Profiles

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 »

Profile - Chris Wagner | D-5479

Tag: Profiles, September 2015

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

Tag: Profiles, August 2015

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 »