Ari Perelman, D-27247, is a world-class formation skydiving competitor, coach and organizer. He is a current member of Arizona Airspeed, which recently took silver in 4-way FS at the 2018 Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Parachuting Championships in Australia. Also skilled in vertical flying, Perelman has competed in vertical and mixed formation skydiving and was on the 138-way FAI Head-Down World Record in 2012.
Birthplace: Mt. Kisco, New York
Marital Status: Married to Hannah Perelman
Pets: One cat, one dog
Occupation: Full-time skydiver
Education: Double majored in jazz and classical performance on trombone
Pet Peeves: People who don't follow through with what they say
Rock, Rap or Country? Jazz and classical
Life Philosophy: The glass is completely full: half full with water, half full with air.
Neat packer or a trash packer? Neat, but only where it matters
Jump Philosophy: Be safe and have fun! When trying to progress, give it your all and see what happens.
Team Name: Arizona Airspeed
Sponsors: Advanced Aerospace Designs, Cookie Helmets, Larsen & Brusgaard, Para-Gear Equipment Co., Performance Designs, Skydive Arizona, SkyVenture Arizona, Sun Path Products, TonySuits
Container: Sun Path Javelin Odyssey
Main Canopy: Performance Designs Valkyrie 71
Reserve Canopy: Performance Designs Optimum 113
AAD: Advanced Aerospace Designs Vigil Cuatro
Disciplines: Mainly 4-way FS, but I love freeflying
Home Drop Zone: Skydive Arizona in Eloy
First Jump: Tandem in 2002
Licenses: A-41592, C-33398, D-27247
Championships, Medals and Records: 2014 and 2015—silver in 2-way open MFS at USPA Nationals. 2017 and 2018—gold in 4-way open FS at USPA Nationals. 2018—silver in 4-way FS at FAI World Championships
2010—U.S. Record for Longest 16-Way Formation Skydiving Sequence. 2012—FAI World Record for Largest Head-Down Formation Skydive. 2014—U.S. Record for Longest Mixed Formation Skydiving Sequence
Total Number of Jumps: I logged until 618, so it's all a guess now. Around 6,500, I think.
FS: 4,500 Freefly: 1,500 CF: 200 AFF: 200 Camera: 100 Demos: 10 Wingsuit: 10 Tandems: Three Balloon: Two
Largest Completed Formation: 138-way FAI World Record for Largest Head-Down Formation Skydive
Total Number of Cutaways: Six
What was your canopy progression? I got a Performance Designs Sabre 150 right off student status, which was probably too small. I downsized to a PD Stiletto 135 too quickly and then to a Stiletto 120 also too quickly. (Seeing a pattern?) I had a few scary landings, got some good advice and then got smart under canopy. I got on a PD Katana 120 for about 100 jumps and from there downsized, then switched to a PD Velocity, then eventually downsized and switched to the PD Valkyrie.
What do you like most about the sport? The wide range of people it attracts. Whatever your personality and whatever your drive, there is something skydiving has to offer.
What do you like least about the sport? The egos. Let's face it: We're just deflecting air. Relax and have fun!
Who has been your skydiving mentor? Jack Jefferies was my first skydiving mentor and the reason I got into 4-way and started getting serious about skydiving in general.
What are your future skydiving goals? To win the world meet in 2020!
What safety item do you think is most important? Staying vigilant. Always do a gear check, and look at yourself to see if there's anything you can be doing better.
How did you become interested in skydiving? I always loved the idea of flying, and skydiving is something that has appealed to me for a long time. I remember jumping off the roof of my house into bushes with a bedsheet. I think actual skydiving is much safer than that!
I skydive because … I love the feeling of freedom when in the sky, as well as being in the moment where nothing else matters.
Do you have any suggestions for students? Make safe decisions and listen to the experienced skydivers around you. If you see someone with thousands of jumps decide not to jump due to weather conditions, you probably shouldn't jump either.
What's the most bad-ass thing you can do in the air? Have a safe skydive and then go up and do another.
Were you a hard child to raise? I don't think I was the easiest child to raise, but I wasn't terrible.
If you could make everyone do something to make Earth a better place, what would it be? Be honest with everyone and treat other people how you want to be treated. We're definitely not going to all agree on everything, and that's a good thing, but let's be honest with each other and respectful.
What has been your most embarrassing moment at a drop zone? While organizing, I made a big point to set an easy-to-follow right-hand pattern ... and then on final as the first person down, realizing I had done a left-hand pattern.
What’s the toughest thing to do in the sport? Balance the rest of life.
What kind of skydiving student were you? I'd say I was an average student. I struggled with some things and had some things come easy. My main source of success is hard work.
How did you become interested in 4-way FS? One of my AFF instructors, Barry Williams, introduced me to it. I got into freeflying right after AFF, but Barry encouraged me to do 4-way to really learn about belly. That's where it all started.
What do you consider your most significant life achievement? Having an amazing, happy and healthy marriage.
What has been your greatest competition moment? Round seven at the world meet in 2018. We were down by six points to Hayabusa and the round had some blocks that had been challenging for me. We ended up having a great round and picked up four points!
What is your motivation to take on the rigors of world championship 4-way FS? Seeing how far we can push the boundaries of 4-way and how much I can push myself in all aspects of life.
What’s the best thing about being a member of Arizona Airspeed? Having the opportunity to pursue a dream along with my amazing teammates.
What is the future of 4-way FS? Will more point records fall, or has it maxed out? It definitely has not maxed out. A 30-point average in the sky will be the next big benchmark. Who knows how far people can take it?
Explain Ari Perelman in five words or fewer: Driven, patient, caring, adventurous, determined.