College Station resident Brittany Sanchez won a gold medal last week in the intermediate 8-way formation skydiving competition at the 2011 U.S. Parachute Association National Skydiving Championships. The competition took place at Skydive Arizona, an expansive skydiving resort located in Eloy, midway between Phoenix and Tucson.
Sanchez was one of more than 500 of the country’s finest, fastest, most fearless skydivers competing at the national championships, pushing their aerial skills to the limit and competing for the title of national champion in six spectacular skydiving disciplines: Formation Skydiving, Sanchez’s high-flying specialty, Freeflying, Freestyle, Canopy Formation, Freefall Style & Accuracy Landing, and Vertical Formation Skydiving.
In 8-way formation skydiving, the team leaps from an aircraft more than two miles above the ground and then races against the clock to form prescribed geometric formations in freefall before opening their parachutes.
Sanchez and her gold-medal team, SPX8, perfected their gravity-defying skills against 15 other teams from across the country. Sanchez has made an astounding 3,400 skydives. When she’s not jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, she works as an exercise physiology researcher at Texas A&M University.
Interviews with Sanchez and aerial photos and video of her team in action are available upon request.
Skydive Like a Pro
For sheer excitement and high-speed fun, no sport comes close to skydiving. Fortunately, this high-flying adrenaline sport is not as extreme or intimidating as it may seem. Just about anyone 18 years of age or older can take to the skies after some comprehensive safety instruction. In fact, all it takes is a half hour of ground school to prepare for a tandem jump, the easiest and most popular way to experience skydiving for the first time. Tandem jumping allows students to experience the thrill of freefall from 13,000 feet while securely harnessed to an experienced, licensed instructor.
Another first-jump method called Accelerated Freefall (AFF) allows students to jump solo right away—with two instructors at their side—after four to five hours of intense ground instruction. Just about anyone can earn a license in as few as 25 jumps!
For more information on skydiving and to find a USPA Group Member skydiving center near you, visit www.uspa.org.