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    Published on Saturday, February 1, 2020

    Max Cohn | D-20252

    By Brian Giboney

    Max Cohn, D-20252, made a name for himself in the 1990s as an East Coast freefly talent when most of the evolution of the discipline was occurring in the West and in Florida. Without the benefit of extensive wind tunnel training, Cohn cracked the freefly code and became a top-notch competitor on several teams, including Generation Freefly, which originated many vertical formation skydiving moves. As an integral part of the head-down scene, Cohn participated in three head-down world records from 2003-2005. He was also a respected coach. Today, Cohn continues to jump and occasionally coaches, staying involved in the sport he loves.

    Age: 43
    Birthplace: Hackensack, New Jersey
    Marital Status: Married to Alyona Subbotina
    Occupation: Model management, packing parachutes, selling stuff online, licensed massage therapist and occasional freefly coach.
    Education: Colgate University, B.A. in sociology
    Pre-Jump Superstitions: I tie and re-tie my shoelaces several times on the ground and in the plane in fear they will come undone in freefall. They are always a little too loose or too tight; the perfect middle ground is elusive …
    Life Philosophy: Color outside the lines, live outside the box
    Jump Philosophy: Safety first
    Team Name: Generation Freefly, Ranch EXTreme, Freefly Circus, 2001 U.S. Team, Team Romance
    Sponsors: Formerly Advanced Aerospace Designs, Aerostore, Bonehead Composites, Cool & Groovy, Flexvision, Flite Suit, Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales, Go Fast Sports, Icarus Canopies, Larsen & Brusgaard, Mirage Systems, Performance Designs, Pier Media, Precision Aerodynamics, the Ranch PROshop, Rawa, Royal Lens, Sky Systems, Skydive America, Skydive the Ranch
    Container: United Parachute Technologies Micron
    Main Canopy: Performance Designs Katana 107
    Reserve Canopy: Performance Designs Optimum 126
    AAD: Advanced Aerospace Designs Vigil
    Home Drop Zone: Skydive the Ranch in Gardiner, New York
    First Jumps: Tandem, August 1995; AFF, May 1996
    Licenses and Certificates: A-25069 and D-20252, Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger
    Medals and Records: A few medals at the Space Games (1998-2001). A few unofficial head-down records, including the first 10-way round (1999) and three-point 10-way (2000) and 12-way (2000). Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Records for Largest Head-Down Formation Skydive: 24-way in 2003, 42-way in 2004, 53-way in 2005.
    Total Number of Jumps: 11,000-plus
    Freefly: 11,000-plus  
    FS: A handful, with the first 20-way round in Puerto Rico in 2001 being the only one worth mentioning
    Demos: A handful
    Balloon: One
    Tunnel: Maybe 30 hours (mostly between 1999 and 2001 before they were high speed) plus team training in 2009
    Largest Completed Formation: 53-way FAI World Record for Largest Head-Down Formation Skydive
    Total Number of Cutaways: Five or Six

    Most people don’t know this about me: 
    I’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar II since 2007. Please take care of your mental health and be there for others when they need to talk.

    What do you like most about the sport?
    The counterculture and lifestyle compared to the non-skydiving world.

    What do you like least about the sport?
    Losing a bunch of friends in skydiving accidents.

    Who has been your skydiving mentor?
    Olav Zipser.

    What safety item do you think is most often neglected?
    I think everyone should jump with two audible altimeters. It’s a small investment that adds significant awareness and safety.

    Do you have any suggestions for students?
    Ask many questions and find a diverse group of mentors.

    What’s the most bad-ass thing you can do in the air?
    Figure a lot of things out without modern wind-tunnel training. With that said, those tunnel pros can literally fly circles around me.

    If you could do a fantasy 2-way, whom would it be with and where would it take place?
    Original Freefly Clown Mike Vail was a huge freefly influence of mine who I was never able to jump with. I would jump with him in Davis, California, back in the mid-‘90s.

    What has been your most embarrassing moment while at a drop zone?
    My first paid gig as a freefly organizer was in June 1999 at Archway Skydiving in Vandalia, Illinois. On my first jump, I landed out in a wet field. I slid in face first like a kid on a Slip ‘n’ Slide and emerged totally covered in mud. “How’s it going? I’m the cool freefly organizer you just brought in.”

    What has been your best skydiving moment?
    The entire experimental/developmental era of freeflying I was involved in was surreal. A relatively small group of flyers were constantly experimenting, developing concepts, giving names to new moves, building a structure and proving to the skydiving community at large that freeflying was a legitimate discipline in our sport.

    What’s your greatest competition moment?
    Being invited onto the U.S. Team in 2001. My goal since I decided freefly was my path was to be the best. I was not the best, but climbing that ladder was a personal victory, and I had come as far as I needed to in competitive freeflying. I then focused most of my time on teaching and organizing.

    What’s your worst skydiving moment?
    The day my friend Claudio ‘Crods’ Knippel died in a skydiving accident in 2015.

    What’s your weirdest skydiving moment?
    After 11,000-plus jumps and 23 years with no skydiving injuries, I had my first skydiving accident in September 2018. I was complacent with wind direction and lacked currency and put myself in a spot where I couldn’t avoid a tree. I broke a 6-inch diameter branch and fell the rest of the way about 30 feet. Despite 14 broken bones, it was a profound experience that I’m grateful for. All the injuries were best-case scenario with no surgery. I was back in the air less than seven months later.

    What was the secret sauce to learning to fly the way you do?
    Jump, jump, jump as much as possible, watch VHS freefly videos non-stop while critically analyzing every millisecond (Freefly Clowns’ “Chronicle II”) and seek out, hang out with and be in the air with the best flyers in the world as often as possible.

