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Wing Suit Safety
Scott Campos (S)

Skyhook, Magnetic Riser Covers & Recoil Ripcords
Bill Booth (T,R)

Mirage History / Q&A.
Drop Zone Management
Ivan Coufal (M)
Inventive Parachute Design
Daniel Preston (T)



Personal & Cargo Navigation Systems
Gerard Fetter (T,G)
Continued Continued Continued


Risk Management and Issues in the Parachute Industry.
Robert Feldman (M)
US DoD and NATO Precision Airdrop Activities & Other Airdrop Programs
Richard Benney (G)
Ram Air Reserve & H/C Inspection
Shlomo Pearl (R)
Strategy & Systematic Innovation
Joseph “Pep” Lagares (M)
John LeBlanc (S)
Continued Continued Continued  
Pull Forces on Cutaway Handles
Michael Turoff (R)
JPADS Testing in the USA
Gary McHugh (G)
Ram Air Relining
Shlomo Pearl (R)
Parachute Simulation
Roland Bals (T,G)
Skydiving Gear Maintenance
Chuck McHugh (R)

Precision Guided Cargo Delivery Systems -Screamer 2K
Ted Strong (G)

Continued Generating revenue through online video
Mike McGrath (M)
Webbing & Hardware Compatibility
Ted Strong
Continued World Wide Safety Notice Database
Allan Hewitt (R)
Video & Photography In Skydiving
Gustavo Cabana (S)
Tandem Skydiving. (Past, Present, Future)
Tom Noonan (S)
New AAD’s
Jo Smolders (T)
Background on Cypres 2
Kai Korner (T)
Virtual Reality Simulation
Jeff Hogue (G)
Continued TBD
Dan Poynter (?)


Click on a speaker to read their profile

Bals, Roland - Booth, Bill - Campos, Scott - Feldman, Robert L - Fetter, Gerard - Hewitt, Allan - Hogue, Jeffrey R - Koerner, Kai

LeBlanc, John - McGrath, Mike - McHugh, Gary - Pearl, Shlomo - Smolders, Jo - Poynter, Dan - Preston, Daniel - Turoff, Michael

Ivan Coufal - Richard Benney - Joseph “Pep” Lagares - Chuck McHugh - Ted Strong - Gustavo Cabana - Tom Noonan


Bals, Roland

Mr. Bals is Manager of Business Development of e.sigma Systems. He has more than ten years of experience in training and simulation products for military and civil applications.

He joined the German armed forces as army officer cadet in 1978. Followed by various officer educations. His last profession in the air force was the management of the international development and test team for the integration of a High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile to the Multi Role Combat Aircraft. He left the German Armed Forces as a Captain after thirteen years. Joined Evans & Sutherland, a leading manufacturer of high-performance visual simulation systems for military and civil applications.

He transitioned from Evans & Sutherland to e.sigma Systems after a management buyout in 2001. He has been involved in the development of various training and simulation systems for military and civil applications, e.g. Parachute Simulation Systems for standard and tactical training.
Air Traffic Control Training Center. Small Arms Training Systems. Virtual Target Simulation Dome for Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulation.
Mine Launcher SKORPION Training System. Simulation System for the Light Armored Reconnaissance Patrol. Screening System for Pilots.
Flight Training Systems. Tank Simulation Systems. Project management of mission simulator for vertical insertion for special operation forces and ejection seat training systems.

Booth, Bill

Bill Booth began his skydiving career in 1965 while he was a student at University of Florida. He soon realized that the equipment of the day, military surplus parachutes that were converted for sport jumping, had not changed since 1940’s. Nor was it, in his estimation, the safest way of deploying a parachute. He built his first harness/container system on a rented sewing machine in his home. This harness/container already had some unique and innovative features built into it. These innovations would continue to be reflected in all of Bill's later systems to keep his company, Relative Workshop, as the leader in design and innovation for the next 35 years and beyond.

In 1972, Bill Booth started Relative Workshop in a Miami garage. By the mid 1970’s, Bill made two major contributions to the world of skydiving. First he invented and patented the Hand Deploy Pilot Chute System, which soon changed the way sport skydivers would deploy their main canopies. The second invention, and perhaps one of Bill's greatest contributions to the sport, was the invention the 3-Ring Release System. In 1983, Bill received the prestigious Parachute Equipment Industry Association Achievement Award. The Federation Aeronautic International awarded him the 1984 Gold Medal for outstanding achievement in parachute safety design, the highest award available in his field.

