First Commercial Skydiving Center in the United States
Published: November 10, 2014
1. What attracted you to the sport of skydiving?
I've always been attracted to flying in general, so at first it seemed like a fun, scary/exciting thing to try, similar to a rollercoaster ride. After a few more jumps, though, it was really the freedom of flying your body and and the clarity of mind that comes with it that kept me in the sport. There's nothing quite like that post-jumping bliss, it's very zen-like.
2. What influenced you to actually make the phone call to make your first skydive?
When I was in college, I heard about somebody in my class doing a skydive for a fundraiser called Operation Freefall, aimed at fighting against sexual assault - I thought it was the coolest way to help a good cause! It was also the first time I realized tandem skydiving existed and made the sport easily accessible to the general public, and not just something for trained military or otherwise very specialized folks.
3. What's the most memorable skydive you've ever been on?
In Feb 2013, at the Puerto Rico Freefall Festival, we built a diamond-shaped wingsuit formation with everyone BACKFLYING. This hadn't been attempted before in wingsuiting. We had one shot at it. Jarno Cordia, Katie Hansen, TJ Landgren and myself were all working there for the boogie (load organizing, coaching, shooting video etc.) so we could only squeeze in one jump together to attempt this - and we totally nailed it!
4. What was the very first job you had and where was it?
Not sure if it counts, but in highschool I used to do other classmates' school projects for extra cash. This was back home in Romania, where getting a job as a teenager was nearly impossible.
5. Of the places you have visited - what is your favorite place and why?
Mt. Katahdin in Maine has always been one of those special happy places I will never get bored of, though Hawaii probably ranks as a close second for its stunning visuals.
6. What other interests do you have outside of skydiving?
I like to move a lot - yoga, climbing, skiing, a bit of parkour, anything outdoors, really.
7. What is something about you that few people know about?
I studied piano for 11 years growing up. I can still remember how to play some fairly complex, intense classical pieces.
8. If you could meet anyone in the world for a coffee and a chat (alive or deceased) who would you wish to meet with?
Amelia Earhart, Grace Hopper, and grandma.
9. What do you do for work? If you could do anything as an occupation - what would it be?
I'm a software developer on weekdays. I've always been a bit of a math dork, with a solid appreciation for solving puzzles and fixing computer bugs.
The rest of the time, I teach wingsuit flying with my fellow bird-brothers at Northeast Bird School, and travel around the country, load organizing at wingsuit events.
If I could do anything... I don't think I'd ever want to give up computer programming entirely, as I do enjoy it a lot, but I've also been known to joke around that "when I grow up, I'd like to join the circus" (mostly just meaning that I have the utmost respect for people who are very adept at mastering movement, such as circus/aerial artists, gymnasts etc.) - perhaps a combination of that and wingsuit flying?
10. What are your future goals?
Lots of wingsuit acrobatics and creative flying!
Next season is already looking quite exciting, with a ton of wingsuit acro team training and some of the biggest international competitions lined up.