LODI (CBS13) — The deaths of an 18-year-old and a skydiving instructor in Lodi in August have prompted a larger investigation by the U.S. Parachuting Association.
The USPA has discovered more than 100 skydiving instructors who trained at the Lodi parachute center are not adequately trained or certified to do tandem jumps.
“The action is aimed at 140 individuals,” said USPA Executive Director Ed Scott, referring to the agency’s investigation into the Lodi Parachute Center.
There is a common denominator at the core of the USPA’s investigation — almost all 140 skydiving instructors were taught by a USPA tandem examiner, who Scott says had his credential suspended in July of 2015.
Scott wouldn’t say why the instructor’s credentials were suspended.
“The courses continued since then, and people believed they were actually being taught by a current examiner,” Scott said.
That led the USPA to revoke 12 instructor certificates and demand over one-hundred more to undergo new training.
Scott also said there was evidence showing instructor applications were falsified to hide the fact the examiner was still teaching
A CBS13 crew went to the Lodi Parachute Center on Friday and asked to speak with Bill Dause, the owner. He gave CBS13 a written statement saying “I am sure USPA is making sure that the highest level of instructors are available to the public…all the instructors at the parachute center meet the federal requirements provided by the Federal Aviation Administration.”
Scott says the USPA has suspended Dause’s USPA membership and instructor ratings pending the investigation.
Instructors have 30 days to take a written test and hand over documents to the USPA proving they took a refresher training course before they can get back up in the air.