Profile - Russ Manhold | D-2216

Tag: Profiles, February 2014

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20142Russ Manhold started jumping in 1966 and continues to be active in the sport organizing Parachutists Over Phorty Society (POPS) and Skydivers Over Sixty (SOS) big-ways. As a skydiver, certified flight instructor and commercial pilot (with more than 12,000 flying hours as a drug-interdiction pilot for the U.S. Customs Service), Manhold has spent much of his life in the sky. more »

Profile - Brittany Sanchez | D-24752

Tag: Profiles, January 2014

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20141With apologies to the gentleman in the beer commercial, Brittany Sanchez, D-24752, may actually be the most interesting person in the world. She’s won national championships in gymnastics, golf and skydiving; is finishing up her PhD at Texas A&M University (her thesis is on gene and sequence variants as determinants of body weight fluctuations); and has made hundreds of BASE jumps and ground launches. In addition, she’s earned several state skydiving records and is an FAA Senior Rigger. more »

Profile - Ben Lowe | D-28763

Tag: Profiles, December 2013

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE201312Ben Lowe, recognizable by the Mohawk haircut that he first received at age 8, is a respected skydiving instructor who is dedicated to his students and growing the sport. Though his appearance suggests a rebel, he is a very approachable person who holds multiple USPA ratings, is an FAA Master Rigger, TonySuits Wingsuit Examiner and a Strong Enterprises and United Parachute Technologies Tandem Instructor Examiner. In 2012, his commitment to skydiving instruction earned him USPA’s Chesley H. Judy Safety Award. He’s even written a children’s book, “The Summer I Became a Skydiver.” Lowe is now using his years of experience to run Skydive Canyonlands in Moab, Utah, with Melissa Nelson. more »

Profile - Niklas Daniel | D-28906

Tag: Profiles, November 2013

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE201311Niklas Daniel is a formation skydiving, vertical formation skydiving and canopy piloting coach at AXIS Flight School, which he owns and runs with Brianne Thompson at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. He is also a wind tunnel instructor, freefall photographer, regular on the boogie circuit and member of VFS team Arizona Arsenal. more »

Profile - Mary Goetsch | D-9749

Tag: Profiles, October 2013

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE201310Mary Goetsch comes from a family with a rich skydiving history. Her parents, Philip and Carol, were active demo jumpers, competitors, instructors and early proponents of the AFF program. In fact, Goetsch started jumping before she was born: In 1964, her mother made 24 jumps while Mary was still in the womb. In the 1980s, Mary began jumping on her own and now carries on the family tradition as an active demo jumper and instructor. She is a USPA Safety and Training Advisor, Coach Examiner, and Static-Line and AFF Instructor Examiner and holds a PRO rating. Additionally, Goetsch is a private pilot and an FAA Master Rigger, as well as a BASE jumper. more »

Profile - Bill Von Novak | D-16479

Tag: Profiles, September 2013

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20139Bill von Novak is an instructor, formation skydiving competitor and big-way world record holder, load organizer for events such as the former World Freefall Convention in Quincy, Illinois, and a demo jumper who organized the massive T-Mobile demo jump into San Francisco in 2009. However, with all his achievements, von Novak may be best known as a forum moderator, particularly the incidents forum, on more »

Profile - Tom Deacon | D-27911

Tag: Profiles, August 2013

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20138Tom Deacon is a quiet and unassuming skydiver whose truckload of instructional ratings does the speaking for him. He has trained thousands of skydiving novices and is also an instructor examiner who runs Professional Skydiving Services, a company that provides skydiving instructor training and certifications to civilians and military personnel. Additionally, Deacon is a Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger. As a 4-way formation skydiver, Deacon’s latest goal is to medal at the 2013 USPA Nationals with his team, Arizona Overdrive. more »

Profile - Kim Emmons Knor | D-221

Tag: Profiles, July 2013

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20137Kim Emmons Knor, D-221, is a sky goddess. She started skydiving in 1959 (back when jumping from an airplane took even more courage), and in 1962 she made history as a member of the first U.S. Women’s Parachute Team, which took gold at the Sixth World Parachuting Championships. After a 37-year break from jumping, she took up the sport again in 2003. In April, the National Skydiving Museum named Emmons Knor as one of the inductees into its prestigious Hall of Fame. more »

Profile - Matt Hoover | D-29246

Tag: Profiles, June 2013

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20136Jumpers best know Matt Hoover as a wingsuiter and skydiving photographer. Publications worldwide have printed more than 200 of his photos, and CNN, NBC and the Discovery Channel have aired his videos. Hoover was a member of the photography team for the 2009 68-way U.S. Record for Largest Wingsuit Formation, as well as the 2012 100-way Guinness World Record for Largest Wingsuit Formation. more »

Profile - Jen Sharp | D-17516

Tag: Profiles, May 2013

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20135Jen Sharp is passionate about skydiving, education and the internet. Sharp holds multiple USPA instructional ratings, owns Skydive Kansas in Osage City and has developed several skydiving websites, including, an online student program;;; and She also created Skydive JumpSTART, a team-building workshop for business people that culminates in tandem skydives and she consults with other drop zones to help them streamline their schools. more »