Ioannis Vlachiotis | D-31871
Profiles | Jul 01, 2024
Ioannis Vlachiotis | D-31871

Brian Giboney

Ioannis Vlachiotis began his skydiving journey 17 years ago, inspired by the aerial photography of skydiving greats. It didn’t take long for him to work his way to the top of the discipline, capturing stunning photos of the sky in his home country of Greece and around the world. When he’s not working as a professional photographer and videographer providing Parachutist with some of its best material, you can find him working with students or spending time with his daughter.

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“Ioannis (or John for the English speakers!) has risen through the ranks over the years to become a world-class skydive photographer and videographer. As a fellow Greek and world traveler myself, I’m proud to see my countrymen rising up in the sport through dedication, skill and hard work! Γειά σου ρε Ιωάννη!” —Stephen Hatzistefanidis, Parachutist profilee #275


Nicknames: Back in the old days it was “Matzore” [“Major” in English]. Long story.
Age: I stopped at 37
Height: 6’4”
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Marital Status: Single dad
Children: 16-year-old daughter
Favorite Food: Oven-baked salmon with sweet potatoes, and of course, souvlaki!
Life Philosophy: One day at a time
Hard opening or line twists? Line twists. You don’t want a hard opening with nine pounds of equipment on your helmet …
Jump Philosophy: Find the perfect shot!
Sponsors: Jyro, Sun Path Products, Vertigen Fly.
Container: Sun Path Javelin
Main Canopy: Jyro JFX II 109, JFX 120
Reserve Canopy: Performance Designs Optimum 143
AAD: Advanced Aerospace Designs Vigil
Disciplines: In the old days, formation skydiving. It’s all about camera flying, tandems and students now.
Year of First Jump: 2007
Licenses/Ratings: A-53161, C-37652, D-31871; Coach, AFF and Tandem Instructor
Number of Jumps: 9,000
  Tandem: 4,000
  Camera: 3,000
  AFF: 1,500
  FS: 400
Largest Completed Formation: 48-way
Cutaways: 7 sport, 3 on tandems

How did you become interested in skydiving?
I first saw skydiving on TV when I was about 10 years old. It was a big formation back in the days when flyers were using those huge colorful jumpsuits. I remember that I approached the screen, pointed to the formation and thought “One day I’m going to do this.” I totally forgot that moment, but a few decades later I was in the first ground school that took place in Athens. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’ve probably already jumped with some of these guys in that formation …

What do you like most about the sport?
Thanks to skydiving, I’ve had the chance to travel around the world, meet many super-cool people and make some really talented good friends. I like to believe that this sport has way more super-nice people than a**holes.

What do you like least?
Egos and accidents because of egos; ungratefulness.

What are your future goals?
Be a better photographer, flyer and friend.

Any tips for young jumpers looking to make it in freefall photography?
Learn as much as you can about photography before you jump with a camera. Practice on the ground a lot. Show your photos and videos to experienced camera flyers and really listen. Learn how to edit and be the best flyer in the discipline you want to film.

Is there one jump that stands out most?
I’ve had many unforgettable jumps at exotic locations like the Maldives, over the Giza pyramids, Bali, Namibia and the beautiful Greek island of Crete, but if I have to choose just one, that would be my first AFF (sunset) jump as a student over Megara, Greece.

Who have been your skydiving mentors?
Maria Kambourova as my static-line and AFF Instructor, as well as Nikos Dendramis and Marcus Laser. I never really had a mentor for camera flying. I learned a lot by practicing and looking at the work of the great ones like Norman Kent, Mike McGowan, Ray Cottingham, Craig O’Brien and Bruno Brokken.

Any suggestions for students?
Enjoy every jump, even if you struggle in the beginning! Learn how to filter all the incoming info from different people at the DZ and do not compare your progression with others. We are different! Be humble, have fun and go slow if you want to stay in the sport for a long time.

What’s the most bad-ass thing you can do in the air?
Like most camera flyers, even though we can’t move our heads around when filming, we are capable of checking where the DZ is, watching other jumpers around us, predicting the future of the jump and keeping everything in frame at the right time. At least most of the time.

Most embarrassing moment?
Slipping on the camera step while filming a VIP tandem jump, as one of the “best” camera flyers at the DZ. No video. No photos.

Is there one jump you would like to do again?
Despite the fact that I was so nervous, the first tandem jump with my daughter. No need to explain; easy to understand why.

Describe skydiving in Greece:
Although there are plenty of wonderful and unique locations for skydiving in Greece, the sport is not as popular as in the rest of Europe for many reasons. During the last decade, the number of drop zones running year-round increased, as well as the number of fun jumpers. Unfortunately, we don’t have “official” competition other than accuracy, but hopefully, with some effort and luck, this will change soon and the sport will grow more.

What was it like landing your first Parachutist cover last September?
Oh, I don’t think I can describe the feeling. It was unexpected—I had no clue that the photo would be on the cover. A dream came true and made me hungry for more. It’s an amazing feeling to see your work published, especially on the cover of Parachutist!

What is your most significant life achievement?
I’m a proud and happy single dad.

Weirdest moment?
Well, I’m used to it now and I enjoy it, but it was weird to hear people screaming “I love you!” after opening on a tandem jump.

Explain Ioannis Vlachiotis in five words:
According to friends: Positive, creative, funny, outgoing, helpful.

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