Sharon Har-Noy Pilcher, D-33082, is an Israeli national champion who focuses her attention on three-dimensional flying. She is also a world record holder, having participated in the 2015 164-way Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Record for Largest Head-Down Formation in 2015, as well as the 65-way FAI Women’s World Record for Largest Head-Down Formation in 2017. Her all-female team JOYRIDERS, a dynamic and talented group of skydivers, tunnel flyers and BASE jumpers, has two stated goals: the pursuit of excellence in flight and spreading joy along the journey.
“Sharon is capable, caring and adept in what she puts her energy into. She gets her projects done with passion!”-Sara Curtis, Parachutist Profilee #143
Marital Status: Married
Pets: Does a fish count?
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Media and Management
Pet Peeves: When coaches tell their students to “just relax.” Never, in the history of relaxing, has anyone ever relaxed when told to “just relax.”
Pre-Jump Superstitions: I must blow my nose before exiting the plane, for fear of a sinus infection. More of a bad history than superstition, though.
Hobbies: Yoga, paddle-boarding, hiking
Life Philosophy: It really is about the little moments.
Hard opening or line twists? Don’t know what you are talking about, I fly a Valkyrie …
Neat packer or a trash packer? Somewhere in-between
Did you start out as an AFF, static-line or tandem student? Showed up for static line and got talked into AFF. Never looked back.
Team Name: JOYRIDERS
Sponsors: Advanced Aerospace Designs, Cookie Helmets, Larsen & Brusgaard, Liquid Sky Sports, Performance Designs and United Parachute Technologies
Container: United Parachute Technologies Vector3
Main Canopy: Performance Designs Valkyrie 79
Reserve Canopy: Performance Designs Optimum 113
AAD: Advanced Aerospace Designs Vigil
Home Drop Zone: Skydive DeLand in Florida
Year of First Jump: 2000
Associations/Club Memberships: USPA, Israeli Skydiving Association
Total Number of Jumps: 7,500
Freefly: 7,000 Camera: 300 Wingsuit: 10 Demos: 5 BASE: 3
Largest Completed Formation: 164
Total Number of Cutaways: 3
Does one jump stand out most?
Wow, there are so many. Jumping in the fjords of Norway for the first time was pretty epic. So were the rest of my jumps there, but the first one completely blew my mind because I didn’t know what to expect.
Who have been your skydiving mentors?
There are so many. To name a few, Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet pushed me and taught me more than they will ever know. I’ve learned a lot working alongside Luis Prinetto, and of course my first coach, Mike Swanson, had a huge influence on me.
What are your future skydiving goals?
To enjoy every moment I get in the sky, and to be able to share that with others.
What safety item is most important?
Using an AAD, no doubt. I don’t think it’s often neglected, but I have trouble understanding why someone would not use one.
Any suggestions for students?
Enjoy the journey. A bit of a cliché, maybe, but there is a reason clichés become what they are. Every part of skydiving progression has its own unique beauty. Take a big inhale and let it all in.
What’s the most bad-ass thing you can do in the air?
What is your favorite jump plane and why?
Recently it’s been a friend’s Waco biplane that she flies over her airport home. It was very useful during COVID, and I absolutely love the feeling of climbing on the wing and hanging out while spotting.
If you could do a fantasy 2-way with anybody, whom would it be with and where would it take place?
Vince Reffet. Anywhere, if we could have him back.
Were you a hard child to raise?
Hmmm … Sorry, mom.
Most embarrassing moment while in freefall or at a drop zone:
My shoes got tied to each other in freefall twice in two consecutive jumps. You won’t see me jumping with shoelaces anymore.
The toughest thing to do in the sport of skydiving is:
Forgiving yourself for your mistakes. It’s better to focus on learning from them.
What kind of skydiving student were you - the typical flailer or a complete natural from jump number one?
Definitely a flailer. I tell my students all the time that if I can learn to skydive, anyone can. It’s just a matter of putting in the reps and being kind to yourself when you don’t get it right.
What do you consider your most significant life achievement?
Tolerating a husband (Shannon Pilcher) who thinks he’s always right, and therefore, thinks everyone else is wrong. (He actually asked me to say that, but this time he is not wrong).
Best skydiving moment?
The best moments for me are 2-ways when there is a special connection of feeling or emotion. Also, I love a good tracking race at the end of a jump.
Explain Sharon Har-Noy Pilcher in five words or fewer:
Passionate, quirky, ambitious, introverted extrovert.
What drives your competitive spirit?
A continual desire to be a bit better tomorrow than I was yesterday.
What led you to specialize in freefly coaching and organizing?
I remember the first time my AFF instructor let go of me and I started flailing all over the sky. It’s embarrassing to admit, but it made me realize I love being able to move in a three-dimensional space.
What do you like most about freeflying?
The potential to move in any direction fluently.
Any special freefly records or events you are looking forward to in late 2022 or 2023?
I can’t wait for the Project 19 world record attempt to finally happen. We have had to postpone the record twice due to COVID, and we have jumpers who have been training for it for years now. More than anything, I want to see all the new ladies getting to experience such a powerful moment for the first time. There is nothing like the feeling of being synchronized together with so many people at freefall speeds. Of course, setting a new world record together makes it even more special.
And a little later: In 2024 the FAI World Parachuting Championships are coming to my home country, Israel! After representing Israel for five years in World Cups and Championships, I’m super excited to be able to take part in hosting the teams that are coming to compete. A recommendation to anyone who is attending: Give yourself some time after the competition …