2017 iFly Virginia Beach competition

On April 22-23rd, iFLY Virginia Beach hosted the first meet of the 2017 IBA series. This competition acted as the US Team Qualifier for the World Championships in Montreal in October. AXIS Flight School‘s Brianne Thompson and Niklas Daniel took part in the event, competing in both the 4-way FS and 4-way VFS categories in the open class.

4-way FS: Competing under the name “X-Defy”, which is a combination of two team names: X-Force and Defiance, Nik and Brianne competed with local Arizona skydivers Cris and Joe Howard.

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With only 3 hours of tunnel training over the past few weeks, the team finishing the meet with a 18.3 average over 10 rounds, placing 3rd.


iFLY VB 2017 4-way FS open podium

4-way FS open scores:

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17990906_1367386066664417_6862929016996842220_n.jpg4-way VFS: Arizona X-FORCE managed to increase its competition average considerably since the XP Championships, just two month earlier – jumping from 21.3 to 23.7.

Unfortunately the team took a severe blow in round 3, loosing its 2nd place standing and dropping to 4th, which it could not recover from. In the end, Arizona X-FORCE lost the podium by 1 point to team Arsenal.

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4-way VFS open scores:

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VFS Rounds 1 and 2

FS rounds 5 -10, VFS round 3 starts at 1:14:55




Congratulations to all the teams that took part in this awesome event, and thanks to all of our sponsors for their continued support! Our next two major competitions will be the Skydiving World Cup (7-13 Aug) in Saarlouis Germany, followed by the USPA Nationals (20-23 Sep) at Skydive Perris California.



AXIS weather station

Strategically located between the north and south landing areas, AXIS Flight School has installed a weather station to better serve its local jumping community at Skydive Arizona. The station transmits the weather conditions including: wind speed, direction, and gusts – which is of interest to most skydivers who want to stay in the know.

To access the stations information, simply go to the AXIS Flight School website and select the tools button in the top right corner. You will be directed to a mobile friendly page with various options to choose from – select conditions.

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logoLg.pngIf you are a weather underground user, you can also locate our station (KAZELOY8) here.


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2017 Paraclete XP Indoor Championships

Screen Shot 2017-02-28 at 9.46.53 AM.pngOn February 25-26, Arizona X-FORCE attended the 2017 Paraclete XP Indoor Championships in Raeford, North Carolina. This was the first competition in VFS history where the discipline was expanded to 10 rounds with the addition of new blocks and randoms (18-22 & O-Q).

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4-way VFS Open podium: 1st SDC Core, 2nd Arizona X-FORCE, 3rd Golden Knights VFS.

Check out Skydivemag.com and NSL for more information about the event, and or watch the event video on Facebook.

FOX 10 News Camera flying interview

PICTURE PERFECT: Man takes pictures, 15,000 feet up in the air


“Skydiving, as one can imagine, is dangerous enough, but try to imagine the added element of trying to capture the perfect picture, 12,000 feet up in the air. One photographer does exactly that, as a career.

“As a kid, I’ve always been pretty active, always enjoyed extreme sports, whether it was doing the skateboarding thing or riding bicycles,” said Niklas Daniel. “In this case, this was just another thing I wanted to experiment with.”

One can call Daniel a skydiving expert. To date, Daniel has made more than 10,000 jumps, and counting, and he is now known as one of the best behind the camera, at 12,000 feet.

Daniel’s love for photography began at an early age, and after falling in love with skydiving, he blended his two passions.

“The moment is very fleeting,” said Daniel. “So, if you have a shot in your head that you would like to create, it takes a lot of practice, a lot of training, also a little engineering to try and put that together.”

Daniel also described the difference between photography works that take place on terra firma, and those that take place up in the air.

“If you’re taking a photograph on the ground, depending on the subject, you maybe have the ability to take a test shot, take a look at the settings, and then be able to adjust until you get that right shot,” said Daniel. “Skydiving is more of sport photography, where they’re trying to get that perfect shot and it’s not something that you can recreate necessarily.”

Daniel said in order to be a good aerial photographer, you’d have to be a great skydiver.

