August 28, 1999JUMP-1: A tandem jump over Coos Bay, Oregon, sends a rush of adrenaline into my blood. Freefall is windy! After parachute opens I saw tiny airplanes taking off & landing at the airport a MILE straight down between my feet! Unbelievable view of the ocean and of the coastline! I've got to learn how to do this BY MYSELF without some guy strapped to my back.
April 22-29, 2000JUMPS 2,3,4,5:AFF (accelerated free fall) training begins at Creswell, Oregon. No one is attached to me now except an invisible guardian angel (who was probably reluctant to go). Scary, but Great Fun!
April 30, 2000JUMP-6:Freefall 45-secs. Pulled ripcord at 5,000 feet. Line-over malfunction, parachute won’t open! Shit, I'm gonna die! Everything seems in slow-motion. Cutaway main, back into freefall again, pulled reserve. Survived ... God was with me. Had to buy beer for everyone. (I still don't understand that tradition). But, now I know there really is a RESERVE chute packed in there somewhere.
April 30, 2000JUMP-7:Sunset jump. Getting dark, lights of Eugene glowing below.Bad spotting, unable to get back to the dropzone.Lots of trees beneath me.See a small open field, pray there are no power lines or barbed wire.Land on a dairy farm. Surrounded by hungry cows who seem surprised at someone falling from the sky.They begin nibbling at my parachute. Told them, "I'll be back later with food" (I lied).Hiked to highway for a ride to the airport.
May 1st - 7th, 2000 JUMPS 8,9,10: OK, but still unstable. JUMP 11: Uncontrolled spinning in freefall, almost lost my left ear when riser deploys. Cottage Grovehospital for stitches.
May 14, 2000JUMP 12:Beautiful!Got my confidence back!
May 20, 2000JUMP 13:VERY BADLost stability on pull.Rolled over on my back.Chute opens beneath me, lines wrap around my right leg. Suddenly yanked upside-down when canopy fills with air.Leg hyper-extended, hurts like hell!Little strength to guide canopy.PLF landing. Survived, but passed-out after being carried to the hangar. Sacred HeartHospital - Morphine!God was with me again (could have passed out in mid-air).
A year passes filled with pain, sleepless nights, doctor visits, physical therapy and acupuncture. Maybe I died in that jump and I’m now in Hell.
July 4, 2001 JUMP 14: In the hours leading to this jump, fear demons were workingovertime. No longer innocent of how easy it is to get hurt, I felt physically sick anticipating this jump. WTF am I doin' here? When they said the plane was ready for take-off all I wanted to do was drop to the ground into a fetal position and cover my head with a blanket (which would probably have spoiled the macho image I'd been working on). Well, the 14th jump is now history, and it went great! 54-secs of freefall from 12,000 feet. Nothing feels better than conquering fears.
Wind tunnel in Orlando
July 8-Sep 2, 2001 JUMPS 15,16,17,18,19:Wind tunnel practice in Florida. Now back in Oregon still learning. Love hanging from the strut of the airplane, then letting go and tracking across the sky in freefall (the Superman thing). And, today I'm officially off "student status". Hallelujah!
Convinced this was the sport for me, I bought my own rig for Jump-30 ... then was nervous about using it. Everything was NEW, which means the main & reserve parachutes had never been used on a jump! How in hell does anyone know if brand new parachutes work?
Jim Evonuk, a veteran skydiver, said I shouldn't worry ... that he'd call the manufacturers and get my money back if the main & reserve chutes fail to open. (Of course, I'd be dead.)
Number of skydives now = 82Freefall time: 65-min 19-secsFreefall: 113.6 miles (182.9 km)Under canopy: 62.2 miles (100 km)Plane to planet: 175.8 miles (282.9 km)Cutaways = 1
You know you’re a skydiver when
... you reach for your wallet in your back pocket and bringyour other hand over your head to maintain symmetry.
... you can’t seem to use the word “first” in reference toyourself in normal conversations for fear you’ll have tobuy a case of beer.
... you're a passenger in a fast moving car, and youstick your head out the window to yell, “FIVE LEFT”to the driver.
... whenever leaving a drinking establishment, you yell, “DOOR” before stepping out into the street.
... you analyze every flag you pass to see which directionyou should land.
... you catch yourself FLAKING the bed instead of making it.
... you look at your new DVD player and think, “Hmm … that’s gotta be worth a few jumps”.
... you wear a skydiving T-shirt to a job interview.
... when buying a house seems like a terrible waste of jump money.
... on landing in a commercial airliner, you look out the window and find yourself mentally telling the pilotwhen to flare.(I find myself doing this all the time)
... you see an incredibly beautiful woman and think, “Hmm … I wonder if I can talk her into skydiving”.
... you try to convince the flight attendant on a commercial flight that you really WOULD be more comfortablesitting on the floor.
... you fall off a roof and put the freefall into your log book.
... you jump off the high diving board at the local swimming pool and try to flare before hitting the water.
... you break a femur and ask the paramedics if you canjump out of the chopper on the way to the hospital.
... when you used to have a savings account, but now you have friends, a log book full of entries and a new attitude about life.