'Cause I'm free - Free-faaaaaalin'!

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My apologies to Tom Petty...

I think I'm hooked on this skydiving stuff - I did two more jumps today and loved every minute of it. After my second jump, the jump master told me my form was "model perfect" and that I was ready to progress to the next level of training - practicing pulling my own pilot chute.

It was an absolutely beautiful day for diving today, if not a tad warm. I wish my altimeter was reading the humidity and temperature rather than my relative altitude...


Although I suppose those zero-degree cold winter days will be here soon enough, so I shouldn't really wish too strongly for 'ole man winter to return.

With my gear all set and double-checked, we were ready for take-off:


(I asked one of the instructors to take my picture before, during, and after my jump; you can't easily take a camera with you into the air... many thanks to Linda for snapping some pictures for me!)

On my first jump, I jumped from 4,000 feet; our plane's airspeed indicator died along the way up, so we didn't have any idea how fast we were going when we jumped. Normally, they want you to be going between 80-100 knots; the stall speed of the airplane is 75-ish knots, so our pilot dropped the speed until we stalled, then gave 'er just a little more gas. Getting out on that jump was super easy - the reduced wind speed made it less windy while climbing out onto the wing.

I jumped at 4,000 feet, my chute deployed by 3,000 feet (I had a long free fall for some reason), and then I played around in the air for about 5-6 minutes. Did lots of 360s, figure-8s, S-turns, and flares. Here I am coming in for my landing:


I was at about 250-feet when that picture was taken; coming in on my final approach. I nailed the landing - hit the target on the dot. I did a light roll by accident - didn't land running... I gathered-up my chute and got one last photo:


From there, it was into the "packing room" where I unloaded my gear and the instructors/jump masters work to repack the canopies (parachutes). Here are some folks working relentlessly and tirelessly to repack the rigs:


I was really fortunate to have score a fast "turn-around" ride for my second jump; normally, there's a long waiting line for a spot on the plane, especially for students like me, but for some reason, I was able to hop on the next plane out... so, it was literally a "take off your gear, debrief, inquire about another flight, and 'hurry up - plane's ready!'"

Two jumps in less than 3 hours is a great pace. I'm not sure I'll enjoy luck like that again, so I won't be holding my breath for another rapid turnaround for a while. My second jump of the day went even better than the first - better form, more fun in the air, and a better landing. Winning!

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This page contains a single entry by Steve published on July 31, 2011 3:50 PM.

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