Canby’s “Flying Bella” Capra is — once again — soaring to new heights.
The Ninety-One School eighth-grader finished second in her age bracket in January 2020 for the second year in a row — and was back in action last weekend at the U.S. Indoor Skydiving 2021 National Championships in El Paso, Texas.
The pint-sized piloting prodigy and her Team Volare wowed the judges with their aerial artistry, nabbing second-place honors in Dynamic 4-Way to punch their ticket to the FAI Indoor Skydiving World Cup in Belgium as part of Team U.S.A. (FAI stands for the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, or World Air Sports Federation.)
Bella also took home second in Junior Open Freestyle and third in Dynamic 2-Way with teammate 15-year-old Jill Knutson from New York.
Kiana Adamson, 15, of Colorado, and Gianna Keuer, 15, from Illinois, round out Team Volare, which is also the first all-girls Dynamic 4-Way team. (“Dynamic” is a judged indoor skydiving discipline that combines technical and artistic skills.)
Bella fell in love with skydiving at the age of 9 when she went as a birthday gift with her father. Since then, the Capras have become entangled with the sport of competitive skydiving.
Nowadays, Bella joins up as often as she can with Knutson to practice “pages” — the pre-planned moves that make up the beginning, middle, and end of a performance. When the New York native isn’t in town, Bella works on her freestyle, free-moving performances on her own.
“It’s like doing a dance in the wind,” said Bella. “You can do any moves you want, whatever flows and looks good.”
Bella’s competitions have sent her all around the United States, from Virginia to Texas, Florida to California — and all points in between. Through all the travel and competition, Bella makes sure to enjoy every moment she can.
“I just stay calm and slow,” Bella said with a laugh: “When you’re at the competitions, your nerves are up. I just think about the tricks and have a smile on my face.”
Bella enjoys massive support from her family and friends. Friends at school admire Bella for her “cool and unique” skills. (To be fair, how many of your eighth-grade friends could fly?)
Her mom, Christy, documents her daughter’s high-flying skills on her Facebook page, while her father, R.J., told of the efforts the skydiving community has made to get the sport into the Olympics.
With Bella’s qualification to Belgium in 2022, the family has set up a GoFundMe to help with travel expenses.
Bella’s dream that she first had at age 9 has been blossoming ever since. Supported by family, friends, and everyone in between, there’s one guarantee for her trip to Belgium: She’ll be smiling all the way.
Team Volare has set up a GoFundMe page to help with travel and other expenses to represent the United States in Belgium. Find that at gofundme.com/f/help-bella-get-to-the-world-cup-in-belgium.
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