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

Nov
01

Jumping with Arne, manage to get two more

Jump 184 & Jump 185

Off the Twin Otter at Skydive The Farm!

Oct
10

Arne and I headed out and were able to complete two sit fly jumps.  The days are short unfortunately and it is a tad cold outside.

Jump #182
Two-way sit fly w/Arne

Jump #183
Two-way sit fly solo

Aug
08

This break has been the the longest I’ve gone without jumping.  I’m proud that I took advantage of the time and got a lot of work done…but seriously? I was losing my mind…something about that great big sky was calling me back!

When I wasn’t skydiving I was enjoying life in the great outdoors.  On one of my trips, I climbed to just over 6000 feet at Cold Mountain in North Carolina.  It was the start of a three day backpacking trip.  I looked out across the mountains…and one thing rang into my head loud and clear… “your about half way up to altitude…”.  That all too familiar interview that I vividly remembered standing on top of a mountain in the middle of no where.

That is why on August, 8th 2009….three of my friends and I met at Skydive The Farm (best dropzone I’ve ever been to!).  Not only was it a beautiful day, but lots of familiar faces I hadn’t seen in a long time were there! Hans, the dropzone owner…is always keeping things moving and still finds the time to stop and say hello.  The skydiving community is a great group of people.  All types mixed into this pool of slightly insane but yet the sanest people when it comes to balancing life; who probably appreciate the things in life more than the average Joe!

Jump #177
I arrived just before other friends where to show up, so I decided it was time to get reacquainted with the sky.  Video camera was left in the locker as I set out to jump and warm up with some back flips, rolls, and turns.  I flew on my back then flipped over on my belly.  Opened my canopy slightly earlier…checked it out fully inflated and then began practicing canopy maneuvers.  Everything was fine, my head was in sync…and I told myself not to get too eager or cocky….  It paid off…I landed softly…coiled up the lines and ran in to the hanger to repack.

Jump #178
Abhi showed up as I was packing and signed us up for the next load.  While driving over to the plane, I was invited on a training video interview and jump with a tandem.  Received great tips and instruction, and everything went great except I brought my arms in close and fell faster than the tandem.  It wasn’t a loss, I kept my distance and the tandem opened up safely….while I watch before burning off more altitude and then opening myself from a safe distance.  The video came out blurry, but I didn’t find out until after my next jump! 😦

Jump #179
Abhi, Arne and I jumped.  But I discovered a technical video problem.  The camera was auto-zooming every time I turned it on with the video switch.  Abhi had enough….we sat down and looked into it.  Opening the manual and attempting to reconfigure the settings solved the problem.

Jump #180
Arne and Abhi were jumping while I was videoing them.  This wasn’t too bad.  I came a bit close to Arne, and rather than unsettle him by colliding…we were so close that I reached out my hand to brace myself….but that sent him into an unstable movement and those two had to fix their positioning all thanks to me! Abhi returned the finger as a gesture of “thanks buddy”.  🙂

Jump #181
Chris our other buddy showed up and the three of the guys exited with a train.  It is where they line up and hook their feet under the persons armpits in front of them.  Done correctly, you can fly the train and have a great time doing it.  Everyone gets to sit up even if they can’t Free Fly and enjoy the scenery.  My job was simple….video them.

Upon exit….three were together.  Chris fell off.  There were two left.  They held it, then split apart.  That is when I began descending again to stick with the group.  Unfortunately, Abhi, one of the two was regaining stability I got over top of him.  I ended up falling faster than I wanted and banged my right knee on his rig.  I hyper extended it and ended up ruining all sport activities for several weeks.

What could I have done? Lots….anticipate his movement better, clear out in the other direction.  I think I ended up doing what they teach military pilots not to do….fixate.  If you fixate on something you will steer, drive or fly into it.  It happened so fast…he was alright, I was alright….great learning experience.

The day was hot and very busy at The Farm! They set a new tandem record of 102 tandems! Because the record was broken, Hans the DZO bought beer for everyone.  Who can say nooo? 🙂

Arne and Abhi headed over to the pond to get their water training for their B license.  Take a look at the video….the jumps, the friendly faces, and the water training….its all there.

May
31

Arne, Abhi and I were heading out to jump, we decided to head to a different dropzone, because they had a CASA there for the weekend! 1st time jumping out of a CASA, YEAH!

Jump #173
3 way w/Arne and Abhi – video captured was blurry! crap!

Jump #174
3 way w/Arne and Abhi – video captured not blurry! yeah!

Jump #175
2 way w/Arne – video captured! Abhi didn’t make this because his parachute wasn’t packed in time.  I thought that would teach him to begin packing himself…..nope!

Jump #176
3 way w/Arne and Abhi – more video captured!

Video jumps good or bad to date: 7!

Comments for other video students:
Besides camera shake, and not always keeping the camera on subject…the biggest failure I experienced was my camera turning on and zooming into max by itself. You may ask yourself why this is so terrible.  Well when you have a wide angle lens on your camera…zooming in beyond a certain point causes everything to get a soft focus to it…so soft it makes everyone look like blobs.  Ok…its worse…its blurry and you can’t make out a thing!

