|Freestyle and Me||Freestyle
|Chocolate, Climbing & Other Mischief|Freestyle and Me
My early love of flying led me to soaring for a hobby, and aerospace engineering for my studies, but freestyle skydiving enthralled me like nothing else! I got my pilot's license when I was 18, and flew sailplanes until skydiving captivated me when I took my first jump at age 26. I was hooked right away! When the freestyle event emerged four years later, I was naturally drawn to it since it combined my love of flying with gymnastics. I was a gymnast in high school, and it's every gymnast's and dancer's dream, after all, to have those 60 seconds of 3-dimensional freedom.
Part of the thrill of freestyle was having the chance to help invent a new sport. I had to relearn how to perform all my gymnastics moves in the air, since the aerial environment was so different from being on the ground. I soon realized, however, that the freefall environment allowed me to do totally new moves that were impossible to do on the ground. The fun of creating new moves, and the adventure of discovering everything that was possible to do in the air kept me captivated with the sport for many years. I loved the opportunity to display the new moves I had been doing to the audiences and judges at competitions, and winning gold medals was icing on the cake!
Ultimately, the greatest reward from my freestyle came from an unexpected sourcefrom the smiles and delight on people's faces when they saw my performances! Since I was always working to improve my performances, I looked at my own routines very critically and saw all the areas where I needed to improve. When others watched them, however, I realized from their reactions that they saw them very differently. They were seeing something so far beyond what they had been able to imagine that, to them, it was almost magical! People had simply never imagined that such moveswith such grace and elegance, they saidcould ever be performed in the air! Seeing people's faces light up with this amazement was the biggest reward I could ask for.
Jim Huber from CNN said of me, "There are those who keep that dream of flying alive, and do something wonderfully creative about it." I feel truly grateful that I stumbled across a sport that enabled me to bring that kind of delight to other peopleas a momentary reawakening of the human dream of flying. Finding my own satisfaction in the sport was one thing, but seeing that it was a pleasure I could bring to others made the whole journey infinitely more satisfying.
Freestyle Skydiving Career Highlights:
Dale's dedication to skydiving led her to win gold medals in every freestyle skydiving competition she entered, including the World Championships in 1990, 91, 92, 93, 94, 96, and the World Games in 1997. She has made nearly 6,000 skydives during her thirteen years in the sport. Dale is recognized as a pioneer and premiere performer in the freestyle skydiving event and has invented hundreds of new freestyle moves and routines. She also pioneered dramatic two-way "Fun Flying" skydiving antics which skydivers at every level of ability have enjoyed.
As a seven-time champion, Dale's stunning performances captured significant media attention, and she was featured on prime-time programs on every major television network. Hollywood hired her to perform for the NBC TV show Mann and Machine and the movie Terminal Velocity, and she has been featured in European film productions.
From 1993 through 1997, Dale spent full time on her skydiving training and competition-related activities. Then, in 1998, she retired from competition and devoted full time to coaching, giving seminars to other aspiring freestylists, and judging at skydiving competitions.
Freestyle Skydiving Competition Details:
Television and Media Appearances:
Aerospace Career Highlights:
Dale's former career was as an aerospace engineering project manager, and she has a Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her specialty is in spacecraft design and mission analysis, and she worked on several scientific satellites for NASA, and won numerous academic and professional honors.
MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
S.B. degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics, June 1, 1982
S.M. degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics, June 4, 1984
Ph.D. degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics, February 18, 1987
Courses taken include space flight dynamics, orbital mechanics, satellite and flight vehicle engineering, aerodynamics, structural dynamics, classical and modern control, optimal control, function optimization techniques, computer graphics and management information systems. Doctoral thesis involved developing a guidance algorithm for cooperative tether-mediated orbital rendezvous. Doctoral minor performed in computer graphics.
Manager for Commercial Development: Direct report to Division VP, responsible for identification and development of commercial markets for aerospace-derived products and technologies. Managed commercial projects and product line expansion. 1993.
Software System Manager: Defined spacecraft system operations and managed the flight software development activities for a NASA scientific satellite, including software design, coding, testing and integration. 1990 to 1993.
Software Development Manager: Managed development of advanced mission analysis software tools. Developed an expert system to perform mission timeline planning. 1990.
Mission Analysis Subproject Manager: Managed the mission planning and analysis activities for a maneuverable space vehicle for NASA. 1990.
Control System Analyst: Developed computer simulations of spacecraft dynamics and performed analyses of spacecraft attitude control systems. 1987-1989.
Fanatic Chocolate Connoisseur: I've been known to scour the earth (and plead with friends!) to obtain choice varieties of dark chocolate. My favorites are Valrhona and Michel Cluizel. I've sometimes been spotted sampling seven or more varieties at a time, taking detailed notes while performing my morning stretching. Want to see the results of these notes?
Active Hiker, Backpacker, Rock Climber: Still more ways to get fresh air and keep my head in the clouds! I like strenuous peak-bagging day hikes, long backpacking trips in the mountains, and hanging by my fingertips on a rock face figuring out how to make the next move. Visit my website displaying photos from my outdoor adventures, at www.dalestuartoutdoors.com.