In 1983, Bill developed one of the first tandem systems allowing the general public to skydive with a minimal briefing and without a lengthy first jump course. Over a decade later, tandem jumping had experienced numerous tandem fatalities primarily as a result of jumper error. Bill soon realized that the major cause of these accidents was due to a “separate drogue attachment point and main container closing system.” After years of R&D, in 1999 he released the "DRS - Disk Release System" combining the drogue attachment point and main container closing system, thus improving safety and reliability in the Sigma Tandem System.

Bill Booth was again honored with the Gold Medal for personal exceptional achievement from USPA for his “Contributions to the Sport of skydiving” for over three decades and for his work in co-developing tandem skydiving. Bill has taken his equipment literally to the ends of the earth, under the most extreme environments, without mishap. He has made no less than six expeditions to the North Pole performing tandem jumps, as well as a
jump onto Cerro Autana in the South American rainforests. Never short of ideas and striving to increase safety in the sport to which Bill has dedicated his life, he soon developed the Skyhook-RSL main assisted reserve deployment system. This system took 20 years of development to integrate safely and successfully into a skydiving harness/container system. The Skyhook is fast becoming the reserve deployment system of choice around the world. Bill also introduced magnetic riser covers in 2007 – yet another innovation with Vector leading the way.

In 2006 Relative Workshop was acquired by United Parachute Technologies. Bill never rests and is constantly working in R&D on the next major innovation.

Campos, Scott See Powerpoint Presentation

Scott Campos is the author of Skyflying Wingsuits in Motion (, the only published instructional book on wing suiting in the world. He was instrumental in developing the BirdMan instructor program and has several published works in various skydiving media. Scott has traveled throughout the United States and other countries where he has helped implement wing suit safety procedures at some of the world’s largest drop zones, while lending his expertise on the subject of wing suit flying.

Scott’s constant attention to continued education and the advancement of wing suit flight has made him one of the premiere speakers at the World Free Fall Convention, the Parachute Industry Association as well as a highly sought out instructor globally. He is also a Forum moderator on the world’s largest online skydiving website, Scott has also served as a Military Technical Advisor for the CBS TV show "The
Unit" and has been featured on the TV series "Epic Conditions" shown on the Weather Channel. Scott currently reside in North Carolina where he serves in the United States Army Special Forces.

Feldman, Robert L Esq.

Robert L. Feldman is an attorney practicing, for over 30 years, in Miami, Florida. He is admitted to practice in Florida and Pennsylvania and is Board Certified in Aviation Law by the Florida Bar. His aviation law practice includes accident litigation (both plaintiff and defense), airline law, FAA enforcement actions defense, aircraft sale, purchase, and registration transactions, and representation of parachute component manufacturers, parachute system manufacturers, FBO's, drop zones, pilots, parachuting instructors and jumpmasters. Associating with local counsel, he has also defended parachute equipment manufacturers in other states, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, New York and Texas.

He has also performed drop zone risk assessments around the United States. Mr. Feldman is an AOPA Insurance Plan Panel Attorney. He is a member of the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education that supervises Board Certification and Continuing Legal Education for the state=s 75,000 attorneys and is Past Chair of the Florida Bar Aviation Law Certification Committee and Past Chair of the Florida Bar Aviation Law Committee. He is a Life Member of the United States Parachute Association and is a member and Director of the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association.

He is also a member of the National Transportation Safety Board Bar Association and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He is a single and multi-engine land, instrument pilot and has been a skydiver since 1967 and holds a USPA AD@ parachutist license.

Fetter, Gerard

Gerard is an electronics engineer specializing in micro-controllers, software and RF-systems. As a skydiver, he holds French Instructor, Jumpmaster and Rigger ratings. For 12 years he served as a technical director and marketing manager at Airtec GmbH prior to retiring 5 years ago. Presently he is a consultant for SSK Industries, and as their Training Specialist, conducts classes on-site at governmental facilities world-wide on the handling and Military applications of the various models of the CYPRES, and in the use of the On- Target/OPANAS and SNCA family of HAHO navigational instrumentation.

