Tag Archives: Aviation

Skydiving, our new hobby

After our first tandem skydives that, as described in a previous post, should have been a one time experience, we had to go back and do it again.  We soon found ourselves hooked on this amazingly, bizarre sport of falling downward at a speed of 110 to 120 miles per hour.
Almost At Altitude The first time I jumped on my own, I noticed that the door was closed on the airplane.  That’s a very lonesome feeling!  It’s was now too late to change my mind…and time to do what I was taught…. to open and fly this big handkerchief. Freefall Sequence

There’s a training statement that sounds funny, but is seriously true: “When the people look like ants, it’s time to play.  When the ants look like people, it’s time to pray.”

I can’t begin to describe the adrenalin rush of floating and playing above the clouds.

First Freefall Necklace We were soon asked to join the club’s staff, which paid our way by manifesting the jump loads, packing chutes, and talking down students.

Wearing a ripcord “necklace” after the first freefall, is a ritual deemed to bring good luck to their students.  Since it would have been bad luck to remove it before our next jump, we were expected to wear it until then.

Our goal was to earn our Class A license.  Passing a written test and completing a skydive that showed we weren’t a danger to other skydivers, gave us the privilege to join this elite group of adrenalin junkies.

Lee and I were well trained to be prepared in case of a parachute malfunction.  After many jumps, we eventually found ourselves under parachutes that weren’t going to land us safely.  We each had to cut away our mains and land under our reserve parachutes, much to the worried concern of our friends on the ground.

300 Way SkydiveWhen we weren’t jumping ourselves, we loved watching world record attempts.

At Skydive Chicago, we watched the completion of the first 300 way world record.

Ten of the eleven jump planes did a celebratory fly-by, to the delight of everyone on the ground.

Fly By Planes
Since we accomplished our skydiving goals, it was time to be kind to our bones and retire our parachutes.  Our log books show that I finished one more jump than my husband.  He knows that I try to always be a “jump ahead of him” and if he forgets, it’s written in my log book.

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On our bucket list, Gliding in a Sailplane

My husband and I took our first ride in a Sailplane over 15 years ago at Lake Pleasant, near Phoenix, Arizona.  We enjoyed it so much that instead of crossing it off, we’ve kept this on our bucket list.

On a recent trip through Arizona, we returned to the Turf Soaring School at Lake Pleasant for what is now my fourth sailplane ride.Getting strapped in Glider

It was like stepping back in time, when we were greeted again with hello’s from Bebop, their white parrot mascot.  The owner claimed that this (blankety, blank) parrot can live for 100 years.  Well, Bebop must be almost as old as I am.

Release Glider tow rope

Part of the pre-flight check list is making sure the release handle will detach the 200 foot rope from the tow plane.  As you can see, I got to practice this important task of tugging the yellow, ball shaped release handle.  The training includes all aspects of gliding, but I wanted to relax(?) and enjoy the flight.

Glider LiftoffCarl Baxter, the aerobatic instructor, asked what kind of G-force ride I wanted.  Since he would be seated behind me, I would have to verbally let him know if and/or when I needed to stop the aerobatic ride.

Glider under tow over Lake ParadiseI’m a confirmed adrenalin junkie and like to get my money’s worth.  Well, I certainly did!

He performed some loops, rolls, wing overs, a cloverleaf (90 degree turn), and my favorite, a hammerhead stall.  Buzzing the airport

I have to admit that a few times while my mouth was saying “oh wow, this is fantastic”, my brain was thinking “oh crap, this is scary.”  Then he flipped the plane to an inverted flight and watched the ground zoom by, as we hung upside down.  Glider returned to earth

Since there weren’t too many thermals to keep us airborne, we did a low (dive bombing type) pass.   This then took us up and over the airport buildings, so Lee could get our photo.

We then turned back towards the runway and came in for a smooth landing in front of the airport.

I found this video on-line of a flight that was taken last year at the Turf Soaring School.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WtEpVE5_aE   This will give you an idea of what we saw and some of the aerobatics we enjoyed.  Note: the creaking sounds are the plane’s wings, not my body.

On my bucket list, a Paraglide Flight

Paraglide 1Paragliding is one of the easiest ways to “share the air” with our feathered friends.  To soar with the eagles has been one of my on-going, bucket list wishes.

We arrived at sunrise on top of the Point of the Mountain launch area for a “Tandemonium Paragliding” lesson and enjoyed watching gliders sail off the cliff.

Paraglide 2

A non-motorized, foot-launched paraglider is designed with an inflatable wing to keep you aloft for extended flights and soaring, while riding with the currents in the air.

Paraglide 3We made lazy circles in the sky just like a large hawk, with me as his linked prey.  This is considered the simplest form of human flight and my tandem master made it seem effortless.

Using air currents and shifting our body weight from side to side, we searched for thermals that would lift and extend our flight.

Paraglide 4The landing area is smooth and noticeably clear of any rocks.  We  just lifted our feet and glided to a stop on a pad that’s built into the bottom of the paragliding apparatus.

If you are also an adrenalin junkie, go to the website: www.tandemoniumparagliding.com and sign up for a fun experience in Salt Lake City or a flight center closest to your area.

On our bucket list, a Hot Air Balloon Ride

­If you need to get somewhere fast, a hot air balloon is not the way to travel.   That’s why our bucket list included the experience of floating through the air like, or in this case with, a balloon.

Balloon 1Our children decided to fulfill this wish and surprised us with an anniversary gift of a hot air balloon ride.

They told us we would be picked up at 6 a.m. and to wear wind breakers.  We weren’t allowed to ask where, what or why!  Although having to get up that early in the morning, helped narrow down the bucket list of possible surprises.

Balloon 2

Balloon 3

 

Our certificate said it so well.  “We broke the bonds of gravity and ascended towards the heavens over the historic mountain town of Park City, Utah.”

Balloon 4I’ve read that you can’t really steer it, ­and it only travels as fast as the wind blows.  But we landed as planned, and on time, in a field with the chase vehicle waiting to pick us up.

After completing our ride in the “Dreams Aloft” balloon, we celebrated our safe journey with the traditional champagne toast.  We then received certificates that are proudly displayed on an office wall.

We can only describe flying in a hot air balloon as one of the most serene, enjoyable activities we’ve ever experienced.   If you are an adrenalin junkie like us, check out this high flying experience at the website: www.pcballoonadventures.com and then let us know about your balloon flight.