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Jessica Brownlow | D-30516

Jessica Brownlow | D-30516

By Brian Giboney

Profiles
Thursday, April 1, 2021

“World-record momma” Jessica Brownlow, D-30516, balances family life with skydiving at the highest levels. She has set nine Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Records and has inspired many other jumpers in the process, including her husband, Ryan, who is highly accomplished in his own right. The mom of a 2-year-old son, she is expecting a daughter in May and is already excited to get back in the air afterward.

Age: 35
Nationality: American
Marital Status: Married to Ryan Brownlow
Children: A three-year old son, Axel, and a daughter on the way
Occupation: Publishing
Education: BS in business finance and economics
Pet Peeves: Lately, people who are above wearing a mask in the hangar and airplane
Pre-Jump Superstitions: No superstitions, but I stay present. I don’t pull out my phone, read a book or take a nap on the ride to altitude.
Hobbies: These days, there is a whole lot of kicking it at the playground.
Life Philosophy: Drink more water, keep moving and breathe deeply.
Jump Philosophy: Never stop learning.
Team Name: Ridiculous Maneuvers
Sponsors: Cookie Composites, LiquidSky Sports and Velocity Sports Equipment
Container: Velocity Sports Equipment Infinity
Main Canopy: NZ Aerosports Sleia 66
Reserve Canopy: Performance Designs PDR 113
AAD: Airtec CYPRES 2
Disciplines: Mostly freeflying, though I also enjoy flying my parachute and XRW
Home Drop Zone: Skydive California in Tracy
First Jump: A tandem followed by static-line jumps in July 2008 in Snohomish, Washington
Licenses: A-54246, B-32297, D-30516
Medals and Records: Gold in 2-way mixed formation skydiving open, 2014 USPA Nationals; 138- and 164-way FAI World Record for Largest Head-Down Formation Skydive; 55-, 72-, 84-way FAI World Record for Largest Head-Up Formation Skydive; 65-, 63-, 41-way FAI World Record for Largest Women’s Head-Down Formation Skydive, 32-way FAI World Record for Largest Women’s Head-Up Formation Skydive.
Total Number of Jumps: 3,250 Freefly: 3,000  Hop and Pops: 200  BASE: 2
Largest Completed Formation: 164-Way
Total Number of Cutaways: Five
Largest Completed Formation: 164-Way
Total Number of Cutaways: Five

Are you a neat packer or a trash packer?
Neatish.

What was your canopy progression?
Fairly conservative. I didn’t start jumping a cross-braced canopy until I had 1,500 jumps.

Most people don’t know this about me:
I still record all of my skydives in a hard-copy logbook.

Does one jump stand out most?
The women’s 41-way head-down world record in 2010. Going into the final attempt, nobody got cut and I was pulled up from the bench team. Logic should have told the organizers to play it safe, but they took a chance on me, and we nailed it. I will always appreciate being given that opportunity.

Who have been your skydiving mentors?
Jeff Dimock, Eric Busto and Ryan Brownlow have been my greatest influences. I owe a lot to each of them for the impact they have had on my progression.

What are your future skydiving goals?
Catch more sunsets from 13,000 feet.

What in skydiving do you think is most dangerous?
Complacency. A healthy amount of paranoia will help keep you alive.

How did you become interested in skydiving?
A friend of mine was dating a sport skydiver. I didn’t know those existed, making her the coolest chick ever. Shortly thereafter, she died in a plane crash. I made my first skydive that summer and have never looked back. It amazes me how a casual encounter can completely change the course of your life.

Do you have any suggestions for students?
Enjoy the process. The joy is in the journey, not the destination.

What’s the most badass thing you can do in the air?
Walk away from every skydive I have ever made.

What is your favorite jump plane?
Whichever one is on a 20-minute call.

If you could do a fantasy 2-way with anybody, whom would it be with?
I get to share my passion with my husband. That is the “fantasy 2-way” that keeps on giving.

If you could make everyone do something to make Earth better, what would it be?
Listen more. Speak less.

What has been your most embarrassing moment while in freefall or at a drop zone?
Getting a yellow card at the USPA Canopy Piloting Nationals. Nobody wants to be the scary swooper.

Someday I am going to own…
All of my own time.

The toughest thing to do in the sport of skydiving is:
Stick with it when life pulls you in different directions.

Of all your skydives, is there one jump you would like to do again?
The Max Pyro night head-down world record attempt last year. I normally don’t believe in re-dos, but formation load world record attempts at night with pyrotechnics may just warrant one.

What do you consider your most significant life achievement?
Marrying my best friend and becoming a mother.

What has been your strangest thought during a skydive?
Two weeks after giving birth, I remember wondering as I pitched if my C-section was going to burst open. It didn’t.

Do you have any suggestions for USPA?
Transition Parachutist to a digital format and reallocate those funds to better serve USPA members.

What has been your greatest competition moment?
Helping to pave the way for 2-way MFS and winning open in 2014.

What has been your worst skydiving moment?
Witnessing a friend fatally turn into the ground, and then breaking the news to his partner.

What drives your competitive spirit?
For a long time, there were things that I wanted to prove. Starting a family has reshaped my priorities in recent years.

What drew you to the freeflying side of skydiving?
The desire to learn how to control my body in different orientations in the sky.

What’s the best thing about being a part of a world record?
Spending a week with friends, old and new, from all over the world while setting out to do something historic.

Has there been any difference in your approach to jumping after becoming a mother?
It is a balancing act. I don’t want to miss out on any moments with my child, but I also think it is important not to lose sight of who you are and what you love when you become a parent. It makes you reconsider what level of risk you are willing to accept and requires a renewed commitment to all of the time and effort it entails.

Explain Jessica Brownlow in five words or fewer:
Mother first, everything else second.

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