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Dreamt of Flight

A little more than a year ago if you asked me if I could see myself leaping from airplanes and soaring through the sky like a bird I would have been the first to laugh. Who would have known that Sept 7th, 2008 would be the beginning of my journey to wingsuiting!!

I have always dreamt of flying like a bird, and on October 4th, 2009 it became reality! With the instruction and guidance from Justin Shorb I strapped on the Tony Intro Wingsuit and began a new found journey in skydiving that I can’t even begin to describe how much fun it is. I think from the number of comments I got about my huge smile after each jump people understand :)

Enjoy some video from my first flights…

Many thanks to all those in my skydiving career that have helped me get here!

What Skydiving Means to Me

“Why would you jump from a perfectly good plane?” – that is the question everyone who doesn’t understand asks. Does it get old having to answer this ignorant question? Sometimes. It’s hard to put into words and describe to a non-skydiver what it is that keeps me coming back for more, and why my smile is always glimmering.

If I don’t think the person asking me will understand at all, I usually just respond with the thrill and bliss of the act that makes it worth it. It’s easy for people to associate a rise in adrenaline with a pleasurable activity. But it’s so much more than that.

People often associate skydiving with dare devils, people trying to cheat death and dance with the devil in a pale moonlight. For me skydiving isn’t about cheating death, it’s a celebration of life. No matter what is going on in my life, it all floats away as I step through the door at 13,500 feet, immediately replaced with a huge smile on my face and an abundance of joy and euphoria. Anybody who has been in the air with me knows what I’m talking about, even through my full face you can see my smile a mile away :)

Safety Tip of the Day – Replace Your Closing Loop

Here’s a tip that comes from the great JoJo :) … Boogie is coming up! Replace your closing loop if needed and make sure it’s the proper length. It’s such an easy cheap replacement, why not?

From the SIM…

3. Main closing loop

a. Damage greater than ten percent warrants replacement.

b. tension

(1) Tension must be sufficient to keep the container closed in freefall.

(2) The closing pin should require eight to 11 pounds to extract (or check owner’s manual).

(3) A loose closing loop could result in a premature deployment.

(4) Freeflying maneuvers increase the importance of closing system security.

(5) Adjust the closing loop tension by moving the overhand knot or replacing the loop with the knot tied in the correct place.

c. Use only closing loop material approved by the harness and container manufacturer.

Safety Tip of the Day – Airplane Emergency Review

Do you know what to do in the event of an emergency in the plane? Here is a recap of an emergency and operating tips review session Van gave one windy day when we were all grounded.

  • Try to remain calm, don’t yell and scream. Do a gear check to help keep your mind focused and calm.
  • In the event that the pilot orders skydivers to exit don’t rush the door. Know what altitude you are exiting and whether to deploy your main or reserve
  • Know how and when to use the emergency exit doors, both the rear and mid exits. If you don’t know how to operate them, ask! If you have to exit from mid emergency doors you have to stick one arm out, then head, putting chest right up against side, then one leg and other
  • If <1000 ft and you notice something wrong, even a fire, don’t bother the pilot, they probably already know. Wait until 1000 ft and if the pilot is still unaware of the problem let them know.
  • In the event of an engine on fire, opening any of the doors won’t fill the cabin with smoke
  • When there is “industrial haze” the pilot might get radio from ATC about traffic near us. If the pilot says don’t go, don’t go!
  • If you don’t see a green light, don’t jump!
  • If we need to use L/R/C buttons, press and hold until pilot reacts. Press L/R/L/R over and over for fly around, keep pressing back and forth until pilot responds
  • Single point belts should only go through MLW (main lift web), not leg straps, and tighten the belt at end that is anchored to the plane. Make the length of the seat belt as short as possible
  • If landing with a full plane be prepared for a rough landing. It’s Harder to slow the plane down and pilot will not be use to that much “meat” onboard. The plane will probably not touch down until mid way down runway and end near end of runway
  • If an emergency situation develops, the pilot will get the situation as best in control as possible, then communicate to person sitting behind co-pilot seat, then go back to working the problem
  • Tandem’s may exit as low as 2500/3000 straight to reserve based on TM decision
  • Be careful of what you say < 1000 ft, pilot will key off certain phrases as something is wrong
  • Best quote of the day, “if I’m on fire, get out of the plane!”

Do you have some airplane safety tips to add? Post them!