“Not is it enough that I have to fly my own body or my parachute for example, but I have to be able to do that without having to think about it that much that I can now focus on the shot,” said Daniel. “In addition to that, I have to be very aware of my closing speeds with other people, the distance I’m away from them and I also have to remain altitude aware. I can’t look at my altimeter constantly, because that would ruin the shot.”

Equipment is also important. Daniel’s helmet works as his rig, and his tripod is his own body.

Over the years, Daniel has documented other people’s jumps, along with the formation of skydiving teams. He has also produced training video. Daniel said some of his favorite pictures to take are during competition with his team.

“I really enjoy the pressure of having to get a specific shot, and then being able to present that to the judges,” said Daniel. “That’s been my expertise, but I also really enjoy the off-the-wall projects, so whether someone wants to light a parachute on fire or something kind of more in that direction. Something you don’t see everyday.”

Besides doing what he loves everyday, Daniel also gets to share his passion with others who might not get the chance to. He and his wife, Brianne, support “Operation Enduring Warrior” by donating their time to help wounded veterans enter the sport of skydiving.

Skydiving, one could say, is a sport that has taken Daniel to heights he never could have imagined.” – reported by Danielle Miller of FOX 10 News

For more information on skydiving photography, please click here, and check out the PictureCorrect interview by Richard Schneider.


10 years and counting

It has been 10 years since I first started experimenting with creating skydive related educational videos. Back in 2006, the internet was a very different place. As connection/download speeds started to improve, and online videos become more prevalent, new platforms of communication started to emerge. One of these was called Expert Village; a site I was introduced to by a friend and co-worker of mine, Patrick Eaves of WingEnvy Paragliding.


At that time, there were only two vertical wind tunnel in the US: Orlando Florida and Perris California. Other wind tunnel designs, like flyaway in Las Vegas were available, but they did not offer the clean, wall-to-wall air flow that the newer Skyventure designs provided. This is what set Skyventure tunnels apart from their competitors, and is what made these tunnels so desirable to skydivers. They better replicated the feel of free fall, and skydivers were able to train with their personal equipment (jumps suits, helmets, and in some cases rigs if covered by a sleeve).

From 2005 – 2007 I was a full time tunnel instructor (IBA certified) and coach at the Perris Skyventure wind tunnel. During the time, many of the worlds best coaches would visit the Perris drop zone and tunnel to hold skills camps and organize events. This was the time and place to be if your goal was to train hard and learn a lot. I was fortunate enough to be able to fly with some of the most respected names in every discipline, and watch them coach for hours each day at close proximity. I quickly realized that each coach had their own personality, values, and way of teaching. I observed not only what they taught, but also how they connected with their students.

Personally, I am a very analytical person and like to pick concepts apart mentally, make predictions, and then test ideas practically. This has always driven my training and coaching style. The online tutorials presented an opportunity to not only market my services, but also forced me to think more critically about the information I was sharing. These early videos were low budget and shot in one afternoon without a real script to speak of. The idea was to make people aware of the newly arising discipline (tunnel flying), and to let people know that professional coaching was available.

Looking back at the 10 year old footage, I have to say that I still agree with most of the information that is being presented. It encapsulated my working knowledge, and what was taught during that time. However, my coaching process has evolved substantially over the years.

I am still actively engaged in creating online content such as tutorials and instructional videos on the AXIS Flight School YouTube channel, as well as through USPA’s monthly printed publication Parachutist.

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Foundations of Flight is a monthly column that AXIS contributes to USPA Parachutist magazine. These how-to videos and articles are not just limited to free fall skills, but have been expanded on to also include canopy skills and much more.

Of course none of the tutorials have ever meant to be a substitute for professional coaching. They are meant to spark curiosity and provide some insight to a training method to jumpers who do not have access to professional coaching. They serve as an educational guideline and a small glimpse into what is out there.

sdaz_logo.pngIn 2010, AXIS moved its head quarters to Skydive Arizona, which is the perfect training ground for skydivers who want to sharpen their skills and learn at an accelerated pace. This is because the drop zone has great jumping weather year round, a massive fleet of aircraft, and a wind tunnel that is located on the drop zone. For more information about coaching or AXIS Flight School, contact us at Info[at]AXISFlightSchool.com