Featured Friday - Johnny Gunn

October 16, 2015

Skydive Arizona is a big drop zone. No - a GINORMOUS drop zone with a lot of people from visiting to local jumpers, to staff, pilots, instructors, ground crew, maintenance, manifest to teams, event organizers and load organizers!!! The Featured Friday series is aimed at getting to know the people that make Skydive Arizona work and rock

In this week's series, we meet a highly motivated, mutli talented, instructor and competitor at the DZ - meet, Johnny Gunn!

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What/who inspired you to make your first jump?
I was at an Airshow in my home town when I was younger and saw a skydive demo into it and immediately wanted to do it. Turns out that there's a very strong chance that that crew of jumpers and pilots are folks that have worked here at SDAZ as well. (Chris Owens, Nicki Chenard, Blake Milford). It was also a big part of my military career. And of course, Point Break!
 
Where did you learn to skydive?
West Plains Skydiving in Davenport, WA just west of Spokane, WA. Super awesome dz and people. They're now located in Ritzville, WA. 

 
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What got you interested in flying helicopters?
I love aviation and being in the sky. I spent hundreds of hours in the back of helo's over my 11 years in the Air Force. Lots of jumping and training in them. Once I separated from the military I was trying to figure out what to use my GI Bill on. I took a retired Apache Helicopter pilot for a tandem one day and we got to talking and he was an instructor at the school. One thing led to the next and I was flying R-22's and had it covered by the GI Bill. 
 
How did your skydiving career lead you to get on Arizona X-Force?
Right time right place with the right people. A good friend of mine (Price Riggins), that I taught how to skydive, said they were starting a 4-way VFS team and asked if I'd like to be a part of it. 
 
What is it like to be on a competitive team and what are your expectations for this year’s Nationals?
It's awesome, especially with like minded competitive peeps. It's more work and commitment than most people think. And more than I thought initially.... With that being said, where we are as a new team, it's refreshing and motivating to look at our jumps from 6-8 months ago and see how far we've come. We still have all kinds of room for improvement, but we're heading in the right direction. 

 
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You’re a busy guy – competitor, instructor, pilot, guitar player, husband – (What am I missing) – how do you balance all that awesomeness?
I have a super awesome, and very understanding wife (I love you baby!) I'm very fortunate to say that I'm living the dream!!! It's not work if you love it, and I'm lucky to be doing these things. I actually feel like it's all a dream sometimes. 
[Oh yeah - I speedfly, BASE jump, paraglide & paramotor too!]

Speed Round (quickly choose without thought):
First load or sunset load?
Sunset (you CANNOT beat an AZ sunset!)
 
Sky or tunnel?
Sky always!
 
Open/Advanced or Intermediate?
Open
 
Acoustic or Electric?
Acoustic, it's personal
 
Beer or Wine?
Both? Beer while hanging, Wine at dinner... Or lunch. 
 
Anything else you’d like to add?
I'm very fortunate to be able to jump at the best dz in the world and am thankful for that! It has all the amenities, with a ton of BADASS skydivers. It's hard not to get good hanging out with these peeps! 
 

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