Kiernan Wimmer recently completed Skydive University’s Wingsuit 12 Jump Progression Course. Although SDU does offer a 3 jump wingsuit training course the 12 step program offers a more extensive coaching experience. The extra jumps help build confidence, improve skills, and offers the chance to fly with an experienced coach. We spoke with one of our recent graduates, Kiernan Wimmer, to get his thoughts on the 12 step program.
Hi Kiernan. How about you tell us a little bit about yourself to get started.
“My name is Kiernan Wimmer and I skydive at Skydive Arizona, that’s my home dropzone. I’ve been skydiving since 2006 at Army Airborne School. I was in the marine corps and I did military parachuting. That’s how I got into jumping. I soon got my license after that and as soon as I could, I started wingsuiting. I’m interested in that and canopy piloting.”
Could you tell me a little bit about your experience wingsuiting?
“Yes. I came here with 25 wingsuit jumps. I did my first wingsuit jumps in 2008 with Jeff Nebelkopf. When I started with him I did 7 jumps. I really loved it and progressed from there. I stopped skydiving for a while but I just recently started again. As soon as I could, I found somewhere to learn how to wingsuit. Ya know, and instead of just going off of what I knew and buying a wingsuit I decided it would probably be in my best interest to take a course. So that’s why I came to Skydive University to take the course.”
How’d it feel wearing a wingsuit again?
“It was great. I like the equipment they use. They use Squirrel suits and I was interested in flying a Squirrel suit. That was a big selling point as well. I was really excited to hear about that.”
How was your experience working with your SDU wingsuit coach Rodrigo?
“It was really good. It was nice to have a good coach. He’s really personable. He’s genuine and he doesn’t have an ego and he’s not trying to act as if he’s better than me. It seemed like he was just there to coach. He seemed like a great guy to learn from. The first jump was kind of the same old feeling of my first jumps from a long time ago. So it was nice being able to fly with someone who was knowledgeable.”
What do you think about the 12 jumps program? Would you recommend it and why?
"I would recommend the program to new pilots who want to go beyond the FFC with their first jumps and beginner pilots who want to quickly advance their skills and progress into more intermediate suits. SDU has a wide selection of suits from beginner to advance. So the opportunity to learn and move according to the students ability and proficiency is available.”
What skills have you improved through the 12 jumps program?
“Some skills that I worked on were docking. Just getting confident flying next to someone and really just being confident in movement. There’s a lot of movement exercises and there's a building block sequence in the 12 jump progression. So I felt like I learned something from each jump and it built on the previous jump. We ended up in our last jumps flying really close to each other and bumping fists and the whole thing was just really having a good time.”
Were you literally fist bumping?
“Oh yeah! Literally 2 men in wingsuits fist bumping in the sky and multiple times. It was great to have that relativity because ya know, I could have easily bought a wingsuit and go fly on my own but there's nothing like flying next to someone, especially somebody that knows as much and is as capable as Rodrigo was.”
And what do you want to do in the industry?
“Well I’m a coach so I’d like to coach but I’m also interested in operations so running a dropzone and everything that has to do with that. I love aviation so I love being around planes but I also like the sport of skydiving.”
So what’s next for you when you return to Arizona? Are you going to keep wingsuiting?
“The next step for me as far as wingsuiting is to purchase a wingsuit. I’m working that out. Finding out what the best wingsuit is for my progression and what skills I’ve already built on. It is the free fall that I like the most so I have a list of things that I want to accomplish and wingsuiting is one of them. I want to get 100 wingsuit jumps within the next year and this was the first 12, actually I ended up doing 14. I did a couple solos after. So I’m well on my way to getting that 100 in the next year. Yeah, so buying a wingsuit and continuing to wingsuit and interested in coaching wingsuit if I get to that level. If I get enough jumps and enough experience to coach others.”
Thank you Kiernan Wimmer for sitting down with us to answer a few questions before your trek back to Arizona. We wish you luck on reaching your goal of 100 wingsuit jumps in the next year!