Skydiving
I take each jump one at a time, learn something and have a great time!

A Skydive Halloween Party?

Saturday afternoon I found myself at Skydive The Farm (STF) jumping through a hula hoop, partying dressed as a pirate skeleton for Halloween and then waking up Sunday morning only to jump again a few more times before calling it time to go home.

Saturday I arrived and knocked out my first three jumps:

Jump #53
It’s all fun until someone gets an eye poked out. I was asked if I wanted to participate in a hula hoop dive. Well I never could master the act of hip gyration with those hula hoops while my feet are firmly planted on the ground, why not. Except this wasn’t about hip gyration (damn), but more along the act of flying through the hula hoop (What are they crazy?).

I was one of the last ones out, and by the time I jumped out, they already looked like ants. So I did what any good skydiver would do and stood on my head, diving down to catch up. I remember looking over to my side and seeing someone else standing on their head too…except he was a bit faster. Was it my hair? :-p

Just as I caught up to the hula hoop being held by two other skydivers, I had to wait for a few ahead of me to shuffle through. Then, someone took the hula hoop with them (accidently of course) and I had only 500 feet left before it was time to turn and burn out of there. I decided to wave bye and burned for my solo spot in the sky to open my canopy.

Canopy control and landing was good on all feet.

Jump #54
The next jump was a RW dive. That’s relative-work for you non-skydiving type. We did a zipper exit, formation and actually pulled it off. Wow…and I was apart of this…more importantly, I didn’t fuck up (this time). 🙂

Uh oh…by the time I got under canopy, I noticed how far out we were from the dropzone. I tried to head towards the dropzone and wasn’t sure if I would have made it. Someone later told me I could have made it, but since four others landed off on the farm field, I decided to play it safe and join them.

This was my first land off ever. I was actually kind of excited that as I made the decision, everything began playing out in my mind as I had been taught. I checked the wind, and set up for a full pattern so I would land in the correct direction. Then I began checking for obstacles like telephone poles/wire, barbed wire fences, etc. I did a nice pattern and a few S-turns to fly right over a videographer Chad, so he could get my landing over the top of him. Nice flare and nice touch down.

Jump #55
I went up for another hula hoop dive. It was interesting to say the least. This time we all went out fast and together keeping a tight formation. I remember diving so close to another guy that I bumped him and yelled…”my bad”. He was fine with it of course. I made it through the hula hoop and twisted a little on the other side because my helmet hit the top of the hula hoop. I wasn’t sure what was going on when it happened.

My wife’s tandem
This had been the second time my wife had skydived. Her first was with me two years ago, which of course had me hooked immediately. She enjoyed the dive, but she still wants to do other things like go on cruises while I am a dropzone bum. She brought her friend who quickly became known as my second wife. Hey I was trying to make sure she was having fun!!! 🙂

During the evening it got very cold. Some dressed up and drank while others well….just drank (not that this is a bad thing). A good dinner and I had my pirate hook out to wrangle in the beer and the ladies.

Sunday

I am glad we were able to sleep indoors. The ground was covered with frost when I looked outside. Some people slept in the hanger (with closed doors) and were fine, but outside in tents….yah thats just crazy!

Jump #56
This would be the first jump of the day. I hopped on the plane as it took off from the dropzone. Whew….I remember thinking as the plane finally lifted off and cleared the trees. I ended up doing a two-way dive with another guy I met on the plane. Sometimes doing solo’s ends up as two, three, or four ways. I don’t like making big changes while on the plane, unless we have had a chance to talk about it some.

I exited the airplane right behind the other guy and his foot nailed me in the head. Part of my helmet took the blow and my Gatorz sunglasses took the other part of the blow. Everything was good…I shook it off quickly because I found my body in midair and I had one option…skydive. 🙂

Jump #57
This was probably the worst skydive I have ever had. Ok…it wasn’t too bad. But I was not too proud of the decisions I made which led up to this dive. First this was an RW jump with others who were a lot more experienced than me. So I felt the pressure of wanting to do excellent with them. Second, some of the moves we were doing, I had never done before. Again, don’t fail them. Third…I decided to try on a different suit, sleeker, slicker and with booties. OK…wtf was I thinking to try booties for the first time with a group?

I exited and flew right to where I was suppose to be waiting to take grips. Thats when I began to fall…faster than them. I tried to grab air, but I couldn’t slow my descent enough. I got below them and turned to get out…but the booties made things a bit too powerful and I ended up over turning.

I finally got out…off to the side and just watched. I waited for the designated altitude and made sure no one tracked towards me, then opened. The wind picked up a bit too much and I found myself facing into the wind to keep from being blown off the dropzone. Then I had to make some quick turns and land.

I was picked up along with everyone else on the trailer and was told two things: first, don’t ever fly under a formation. second I stole someone else’s spot/position on landing. I didn’t intentionally fly under the formation and second… no one has predesignated landing spots on the field. I never cut anyone off, but I ran out of time and had to begin heading home.

On the drive home I pretty much decided that I would rather jump with my team, than to jump with experienced RW’s. Why? I feel like I learn more in mastering my own technique. I have to work harder to pull simple things off than if I am with someone experienced. I still had a lot of fun. This sport rocks…

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