Profile - Cornelia Mihai | D-31070

by Brian Giboney

Cornelia Mihai, D-31070, is a focused and hard-working skydiver who at the 2014 Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Championships became the first female to medal in a canopy piloting event. Originally from Romania, Mihai is now a member of the Skydive Dubai Canopy Piloting Team and is regularly atop the podium representing the United Arab Emirates in international canopy piloting competitions. She is also a tandem and AFF instructor. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Kate Wrigley

In November 2011, I started AFF at Skydive the Farm, which is now located in Cedartown, Georgia, and little did I know what a difference that decision was going to make in my life. It started with a rule I made for myself that summer: If it sounded fun, I would try it. more »

Tales from the Bonfire - When in Doubt

I was on a hop-and-pop load to 4,500 feet with three other jumpers in a Cessna 182. The exits all went according to normal procedure, and my opening was good. With my slider stowed and steering toggles in hand, I started counting the other parachutes. That's when I picked up on the freebag spiraling in the air out in front of me. Cutaway! more »

Gearing Up - November 2016

EdScott

Right up there with agricultural aviation, flying skydivers is one of the most demanding non-military aviation jobs. If the weather is good and manifest is busy, the jump pilot can count on working the entire day—sunrise to sunset—eating and hydrating in the airplane and getting few breaks. Load, taxi, takeoff, climb, level, descend, land, taxi and repeat. There is no en-route phase of flight where the pilot can kick back with cruise settings or engage an autopilot. more »

Tales from the Bonfire - How NOT to Break a World Record

“Basically, there are only two things you must do on any skydive: pull and flare. In that order. If you forget the first one, don’t worry about the second.” I have occasionally made that facetious statement as a funny way to explain simplifying priorities. But in the sunny skies over Rochelle, Illinois, in June 2013, those priorities were no joke. W hile hurling myself at the planet with a broken right arm, I was challenged to put my own advice to the ultimate test. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Wendy Jones

by Wendy Jones | C-42940 | Austin, Texas

To describe how skydiving changed my life, I’ll begin with why I did it in the first place. In February 2013, I sustained a complete ACL tear and three impaction fractures while practicing my other great passion in life, tae kwon do. The orthopedic surgeon gave two options: 1) have reconstructive surgery including a tissue graft followed by nine months of physical therapy or 2) never do martial art or sports involving legs again. The decision was easy, since a life without recreation is unimaginable to me. However, nine months with no tae kwon do, no gym, no sports, no anything except physical rehab was a bitter pill. more »

Profile - Tom Sanders | D-6503

by Brian Giboney

Legendary aerial cinematographer Tom Sanders, D-6503, has filmed skydiving scenes for dozens of movies, including “Drop Zone,” many James Bond films and the original “Point Break,” which inspired thousands of people to become skydivers. His resume also includes countless TV commercials, the award-winning documentary “Over the Edge” and coordinating filming of the 1988 Olympic Rings skydive. In 2005, USPA awarded him its Gold Medal for Meritorious Service. He is the 200th person profiled since this column began in February 2000. more »

Gearing Up - October 2016

EdScott

Skydivers who enter USPA's instructional rating hierarchy by becoming a coach, instructor or examiner take on immense responsibility. But it is the USPA Examiner who assumes the highest responsibility, since he has the sole privilege of teaching and certifying others to be coaches and instructors.
An examiner's failure to fully meet his number-one duty—to fully teach and certify a skydive instructor—has a threefold effect: Instructors are inadequately prepared and can't be all they are expected to be. This leads to students who are not thoroughly trained or motivated, which decreases their safety levels and increases the chances that they'll quit out of frustration. And then the sport suffers a decrease in participants and a potential black eye from incidents or accidents that were preventable. more »

Profile - David "T.K." Hayes | D-18764

by Brian Giboney

David “T.K.” Hayes, D-18764, manages Skydive City Zephyrhills in Florida. Originally from Canada, Hayes cut away from a good career at IBM to pursue a career in skydiving. He made his first jump in 1981 at the age of 20. Thirty-five years later, he is still in love with the sport. Hayes holds almost every instructional rating there is (in both the U.S. and Canada) and is a strong supporter of canopy piloting competitions. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Michael Hoover

by Michael Hoover | C-43743 | Finleyville, Pennsylvania

When I got my pre-second issue of Parachutist, as soon as I read “How Skydiving Changed My Life, ” I knew I wanted to write one. But I was barely licensed and hadn't been in the sport long enough to know what effect it would have on me. Now, more than a year later, I have learned much more. more »