Profiles

Profile - Omar Alhegelan | D-16239

by Brian Giboney

Omar Alhegelan was a pioneer in the discipline of freeflying in the 1990s as a member of the Freefly Clowns with Charles Bryan, Stefania Martinengo, Mike Vail and Olav Zipser. Known for being Zen in freefall, he has won 11 gold medals at national and international competitions and has performed stunts and acted in numerous commercials, TV shows and movies. An international traveler who is fluent in Arabic, English, French, Italian and Spanish, Alhegelan has skydived in numerous places, including the North Pole and Mount Everest. Most recently, he organized a skydiving excursion to Antarctica. Along with skydiving, Alhegelan is now giving motivational speeches and Facebook Live talks on happiness and other topics. more »

Profile - Trent Alkek | D-24348

Trentby Brian Giboney

Trent Alkek, D-24348, along with teammates Jed Lloyd and Stephen Boyd, set the USPA Nationals on fire in freefly from 2003 to 2007. Their team, Spaceland Anomaly, created some never-before-seen moves and also set several world records during speed rounds. Alkek, a USPA member for 17 years and counting, is now a sought-after load organizer who also works in aircraft leasing at Skydive Spaceland—Houston in Rosharon, Texas. more »

Profile - Lewis "Lew" Sanborn | D-1

by Brian Giboney

Lewis “Lew” Sanborn, D-1, has been skydiving for 67 years. He and Jacques André Istel, D-2, established sport skydiving in the United States in the 1950s. Sanborn started jumping with the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and later became a member of the U.S. Parachute Team, master rigger, private and commercial pilot, instructor, national judge and world-record holder. He devised a technique for freefall photography and shot a cover photo for Sports Illustrated. In 1960, he was even nominated for an Academy Award for filming the skydiving documentary “A Sport is Born.” In 1972, USPA honored him with its Lifetime Achievement Award “for originating safe and reliable parachuting equipment and pioneering work in freefall photography.” In 2000, Istel inducted him into the Hall of Fame of Parachuting in Felicity, California. In 2001, the Golden Knights made him an honorary member, and in 2010, the International Skydiving Museum inducted him into its Hall of Fame. . more »

Profile - Jessie Farrington | D-6853

by Brian Giboney

Jessie Farrington, D-6853, served on the USPA Board as a regional director for many years and has a long history in the sport. She is part of a large family of skydivers. Her father, Lenny Aikins, got her started in 1964. She has owned Kapowsin Air Sports in Shelton, Washington, with her husband, Geoff, for decades. Her children, Andy Farrington and Keri Bell, are extremely talented skydivers who made many jumps while still in the womb. And her brother, nieces and nephews are all skydivers, and a fourth generation is on the way. more »

Profile - Jason Russell | D-23161

by Brian Giboney

Jason Russell, D-23161, is a world record holder and a newly crowned Vertical Formation Skydiving World Champion with his SDC Core teammates, one of whom is his wife. Early in his career, he left motocross racing to compete in skydiving and now has made more than 14,000 jumps. Chalk this up as a huge gain to our sport. more »

Profile - Cornelia Mihai | D-31070

by Brian Giboney

Cornelia Mihai, D-31070, is a focused and hard-working skydiver who at the 2014 Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Championships became the first female to medal in a canopy piloting event. Originally from Romania, Mihai is now a member of the Skydive Dubai Canopy Piloting Team and is regularly atop the podium representing the United Arab Emirates in international canopy piloting competitions. She is also a tandem and AFF instructor. more »

Profile - Tom Sanders | D-6503

by Brian Giboney

Legendary aerial cinematographer Tom Sanders, D-6503, has filmed skydiving scenes for dozens of movies, including “Drop Zone,” many James Bond films and the original “Point Break,” which inspired thousands of people to become skydivers. His resume also includes countless TV commercials, the award-winning documentary “Over the Edge” and coordinating filming of the 1988 Olympic Rings skydive. In 2005, USPA awarded him its Gold Medal for Meritorious Service. He is the 200th person profiled since this column began in February 2000. more »

Profile - David "T.K." Hayes | D-18764

by Brian Giboney

David “T.K.” Hayes, D-18764, manages Skydive City Zephyrhills in Florida. Originally from Canada, Hayes cut away from a good career at IBM to pursue a career in skydiving. He made his first jump in 1981 at the age of 20. Thirty-five years later, he is still in love with the sport. Hayes holds almost every instructional rating there is (in both the U.S. and Canada) and is a strong supporter of canopy piloting competitions. more »

Profile - Matt Davidson | D-17131

by Brian Giboney

Matt Davidson, D-17131, has spent half of his 42 years on earth skydiving with the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights. During that time, he has accumulated countless world and national record and championship titles in 4-way, 8-way, 10-way and 16-way formation skydiving. Dedication to the U.S. military and to skydiving is a familiy affair: Davidson's father, Mike Davidson, was also a Golden Knight, and his wife Jen Davidson, is a member of the team as well. more »

Profile - Mikhail Markine | D-29696

by Brian Giboney

Mikhail Markine is a very talented and determined skydiving and wind-tunnel competitor, coach and organizer. He is so talented that 4-way formation skydiving team SDC Rhythm XP recruited him to fly tail even before he got U.S. residency and could qualify for U.S. medals. Following a few years of flying with Rhythm and earning a chest full of medals, he joined the Arizona Airspeed 4-way team after competing (and winning gold) on the Airspeed 16-way team at the 2015 USPA Nationals. more »