Yuliya Pangburn | D-29142
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Saturday, July 13, 2024
Yuliya Pangburn | D-29142

Yuliya Pangburn | D-29142

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Yuliya Pangburn started her skydiving career in 2003 under round parachutes in her home country of Belarus. In 2005, she made her first canopy formation skydive, and was immediately captivated by the discipline—so much so that just two years later, she was part of the 100-way CF world record. To date, she has earned a dozen medals at USPA Nationals, as well as several gold and silver medals at world competitions. Her passion today is spreading her love for canopy flying, both for the purpose of competition and for helping new jumpers make safe skydives, all the way to their landings.


“Yuliya is one of the most genuine and kind people I have met in this sport. She epitomizes the drive, discipline and humility required to be a world champion.” –Amanda Mandrafino, Parachutist profilee #180

Age: 46
Height: 5’6”
Birthplace: Belarus
Nationality: American
Marital Status: Married
Children: One
Pets: Our neighbor’s cat
Occupation: Classical artist; art management
Education: B.A.
Hobbies: Snorkeling, snowboarding,art-making
Life Philosophy: “It’s not what the world holds for you, it’s what you bring to it.” -L.M. Montgomery
Jump Philosophy: Safety is my top priority.
Team Name: Fastrax
Sponsors: Alti-2, Performance Designs, Selection.com and Start Skydiving
Container: Rigging Innovations Talon, Sun Path Javelin, United Parachute Technologies Vector 3
Main Canopy: For fun, I fly a Performance Designs Valkyrie 71 or Lightning 113; for competing, my PD Tango 72 (a 5-cell cross-braced competition CF canopy); for work, anything ranging from 71 to 290.
Reserve Canopy: PD Optimum 126, PR-106, PISA Tempo 150
AAD: Airtec Cypres
Discipline: Canopy formation
Home Drop Zone: Start Skydiving in Middletown, Ohio, and Skydive Arizona in Eloy
Year of First Jump: 2003
Licenses/Ratings: A-46531, B-28590, D-29142; Coach, AFF-I, PRO
Number of Jumps: 8,575
 CF: 5,500
 Camera: 2,000
 FS: 300-plus
 Demos: 200-plus AFF: 200-plus
 BASE: 254
Number of Cutaways: 17

Most people don’t know this about me:
I used to compete in biathlon (skiing and rifle shooting) and I was asked to go to the Olympic Reserves College in Belarus.

How did you become interested in skydiving?
I love flying in the sky more than walking on the ground.

How long do you plan on skydiving?
My plan is to still jump when I am an old grandma.

What do you like most about the sport?
Skydiving opened up a completely different way of life for me, and I am forever grateful. I have always dreamed big, and skydiving fulfilled my dreams. It made me who I am today.

Who have been your skydiving mentors?
John Hart II sees more of my abilities than I see in myself and pushes me to be my best. Brian Pangburn is my best coach.

What are your future skydiving goals?
My main goal is to give back to the sport I love. Also, to continue to compete, as it keeps me growing. I would love to take every new CF girl to compete with me, every year, to build up their experience. I want to coach new 2-way CF competitors and promote the discipline, which is often portrayed as dangerous instead of a way of gaining knowledge toward becoming a good, intuitive canopy pilot. Finally, to teach flocking—skydivers need to build confidence while having fun flying their parachutes.

What safety item do you think is most often neglected?
As an AFF Instructor working at various DZs, I see most of the emphasis being put on freefall, and not enough on canopy progression. Don’t let that fool you! You have to fly and land your parachute on every jump, so focus equally on freefall and canopy time. A solid understanding of winds, patterns and canopy control builds a foundation of safety in skydiving, so seek the best advice from good canopy pilots.

What’s the most bad-ass thing you can do in the air?
Landing a 2,000-square-foot American flag into a professional or college stadium, feeling the crowd’s roar and national anthem playing when I enter.

Funniest moment at a drop zone?
When I decided to become an AFF instructor, I had very little freefall time, so I wanted to update the skills. I came to a local drop zone and asked a load organizer if he could teach me some freefall skills. The organizer kindly said: “Of course! How many jumps do you have, sweetheart?” I said, “Seven thousand.” The face of the load organizer changed, and he said, “Who are you, girl?”

The toughest thing to do in skydiving is:
To stay humble in a sport of self-importance, and not to let complacency get into your routine.

Is there one jump you would like to do over again?
I would be happy to repeat a few of the competition jumps that didn’t go as expected. It is painful to know that sometimes we didn’t perform to our full potential. Regret is a hard feeling.

What do you consider your most significant life achievement?
Raising an amazing daughter.

Suggestions for USPA:
I support the idea of USPA creating a canopy instructor rating, which would help new jumpers know where to get professional coaching that would keep them safe. Also, integrate extra canopy learning into the coaching jumps prior to receiving an A license, including extended canopy safety seminars. Make a canopy landing class obligatory for currency training, and adapt into the civilian curriculum what is already done in the military: By the time a student has 25 jumps, they should be as proficient in freefall as in canopy proximity flying.

Best skydiving moment?
Looking into the eyes of my student and seeing pure joy and happiness after earning the gold medal at the Nationals Pro-Am event. She devoted her time and worked so hard for it.

Worst skydiving moment?
Watching my teammate have a landing accident and wishing the clock would run backwards to save him.

What drives your competitive spirit?
I always wanted to be the best in any sport I participated in, and especially to win over the boys. As Jay Stokes said about me, “Overcoming obstacles seems to be in your nature.”

What do you enjoy the most about performing on Team Fastrax?
Professional Demonstration Team Fastrax was founded by, and is heavily populated by, veterans. And because of this, there are many written procedures and SOPs that the team follows, which has brought a culture of safety and professionalism, and is a positive role model for skydiving. Fastrax honors a fallen warrior on every demo jump. With the variety of demos we do, we are always pushing ourselves to develop new performances, routines and techniques. Our team is constantly innovating, and there is never a dull moment.

Explain Yuliya Pangburn in five words or fewer:
Positive, empathetic, curious, unstoppable, contented, dreamer

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