Name: Mike Flor, AKA “Dirty Mike” – not to be confused with “Creepy Mike” he’s an entirely different human being.
What is your role at Skydive Orange?
Jack of all trades, master of none I guess… I do a little AFF, a few Tandems here and there, occasionally I might pack a rig or two, in a pinch I might try to smash a reserve in a container and hope it works. One time I did a jump with Mario and Atom into a Louisa HS football game. I frequently give unsolicited advice around the DZ and hanger on packing, gear maintenance, landing patterns and or aircraft procedures as well as general safety and training topics. Periodically I take some A license jumpers to the YMCA and drown them in the deep end with an old musty parachute and call it “Water Training.” Once or twice a year, I hang out late on a full moon Saturday and talk about night jumps. Last but definitely not least, I do exactly what Pam tells me to, because I kinda like my job and don’t want to be fired, so I just shut up and color then eat my crayons like a good Marine.
How long have you been in the sport?
I made my first static line parachute fall on April 17th 2010, so I guess that makes ten years in the sport. Total jumps around 2,000 give or take a few. That’s a hot mix of Tandems, AFF, HAHO’s, R&D, Night and military stuff.
How did you first learn about skydiving/what brought you to the sport?
I kinda always knew skydiving was a thing, grew up on army bases and seen a few drops, watched a lot of B-Rate action flicks from the 80’s and 90’s. What finally brought me into it was work related. I had been an Infantryman in the Marines for about 7 years and wanted something more, something different. Really I just didn’t want to do another 3 years in 29 Palms! So I tried out for a little unit called Recon, made the cut, showed up at my unit and started getting “schooled up.” Static Line, Military Free Fall, Jump Master, etc. For a few years, I did only military jumps in and around deployments and other training. Then in 2015, I moved to Virginia and was working with some guys who were on the training side of military jumping. Drove down to a hole in the wall DZ called Skydive Orange to meet up with them for a currency jump one day. They threw a Vector 3 at me and I made my first “fun” jump.
Who would you invite to join you on your dream 3-way?
Is this a trick question? I thought this was a blog about skydiving. If I were to do a small formation skydive, an epic one for the ages, I’d bring Jason Statham and Natalie Portman. On a real note, on my dream 3-way jump i’m bringing Audrey and Daphne when Daphne turns 18!
What’s you next skydiving goal?
My next goal is to take my Sigma T.I.E. up a level and become a USPA T.I.E. I’d also like to spend the summer getting into canopy piloting. If this time off goes any longer, I might spend some time working on a seat or chest rating.
Tell us about your most rewarding skydive to date.
This is a tough question! I have so many that are really special. That’s like asking your favorite movie or song. Each AFF or Tandem student that comes in the door has their own motivation, reason and story for being there. Arguably some better than others lol. I find a lot of intrinsic rewards in the job itself. Being able to take part in their journey and share something that intimate with people on a daily basis is awesome. Some of my milestone jumps and “graduation” jumps have been super cool and rewarding to me personally. I’d say I have a personal favorite for each of my ratings and disciplines. If I had to pick one though, my 500th I was able to take a good buddy of mine on his first front ride on a night tandem. I’d say there’s a good majority of the sport who haven’t done night jumps and 99% will never do a night Tandem. USPA mandates 500 jumps before you can even take the rating course. So being able to combine a milestone and an extraordinary skydive like that is pretty rad!
What is your favorite thing about the skydiving community?
Hands down it’s the people. Having spent the last 17 years in the Marines, I’m used to working in a melting pot of people from all over the country/world and the associated personalities that come with it. The only other place I’ve seen that brings people together like that is the skydiving community. Skydivers come in all shapes, sizes, colors, skill, status and backgrounds, but they all share a passion for the sport. If it weren’t for the people, it wouldn’t be what it is and I’d just do dangerous stuff by myself like ride my chopper on I-95 in rush hour, to get a thrill.
What is the biggest challenge you’re battling in light of COVID-19?
I was out last summer with a broken leg and this spring/summer we have COVID-19. I usually try to stay pretty positive, but the idea of missing out on my hobbies and work two years in a row is pretty depressing.
There are a lot of challenges with Coronavirus, but what are the silver linkings about all of this that you hadn’t anticipated?
So much time to catch up on stuff like spring cleaning and projects and crafts with my kids. I’m pretty anal retentive about cleanliness and organization. Having the time to go through and de-clutter and get stuff done that needed fixing has been nice. The quality time with the kiddos has been the absolute best though. Teleworking and being able to make breakfast with them and play a round of uno or yahtzee has been awesome. I missed a lot when they were younger between deployments and traveling for work/training. Having the time and opportunity to make up for that now is my silver lining.
Everyone is facing challenges. What companies or people have impressed you during these challenging times?
There have been a lot of people in my neighborhood who have been doing random acts of kindness that has really inspired me and gave me a little more faith in humanity. People buying extra eggs at a farm and giving them away or people buying kids they’ve never met birthday presents because they can’t have parties. Big businesses prioritizing customers has also been a pleasant surprise. Amazon preventing price gouging and prioritizing shipping of essentials first. GEICO giving rebates and reducing policy pricing. As well as all the businesses that are deferring payments, to name a few.
We’ve all taken things for granted, that we now miss and appreciate. Outside of skydiving, what had you taken for granted that you appreciate more now?
The gym! I was working on my Summer Dad Bod, going for the Fat Thor look. Now i’m just going to be fat.
Aside from skydiving, what are you most looking forward to doing when all of this is over?
Taking the kids on our annual mini vacation. We always do something fun over the summer, an amusement or the beach for instance. Every other year we do something a little bigger like The Yucatan or Niagara. This is supposed to be a big year, on account of me being in a cast last year.
If you could recommend one song for everyone to listen to, what would it be?
Really? One song? Refer back to question 6… I mean what’s the setting? Are we about to do hoodrat stuff with our friends, are we around the bonfire (early night or late night different moods)? Are we picking a song that we think people haven’t heard before? Between Amazon Music, Pandora, Sirius XM, etc. music is free flowing across the earth. After about an hour of sitting here racking my brain and abusing my keyboard on the googles, I narrowed it down. It was a close fight between Weird Al Yankovic and Tenacious D. In the end Tenacious D won on account of their originality. F*** Her Gently by Tenacious D is a must listen.
Who/what is your spirit animal?
After taking 12 different online spirit animal quizzes and getting 12 different BS answers, I have settled on the Honey Badger FTW! Google it, Stanley the Honey Badger is B.A.!
Tell us about a memory that instantly makes you smile?
I don’t smile. Ever. Not even once.
The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.