Skydiving


1990-something Skydive
1990-something Skydive

“And once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes skyward. For there you have been and there you long to return…” Leonardo Da Vinci

I heard this quote shortly before my first skydive, way back in 199–something.  And then I made my first jump.  And I had to admit I agreed with Da Vinci 100%.  Da Vinci sketched a design of a parachute back in 1495, and near the same time I made my first jump, a Londoner built a parachute based on Da Vinci’s design and – wait for it – actually used it.  In the words of the English skydiver himself,

“”It took one of the greatest minds who ever lived to design it, but it took 500 years to find a man with a brain small enough to actually go and fly it.”

The full article can be found here: http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/safety/detail_page.cgi?ID=150

People have different reactions to skydiving, usually narrowed down to two categories: Extreme love or extreme hate.  Or as someone I know says, “There are skydivers and there are wuffos.  Wuffos are the ones who stand on the ground, point at the skydivers, and say, ‘Wuffo you jump out of a perfectly good airplane?’ ”  I prefer to think of skydiving as both an adrenaline rush and a survival skill.  After all, you never know when you’re going to be in an airplane thousands of feet up in the air and have to find an escape route from the crazed serial killer flying it.  Or for any other reason when you may find the best escape route to be out the door.

To address those of us who call ourselves skydivers (and by that I mean anyone who has voluntarily jumped out of a perfectly good airplane more than once), the best reason I can conceive that the sport is so addictive is the pure adrenaline rush.  Well, for ME, the addiction is adrenaline.  Skydiving initiates a TON of adrenaline in me.  Oh, sure, I’ve gotten adrenaline rushes from more places than a nylon canopy, and I think this adrenaline addiction explains my M.O.  After a near-fatal car crash in 199–something, I decided to do everything possible to ensure that I always felt ALIVE.  So I did everything I’d always wanted to do, including skydiving, waterskiing, whitewater rafting, and many more such activities.  I do draw the line at race car driving, however.  Something about staring a gift horse in the mouth, tempting Fate, bad Karma….fill in the blank.

Unfortunately, I haven’t jumped in years, mainly because I ran out of  money.  I’ve filled the need for adrenaline with other sports since then, but feel a strong desire to step out of an open door into empty space and survive again.  I’ve been told since I’ve done that once, I can do anything.

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6 Comments

  1. As I’ve said, you’re one up on me there, pumpkin. I’ve never ‘sky dove’ but I’ve got a couple hundred hours (out of thousands) flying sky dive drops and loved that! Old joke: ANYONE can ‘sky dive’ -once- trick is to use a parachute and do it twice. . . . And you’re right – once you’ve faced that particular challenge you -can- do just about anythng.

  2. Thanks, Rich! Definitely twice is a crucial number. After the first, if the sudden stop doesn’t kill you, you choose to defy death again. That takes guts. Or stupidity, depending on how you look at it!

  3. I’m not sure that skydiving is on any of my lists … at least not now. This reminds me of the jump Felix Baumgartner made from 127,000+ feet. I remember when he opened the door to the capsule and stepped out. It wasn’t about the jump at that moment but at the beauty of what he could see – The Earth. In my early college years, I remember flying to see my Grand Parents. At cruising altitude, I could look out and see the Earth like I never have seen before. When you skydive, do you ever get a sense of seeing things differently from that high up?

    1. Definitely. And you have a short time of ungodly noise and maelstrom during freefall until you pull. Then – SILENCE! It’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard. The wind whipping the nylon of the chute, the landscape in proportions you’re not used to seeing. Very very cool.

      1. While some may disagree with the last line of this poem – it has become the pilot’s mantra – Like skydiving, flying once one has accomplished the the art, does set one apart….

        High Flight

        Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
        And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
        Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
        Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
        You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
        High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
        I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
        My eager craft through footless halls of air.
        Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
        I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
        Where never lark, or even eagle flew –
        And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
        The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
        Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

        Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
        No 412 squadron, RCAF
        Killed 11 December 1941

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