This technical glitch cost me more wasted time and distracted me from improving my camera shooting abilities as I could not critique my own skills! Of course, it covered up all my mistakes too…so if you want an excuse…blurry video.  🙂

May
11

May 9th, mark the day! Something I have been wanting to do since I began skydiving was to record video.  Today was that day!

Jump #170
First skydive video I recorded.  I chased out Carter and Carl and video taped them while they practiced a head down, then practice docks on belly, then a couple back flips.  Check out the video…

Apologies…not impressed with YouTube.  The quality sucks.  Or I need to keep experimenting with different settings.

I did this video in my belly suit, and had a lot more control than you will see in my later video where I am sit flying.

Jump #171
Second video, I turned on the camera…then as I exited the plane, the side of the camera box hit the inside of the plane, pulling the connector off slightly, shutting down the whole camera.  Not exactly cool…oh well, mind the plane when leaving next time.

Jump #172
This jump consisted of Amber, Dave and I trying to pull off a free fly sit.  Dave ended up way up high, I fell with Amber…but as much as I tried, I could not drive forward enough to catch up with her.  Hell I may of been the one not driving forward at all.

Thanks to Mike G. at ChutingStar for the hookup on the camera equipment, advice…and patience!

Blue Skies!

Apr
14

Saturday, April 11th, I arrived at Skydive The Farm with Arne, to only find clouds, clouds and more clouds!

Luckily, we were barely turn a few loads finding a few holes!

Jump #168
Arne and I did a train exit and then after I finally took his hint and let go with my legs, he was able to practice his sit.  Oops…sorry!  Landed near the flag…east end of the field near the hanger.

Jump #169
Arne and I exited practicing our sit.  I was just in front of him, turned after we left the plane and there he was.  I was actually surprised…we were able to stick closer together than I thought.  We both need to practice on our fall rate, so we can better match it.  I remember one particular time when I was trying to catch up to Arne who was below me quite a bit.  I checked my altimeter, looked down at him and then stood up to pick up lots of speed.  Wow… I was hauling…  I later check my max. airspeed on that jump, it was at 163 mph!

Good day…not a lot of jumps, but that’s due partially to the clouds.

Apr
06

Saturday, April 4th, was a beautiful day to jump.  I arrived at Skydive The Farm around noon.  Later than I had wanted, but I was happy to pull off three fun jumps, at a nice pace.

Jump #165
Solo sit fly; this was my first jump, which I named my warm up jump.  Because I sucked holding my sit.  I didn’t fall out of it, but I kept fighting my sit.  Things began to smooth out a bit when I sat up and arched my upper back, but I wasn’t happy with my performance on this one.

Jump #166
Solo sit fly; Chad took pics as I exited the Otter.  He told me to look up at him and hold two peace symbols.  I wasn’t sure if I ‘d pull it off…but it worked out nicely.  I never left my sit, it worked out really well, so I decided to practice my turns.  The turns could be better in my opinion.  I mean I turned around, but I didn’t feel as stable turning…more practice!!!

Jump #167
Two way sit fly with ?????? (sorry, I forgot his name).  He had a lot more experience than I did skydiving…and it showed.  We exited, and I remember looking around for him right after I got stable.  He said he was cracking up because my head was looking in all directions…and he was right behind me.  I found him when I began turning around.  I was amazed how well he stayed right there behind me the entire time.  He took a dock on my shoe, and gave me one bit of advice, open my stance more for more control.

All in all, another great day of skydiving.  I remember being under canopy and looking around, I could see forever it seemed.  I remember thinking how damn beautiful it was to be 3,000 feet in the air looking around at the landscape.  The wind in my face….hanging under a few lines and a carefully engineered parachute.  Don’t worry it wasn’t packed as careful as it was engineered. 🙂

Feb
08

It has been a while since I last skydived.  In fact, this winter, due to the weekend weather, family and scouting, I just couldn’t seem to make my way out to the dropzone.

Finally, it was February 8th, 2009, four days after my 36th birthday, and I was beginning my 161st jump!

#161
Abhi and I headed out to the dropzone riding together.  I know we talked the whole way out there.  All about things unrelated to skydiving.  It was a warm day as we arrived at Skydive The Farm.  When I casually walked into manifest to ask to be placed on a load.  Abhi and I were given the choice to get on the load that was taking off in five minutes, or to wait another 30 mins for the backup load.  This is where I got excited and told Abhi, lets go man…grab some gear.  I made a mad dash to my locker, having already pulled my gear out of my locker and prepped it and began getting dressed.  Abhi and I decided to do a two way belly to warm up, practicing four point touches.  We separated around 5,500 and both opened.

#162
This time Abhi, Dane and I did a three way belly.  Our goal was to form a open round, then open accordians on each other.  The guy on one end would fly down and around to keep forming up the accordian on the opposite end.  We each pulled off the feat.  3 points.  The open round did not get started properly as the open was not properly opened to Abhi when he flew in the circle.

