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Catching up with Katie Hansen

Katie Hansen — by Team Go4iT
Katie Hansen — by Team Go4iT

This Petra-flying swooper chick from NorCal is a jack-of-all-trades, the master of many and the mistress of adrenalin! Katie Hansen excels in Base, freeflying, canopy piloting, speed flying, wing suiting, tunnel flying and xRW. She is a BASE instructor, a freefly coach, a canopy piloting competitor and loves to do things no-one has done before. Katie was born to fly!

How many skydives, BASE jumps etc, with breakdown…?

Roughly: Wingsuit – 1000, Freefly – 2300, Camera - 500, Belly – 300, BASE – 600+

How long have you been in the sport and how did you start?

I made my first skydive and BASE jumps in 2003. My first 5 years in the sport consisted of about 200 skydives and about 250 BASE jumps. I did a static line jump with my dad to celebrate high school graduation, then I started going every weekend but it was a small DZ with short seasons.

I got a lot more active in the sport in 2008. I was on Baffin Island and watched the other jumpers flying wingsuits and decided I needed to do that, so I went back to the dz. As soon as I started jumping again I thought, “This is so fun! Why did I ever stop this?” and haven’t stopped since. Then I caught the freefly bug.

What equipment do you use and why?

Main canopy for wingsuiting: That’s kind of a revolving door, at the moment it’s a 5-cell crossbraced prototype from NZ Aerosports

Katie BASE jumping — by David Barpal
Katie BASE jumping — by David Barpal

Main canopy for everything else: Daedalus Petra 66

Container: VSE Infinity

Reserves: Icarus 99, PD 113

For coaching and flocking - PF Havok.
For XRW and BASE - Tonysuits Apache Rebel

I jump the gear I have because it’s the best gear on the market. I like to use the right tool for the right job.

What made you want to do xRW?

It looked badass and challenging. The first photo I ever saw blew my mind. It was obvious this was the next huge step for our disciplines and still continues to be. It really was challenging in the beginning figuring out the best pattern to get together, not sinking out once I was there, and so on. Eventually the gear got better and we got better but it really was a journey. After I could fly the wingsuit I thought the same challenge of flying the canopy. It was a huge marker for me in my canopy piloting to be able to fly with the wingsuits.

What are your skydiving achievements and claim to fame?

Come on, I don’t want to brag, you tell me!

A linked XRW turn flown by Katie (wingsuit) and TJ (Canopy Pilot)
A linked XRW turn flown by Katie (wingsuit) and TJ (Canopy Pilot)

What are your favourite 5 moments in your skydiving career?

  1. Landing in a Mustang car
  2. Flying the top canopy of a 2-stack with wingsuiters docked on the bottom guy
  3. My first day back after being injured (not skydiving or BASE jumping) after I was told I would never fly again. I did a 2-way freefly jump and a 12 way sequential. Take that, neurosurgeon!
  4. Being part of the Women’s Vertical World Record
  5. Seeing someone else in freefall with me for the first time.

Tell us about landing in the Mustang

Landing in the car was one of the best jumps of my life. Nick gave me some good tips and confidence, and JC is a really talented driver. I was definitely nervous but in a good way. I just used my references and lined it up… when I came out of my turn and realized I didn’t really need any corrections I was so excited, I just slid in the back seat and enjoyed the moment. It was pretty special.

What do you do for a living?

I coach skydiving and BASE as well as balance my professional career as a registered nurse.

Katie Hansen landing in a Mustang during Extreme Week 2013
Katie Hansen landing in a Mustang during Extreme Week 2013

What advice do you have for girls who want to start BASE jumping?

Find the right mentor who isn’t interested in hooking up with you. Guys will inevitably do something stupid to impress you. Other than that, go for it, and practice your canopy skills.

How did you get so hot?

Haha, I think it’s the jumpsuit…

Check out some of Katie's adventures last year, including XRW and her landing in a Mustang!

What are your plans for 2014?

Wingsuit BASE races in Norway and Switzerland if it works out as I hope, US CP Nationals, US Nationals, Australia, tunnel comps. I just did my first Dynamic 4 Way comp in Austin, Texas. I can’t wait to do more.

Describe yourself in 5 words or less.

Motivated, happy, adventurous, fortunate, safeish ;)

Anything to add?

There is always more to learn, enjoy the journey.

An awesome glimpse into so many ways of flying… Katie Hansen's GoPro shares base jumping, speed riding, wingsuiting, XRW, canopy flight, landing in a car and more…