Lisa Mazzetta is a badass freeflyer who has been on four world record jumps, most recently the 65-way Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Women’s Head-Down World Record at Skydive Arizona in Eloy in November, as well as the 138-Way Head-Down World Record in 2012. Mazzetta is a big supporter of USPA’s Sisters in Skydiving program, which helps women develop networks to support each other in the sport. At Skydive Arizona in 2012, she co-organized the first SIS event and has put together a SIS event at the drop zone every year since.
Birthplace: Perry Hall, Maryland
Marital Status: Married to Petter Mazzetta
Occupation: Banker with JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Education: Bachelor of Science from Drexel University
Pre-Jump Superstitions: It’s not a superstition, but I do not like rushing, and no jump is worth it to me if I don’t feel organized going into it.
Life Philosophy: Do the right thing.
Jump Philosophy: Better safe than sorry.
Team Name: Ziggy
Sponsors: Boogieman, Larsen & Brusgaard and United Parachute Technologies
Container: United Parachute Technologies Micron 3
Main Canopy: NZ Aerosports Icarus Safire 3 109
Reserve Canopy: Performance Designs Optimum 109
AAD: Airtec CYPRES II
Home Drop Zone: Skydive Arizona in Eloy
Year of First Jump: 2002
Licenses: A-51476, C-36720, D-30274
Total Number of Jumps: 2,100-plus Freefly: 2,000 VFS: 200 Camera: 50 Tandems: Eight Wingsuit: Seven Balloon: Two
Largest Completed Formation: 142-way
Total Number of Cutaways: Two
Most people don’t know this about me: I was student council president in 8th grade.
Of all of your skydives, does one jump stand out most? The day before my wedding, we went tracking and landed on the beach in Åhus, Sweden. I was so afraid I would hurt myself, but it was amazing and so fun.
What do you like most about the sport? At this point in my skydiving career my favorite thing is spending time with the people I’ve met. (I actually like weather days.)
What do you like least about the sport? The sad times.
Who has been your skydiving mentor? My bestie and domestic partner (we own a home together), Amy Chmelecki. She has always shown me that I have what it takes and given me tremendous opportunities to surprise myself. One of my favorite times was when she and I had a dynamic 2-way tunnel team called the Flying Cougars and made a really funny “Rocky” spoof video about training for the competition.
What are your future skydiving goals? To find new challenges.
How did you become interested in skydiving? It just always looked cool, and then I found out a friend of mine had a sister who jumped and went to the DZ with her.
Do you have any suggestions for students? Don’t be the one jumping when all the people with 1,000-plus jumps are scratching.
What’s the most badass thing you can do in the air? Not fart until I am out of the plane.
What is your favorite jump plane and why? Beech 99, because it’s fast!
If you could do fantasy 2-way with anybody, whom would it be with and where would it take place? Anytime I get to do a jump with the husband I call it a fantasy 2-way. Since he works full time in the sport, it’s hard to find time to just do a 2-way together, and they are still my most favorite jumps.
Were you a hard child to raise? I was pretty good, except I couldn’t spell, and every year my mom would get called in because I would get caught cheating on a spelling test. There was a board in class where the kids who had received a 100 percent had stars, so usually by March (having no stars on the board) I would break down and start cheating.
What’s been your most embarrassing moment at a drop zone? When I was a student I made the common mistake of hooking up with my instructor. I was called out in the middle of the DZ and went home crying. I was so embarrassed, I thought about quitting and never coming back, but I got over it and the person has since apologized. And I only retell this story now because I’m sure there may be someone out there contemplating the same thing, and I hope maybe my story will give that person the courage to go on.
The toughest thing to do in the sport of skydiving is: Save money.
What kind of skydiving student were you? I think I was pretty normal: not so talented but always safe and heads up, for the most part.
Of all your skydives, is there one you would like to do again? My first innhop [a jump into an off-DZ location] in Voss, Norway. We exited and traversed down a waterfall; it was so beautiful, I cried.
What has been your best skydiving moment?
Recently, it was the feeling I got when I knew we had the 65-way women’s head-down world record. Across the formation I saw my friend, Melanie Firth, who had been training so hard for her first record and had almost been hurt and unable to participate, smiling across from me as the formation flew flawlessly for at least 10 seconds.
What drives your competitive spirit? I’m really only competitive with myself. Whatever I do, I need to know I’ve done it well, and if I am part of a team, I need to be a team player and not let my team down.
In 2012, you organized the first Sisters in Skydiving event. Did the event meet your expectations?
With the help of my co-organizers and Larsen & Brusgaard, the event allowed me a chance to give back to the girls and the sport in such a special way. Each year has gotten bigger, so it’s been hard to give as much individual attention.
What was your motivation to get involved with SIS? I did AFF in 2002, made it to 15 jumps, then winter came, and I didn’t jump again for five years. I felt that if I had made some bonds with other ladies in the sport I would have kept jumping.
In 2013 you organized the first Dynamic Workshop event. Can you explain what that is? It was a very ambitious project, with two-coach-and-two-student teams flying 2.5 hours of tunnel and doing 15 jumps over a long weekend, really focusing on the new discipline of dynamic 4-way. I’m still extremely thankful to the coaches and students who took part in the project, as a lot of what took place in Eloy that winter carried on into the chain of dynamic tunnel competitions that have been evolving and taking place over the last four years.
Late in 2016 you were on the women’s head-down world record jump. What was it like? Record jumps are some of my favorites, because I love the intensity of not being the one to let the team down. I went into this last record the most uncurrent I have ever been going into a record. I started off as a second stinger on the base, but then got moved to a first stinger on a pod. At first, my ego was hurting, feeling that I let the team down and wasn’t killing my slot, but as the jumps continued I was super happy I had a slot that was not as challenging to me.
What do you consider your most significant life achievement? In 2013 I organized three back-to-back skydiving events (SIS in January, Dynamic Workshop in February and UPT Flight Camp in March) while being a top performer at my regular job. It was the most challenging and rewarding time of my life. I’m glad I did it, and I would never do that to myself again.