for local and visiting jumpers.
The dropzone has operated on the airport for decades, but current owners do no seem to want skydiving to continue. DZO Franz Gerschwiler has owned the operation since 2011.

A petition has been started on asking Andrew Aalto, president of Al Meyers Airport Corporation to allow the business to remain open at present location. If you would like to lend a hand, click for more information or to add your signature.

Follow Skydive Tecumseh via Facebook or on Twitter (@skydivetecumseh).

News Articles:

Get Current: Flirting with AAD Activation Altitudes

75815_10200236638615860_637452750_nTom Noonan is a professional instructor and director of the Tandem Program at UPT. Tom wears many hats on the side, including being the Dropzone Operations Coordinator at Everest Skydive, serving on the USPA Board of Directors, being a rigger and more!  On occasion he even jumps for fun. 

Flirting with AAD Activation Altitudes. 

It’s that time of year again, where USPA dropzones around the country and around the world take a day off from skydiving to get recurrent on procedures and gear information. That’s right, it’s time again for Safety Day.

In last year’s BSM AAD article, we took a look at AADs in modern skydiving scenarios. We addressed the evolution of the “set it and forget” mentality associated with the use of AADs, and how in today’s modern multi-dimensional skydiving universe, how that philosophy might be outdated. From super fast freefall speeds of VFS to the super slow vertical descents of today’s modern wingsuits, we are seeing a broad spectrum of varied fall rates. We also learned that for all of these disciplines and fall rates, they each present a unique performance envelope that today’s modern AADs are expected to function within.

This information isn’t new, it’s something recognized by AAD manufacturers and skydivers the world over. The manufacturers have even gone on to create specialized AAD models and modes to account for all of these extreme performance envelops being reached (and in some cases, exceeded) in our sport. In addition to developing new models and modes for their AADs, the manufacturers went a step further, they also updated their manuals to explain exactly how these new advancements in design and technology would affect the end-user that chooses to jump with an AAD. That’s the good news. New features and products along with accompanying educational materials published in their respective manuals. The bad news however, is that despite these advancements and information dissemination, skydivers the world over, are still experiencing AAD activations through the normal course of their skydives without being in a “life saving” need of the unit to activate. Put simply, skydivers are placing their AAD units into the firing range category (approximately 78mph or faster at or below approximately 1100ft AGL) without being aware of doing so.

The primary question then is: “How can that happen?” If we know our gear and we know the parameters, how can we continue to place ourselves, and thus, our equipment in this danger zone of accidental AAD activations?

The answers are simples ones, but ones that deserves an in-depth look none the less.

The first answer is that many skydivers simply don’t know what the actual activation parameters are for their AAD. They have “an idea” of how high it will activate and at what speeds, but when pressed for specifics, many skydivers simply don’t know. Others may have a confident idea of these parameters, but when pressed with the most important three words in skydiving knowledge: “Are you sure?”, they recoil again in thought to rethink their answer. This generalized base of knowledge is the primary reason we still see AAD activations. Every skydiver has a general idea of the operating parameters of their AADs but some are still fuzzy on the specifics. Yet, the AAD is a precise, complex instrument, one that needs the end-user to be aware of it’s specific performance ranges, not just a general idea. The good news here is that it’s a simple fix. Just as we addressed last year, the most critical step in ensuring that skydivers understand the operating parameters of their AADs is to read the manual from cover to cover. Unfortunately, AAD manuals are similar to automotive manuals. They are delivered with the product, but rarely read until there is a problem.

The second answer regarding accidental AAD activations has to do with a fuzzy sight picture of altitudes against deployment sequences. Today’s visual altimeters can be classified in one of two categories: Analog (old school dial) or digital (can be numeric in read out or “new school” digital dial). While altimeters are an excellent representation of our approximate altitude above the ground, both versions: analog and digital, have a margin of error regarding what they read versus what the actual altitude is. There are many reasons for this, from barometric pressure changes to old internal components that need to be serviced, but the message here is simply that “2500ft isn’t always 2500ft from what you read to where you are.” The other fuzzy variable in this explanation is the deployment sequence itself. In almost every inadvertent AAD activation, the skydiver states that the deployment sequence started at a specific altitude and that they were sitting in at a specific altitude. “I pulled at 2500ft and I was sitting in at 1500ft” for example. The reality is when we see our altimeter read 2500ft and begin our deployment, we have only just started a process: first we (hopefully) wave off, then we reach back, grasp the pilot chute handle, and then begin the extraction of the pilot chute and then set it into the relative wind. Guess what though? That simple singular process burned up time and altitude before the deployment sequence even began. While 2500ft may represent to a jumper the “deployment altitude”, it is really just the initiation of a deployment. The wave off starts a process that takes about 3 seconds, and remember, based on an approximate 120mph freefall speed at deployment, we are falling at about 176 fps during this sequence. Based on time and speed, altitude loss can be as great as 500ft during the deployment initiation sequence, placing a jumper starting a deployment sequence at 2500ft at 2000ft by the time the bag is actually lifted off their back and deployment of the lines and canopy actually begins. (And remember from Answer One, we’re still only working in approximate altitudes here as nothing is exact in altitude readings on altimeters.) After the deployment sequence begins, we eventually reach line stretch of the canopy and are stood up during the remainder of the deployment and inflation of the canopy. What is not well know however is that this “saddling out” or standing up process actually causes us to accelerate before we decelerate as we have drastically reduced our surface area by assuming a vertical position during the latter half of the inflation. This speed variable is important because the AAD only needs to register a descent above 78mph in order to initiate an activation of the unit. And lastly, in terms of vertical descent speeds it is also important to understand that even after fully inflating, a canopy still needs a few more seconds to finish shedding it’s vertical speed as it assumes gliding directional movement. (For anyone that would doubt this, picture someone making a low turn and trying to stab the toggles and flare out of the turn, they stab flare the toggles, bringing the canopy directly over their head, but even with a fully inflated canopy straight over their head, they come down to the ground with a tremendous downward speed as they impact). And in the end, after this deployment sequence has completed, the jumper states they were sitting in at 1500ft when their AAD unit fired. Again, if we return to the margin of error on all modern analog and digital altimeters, it is not unreasonable to project a variance of a couple hundred feet, as the wrist altimeter and AAD pressure sensor are sitting in different burbles. Any and all of these factors can add up to a low deployment AAD activation that placed the operator into the activation parameters of the unit.