Hewitt, Allan See Powerpoint Presentation

Allan did his first skydive in 1979. He joined the Parachute Regiment and spent 5 year in the Red Devils Parachute Display Team before joining GQ parachutes designing and testing parachute systems as a project engineer. He has spent the past 15 years working for himself selling parachute equipment, managing a full time rigging room and full time drop zone.

He has been involved in and organised skydiving stunts for TV & Film. BPA & USPA Qualified Tandem, AFF & SL Parachute Instructor, BPA Rigger Examiner, BPA FS Coach & CF Coach (National Champions 2003), Freefall Cameraman, DV cameras to 35mm Film cameras and even an Imax 70mm Film Camera. Former Chairman of BPA Riggers Committee & Member of Safety & Training Committee also current USPA Safety & Training advisor, Red Devil Parachute Display Jumper & Parachute Test Jumper for GQ Parachutes

Hogue, Jeffrey R.

Jeff Hogue is a Principal Systems Engineer at Systems Technology, Inc. in Hawthorne, California. He has more than 45 years of experience in analysis, design, simulation, and test of flight vehicles. He has a B.S. degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Connecticut. He holds a Registered California Professional
Engineer License, and is a co-author of a simulation display patent and the VR Parachute Simulation patent.

Koerner, Kai

Kai Koerner is a rigger and a S/L and AFF Instructor with 4000 jumps. Working at Airtec for 11 years he has been the contact person for rigging and Cypres installations, customer care, and technical questions.

LeBlanc, John

John LeBlanc is Vice-President of Performance Designs and has been with PD since 1984. He has helped to build PD from a two-person operation to one that currently employees over 220 people. While involved in all areas of the company his primary focus has always been parachute design and testing. Well known as the designer of the PD Stiletto, his more recent work includes the PD Spectre, Sabre 2, Velocity, and Katana. John holds a B.S. in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is an experience parachutist with over 5500 jumps and holds commercial, instrument, and multi-engine ratings.

McGrath, Mike

6 year old Mike has worked as a professional skydiver in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and the USA. With over 7000 jumps Mike has represented Australia at 6 international competitions. In 1998 Mike began researching business models for new and traditional media industries with particular respect to Brand advertising, online advertising, and sports sponsorship. In 2001 Mike was part of the first Australian skydiving team to secure a major commercial sponsor. Mike has since been involved with other commercially sponsored teams and events and is considered a leading authority within the sport on sponsorship and commercial marketing.

In 2004 Mike started (video publishing service for the tandem skydiving industry, and video network for skydive video content). As an observer and participant in the new media industry Mike has consulted with several major media businesses and leading media figures. Mike also contributes to several leading publications on such topics as the changing landscape of the media industry, the impact of online video on traditional business models, and the relationship between online video and big brand advertising.

At the 2008 PIA Symposium Mike would like to share with you some insight into the possibilities and pitfalls related to publishing your tandem and student skydive videos online, as part of his presentation entitled “Generating revenue through online video”.

McHugh, Gary

Gary McHugh served 22 years in the Royal Air Force where he worked on both personnel and cargo parachute delivery systems. He served at the Parachute Test Unit, during which time he carried out testing on a wide range of man carrying, supply dropping and weapons delivery parachutes, many of which are now in service with the Ministry of Defense. Gary retired from the RAF in 1995 and joined GQ Parachutes UK as a Parachute Engineer. His duties encompassed the design and modification of both Airborne Forces and Ejection Seat Parachute Systems to ISO controlled design specifications.

He transferred to Para-Flite in USA specifically to work on the Advanced Tactical Parachute System program in 2000. During his time at Para-Flite he has had direct design input into Precision Guided Systems. He has provided engineering support to US Government sponsored JPADS programs at the 2,000lb 10,000lb and 30,000lb weight range. He has worked as a design engineer on several personnel ram air parachute systems and has over 3,500 jumps, most of which have been directly related to parachute testing.

Pearl, Shlomo

Owner of "Nimbus Parachuting Services", Master Rigger with Chest, Back & Seat ratings. 7250 + reserve/pilot systems Inspections & Repacks.
Examiner for the Israeli CAA (FAA) , USPA S&TA, Tandem I & Tandem Course Director, RWS/UPT Tandem I/E. Military Master Rigger I/E & Parachuting I/E, writer of military "Technical Manuals" for personal round, ram air parachuting systems & cargo systems. 11400 + free fall jumps, S/L & IAD I/E, AFF I & Tandem I/E with 6400 + tandem jumps. RWS's Approved "SKYHOOK RETROFIT MASTER RIGGER" for Sigma Tandem system & Vector 3 sport system & Approved RSL RETROFIT MASTER RIGGER for Vector 2 sport h/c.

