Three-time skydiving world record holder Roberta Mancino was on hand at the Edmonton Skydive centre in Westlock this weekend, training aspiring and competitive wingsuit pilots in the extreme sport.
Mancino is a bit of a celebrity in the skydiving community. The 33-year-old Italian - who is also a sponsored BASE jumper and model - is regarded as one of the world’s best wingsuit flyers. She has more than 8,500 skydives under her belt.
A wingsuit - often referred to as a “flying squirrel suit” allows pilots to glide through the air.
Adam Easto, a wingsuit pilot with Edmonton Skydive, described the extreme sport as “the dream of flying” - only coming true.
“Children talk about flying, they run around with the bed sheet in the backyard,” said Easto. “This is the real, adult, grown-up version of it. When you jump out and stretch your wings you really can look where you want to go, and that’s where you’ll go.”
Mancino trained the local skydivers - all of whom were already relatively experienced.
“With a wing suit it’s mostly safety things and also how to fly the windsuit,” said Mancino. The participants she trained over the weekend already had 200 skydives on their resumes.
“So they are already expert skydivers but they are still students in a way because they have to learn to fly the wing suit, which is totally different than any other jump.”
Easto said it was beneficial to have Mancino on hand for the weekend.
“Having Roberta Mancino here, even for the people who are already pretty good, lifts the game,” he said. “Having world renowned champion here on site totally pushes it to the next level.”