Profile - Mary Bauer | D-8123

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20105Mary Bauer has been jumping since 1981. She has more than 15,000 jumps, is a USPA AFF Instructor, Static-Line Instructor Examiner and Safety and Training Advisor, an FAA Senior Parachute Rigger and Commercial Pilot, and is instrumental in running Skydive Wissota/Indianhead Sport Parachute Club in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Bauer was very active in Jump for the Cause (JFTC) and participated in the 118-, 131-, 151- and 181-way women’s world record jumps. As a member of World Team, she was part of the 300-, 357- and 400-way formation skydiving world records.

Age: 48

Marital Status: Significant other is Bob Stumm

Education: Bachelor of Science, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Occupations: U.S. Department of Labor—Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Compliance Assistance Specialist (Outreach); Certified Safety Professional and Certified Industrial Hygienist. It is difficult keeping my professional work for OSHA separate from my skydiving world. However, many of the OSHA safety management theories are essential in managing and instructing at a drop zone.

Pet Peeves: Having to spend time and energy enforcing the drop zone rules when immature jumpers choose to “look cool.” Also, comments made on by jumpers who should remain silent. People read these comments and actually believe that they are true!

Life Philosophy: “What’s next?”

Jump Philosophy: Jump Hard! Take advantage of every opportunity.

Team Names: Gang Green, World Team

Container: Velocity Sports Equipment Infinity

Main Canopy: Glide Path Firelite 175, Parachutesystems USA Hurricane 105, Performance Designs Spectre 107

Reserve Canopy: Parachutesystems USA Decelerator 120, Performance Designs Optimum 126 and 113

AAD: Airtec Cypres

Disciplines: 4-way and big-way formation skydiving

Year of First Jump: 1981, a static line using military surplus gear

USPA Licenses and Ratings: D-8123, AFF Instructor, Static-Line Instructor Examiner, PRO

Total Number of Jumps: 15,600
Instructional: 10,000
CF: 2,500
Camera: 1,500
Round: 50
FS: nearly all the rest

Total Number of Cutaways: 17

Of all of your skydives is there one jump that stands out the most?
My first freefall was with a B4 military container with a 28-foot round [canopy]. I pulled the chest-mount reserve before the Sentinel [AAD] fired because I was unstable. It was so much fun; I wanted to do it again … but not exactly like that.

What kind of skydiving student were you?
I was a flailer and spinner. We looked at old tape (super 8 mm) of when I started. I was jumping what was nearly a balloon suit, without weights. Gear and training have changed—yes, that’s the excuse I’m sticking to!

Who have been your skydiving mentors?
Jerry Bird, Kate Cooper, Tony Domenico, Karl and Merriah Eakins, Miles Hubbard, Jim Klinge, Pat Quasi, Jon Quist, Bob Stumm and all the rest of the instructors and organizers who allowed a flailing and spinning student to work it out.

Do you have any suggestions for students?
Get out to the drop zone and get involved, especially on bad weather days. Stay after hours and learn about skydiving rather than how to skydive.

What are your future skydiving goals?
I’m hoping to be on the Russian 120-way this summer and to be selected for the 2011 World Team 500-way in Thailand. I’d like to improve on all my skills.

What do you like most about the sport?
The calming effect of getting into the air! It is hard to explain to people that skydiving is relaxing.

What do you like least about the sport?
It’s hard to deal with the turnover of jumpers in the sport. Other than the obvious loss of a friend due to an accident, there are many jumpers who begin, get their A license, buy gear, get proficient and then move on due to jobs, relationships or other priorities. I estimate that the average skydiver stays with the sport five years. At a small drop zone with a small staff, it takes a huge amount of energy to get a jumper through all the early stages. You have to believe that every first-jump student will go on to make a thousand jumps.

Were you a hard child to raise?
Yes. My second-grade report card actually said, “doesn’t play well with others.” Come to think about it, my work performance review says the same...

What is the toughest thing to do in the sport of skydiving?
There are so many events and disciplines that it’s impossible to find the time, energy and money to do everything.

Do you have any suggestions for USPA?
I think I’m on the USPA blacklist for suggestions—I started “offering suggestions” in the mid-’80s! The FAA and many high-risk industries have adopted a risk-management system/human-factors approach to programs. I don’t see USPA going in that direction.
Require the same A-license card or something similar for jumpers getting B or C licenses—the quizzes are not enough.
Safety Day is great if used as a refresher and instructor seminar. But many jumpers rely on this one day to brush up on safety and think they are current. USPA should reinforce the concept that just one day is not enough—it’s like going to church on Christmas but ignoring religion the other 364 days of the year.

What drives your competitive spirit?
The progression and learning rate of jumpers is so fast nowadays that I challenge myself to be as good as or better than my students.

What makes you tick?
I love being a visitor at another drop zone (no responsibility) and doing stellar 4-way!

How did you get to your current level of skydiving talent?
I travel to major DZs for vacation or big-way jumping. This keeps me familiar with what is happening or changing in the sport. I also make numerous jumps with students and novices, which helps me anticipate and adjust to the unexpected.

What is the best thing about world record attempts?
Team building makes the world records different than any other jump. There may be a bench team, but typically the people who begin the event are needed to complete the record. It takes everyone working together to make it happen.

How did you motivate yourself to skydive since 1981?
It is what I do. I don’t limit myself to just one type or style of jump, so it doesn’t get old. I have built my career and life around being at the DZ. I feel like Rain Man (“Five minutes to Wapner.”) if I’m not at the DZ—I don’t know if that is motivation or a mental illness.

Explain Mary Bauer in five words or fewer:


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Pete Anderson
Thu, 02/07/2013 - 19:35

I was with Mary during our AFF training a looooong time ago. I miss the old gang. Very fond memories!

Blue Skies!

Pete Anderson

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