Bruce Meinert started skydiving in 1989 and has made an impact on the sport ever since. He is a multi-rated instructor who is the Safety and Training Advisor at Skydive Monroe in Georgia. While working outside of the skydiving industry and raising a family, Meinert has trained thousands of students—including his oldest daughter, whom he took through the AFF program—and still finds time for canopy piloting and big-way formation skydiving.
Marital Status: Happily married to my wife, Angie
Children: Three awesome young adults
Occupation: Auto painter
Education: High school
Pre-Jump Superstitions: Countless handle checks
Hobbies: I’m boring … only jumping
Favorite Food: Mexican
Rock, Rap or Country? Metal
Hard opening or line twists? Hard opening. Hate line twists on tandems!
Neat packer or trash packer? Neat
Would you rather swoop or land on an accuracy tuffet? I like being able to do either.
Container: United Parachute Technologies Micron
Main Canopy: Fluid Wings Helix 71
Reserve Canopy: Aerodyne Research Smart 135
AAD: Airtec CYPRES
Disciplines: Formation skydiving,canopy piloting
Home Drop Zone: Skydive Monroe, located between Atlanta and Athens in Georgia
First Jump: AFF in 1989
Licenses, Ratings and Appointments: B-14537, C-24999, D-20225; AFF and Tandem Instructor, PRO; Safety and Training Advisor
Records: Multiple state FS records and POPS FS records
Total Number of Jumps: 7,935
Accuracy: All of them
Largest Completed Formation: Three-point 111-way
Total Number of Cutaways: Six sport, 15 tandem
Of all your skydives, does one stand out?
Any jumps with family members. Tandem jumps with my wife and youngest daughter. AFF jumps with my oldest daughter.
How long do you plan on skydiving?
Until I can no longer.
What do you like most about the sport?
The mix of people and how we become family.
What do you like least about the sport?
The impatience of young jumpers.
Who has been your skydiving mentor?
[I’ve had] plenty, but Joe Bennett the most.
What are your future skydiving goals?
Jump as long as I can.
What safety item do you think is most important or most often neglected?
Knowing the current winds and jump run.
How did you become interested in skydiving?
I was talked into it by a coworker. The funny thing is, he set it up but backed out the night before we were to make the jump.
Do you have any suggestions for students?
Don’t be in a hurry to progress, whether it be downsizing or discipline advancement. Enjoy the journey!
What’s the most bad-ass thing you can do in the air?
Fly my slot, whether it be AFF, video, big-way, etc.
What is your favorite jump plane and why?
King Air; it climbs fast.
If you could make everyone do something to make Earth better, what would it be?
What has been your most embarrassing moment while on a skydive?
Forgetting to buckle my helmet and losing it while exiting with a tandem student (on video of course).
The toughest thing to do in the sport of skydiving is:
Have patience with the weather.
What kind of skydiving student were you, the typical flailer or a complete natural?
Definitely a flailer. It took me 12 jumps to [get cleared to self-supervise]. One thing in particular that I learned from one of my instructors was how not to get a student to relax, which was him yelling “Relax!” at me.
What do you consider your most significant life achievement?
Somehow maintaining a balance of family/work/jumping for more than 30 years.
What has been your best skydiving moment?
Being on my first 100-way.
What has been your worst skydiving moment?
Someday I am going to own ...
Perhaps an RV to travel around with and visit different DZs once I retire.
Is there one jump you would like to do over?
I would like to do the [Illinois state record] 111-way sequential again, not because it was bad but because it was awesome that we accomplished what we set out to do in three jumps. The only thing that could have been better would have been if Hal Spence [who passed away before the event, and who the record was dedicated to] would have been with us. Having better weather would have been nice, as well.
What has been your weirdest skydiving moment?
This occurred on a 120-way attempt. I had just docked on a middle whacker slot, and all of the sudden the innermost part of the formation funneled. It looked like someone pulled the plug and they all went down the drain!
Do you have any suggestions for USPA?
Raise the jump number for the USPA Coach rating to at least 200. Currently we have coaches trying to teach AFF graduates subjects that they themselves don’t have a decent grasp of.
What has been your strangest thought during a skydive?
As a young jumper (figuratively and literally), I was flying around under my 220 Cruislite after my first high pull and started wondering, “How are these tiny lines supporting me under this canopy and this 3-ring thing held in place by this little cloth loop?” Don’t know why it took nearly 30 jumps to think about it; I guess it was just the extra time under canopy that let my mind wander. Still don’t care for high pulls to this day!
What is your perfect day like?
Great skydives and great swoops.
What’s the best thing about Skydive Monroe?
I think its size; it seems very much like a family there.
As an S&TA, what safety item currently gives you the most concern for the sport long-term?
What drew you to instructing?
I’m not sure why I got a rating in the first place, but my love for the sport and wanting to share that with others is what drives me to continue to teach.
Explain Bruce Meinert in five words or fewer:
Dedicated, dependable, passionate about skydiving