Profile - Sally Hathaway | D-17133
Sally Hathaway, D-17133, has medaled in formation skydiving at a number of USPA Nationals and has achieved an impressive four women’s 4-way formation skydiving world championships. Hathaway jumps at Skydive City in Zephyrhills, Florida, and makes her living in the world of skydiving—she’s a USPA AFF Instructor and Coach Examiner; an FAA Master Rigger and owner of Paragone Rigging; and a wind tunnel coach at SkyVenture in Orlando, with more than 1,000 hours in the tunnel.
Marital Status: Single
Pets: Not even a goldfish; I can’t keep a cactus alive.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in photography
Pet Peeves: When people say “I can’t” before they’ve even tried something.
Hobbies: Scuba diving and spearfishing, skiing
Sponsors: Performance Designs, Sky Systems USA, Sun Path Products
Containers: Sun Path Javelin
Main Canopies: Performance Designs Velocity 90
Reserve Canopies: Performance Designs PD 113R
AAD: Airtec Cypres
Disciplines: 4-way formation skydiving (FS) and AFF. I am learning freeflying in the wind tunnel.
Year of First Jump: 1990
Did you start out as an AFF, static-line or tandem student? Static line—that’s all they had at the small club in South Africa where I started jumping.
Championships and Medals:
USPA Nationals: gold in 4-way FS advanced, 1999; gold in 8-way FS intermediate, 2002; sixth place in 4-way FS open, 2007 and 2010
World Cup: gold in women’s 4-way FS, 2000 and 2005
World Championships: gold in women’s 4-way FS, 2001 and 2004; bronze in 2003
Total Number of Jumps: about 9,800
AFF and Coach Jumps: 3,500
Tandem: Three as a passenger—never, ever again...
Balloon Jumps: two
Total Number of Cutaways: five
Would you rather have a hard opening or line twists?
Neither; they both suck.
Are you a neat packer or a trash packer?
A very neat packer.
What was your canopy progression?
PISA Skymaster (similar to a Manta); Para-Flite Cruiselite; PISA Conquest 150; Performance Designs Sabre 135, Sabre 120, Stiletto 120, Katana 97, Velocity 90
Most people don’t know this about me:
I am scared of heights, and I hate flying.
Of all your skydives, is there one that stands out the most?
Round 10 of the 2001 world meet in Spain. We [team Synchronicity] were one point behind going into round 10. I don’t remember ever being so nervous. We had a great jump and ended up winning by three points. It was an exciting way to win my first world championship.
What do you like most about the sport?
Teaching students who really want to learn and get better at skydiving.
What do you like least about the sport?
Teaching students who really don’t try.
What safety item do you think is most important or most often neglected?
Tracking and canopy awareness.
How did you become interested in skydiving?
I was at a beach in South Africa when a 182 flew overhead, and four people jumped out and landed on the beach. I thought that was the coolest thing I had ever seen; I had to do that. I asked my parents if I could jump, and they said, “No way, not going to happen.” So, when they went on an overseas vacation and left me at home, I went skydiving.
I skydive because...
I am continually challenged and have so much to learn about this sport. If I stop being challenged and have learned it all, I will stop skydiving.
Do you have any suggestions for students?
Be aware of where you are getting your information. Ask tons of questions, and don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Always skydive within your abilities.
What is your favorite jump plane and why?
For everyday jumping in all kinds of disciplines, it has to be a Twin Otter.
If you could do a fantasy 2-way with anybody (living or deceased), whom would it be with?
My dad—he would be so proud; I miss him every day.
What has been your most embarrassing moment at a drop zone?
I had around 50 jumps, and I landed flying downwind, crashed through a bunch of folding chairs and slid to an uncontrolled stop almost underneath the DZ’s outdoor manifest table.
Out of all your skydives, is there one you would like to do over again?
There was this one jump, when I almost landed under the manifest table...
What has been your best skydiving moment?
Winning my first world meet.
How did you get to your current level of skydiving talent?
I have been fortunate to have had tons of coaching by some of the best out there and have hours and hours in the wind tunnel. And I continue to get coaching to improve my flying skills.
What was it like winning your first major championship, the gold in 4-way advanced formation skydiving at the 1999 USPA Nationals?
Of course, winning our event was great—I have always been competitive—but what was even better was getting the meet completed. It was the worst weather ever, that year. I think we had two named storms come through, and it took 10 days to make 10 jumps.
How do you motivate yourself for continuing to fly at such a high level for more than a decade?
I always am trying to improve and better myself as a skydiver, and I feel that competition pushes me to do that.