Profile - Phil Peggs | C-36427
Phil Peggs, C-36427, is a founding member of the nonprofit organization Raise the Sky, which uses skydiving events to raise money for good causes. He was the freefall photographer for Raise the Sky’s first Project XRW, a groundbreaking event in which wingsuit flyers and canopy pilots flew relative to one another, and a member of the 68-way U.S. wingsuit formation record team. Though best known as a wingsuit instructor and flyer, Peggs has now shifted his focus to freeflying and recently joined vertical formation skydiving team STF BlockParty XP.
Marital Status: In a relationship (sounds so Facebook-like)
Occupation: Broadcast engineer working for NBC, ESPN and the Golf Channel covering sporting events
Education: BA in telecommunications at Ball State University
Life Philosophy: Being happy breeds happiness. Create your own outlook, and often, life follows.
Jump Philosophy: Try everything! Being a well-rounded skydiver makes you a better skydiver!
Sponsors: Aerodyne Research, ChutingStar Rigging Loft, Larsen & Brusgaard, Paraclete XP SkyVenture, Skydive The Farm, Tonfly
Container: Mirage Systems G4
Main Canopy: Performance Designs Velocity 79
Reserve Canopy: Performance Designs PD-113R
AAD: Airtec CYPRES 2
Home Drop Zone: Skydive The Farm in Rockmart, Georgia
Year of First Jump: 2004—a tandem, then AFF
Ratings: Coach, AFF Instructor
Records: Numerous state head-down records, South Carolina upright record, 68-way U.S. national wingsuit record, numerous other wingsuit records
Total Number of Jumps: 3,300
Dedicated Canopy Flight: 500
Balloon Jumps: one
Total Number of Cutaways: six
What was your canopy progression?
My canopy progression was slow. Don’t get me wrong, my skills were high, but I was very conservative in my progression toward high-performance landings. Taking part in “swoop clubs” was invaluable for getting coaching and debriefs. It was always funny to hear, “You have how many jumps, and you’re still on that?”
I remember a few instances that, had I been under a more aggressive canopy, could have been pretty dangerous. There is nothing wrong with a slow, conservative progression.
Of all of your skydives, is there one jump that stands out most?
I dove right into the freefly scene after becoming, essentially, a tunnel rat. During my first head-down big-way camp 60-way, I remember looking around the formation and thinking, “Wow … when did I learn how to do this?”
How long do you plan on skydiving?
As long as it remains fun and interesting. I’ve made the mistake of taking the sport too seriously, and it took me a long time to remember this is my hobby and passion, not my job.
What do you like most about the sport?
The accessibility of my heroes. There is no other sport where you can so easily approach or participate with those whom you idolize. I still can’t believe I am friends with the people I admired as a student.
Who has been your skydiving mentor?
Chuck Blue was my first friend and mentor in the sport. I learned everything in wingsuiting from him. Mick Nuttall really gave me direction with VFS.
What safety item is most important or most often neglected?
Pre-jump gear and safety checks. All I see anymore is, “Is my GoPro recording?”
Do you have any suggestions for students?
When outside of your comfort zone, remember the basics. When in doubt, ask an instructor. Get coaching!
The toughest thing to do in the sport of skydiving is:
Save people from themselves. Warnings do not always get listened to... no matter how hard you try.
Is there one jump you would like to do over again?
My very first jump as an AFF instructor. I was probably more nervous than the student. Here I am, trying to maintain an air of calmness, all while being completely terrified that I have taken responsibility for the safety of this student.
What do you consider your most significant life achievement?
Being a founding member of a nonprofit organization [Raise the Sky] that has really made an impact on the lives of at-risk children in low-income schools.
Do you have any suggestions for USPA?
Webcast board meetings. Seeing all the hard work might give some perspective on how decisions get made.
What has been your best skydiving moment?
I was the photographer for the first Project XRW. I was having a hard time keeping up with Jeff [Nebelkopf] and Jonathan [Tagle]. Finally, after many attempts, I slid up right next to the two. Jonathan flashed me his signature look, and I knew I had got “the shot.” Taking those pictures blew my mind, because I knew I was a part of something new and special.
People are continuing to push the envelope with feats such as landing a wingsuit into a pile of cardboard boxes. How much further can wingsuit flying go?
It’s really an amazing discipline in which technology and skydiving can come together to do some awesome things. As suits continue to get more advanced and people become more bold (thanks to the landing), who knows where it can go? On the landing front, I fear the coming cost in lives will be high, but there will be some amazing things. On the mixed discipline (XRW) front, I see more and more opportunities to really make some awesome visuals as more people gain the necessary skills!
Recently, you made the switch from full-time wingsuit jumper and organizer to full-time 4-way VFS competitor. What was your motivation?
I’ve always told people to try every discipline, as this sport has so much to offer. In my own skydiving life, I have always tried to be a well-rounded skydiver. I have over 1,000 FS jumps, spent a lot of time on canopy flight, 1,500 wingsuit jumps … but I had always avoided freeflying (due to some very rough jumps early in my skydiving life). So I felt it was time to practice what I preach and really commit to it. I lived 30 minutes from SkyVenture New Hampshire [wind tunnel], and I decided to take advantage. I had some great coaching right from the start, and it was easy to see results. I got addicted to the learning and progression. I guess I’m still just a student at heart.
Explain Phil Peggs in five words or fewer:
Responsible, pragmatic, busy, positive