A Husband, a father, a, brother, a person, a life lover, an adventurer, a world traveler, a photographer, a cinematographer, a food lover, a pro skydiver. Sammy Vassilev – a.k.a “Sammy Popov” is a second generation skydiver. Son of world champion skydivers from the 1960’s and 70’s, Mr. Vassilev was conceived, born and raised on a Drop Zone. He grew up on various Aerodromes (Drop Zones) in Bulgaria among the Bulgarian National Skydiving Team and Training Center in Kazanluk, Bulgaria, where the 1980 FAI World Parachuting Championships were held. Growing up with the Bulgarian National Team Athletes was a motivational and spiritual experience! At the age of 15 Mr. Vassilev made his very first static line skydive from 800m / 2600ft with an old Russian PD-47 Army Parachute from the legendary Antonov-2 / AN-2 Biplane, and this was the beginning of a life long and very exciting skydiving career.
Growing up in the shadows of champions was not easy to do, and these shadows pushed Sammy to go out make a name for himself. The late 1980’s were not pleasant for the former Eastern European Block and skydiving. Growing up with the American Dream, Sammy immigrated to America in 1991 and joined USPA in 1992. Becoming an immigrant at an early age and without speaking a word of English Mr. Vassilev overcame an incredible odds and became a professional skydiver. Shortly after he went on to become a 1998 US National Vice Champion of Skysurfing with his teammate Steve Verner.
Mr. Vassilev’s other passions in life are photography, cinematography and film making. Since the age of 8, Sammy has been a student of the motion picture image and the art and craft of cinematography. Once again overcoming incredible odds in Hollywood, Sammy went on to develop a very successful film, photography and cinematography career and becoming a member of the most prestigious guild in Hollywood – The International Cinematographer’s Guild!
Combining skydiving and cinematography is a dream come true! Over the last 31 years Mr. Vassilev has become an established aerial cinematographer and skydiving instructor, having thought thousands of students across the globe.