Mario Ripa | Skydive Orange

Special Feature: Mario Ripa

Saturday, February 3, 2018

This fellow is a familiar face around Skydive Orange, and if you are lucky, hopefully, you will get the chance to jump with him. Students and staff alike rave about him, and now, let’s get to know ‘him’: Mario Ripa!

How did you get into the skydiving industry? And why skydiving?

I was curious like most people and went for a static line. I liked the jump and the people. Once I started skydiving, I had to find a way to “support the habit”. Helping around at the DZ allowed me to make some money for skydives. I started helping on the ground and progressed to become an instructor.

Mario Ripa | Skydive Orange

What did you do before you found skydiving? 

Not sure, I used to sail and use the weekend for resting, like most people.

What is your position with Skydive Orange?

[I am] just one more piece of the puzzle. Need all pieces for it to work.

What attracted you to get a job in the skydiving industry?

It started as just getting some free skydives and [needing to] buy gear. Eventually, I had the opportunity to do it full time. Make some money jump out of airplanes? Sign me up!

What is your favorite part of the sport?

When I realize the instructors, videographers or skydivers around were at some point my students.

Typically, everyone who jumps has someone who has helped them to progress. Who are some of the skydiving mentors you have had along the way?

There were too many to mention. Larry Pennington  (he was the DZO) showed me how to be safe and what not to do, Mark Epperson showed me how to have fun in the air, and Pierre Ponson taught me how to combine both.

Do you have any advice for jumpers interested in becoming instructors?

Take your time and take it serious.

What was one of your most memorable jumps with a tandem or AFF student?

There have been several memorable jumps. Taking a WW2 veteran and taking a lady that had lost most [of the] use of her legs.  

I see you are PRO Rated. What are some of the favorite demonstration jumps that you have done?

First jump carrying the American flag and first night demo into a football stadium

After 20+ years of jumping experience, how do you keep your passion for skydiving alive?

I like to make sure other people can get a second family like I did. After so many years, we get accustomed and ignore the importance of things that we do all the time, so interacting with first timers and beginners helps me keep a little of the magic alive.

What are some of your hobbies?

Not sure. I’m told I complain a lot.

Fast Facts:

Favorite Cuisine? 


Favorite junk food? 


Mario Ripa | Skydive Orange

Favorite food that you enjoy that most people would consider disgusting? 


Favorite place you’ve visited: 

Saltos del Mocona, Misiones Argentina

Place you want to visit that you haven’t been to yet? 


Pet peeve: 

People who do not accept responsibility for what they do.

What you said as a kid: “When I grow up I want to be: an astronaut, a private detective, smart, good looking, rich, to say a few… would have taken any of those.”

Something about you that few people know about and would be surprised to learn? 

I hate to spoil surprises

Best book you’ve ever read? 

I am Legend (not the movie)

If you were to write a book, what would be the title? 

“Just saying”

Chris Posillico Skydive Orange AFF Student

Chris Posillico

I always felt secure in my actions because I knew that I was well prepared by my instructors and coaches.

The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.

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