Thomas Dellibac, D-24918, is a highly decorated canopy pilot turned DZO. From 2007 to 2016, Dellibac was all over the competition scene. The medals and championships he’s earned in prestigious national and world competitions are too numerous to list but include the 2014 USPA Nationals open canopy piloting overall gold and the 2006 and 2012 Florida Canopy Piloting Association season championships. Although best known as a canopy pilot, he is also a USPA Tandem, AFF and Static-Line/IAD Instructor and Flight-1 Canopy Coach who has made more than 20,000 skydives, more than 10,000 of which are with students. Recently, Dellibac became the owner of Skydive Marana in Arizona.
Birthplace: Kankakee, Illinois
Marital Status: Married for 10 years to my beautiful wife, Natalie A. Dellibac
Children: One son, Carter Lee Dellibac; and one daughter, Savannah Grace Dellibac
Pets: Two dogs, Spot and Ash
Occupation: DZO of Skydive Marana, Flight-1 Canopy Coach, skydiving instructor
Pet Peeves: When people don’t do their handles checks
Life Philosophy: If you believe very strongly in something, stand up and fight for it.
Jump Philosophy: Don’t get complacent; continue to grow as a jumper and learn as much as possible.
Team Name: Performance Designs Factory Team
Sponsors: Airtec, Alti-2, Cookie Helmets, Liquid Sky Suits, Oakley Sunglasses, Performance Designs, Sun Path Products
Container: Sun Path Javelin Odyssey
Main Canopy: Performance Designs Valkyrie 96 and 90, Peregrine 75 and 79
Reserve Canopy: Performance Designs Optimum 143
AAD: Airtec Speed CYPRES 2
Home Drop Zone: Skydive Marana in Arizona
First Jump: AFF in 1999
USPA Licenses and Ratings: A-38290, D-24918; AFF, Tandem and Static-Line/IAD Instructor; Coach
Medals and Championships: USPA Nationals 2007-2016: one gold, two silver and two bronze in overall; two gold, one silver and one bronze in speed; one gold in distance; one gold and one silver in zone accuracy. 2013 Féderátion Aéronautique Internationale World Cup: silver overall. 2012 FAI World Championships: silver in speed. 2006 and 2012 Florida Canopy Piloting Association season: overall champion. 2012-2014 Pink Canopy Piloting Open: two silver and one bronze in overall. 2013 World Games: silver in overall canopy piloting.
Total Number of Jumps: 20,000-plus
CP: 8,000 Tandems: 7,000 AFF: 2,000 Freefly: 1,500 FS: 1,000 Coach: 1,000 Camera: 500 Demos: 100 Balloon: Five
Largest Completed Formation: 100-way formation skydive
Total Number of Cutaways: Seven total: four tandem and three sport
What do you like most about the sport?
Traveling around the world and making good friends along the way.
What do you like least about the sport?
Losing so many friends over my 20 years in the sport.
Does one jump stand out most?
The last round of the 2014 USPA National Championships of Canopy Piloting at Skydive City [in Zephyrhills, Florida]. I had to throw down a good zone accuracy round to win. It all worked out.
What are your future skydiving goals?
As a new DZO, continuing to grow Skydive Marana. Also, my passion: working as a canopy coach for Flight-1. I love what I do.
What safety item is most important?
Doing a proper gear check on your rig or a rental rig. Please check your pins before putting your rig on.
I skydive because ...
It’s my life. Who else gets to be free and conduct their business off the ground and in the air?
Do you have any suggestions for students?
Never stop learning. I have been jumping for 20 years, and I’m still learning new techniques.
If you could do a fantasy 2-way with anybody, whom would it be with and where would it take place?
Well, it would be more than a 2-way for me: I would like to fly canopies one more time with my former teammates Jonathan [Tagle], Jessica [Edgeington] and Gage [Galle] down some mountains in New Zealand.
Were you a hard child to raise?
Nope. My mom says I was perfect.
The toughest thing to do in the sport is:
Be patient. Everybody wants to downsize so quickly and do a bunch of different disciplines all at once. You have to get experience and get good at the basics first.
What kind of skydiving student were you: the typical flailer or a natural?
I would like to think I was a natural. My dad, Tom Sr., started a year before I did, so I had a year to study and knew what was expected at each level. I got through my AFF in two days.
Is there one jump you would like to make again?
There are two jumps I can think of, in back-to-back years at the USPA Nationals. I had a chance to win overall, but a zone accuracy run in each year cost me. I would like to have those back.
What is your most significant life achievement?
Getting married to my beautiful wife and having two beautiful kids.
Do you have any suggestions for USPA?
It would be nice to see the U.S. Teams that are out there representing and traveling all over the world get more help from the U.S. Team funds. Some other, smaller organizations have really stepped up to help the athletes out.
What was your best skydiving moment?
Jumping with my dad and brother.
What was your greatest competition moment?
Winning the 2014 USPA Canopy Piloting Nationals.
What was your worst skydiving moment?
Seeing my teammates or friends get hurt.
What drives your competitive spirit?
It comes from within you. For me, it started when I was young and playing sports. Growing up, I never wanted to lose. I wanted to try to be the best at whatever I was doing.
How did you become interested in swoop competition?
I knew from the beginning. When I went out to do my first jump, I watched a cameraman swoop in his landing. I was like, “I want to do that. I want to go fast!”
What is the future of swoop competition?
I’m not really sure what is in store for swooping. Over the years, I have heard different ideas and seen some of it put into play. It feels like it’s going to have to turn into some type of airshow and not a competition. But that’s just me.
As a new DZO, what caught you by surprise?
After being in the sport for a long time, not too much. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that jumpers don’t see, especially on the airplane side of things.
Do you have any advice for someone thinking about becoming a DZO?
Go be a manager at a DZ first and see firsthand everything that is involved. Learn as much as possible.
Explain Thomas Dellibac in five words or fewer:
Outgoing, chill, loyal, reliable, balanced