Profile - Tony Uragallo | D-29801

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE20153Tony Uragallo, D-29801, started jumping in the United Kingdom in 1972. Since then, he’s earned medals in formation skydiving, freeflying (in the second X Games, televised internationally) and wingsuiting. Even with all his in-air accomplishments, Uragallo is perhaps best known for his innovations in jumpsuit design. He made his first jumpsuit on his mother’s sewing machine in 1976, founding Tony Suits, and moved to Florida with his company a few years later. Now, Tony Suits has produced more than 75,000 jumpsuits of all kinds and is on the leading edge of wingsuit design. To this day, Uragallo still actively participates in—and often wins—international wingsuit competitions wearing his own suits.

Age: 61

Birthplace: East London, United Kingdom

Nationality: U.K., U.S.

Marital Status: Married to Mary Farwell Uragallo... twice

Children: Three girls, one boy

Occupation: Jumpsuit and wingsuit designer and manufacturer

Pet Peeves: Corruption in the ruling class

Pre-Jump Superstitions: Do all prep the same way every time.

Life Philosophy: If at first you don't succeed, try again.

Jump Philosophy: Stay safe and try not to look like a dork on video.

Team Name: 1970s and ‘80s, Symbiosis; 1990s, Team Airtime

Sponsors: Adidas, Airtec, Bremont Watch Company, Cookie Composites, FlySight, Icarus Canopies, Larsen & Brusgaard, NZ Aerosports, Performance Designs, Sun Path Products, Sunshine Factory, Tony Suits, United Parachute Technologies and Velocity Sports Equipment

Container: Velocity Sports Equipment Infinity

Main Canopies: NZ Aerosports Daedalus JFX 111 and 120

Reserve Canopy: Icarus Reserve 113

AAD: Airtec CYPRES

Home Drop Zone: Skydive City Zephyrhills in Florida

First Jump: A static-line jump in 1972 at Thruxton [Parachute Club], U.K.

Championships, Medals and Records:
Seven British 4-way and 8-way formation skydiving championships with team Symbiosis. Australian 4-way FS championship in 1978 with Symbiosis. Bronze in 4-way FS at the 1981 World Championships with Team Great Britain. Gold medals in 16-way and 20-way at the USPA Nationals. Two-time U.K. style and accuracy champion. Gold in the first British National Championships of Wingsuiting.

Total Number of Jumps: 12,000-plus
FS: 7,000-plus
Freefly: 2,000-plus
Wingsuit: 2,000-plus
Accuracy: 200-plus
Demos: 10
CF: Five
Balloon: Five
Camera: Lots
BASE: 150

Total Number of Cutaways: 10

How long do you plan on skydiving?
Five more years... or seven... or 10...

What do you like most about the sport?
That you can always find new ways to keep it exciting.

What do you like least about the sport?
The danger.

Who have been your skydiving mentors?
Jack Jefferies, Dan B.C. [Brodsky-Chenfeld] and many others.

What are your future skydiving goals?
My goal was to win a major competition at age 60, which I did this year [the British National Championships of Wingsuiting], so...

What safety item do you think is most important or most often neglected?
Your gear and pull altitude.

I skydive because...
It has been my life for 42 years, my sport and my job. I love the diversity of things you can do skydiving and how the equipment can change that.

Do you have any suggestions for students?
Have fun trying new things.

If you could do a fantasy 2-way with anybody, whom would it be with and where would it take place?
Fly wingsuits with [British stuntman] Mark Sutton.

The toughest thing to do in the sport of skydiving is:
To do a good job every second of every jump.

If you could make everyone do something to make earth a better place, what would it be?
End the corruption that pollutes, deforests and trashes the planet earth. Convert the world to solar power and/or use renewable resources. Invent something better.

What has been your most embarrassing moment at a drop zone?
I invented slip-on sleeves to go over spandex sleeves. The first ones slipped down to my wrists on the dive, and I went low. Jerry Bird took great delight in laughing at my "new invention."

Of your thousands of skydives, is there one jump you would like to do over?
The last round of my first accuracy world championships. I went from second to seventh.

What do you consider your most significant life achievement?
Tony Suits and four kids.

While in freefall, what has been your strangest thought?
Where is everyone?

Do you have any suggestions for USPA?
Accept legal BASE jumping.

What has been your best skydiving moment?
Flying a big wingsuit around big clouds.

What has been your worst skydiving moment?
A collision on opening that broke my right leg in five places.

What has been your weirdest skydiving moment?
When sit-fly coaching once, I fell off the Cessna [while] climbing out. I saw the two I was supposed to coach looking at me, then each other

Explain Tony Uragallo in five words or fewer:
Never satisfied, compelled to innovate.

What is your perfect day like?
Ending a year of prototypes on a wingsuit design.

Tony Suits have been popular for decades. How did it all begin?
Back in 1976, Geoff Sanders returned [to England] from the Gulch [a drop zone in Casa Grande, Arizona] with a Clawson jumpsuit. It was black with a rainbow design on each limb and made of heavy cotton for "control." I loved it and made myself one just like it. It was so difficult on my mum’s domestic machine that I said, “Never again.” Rob Colpus saw it and asked me to make him one, so I did and again said, “Never again.” But then I bought a real machine for the third suit. Because England’s weather makes it hard to skydive year round, I moved to Florida in 1979, and the rest is history.

In 10 years, what will wingsuits look like and how will they fly?
They will be different in some way but if I knew in what way, I’d do it now. Maybe technology is more integrated and maybe we’ll be able to land it?

Since you have competed in skydiving in five decades, do you have any longevity tips for other jumpers?
Don't train so hard that you leave the sport when the comp is over. If you come in first, cool; if you come in 10th, its all okay. Having fun with it all is the game.

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Will Sanchez
Tue, 03/10/2015 - 17:37

He is a great man!

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