Chazi Blacksher | D-28539
By Brian Giboney
Chazi Blacksher, D-28539, is a busy load organizer and competitor who is heavily involved in the Sisters in Skydiving program, women’s world record jumps and freestyle competition. Blacksher moved to Arizona years ago but stays close to her roots at the Lincoln Sport Parachute Club in Weeping Water, Nebraska, where she load organizes at the DZ’s Redemption Boogie every year.
Nicknames: Many have tried.
Age: I'm never growing up. OK, I'll be 38 this year.
Birthplace: Minnesota Marital Status: Nick and I will celebrate 12 years of marriage this July.
Pets: Jared MF Clumps, 10 pounds of energy that showed up at our door on March 31, 2016, and stayed.
Education: Bachelor’s in something
Life Philosophy:Get up.
Jump Philosophy: It’s my hobby; it should be fun.
Team Names:AZ Dream (freestyle), Italian Glitter Pantz (freefly)
Sponsors: Cookie Helmets, Mirage Systems, Performance Designs, Skydive Arizona, SSK Industries, Vertical Suits
Container: Mirage G4
Main Canopy: Performance Designs Katana 107
Reserve Canopy: Performance Designs PDR 126
AAD: Airtec CYPRES
Home Drop Zone: Skydive Arizona [in Eloy], with a heartfelt “thump, thump, point” to Lincoln Sport Parachute Club
First Jump: Tandem in 1998, static lines out of a Cessna 182, then an A license in 2001
Licenses: A-39763, C-35006, D-28539
Medals and Records: Silver and bronze at the USPA Nationals in freestyle and freeflying. Formation skydiving and head-down formation skydiving state records; general and female head-down and head-up world records; female head-down sequential world record
Total Number of Jumps: 4,669 Freefly: 3,149 FS: 950 Freestyle: 400 Camera: 150 CF: 5 Accuracy: 5 Wingsuit: 4 demos Balloon: 2 Tandem: One BASE: Let’s see what this year brings.
Largest Completed Formation: 164-way
Total Number of Cutaways: Three
What was your canopy progression? Uneducated. I wasn’t asking questions or listening when offered advice.
Most people don't know this about me: I was in the Army National Guard; I do real push-ups.
Of all of your skydives, does one stand out most? A canopy wrap with Nick. We were dating at the time. It was terrifying. That day I knew he was my Robin Hood (the Kevin Costner one who says “Yes” when asked, “Is she worth it [worth dying for]?”
How long do you plan on skydiving? Until I can’t.
What do you like most about the sport? Exit.
What do you like least about the sport? Devastating injuries.
Who has been your skydiving mentor? First, Joe Reinhard during the Head-Down Camp Weekend for Chazi. After that, the list is long and full of talent.
What safety item do you think is most important? Getting the lay of the land when visiting a new DZ.
How did you become interested in skydiving? “Drop Zone” the movie, hands down, is the reason.
Do you have any suggestions for students? Learn to breathe.
What's the most badass thing you can do in the air? Keep tabs on everyone during the craziest of jumps.
If you could do a fantasy 2-way with anybody, whom would it be with and where would it take place? Everyone. It would be their best jump of the day because we’d do something they’ve always wanted to try, and we’d nail it at DZs all over the world.
What has been your most embarrassing moment on a skydive? All the time and always in front of someone I already find completely badass and intimidating.
The toughest thing to do in the sport of skydiving is: Have enough vacation time to attend all the great events.
What kind of skydiving student were you? I didn't mess up horribly; my instructors might disagree. I had a gymnastics and diving background, so I didn't really care what orientation I was in. I knew how to get back to box-man to pull.
Is there one jump you would like to do again? Any one in which I hit … I mean “docked on” … someone harder than they could handle.
What do you consider your most significant life achievement? Throwing my parents a surprise 40th wedding anniversary party.
While in freefall, what has been your strangest thought? I'm constantly thinking of tasks. Did I pull out chicken for dinner tonight? Where's my phone? I have to stop by manifest to pick up a package. Pack quickly to make it to tunnel. Don't forget to wear your Wonder Woman socks tomorrow.
Do you have any suggestions for USPA? Continue working hard to keep our sport relevant and semi-affordable.
What has been your best skydiving moment? Every day.
What has been your greatest competition moment? Stepping onto the podium at the USPA Nationals in 2016 at the exact moment the lyrics of our team song said, "Superman!" while our freestyle routine was on the big screen showing me flying out of frame in the Superman position.
What has been your worst skydiving moment? Witnessing a fatality.
What drives your competitive spirit? Chuck and Bev Rutz, my parents. I’m blessed to have loving and supportive parents who continue to expect the best.
What is your favorite part of being involved in Sisters in Skydiving? I get incredible fulfillment knowing we are doing something right. When ladies are happy they attended, learned something, experienced their first dock, met someone they connected to, realize they can fly relative or be a first stinger or hold a sit until breakoff, that's the reward for me. I want people to be happy.
What’s the best thing about being a load organizer at Skydive Arizona? The wealth of knowledge and information available. [DZ Safety Officer] Bryan Burke has stats like no one else I've ever encountered. The experience level on any given day is incredible. Whether I have a body position, exit order, canopy flight or a “what's the special at The Bent Prop?” question, someone nearby has an answer.
How did you become interested in vertical formation skydiving? Arsenal [VFS team Arizona Arsenal]. When I got a call from a newer jumper wanting to start a 4-way team, the only stipulation being that I had to get signed off on my head in the tunnel, I didn't hesitate: “Yes, I want in.” VFS sequential jumps are fun for me to fly! It's either a formation that we are challenging a newer person with and collectively want them to succeed, or it's a bunch of super-talented flyers who I feel fortunate to be able to play with. Either situation makes me smile just thinking about it.
What is the scoop on the boogie you organize every year at Lincoln Sport Parachute Club? The hottest boogie in the U.S. is the Redemption Boogie. Nick and I met at LSPC, we got married in a Skyvan at LSPC’s boogie and thus travel back to Nebraska every July to support the club. It's also when we get to spend time with Nick's parents, Mikey and Lynne. Mikey has been jumping for more than 40 years, still jumps and is a pilot at the club. Lynne doesn't jump, but she drinks beer with us and makes chocolate chip cookies!