Profiles

Profile - Mikhail Markine | D-29696

Tag: Profiles, July 2016

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 »

Profile - Paul “Pop” Poppenhager | D-47

Tag: Profiles, June 2016

by Brian Giboney

Longtime Florida drop zone owner and instructor Paul “Pop” Poppenhager, D-47, was born in June 1934 and became interested in skydiving at a young age while watching his father jump at airshows. Poppenhager made his first jump—a military jump prior to the Korean War—at age 19. As part of the 82nd Airborne Division, he became a military parachute rigger and test jumper. In the following years, Poppenhager became a well-known instructor and trained countless people to skydive both inside and outside of the military. He joined USPA in 1960, and in 2015, the Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame inducted him as a member. more »

Profile - Joe Jennings | D-13033

Tag: Profiles, May 2016

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE1605 Joe Jennings is a Hollywood skydiving legend, and his legend is still growing! Jennings gained international attention as a camera flyer in skysurfing at the ESPN X Games and other international competitions. He soon began shooting footage for films and television, as well as performing stunts himself. His talent has earned him two Emmys (for cinematography and aerial stunt coordination), and he’s worked on movies such as “Charlie’s Angels,” “xXx,” “Air Force One” and the 2015 remake of “Point Break.” more »

Profile - Marian Sparks | D-29599

Tag: Profiles, April 2016

Marian Sparks started skydiving at age 51 and has gone on to make more than 2,100 jumps and set numerous large-formation skydiving records. Sparks is a breast cancer survivor who decided to use her skydiving skills to give back to The Rose, a Houston-area facility that provides breast-cancer services to uninsured women, which saved her life in 2005. She and a group of sky friends founded Jump for the Rose in 2010 to raise money for the non-profit through events and record attempts. Sparks has inspired many people, and the energy she devotes to helping others is contagious. more »

Profile - Nancy Gruttman-Tyler | D-3631

Tag: Profiles, March 2016

Nancy Gruttman-Tyler, D-3631, made her first leap from an airplane in 1969. She was on the first 16-way all-female star in 1974, served on USPA’s board of directors from 1977-1981 and was one of the first female AFF instructors. After taking 30 years off from jumping—she served her country in the U.S. Army and deployed to several war zones—Gruttman-Tyler returned to the sport in her 60s. She is once again a very active jumper and administers the popular Women’s Star Crest Recipient Awards program, which recognizes those who participate in skydives that include eight or more women. more »

Profile - Mark "Trunk" Kirschenbaum | D-28511

Tag: Profiles, February 2016

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

Tag: Profiles, January 2016

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

Tag: Profiles, December 2015

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

Tag: Profiles, November 2015

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

Tag: Profiles, October 2015

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 »