Profiles

Profile - Mark "Trunk" Kirschenbaum | D-28511

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE1602Mark “Trunk” Kirschenbaum is a freefall photographer with a degree in electrical engineering who has developed a series of innovative products—many for the ever-popular GoPro video camera—with his company HYPOXIC. Much of his effort goes toward improving the safety and ease of use of the small-format cameras in the skydiving environment, and he’s become a fixture on the boogie circuit promoting his wares. more »

Profile - Eli Godwin | D-22770

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20161Eli Godwin started skydiving in 1997 and immediately gravitated to the discipline of canopy formation skydiving. Since then, he’s earned numerous CF records and championships, and has zero video busts in competition as Clean Air’s camera flyer. Godwin is transgender and is actively involved in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) skydiving community and Rainbow Skydivers, a group that organizes unofficial record attempts and events for LGBT jumpers and those who support them. Additionally, Godwin is an accuracy landing, canopy formation and formation skydiving national judge and a single-engine pilot. more »

Profile - John Leming | D-11593

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE201512John Leming started skydiving in 1984 with his best friend and future teammate, Kirk Verner, while they were still in high school. He developed his formation skydiving skills, and in 1993, with little camera experience, he became the camera flyer for what would be the most successful formation skydiving team ever assembled: Arizona Airspeed. The team—Leming and longtime friend Verner, Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld, Jack Jefferies and Mark Kirkby—made thousands of jumps together and won numerous national and world championships. Leming filmed it all. More than 30 years after his first jump, Leming still actively skydives and also finds time for BASE jumping, scuba diving, snowboarding, paragliding and photography. more »

Profile - Benjamin Forde | D-30397

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE201511Benjamin Forde is an avid fun-jumper, world traveler and artist. He’s the creative director of Fordesign.com, which produces ads and promotional materials for skydiving gear manufacturers and drop zones, as well as network television and other major entertainment-industry clients. Even if you’ve never met him, you’ve undoubtedly seen his work. Forde’s expertise in marketing and design and his ideas about the promotion of skydiving have raised the profile of the sport both inside and outside the industry. more »

Profile - Christy West | D-21464

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE201510Christy West, D-21464, started skydiving in 1997 and developed her formation skydiving talent quickly; by 1999 she was part of the successful 118-way Jump for the Cause Women’s World Record for Largest Formation Skydive. She has competed in formation skydiving at every USPA Nationals since 2000 and has earned numerous medals with a variety of teams. West is currently the marketing manager for the ever-busy Spaceland drop zones, and her efforts have helped the DZs build an exceptionally close community of jumpers. more »

Profile - Chris Wagner | D-5479

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20159Over the past 39 years, Chris Wagner has made more than 15,000 jumps, amassed 233 hours of freefall time and built a huge résumé of accomplishments. As a member of the U.S. Army Golden Knights from 1983 to 1991, he earned numerous national and world championships in 4-way and 8-way formation skydiving and served as both team captain and team leader. In 1986, he was on the first 100-way formation skydive, and in 1988, he was part of the Olympic Rings Team that jumped into the Seoul Olympics. Currently, Wagner teaches advanced freefall techniques for the U.S. Navy, holds numerous USPA ratings, is a national judge for formation skydiving and is a Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger. more »

Profile - Donald “Ski” Chmielewski | D-1182

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20158Donald “Ski” Chmielewski, D-1182, made his first skydive in Zephyrhills, Florida, in 1963 and is still active in the sport today. His love affair with skydiving—and with his wife, Donna, whom he’s been married to and jumping with for 47 years—is as strong as ever. The Chmielewskis have skydived together for decades, becoming involved in Parachutists Over Phorty Society (POPS) events and, later, Skydivers Over Sixty (SOS) and Jumpers Over Seventy (JOS) events. The pair is currently organizing the JOS formation skydiving world record attempts scheduled for November. Go, Chmielewskis, go! more »

Profile - Zach Lewis | D-21616

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20157Photographer Zach Lewis took to the skies in 1997 and naturally gravitated toward camera flying. Attracted to the precision and engineering of formation skydiving, he became a successful camera flyer for nationally competitive FS teams in his native Texas. In addition to contributing many remarkable photos to Parachutist , he authors a popular photo-interview series in Blue Skies Magazine that combines his good-humored inquisitiveness with his photography talent. more »

Profile - Olav Zipser | D-11733

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20156Olav Zipser, D-11733, spearheaded the freefly revolution of the early 1990s. Zipser founded the Space Games freefly competition and has earned numerous championships and records, as well as an Emmy award for his work on ESPN’s “X-Games.” He has traveled extensively for decades teaching jumpers all over the world his art of freeflying, and his students say he has a Zen-like presence in the sky. more »

Profile - Mark Brown | D-16235

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20155Mark “Green Hornet” Brown began skydiving in 1991 after losing an office bet, and he fell in love with the sport. Twelve thousand jumps later, he is still in love with skydiving and the people in it. This makes him excel at bringing people together as the head formation skydiving organizer with Perris Organizers at Skydive Perris in California. He also has the rare ability to fill any slot on a load and nail the jump. Whether an AFF jump, a 10-way, a 150-way or a 300-way, the Green Hornet is always there for his friends in the sky. more »