#163
4way, Abhi, Dane, Kyle and myself.  We lost Abhi on the exit.  I thought he was ready.  I even looked at Abhi getting set, then Kyle and yelled “READY”.  Kyle must of thought Abhi was ready as well as he began the call, and we were off.  I looked up to see Abhi tracking down towards us.  He caught up…   On the exit, Dane or I folded under.  I may have done it, it was hard to tell, but we can perfect that better next time.

#164
2way sit fly training with Abhi.  Abhi wants to learn to sit fly.  Or so I keep telling him that.  🙂 We locked knees, and were able to pull off a stable sit fly together.  I nodded my head and let go of his legs, he held the sit for a few seconds then tumbled.  Still not bad for his first sit.  He’ll get the hang of it.  I was fortunate to have better instructors when I began sitting.  Warren and Sandy took me for my first sit fly.  Warren locked legs, and then held my arm, helping keep me stable.  It rocked.  I know it wasn’t all me, but the rush from having sat with his help was awesome!

Jan
09

I came across an email from Skydive City which stated the TSA is trying to enforce security measures for any person who flys in an aircraft weighing over 12,500lbs (Docket No. TSA-2008-0021).  Which boils down to skydivers upon landing in a grass field near their airport being required to go through a security check similar to that at an airport each and every time you skydive.  This does not affects smaller aircraft we routinely fly on a weekly basis, but does affect the aircraft we all want to skydive from which are typically available at larger boogies.

Supporting the notion to leave comments regarding this issue, I left the following comments:

I was surprised to learn that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) proposes to apply commercial air carrier security measures to GA aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds, regardless of the type of operation.  Not only is this idea costly for small businesses, the notion is what I consider a knee jerk reaction at imposing more restricted control over our free country.

I spent eight years in the United States Air Force to ensure our freedom and way of life is not threatened by those enemies foreign or domestic.  Our own government needs to seriously consider the acts which it takes on its own citizens which imposes unnecessary and unproven techniques.

This policy should be removed or further refined to distinguish between private and commercial aviation, as to not threaten the aviation hobbies which citizens of our great nation have long endured.

My comment tracking number is: 80816631

To leave your own comments:   Go to AOPA’s page http://www.aopa.org/advocacy/gasecurity/submit.html and follow the steps.  At the bottom of that page are some other helpful links.

Thank you for sharing this information with us:

TK Hayes (David Hayes)
DZO
Skydive City

Dec
10

On Saturday, December 6th; I met Arne out at Skydive The Farm.  Several others were there like Kyle, Edwardo, Rodrigo, DZ Chad… so many familiar faces, too many to list.

The weatherman called for more sunshine than clouds and low 50’s F.  When I arrived, we had more clouds than sunshine (in fact the sun wasn’t out until the sunset load).  The temperature was around the mid-forty’s.

Jump #158
Arne, DZChad, Sunman and I exited as a train.  You can take a look at the pics:

Check out the video Arne posted on YouTube:

This was great practice for me as being in the front it is important to drive my legs down similar to how I do when sit flying.  If I hadn’t held up the front….we would all have fallen apart.  I’m happy I’m improving…I was able to hold my sit all the way down…

At the end Chad was going to get picture of me opening.  The problem was I dropped fast and was lower than him.  I waited for a little while, and then saw him deploy.  I looked at my altimeter while deploying my main parachute.  It was the lowest I have ever opened my main canopy.  Not smart!

I was under my main canopy, flying back to the field at The Farm…when I realized the chance of me making it over the trees, power lines and wooden fence that face the main road was growing slim.  Rather than push my luck…there was a nice field to my right.  I turned into it and landed safely on my feet.  I slid with my shoes across the mounds of grass for several feet.  I was fortunate, especially when it comes to not stepping on a cow pie. 🙂

Jump #159
This jump stared out with Edwardo, Rodrigo, and Arne.  We were in line behind a big group of belly flyers when they chose not to jump.  Our group felt comfortable as we knew the bottoms of the cloud cover was 8500 feet.  So we passed them and went.  I exited a bit behind the group and went into a sit while I watched them the entire time.  I eventually caught up to them, flew over to Edwardo as he headed over to Arne.  Arne was base….somehow I was having so much fun, I forgot. 🙂

A good suggestion was as I jump more with Arne, for me to do whatever I have to to try and stick with Arne.  Arne is making progress in his free flying…and it will only tune my skills even more if I can adjust and hang with him.  I can improvise on my sit, stand and belly to adjust his descent rate.  I look forward to trying this out.  We also talked about locking legs again to help stable things out a bit.  His shoulder has to heal up more before trying a day of that.

Jump #160
Last jump of the day.  We decided to all belly fly and just have fun.  I must admit, as the sun was dropping, it was getting quite cold.  By the time I landed, my fingers hurt a lot.  I don’t know if I really messed them up when I was a kid growing up skiing and running around in the snow all the time.  But my finger tips felt like pins were being shoved into them.  I’m going to check out some warmer but less bulky gloves at some local sports stores.

All in all a great day.  The evening was welcomed with food and a holiday gift exchange.  I managed to catch some video while trying out my new camera….maybe I will post some of it.