1) What made you decide to start skydiving?
A friend of mine from a motorcycle group that I was a part of told me that he had done a tandem. I decided that I wanted to do one too. That was May 2012. Some skinny Black chick (Danielle Williams) even helped catch me when I landed! Two months later I did my next tandem. They were busy and it was a Cessna drop-zone so I just had to wait. We had to do three total tandems and then complete a one instructor AFF. My instructors were Jim Horak and Slim.
2) How long have you been a skydiver?
3) How many jumps do you have?
4) What are your ratings? What do you like most about being an instructor?
I have a D license and an AFF instructor rating. I enjoy seeing the students who really have a passion for it and watching them progress. It’s exciting to see a new skydiver land for the first time or watch them smiles when I release them for the first time in freefall. It’s fun to watch the ones that really have a heart for it and to see how much effort and practice they put into it.
5) What container and parachute are you currently jumping?
I’m jumping a Mirage container with a Katana 170.
6) Have you had any cutaways? How many?
Four! I had two of them three weeks apart back in July 2018. That’s when my wife stopped packing for me [Editor’s note: insert off color marital joke here]. The worst part of the cutaway, when you have reliable gear, is extracting your main canopy out of a tree 50 ft. up. There are countless acres of pine trees around our drop-zone. It’s a rural area and a lot of people have pine tree farms.
7) What type of skydiving do you enjoy?
Instructing; I stay pretty busy with AFF. It’s nice because skydiving pays for itself. When I’m not instructing, I also enjoy relative work. I went to Zephyr Hills recently to do some 8 way with organizer Scott Latinis.
I would love to do big-way more but it involves traveling for camps and I’m busy with work and teaching. My teaching load has been pretty heavy recently. I can’t always be on the road; have to grade exams after all!
8) What types of outdoor activities did you enjoy growing up?
I grew up in Brooklyn. By law it’s mandated that if you’re Black in New York you have to play basketball. So I did that but it wasn’t for me. When I was younger I enjoyed football as well as horseback riding in the Catskills and in Connecticut. I’d go to summer camp for weeks at a time. I particularly enjoyed “ranch camp” which was nothing but riding every day and camping with horses. My mother had a law degree and my grandma was the first Black manager ever for the Brooklyn Union Gas Company. There are a lot of stereotypes about what Black people do or don’t do; we were fortunate to have the means to do what we enjoyed.
9) What does your family think about your decision to start skydiving?
When I did a tandem in May 2012, my wife wasn’t initially interested. She now has over 400 jumps. In 2012, I was going to the drop-zone every weekend. Around the time I got my license, she started coming out as well. She would come with me to other drop-zones. I showed her how to pack and she would come to boogies and pack for me and for other people. At the two year mark, she went up for a ride-along in the plane. Not long after that she signed up for a tandem and she was hooked. She got her license in the summer of 2014. We’ve been married for 28 years!
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