Path to Skydiving

When I was still in grade school, my dad went skydiving. Someone he worked with was a skydiver and talked my dad into giving it a try. I already dreamed of being able to fly, so watching my dad jump from an airplane and fly that parachute to the ground left quite the impression on me.

Even the fact that he broke his ankle landing never phased me. He jumped under the old style round parachute. Those bring you down fairly quickly so you have to roll when you hit the ground. Unfortunately for my dad, he landed on a slope and when he rolled his ankle broke.

That took place in 1987. Fast forward to 1996. I’m a 20 year old full time college student and full time factory worker. One morning as I was reading the newspaper I saw that a skydiver died at the same place my dad had gone skydiving.

The article mentioned that the skydiver’s parachute did not fully deploy. While trying to fix the parachute the experienced skydiver had apparently lost awareness of the fact that he was plummeting towards the ground. Instead of releasing the main chute and deploying the reserve, the unfortunate skydiver tried in futility to fix the main.

Later that day I searched the Internet for a phone number for the skydiving club that runs the operation at that airport. I figured now was my time to become a skydiver. The odds of someone dieing two weeks in a row at the same airport were incredibly remote, so this was the safest time of any.

On Monday I talked to the owner of the club, and I was put on the schedule to take lessons and make my first jump the following Saturday. After my training I loaded into the airplane with two other student skydivers making their first jumps.

I was to go second. I thought that would be a good thing since I would be able to see someone else do it first. My thinking was that watching someone else successfully jump would help calm my nerves before I had to climb out on that wing and jump myself.

Well watching the fear in that man’s face as he exited the airplane only made me more nervous. I was surprised at how easily I managed to force myself to swing my legs out of the door, grab the strut of the wing, and stand up on the landing gear.

I next worked my way up the strut of the wing until I was no longer able to touch the landing gear with my feet. I then looked over at my jump master, and when he gave me the thumbs up, I let go.

There simply are not words for what it feels like to go skydiving. It is the most amazing feeling, and you get the highest of adrenaline rushes.

After my successful landing, I was walking back to the hangar and talking to the people I had jumped with. I ran into the trailing edge of the wing of the airplane we had jumped from and hit my head. It wasn’t until the blood started to trickle down my head that I realized that I had hurt myself on the wing. Now that is an adrenaline rush!

It was such a great experience that I made 7 more jumps before hanging up the parachute and earning my wings.

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