And lastly, it is not a surprise to anyone these days, that some of today’s modern main parachutes can easily achieve descent speeds above the activation parameter speed for most modern AADs. This is one of the most unfortunate scenarios to see continuing to occur, because it has been known for years that big turns under small parachutes can achieve activation parameter speeds, yet year after year, we continue to lose skydivers to this avoidable incident scenario.

In conclusion, if a skydiver chooses to skydive with an AAD onboard their harness container system, they must be vigilant in understanding the operating parameters within which they place the unit. The days of “set it and forget” are a thing of the past and skydivers in this modern three-dimensional universe of descent rate ranges must not just be familiar with the operating parameters of their AADs, they must be sure of them. “Are you sure?” Must be followed with a “yes”. Any answer to the contrary, the end-user is opening themselves up to the possibility of an inadvertent AAD activation. The good news is the information is easy to find. Every AAD manufacturer offers free downloadable PDF files of their manuals. (Look “here” to find a list of AAD manual links.) Someone famous somewhere said, “Those that cannot learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”

AAD activations, whether live life saves or inadvertent activations, are thankfully not a common event either way. That said, we can all do our best to ensure we do not find ourselves repeating an accidental AAD activation by arming not just our AADs, but our minds with the necessary information we need to be sure that we are operating our skydiving equipment in accordance to operating parameters of all of our gear, including our AADs. To do any less is to open ourselves up to dangers that we already know are out there. Be Vigilant. Be Safe. Be Sure.

And remember, every day should be safety day.

Tom Noonan
Vigil Sponsored Instructor

Ben White’s Tunnel Night

The way we communicate now has information flowing by at incredible speed—and often barely registering. So much unrelenting waffle tumbles past it can be easy to forget the technological tools we have at our disposal are a great privilege of the modern world and can serve to aid us—a small community often spread far and wide—in powerful ways. Now and then, something will grow from the mundane to the beautiful—if there is a good enough reason.

Over recent years there have been some notable examples of the skydiving community at large coming to the aid of a broken friend. In the summer of 2012, a guy called Dan Hunt exited from the Jungfrau high above the Lauterbrunnen valley in Switzerland. After mistakenly zooming off over the wrong bit of terrain he spent several days huddled in the fabric of his speed wing as the money was rounded up to pay for the heli time to go and find him. A short while later everyone that donated received a handwritten message of thanks on a picture of the weather-beaten but relieved-looking fucker climbing out of the craft that ultimately came to his rescue.

Help Ben White by Joel Strickland |

“A short while later everyone that donated received a handwritten message of thanks on a picture of the weatherbeaten but relieved-looking fucker climbing out of the craft that ultimately came to his rescue.”

In 2013, another small miscalculation saw Ben Cornick swoop into the side of the DZ van at the end of a routine camera jump on the island of Fiji. Pretty soon skydivers had ponied up the urgent cash needed to get him onto a plane and into an Auckland operating theatre for the surgery he needed to keep his leg.

Last year while training at Hibaldstow Ben White hit the ground too hard and now his legs don’t work anymore.

Help Ben White by Joel Strickland |

Ben White and Jen Saville

The short version of this part of the story is that Ben needs some cash—the kind of cash nobody expects to need or has a frame of reference for, to deal with a likely endless list of unfathomably expensive domestic pain-in-the-ass things such as getting doorways widened and steps dealt with and myriad other stuff about the place that you would never even register as potentially prohibitive until your body no longer does all of the things it did when you moved in. A graceful post from Jen Saville, Ben’s girlfriend, about their situation had many concerned parties scheming and plotting out ways to help, then Paul Mayer from Bodyflight—who had already been sponsoring Ben’s team, Revolution Freestyle, to help them achieve their goals—stepped in to offer his facility for an entire night and hopefully help make a dent in the pile of money in question. I sat in front of my computer and watched it happen. In a very short time things went from plans to planned, from what, to when, to done. People began donating items to sell, an idea corralled into the form of a raffle by Roy Castleman and Emma Foy, then expanded into a supplementary auction at the point they were in danger of becoming buried under the amount of prizes there were to organise.