Smolders, Jo

Jo Smolders started his electromechanical Engineer career as European Sales Manager for Painton U.K in 1967. Jo left the U.K. Company after Painton’s merge with Plessey in 1971. He becomes Product Manager of TEC France for the solenoids & connectors division and Director of the Benelux Office. During his 30 years of engineering experience, he registered over 10 patents in motion-control (solenoids, clutches & connectors) and the company became a certified Xerox supplier for solenoids in 1987. In 1992, he succeeded in a management buy-out of the Brussels Office of Bristol Babcock (new owner of TEC France) and created “B&B Controls S.A”.

His first contact with skydiving security equipment took place in 1996 as sub contractor for the development of the EPOS AAD control unit. In September 1999 Jo applied his first European patent for a new skydiving electronic security device. This patent, concerning the Permanent calculation of the left-over time before activation in function of falling speed and altitude was granted in E.U and U.S (EP 1084950 A1 – US 6.378.808 B1). In 2003, “Vigil” skydiver’s guardian angel was launched after 4 years of intensive team work and perseverance.

The company “Bristol Babcock Benelux S.A” was renamed to “AAD S.A” (Advanced Aerospace Design) to do Vigil’s marketing. In the past 10 years, Jo and his team have become specialized in the field of Automatic Activation Devices. The aim for permanent improvement resulted in the launch of Vigil II in July 2007. Up to date, we are proud to announce that over 7,000 units are in use worldwide and that Vigil has saved more than 25 lives since its introduction in 2003.

Poynter, Dan

Dan Poynter is a pilot (Single-Engine Land & Gliders), a skydiver with more than 1,200 jumps, a Master Parachute Rigger, past president of the FAI’s International Hang Gliding Commission, past president of the Parachute Industry Association and past chairman-of-the-board of the U.S. Parachute Association. Dan is the author of more than 120 books; many on aviation topics. He speaks to aviation and other audiences worldwide.

Preston, Daniel

Daniel Preston, founder of Atair Aerospace (Atair), is a professional inventor who holds more than eighty patents and pending patent applications for a diverse body of inventions. Mr. Preston is also an experienced parachutist (with over 2000 jumps), a pilot of paragliders, and is currently in training to pilot powered aircraft. Prior to concentrating on the development of state-of-the-art parachutes and parachute systems, Mr. Preston founded in 1989 and led for ten years Preston Glass Industries, Inc. ("PGI"). PGI was an R&D company specializing in the design and construction of high speed automation equipment and the production of specialty glass products such as light bulbs, ampoules, and cathode ray tubes. That business grew out of
his training, starting at the age of 12, to become a master scientific glass blower, plus later education in plasma physics and mechanical engineering. Customers and products have included NASA (interferometer lamp used to control guidance on the Cassini spacecraft), McDonnell Douglas (exterior video lamps on the space station Freedom), Honeywell and Boeing (hot cathode lamps cockpit LCD displays), Perkin Elmer
(neon sign lamp components and equipment), and others. In 1999, Mr. Preston exited the specialty glass industry by licensing key technology of PGI to Perkin Elmer. He began the next phase of his career as an inventor and entrepreneur working to set the state-of-the-art in the parachute industry. His work has included extensive developments in guidance and sensing technologies, composite fabric technology, and ram air inflated wings. These inventions have yielded significant contracts for Atair with the U.S. Army, NASA and DARPA on products ranging from precision guided parachute systems to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Turoff, Michael

Michael is co-author of the sport’s leading introductory text, “Parachuting, The Skydiver’s Handbook, 7th through 10th editions” and the text of the CD-ROM “Skydiving, A Multimedia Reference.” Michael is also co-author and editor of numerous other Para-Publishing products. Exclusively affiliated with Skydive Houston, LLC. he is a USPA Instructor Examiner in S/L, AFF, IAD, and Tandem programs. He is a Tandem
Examiner for the Relative Workshop and a Senior Parachute Rigger. Michael is a licensed Instrument and Commercial pilot. Mike has been skydiving for 29 years with over 3500 jumps.

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