After a tragic accident that left one man critically injured, and the addition of new light towers at Washington Grizzly stadium, the Silvertip Skydivers will have to meet strict new FAA guidelines, and much higher insurance costs before they can again entertain fans with their pre-game parachute jumps.

Silvertip Skydiver spokesman Scott Spraycar said "the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has requested that we submit a proposal of how we'll jump into the stadium, and do some practice jumps. After they review it, they'll come up with a recommendation to present to UM President Royce Engstrom," he said.

Two years ago, Silvertip Skydiver Blaine Wright was critically injured after strong winds blew his parachute outside the stadium, where he crashed against a concrete retaining wall. Wright spent almost a year in the hospital with multiple broken bones and life-threatening internal injuries, but Spraycar said Wright has been skiing this winter near his home in Whitefish, and is on the road to recovery.

New to Washington Grizzly since Wright's accident are the new light towers that flank the stadium for night games, concerts and other activities, although Spraycar said, "we always come in from the corners, so the lights won't be in our way."

Dramatic Insurance Increase

Another complication is increased insurance coverage for the skydivers. "Previously, each jump required an insurance policy for $250,000, but now, the requirement is for a policy of up to $5 million dollars per jump. That expense would have to be borne by the business sponsoring the jumps," Spraycar said. The cost to insure each jump would increase from $250 per jump to nearly $1,000 per jump, should the FAA and University agree to allow the jumps to continue.

The Silvertip Skydivers have been entertaining Grizzly fans since the 1970's when they began jumping into games at the old Dornblaser stadium. The group followed the football team into Washington Grizzly stadium when it first opened in 1986.

Silvertip Skydiver Scott Spraycar