Lehigh Valley

Allentown-area skydiving team flying high as they head to wingsuit flying competition

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - An Allentown-area skydiving team is headed to the 2019 World Cup of Wingsuit Flying in Ravenna, Italy at the end of August.

Matt Gerlines, 39, Derek Kramm, 35, and Mellissa Tsouhnikas, 33, are members of the prestigious U.S. Parachute Team.

They earned their spot on the team, the nation's most elite aerial athletes, in 2018.

Wingsuiting, or acrobatic flying, is a team of three skydivers, two performers and a camera flyer who play a game of tag in the sky.

The wingsuits are designed to help the jumpers glide up to speeds of 200 mph.

"It's a little more dangerous. It's a little more sexy to wear it because it's different," Kramm said of the suits.

The team describes their rise to the top as a little unexpected.

"Five years ago, I never would've imagined anything close to this that I'd be competing internationally in a sport that's so interesting and unique so just kinda keep your mind open to what's out there for you in life and what may come about," Matt Gerlines said.

Although a win in Italy would be to rise above the rest, they say whatever the outcome, they'll still be flying high from the experience.


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