Protected: Unusual Canopy Emergencies: Collisions and Entanglements

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Meet: Jim Cowan

Who is Jim Cowan and what makes him an authority on these subjects?
I’m definitely not an authority on them, but I have put a lot of time and effort into studying these subjects with some practical exams that I ultimately passed by surviving just over 24,000 jumps over 45 years!

• Raised by a family of skydivers in St.Louis, Missouri. 2nd generation.
• Parents and uncles were competitors, instructor examiners, riggers, pilots.
• Uncle Bob Cowan was a freefall photographer pioneer in the late 60s and early 70s, with several cover shots on parachutist magazine and the winning photo in a national contest that made the cover of every Sunday newspaper in the country. The shot was a 4th of July theme featuring my dad and two other jumpers in freefall wearing a red, a white and a blue jumpsuit each with smoke blazing.

• Started packing round parachutes at parents; DZ at age 10. $2 a rig for 5 seasons.
• Learned to hang-glide at my uncle’s hang-gliding school at age 15.
• Began skydiving at my parents DZ in 1978 at age 16.
• Worked at a flight school and soloed an aircraft at age 17.
• Partnered with a jump club and bought a Cessna 182 jump plane together.
• Became a jump master and started instructing at age 18.
• First night demonstration jump into a Cardinals’ baseball game at age 18.
• First night fixed object jump from a tower in 1980.
• Researched, opened, owned and operated a twin turbine, multi aircraft DZ for 13 years.
• Personally trained over 25,000 students in canopy control of all levels and types.
• Developed, implemented and supervised a wide variety of training curricula including; sport and military tandem, mttb, aff, ram air s/l programs, comp cf teams, search and rescue orgs, smoke jumpers, multiple gov’t agencies and military freefall groups in the US and around the world.

• USPA Safety and Training Advisor
• Tandem Instructor (examiner for over a decade)
• Accelerated Freefall Instructor
• S/L Instructor (examiner for over a decade)
• USHPA P3 Paragliding Rated
• FAA Parachute Rigger Technician
• Founding Member of the Quantum Leap Canopy Formation Team for over 2 decades.
• US Team at 8 World Championship Competitions (every other year) and 1 World Cup
• Brought home 4 gold, 4 silver and a bronze at those championships.
• Took the gold 25 times at the US National Skydiving Championships over 9 competitions.
• Successfully disengaged from over 300 canopy entanglements.
• Been in 140 canopy entanglements where at least 1 jumper had to cutaway.
• Have personally cutaway from entanglements 15 times.
• Have personally performed over 50 cutaways while making malfunction videos.

• Naval Freefall Parachutist Course Instructor and Rigger for 2 years.
• Navy Parachute Team “Leap Frogs” Safety Officer and Rigger for 1 year.
• US Marie Corps Multi Mission Parachutist Course Co-Developer, Instructor and rigger, contractor in charge of operations for Complete Parachute Solutions the manufacturer of the equipment and commercial business holder of the contract.
• General Manager and Developer of the Tactical Training Facility in AZ for a decade.
• Flight-1 Military and Sport Canopy Flight Instructor for dozens of US military, agencies and other countries for nearly a decade currently.

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