    How did you become interested in freeflying?
    I saw a sign at the Ranch for sit-flying coaching from Kim Emerson, which planted the seed of “that looks more fun than belly,” so I just started jumping and trying all that stuff. In 1996, ESPN televised the X-Games skysurfing and the SSI Pro Tour freeflying meets. Watching the Freefly Clowns, Mad Style and The Flyboyz was mesmerizing. Also, Jamie Paul’s photo of a 3-way vertical accordion—Olav, Omar Alhegelan and Charles Bryan—over Eloy in USPA’s 1997 calendar was a game changer.

    Explain Max Cohn in five words or fewer:
    Doing the best I can.

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    Author: Brian

    Categories: People, Profiles

    Tags: February 2020

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    2021-2022 Instructional Rating Manual (IRM) Evaluations Forms PDF (fillable)   (Mar 2021) Downloads Manuals Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings
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    A-License Progression Card (ISP; 2 pages) PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Licenses & Proficiency Cards
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    2022 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Mar 2022) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2022 Winter Meeting PDF   (Mar 2022) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2021 Summer Meeting PDF   (Sep 2021) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2021 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Sep 2021) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2021 Winter Meeting PDF   (Mar 2021) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2020 Summer Meeting PDF   (Dec 2020) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2020 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2020) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2019 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2019) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2019 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2019) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2018 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2018) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2018 Winter Meeting PDF   (Mar 2018) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2017 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2017) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2017 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2017) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2016 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2016) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2016 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Jul 2016) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2016 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2016) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2015 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2015) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2015 Winter Meeting PDF   (Mar 2015) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2015 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Mar 2015) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    2014 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Jul 2014) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2014 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2014) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2014 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2014) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2013 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2013) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2013 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Jul 2013) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2013 Winter Meeting PDF   (Mar 2013) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2012 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Mar 2013) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2012 Summer Meeting PDF   (Aug 2012) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2012 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2012) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2011 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Aug 2011) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2011 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2011) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2011 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2011) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2010 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Aug 2010) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2010 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2010) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2010 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2010) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2009 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Sep 2009) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2009 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2009) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2009 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2009) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2008 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2008) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2008 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Apr 2008) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2008 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2008) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2007 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2007) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2007 General Membership Meeting PDF   (May 2007) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2007 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2007) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2006 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Nov 2006) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2006 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2006) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2006 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2006) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2005 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Aug 2005) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
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    BOD 2005 Winter Meeting PDF   (Jan 2005) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
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    2003 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Aug 2003) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2003 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2003) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
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    BOD 2001 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2001) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting 2000-2005
    BOD 2000 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2000) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting 2000-2005

    Miscellaneous

    2013 DOT Opinion on Taxes PDF   (Jan 2014)
    Advanced Aerospace Designs Issues Reminders to Vigil Customers   (Dec 2019)

    On October 23, Advanced Aerospace Designs issued reminders of approaching deadlines for compliance with its last two service bulletins.

    After-market Tandem Risers MANDATORY – REPLACE BEFORE THE NEXT JUMP   (Sep 2020)

    PIA released Service Bulletin PSB-10092020 affecting after-market tandem main risers constructed with obsolete RW2 rings. All sport tandem main risers produced with RW2 rings, or equivalent sized rings, are affected regardless of the hardware manufacturer, the date of manufacture, the material type or the forging process used. This PSB does not affect "solo" main risers that use RW2 rings. Compliance is MANDATORY – REPLACE BEFORE THE NEXT JUMP.

    Article: 9/11 Aftermath Report PDF   (Aug 2016)
    Article: Angle Flying PDF   (Nov 2015)
    Article: Ches Judy Award PDF   (Oct 2015)
    Article: Gear Fear PDF   (Sep 2015)
    Article: Landing in a Tree PDF   (Mar 2015)
    Article: Safety in Numbers PDF   (Jan 2011)
    Article: The RSL PDF   (Jan 2014)
    Article: Water Landings PDF   (Mar 2015)
    Canopy Risk Quotient PDF   (Oct 2015)
    Canopy Risk Quotient LINK   (Mar 2020)
    Dermody Letter PDF   (Jul 2012)
    Dunn Letter PDF   (Jul 2012)
    DZO Memo PDF   (Jul 2012)
    FAA AC 105-2E PDF   (Dec 2013)
    FAA AC 90-66B CHG 1 PDF   (Feb 2019)
    FAA Airworthiness Directive for certain UPT reserve pin covers PDF   (Apr 2021)

    The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Uninsured United Parachute Technologies, LLC (UPT) parachutes. This AD results from reserve pin covers (RPCs) catching on the parachute container flaps and preventing the reserve parachute from deploying. This AD requires modifying the RPC before the next parachute jump and replacing the RPC at the next reserve parachute packing. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    FAA Proposal (07/03/12) PDF   (Jul 2012)
    Flight Planner   (Jan 2019)
    Huerta Letter PDF   (Jul 2012)
    Insurance Policy Summary   (Mar 2021)
    ISP Grid PDF   (May 2012)
    Parachute Landing Area Update PDF   (Aug 2012)
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    It’s no secret that more and more people are turning to giving gifts of experiences instead of material things.

    Strong Enterprises Issues Service Bulletin for Tandem Drogue PDF   (Apr 2021)

    Strong Enterprises issued Service Bulletin #35 mandating inspection of the 3-ring attachment on tandem drogues manufactured between June 22, 2020, and February 2, 2021 whose last three digits of the serial numbers between 625 and 714. Status is MANDATORY. Compliance is IMMEDIATE – before the next jump.

    USPA Hangar Policy Comments PDF   (Jun 2016)
    Wingsuit Instructor Draft PDF   (Sep 2012)

    SIM Translations into Other Languages

    Language Translation Disclaimer

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    Chinese-English (Bilingual Version) – January 1, 2021

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