The night itself was divided up between a scrambles competition for the belly types and some (very) loosely organised freefly groups. It seemed proper that nobody should really give a shit about the competition, nor much else other than having fun, with a greater purpose being the reason everybody assembled. Ben flew using a positional contraption of straps and such that some handy fellow had constructed and looked pretty graceful doing so, even if he had to wheel himself into position on a creeper and then be launched into the tube a little bit like those nature programmes where some activists transport a dolphin back to the sea. As Friday became Saturday everything resembling a plan had been fully abandoned and things largely devolved into humans pancaking each other into the tunnel walls, with just a gentle reminder from Paul of the single rule—to keep it to eight or fewer in there at any one time, which was almost adhered to. The raffle and auction offered a kaleidoscope of items, from small to spectacular, and the usual (t-shirt anyone?) to the unpredictable (we want to hear you play those ukuleles). Core Skydiving’s Mike McNulty is an odd a duck as any of us, but the surprise of the evening is how good an auctioneer he makes.

If looking at the pictures of Ben’s x-rays make you feel fragile, they should.

Help Ben White by Joel Strickland |

“If looking at the pictures of Ben’s x-rays make you feel fragile, they should.”

They are a very precise reminder of exactly how squishy ones corporeal being actually is, of irreparable damage so easily done to the human form. I am drawn into memories by that feeling of vulnerability—of the near misses, of the mishaps and minor injuries, of the times that some tiny unknowable factor was the difference between one path through life and another. Accidents don’t happen as much as people on the outside think they do, but they certainly happen sometimes—and can be very effecting whether they big or small, near to you or far away. From a small lapse in concentration leading to a badly sprained ankle that the best part of a year later still likes to punish and remind you of your foolishness with a quick stab of pain here and there, to the triple fatality of three of the best proximity pilots in the world that makes the big wingsuit you just bought loom out of the corner of the room like a vengeful spirit. There are the things that are all too knowable, the ones that make you all shivery to this day when you think about them—a hair’s breadth near miss between two deploying canopies at the end of newbie freefly carnage jump that earned you an angry bruise on your inner thigh from the hackey handle on the other guy’s pilot chute. An overcooked aerial that leaves you fetal and nauseous when you watch the video, quickly deleting it lest anyone—including your own self—ever again see how close you were to going in that time. Then there are the near misses that nobody ever saw. The slippery patch on an exit point that you were inches away from but never even knew about. A near miss on break-off that everybody missed.

When I think about what has happened to Ben it is so very easy to imagine myself in his place, such are the parallels. Training for an artistic category at the world championships —upgrading your ambition and downsizing your gear, the time and the effort and all the money it is costing made right in your head by the pride you feel wearing the flag and representing old Blighty at the fancy level. This similarity of circumstances is what has me in front of the keyboard, unsure whether sharing words about it has any value to anyone else.

No matter what kind of extreme activity jumbles your weasels—when something serious happens within reach we are faced with some level of cognitive dissonance about the inherently risky business that we chase, remember—just for fun. If you have been doing this for a while you will likely have played this game many times. If someone gets broken, or even forever gone, what would they want you to do? Should you get out now or carry on as if nothing has happened? Should you dial it back or go hard? If something happened to you what would you want? We can arrive at the other side perhaps not knowing which way up we are. If you walk away are you dishonouring the spirit of what we do and the decisions we make on the way in, when evaluating the risk of our intent?

It is quite possibly the wrong thing to say that I owe Ben a debt of thanks, and yet maybe I do precisely that. My position relative to this situation has made me resolve to be better at what I do, to be wiser, smarter and safer than I have been in the past—and most importantly—where I can, to help others do the same. With my actions I will honour the luxury of my life and pay service to a situation that I have witnessed and do not have to endure myself.

Help Ben White by Joel Strickland |

Ben’s legs don’t work anymore, but yours probably do. Be sure to have them carry you somewhere awesome.

If you would like to donate you can do so at

Many people have shown their support for Ben and Jen in recent weeks and months. Here are a few that should not pass by unthanked:

  • Paul Mayer has always gone the extra distance for those attending his events, but this time not only did he open up his tunnel facility for a whole night, but donated a lot of stuff for the auction and the profits from the bar.
  • Roy Castleman and Emma Foy who organised the raffle – which based on the amount of stuff could not have been anything less than perplexingly complicated.
  • HRH Fazza, HE Nasser, Alan Gayton and the staff of Skydive Dubai for throwing in a selection of prizes that were—true to form—marvellous.
  • The bar staff at Bodyflight for staying very, very late.

Joel Strickland

Guest Contributor

Joel Strickland is a full-time freefly coach and freelance journalist. As a member of Varial Freefly, Joel represents Vertical as a sponsored athlete and is based in the UK.