Tag Archives: Parachute

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, Skydiving

My husband stated “for my 50th birthday, there’s something I always wanted to do.”   I couldn’t imagine what was on his bucket list, that he hadn’t already accomplished.

His answer was “jump out of an airplane” and my response was “okay, is that with or without a parachute?”  Gosh, he was serious!
Lee's Birthday Tandem skydive 1Well, we celebrated his birthday by driving to the local airport and watching some skydivers.

It looked so effortless, that we both signed up for our tandem skydives.

Lee's In Flight Tandem 2

The jump begins at an altitude of over 1 mile above ground.  The drogue chute (see the yellow tail behind the parachute) is released to stabilize the jumpers.

After free falling down to 5,500 feet, the main parachute is opened.

Lee's Tandem Safe Landing 3 Now learning how to guide this huge tandem chute begins.

The toggle straps have double hand holds, so the trainer and student work together on making turns and landing in the pea gravel.

Lee was the perfect student and had a stand-up landing.

Neva's First Skydive Tandem 1It’s easy to smile at the camera and not be nervous when your feet are still on the ground.

We had a camera man take videos of our first jump.  I was so scared, I had to watch the video to make sure I actually did this skydive.Neva's First Skydive Tandem 2

The worst part for me was when the pilot opened the plane’s door.  The tandem master leaned out that open door to visually check the jump area.  Being buckled to him meant I was hanging out the doorway too.

The camera man exited and was hanging onto the plane’s strut.  At this point, I was more concerned about survival, than geeking the camera mounted on his helmet.

Once we were in free fall, it became the most amazing experience I could ever imagine.

After completing our skydives, we both knew we had to go out that open plane door again for another tandem jump.

What started as my husband’s birthday wish, became our newest hobby.Neva's Tandem Safe Landing 3