New rules for California skydiving centers focus on certification

Dec 28, 2017

The death of a young man and his unlicensed skydiving instructor last year has led to changes in the rules for California skydiving centers, which now must make sure instructors are certified. 

Yong Kwon and Tyler Turner fell to their deaths after their chutes failed to open during a tandem jump near Lodi.

The U.S. Parachute Association says Kwon had taken a skydiving class, but it was from a person who was not certified. Ed Scott is the Executive Director for the association and says many others like Kwon were misled and that Kwon had taken an unaccredited class in jumping. 

"We took action against 140 individuals who had been through courses at that location and had thought they were properly trained and certified tandem instructors," Scott said.

Scott said Robert Pooley was the instructor in question and that Pooley has been stripped of all licenses and certifications, and that the association required everyone who had been taught by Pooley to be re-trained by a licensed instructor and to submit paperwork. 

"We found out pretty quickly as we began to investigate the fatal accident, as we investigate all fatal skydiving accidents, that the tandem instructor had not been certified either by us - by the U.S. Parachute Association - to be a tandem instructor or by any manufacturer of tandem skydiving equipment," Scott said. 

The new law is also known as "Tyler's Law" and mirrors federal law.