Round And Round

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  This is what the flight path of 100 jumps from 2000 feet looks like.

IMG_0782     If you remember, this was what we were planning.  I’d say we did a good job.

Mission Sort Of Accomplished

The day of 300 imperfect jumps is and the results are in. After battling rain, low clouds and turbulent winds Kevin the one armed skydiver called it quits after only 100 jumps. Now only doing 100 jumps when your goal was 300 might seem like a failure but when your goal is raising money and awareness for Parkinson’s Disease 100 jumps did the job because we raised $127,000 and got lots of media attention. And speaking of media attention the event is going to be featured on the Today Show, hopefully tomorrow. Why did Kevin stop jumping at 100 jumps you ask? Because he was getting tired and his landings were going from bad to worse. Making 300 jumps in24 hours is a worthy goal but it’s not worth getting hurt over. Oh, there was another goal that got accomplished during the whole event. I got to fly the PAC 750 and push it to it’s limits. If you’ve never flown a souped up hot rod of an airplane with just two people in it up to 2000 feet and then back down again (which of course you haven’t) then you are missing out. I was making a round trip in about 3 minutes and we even did a few under 3. That’s hauling a**! The flights were filled banking and cranking (it has a stick!) positive and negative G’s and quick pit stops. Pretty much the most fun you can have in plane. Well, close anyway.

And now for your viewing pleasure a video of one of the early loads of the day. I you’re timing the flight and see that it was over 3 minutes it’s because I hadn’t found my groove yet. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Also, the video was taken with one of those cool new 360 degree cameras, so put the cursor on it and move it around.

Here’s the link. 300 perfect jumps jump.

Rain Delay

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Just like in baseball, sometimes the weather conditions just aren’t ideal for skydiving.  We were supposed to start the 24 hours of skydiving this evening but a strong line of thunderstorms rolled over the dropzone shutting us down cold. We did manage to get one test jump in before the rain hit us and it was a dandy with Kevin the one armed skydiver landing about half a mile off target due to someone screwing up. Thank God it wasn’t me. 🙂 I was however on the ground wondering just what in the heck they were doing. The pilot who was flying the practice run, (I”ll call him Andrew, because that’s his name) was trying out a new flight pattern that he thought would be more efficient but it turns out wasn’t.  After picking up Kevin in my truck the three of sat down and went over the fastest way to get to 2000 feet and back down to the ground.

IMG_0782I hope this clears it up.

By the way there’s a pretty good chance that the Today Show is coming out to cover the event so if you don’t have one of those job things that prevent you from watching TV in the morning tune in and check it out.

 

300 Imperfect Jumps

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As I briefly mentioned in my last post, a good friend of mine is going to attempt to make 300 skydives in 24 hours to raise money for Parkinson’s Disease. Of course you’re asking yourself “how is that possible?” Well, it’s because he is only going to 2000 feet on each jump, that’s how. Now if leaping from a perfectly good airplane every 3-4 minutes for 24 straight hours (and yes, there is a large part of those hours where the sun is noticeably absent i.e dark or “night” if you will) isn’t impressive enough, Kevin (that’s his name you see) lost the use of his left arm in a snowmobile accident 4 years ago so he will be doing this amazing feat with the use of only one arm! That’s right, 300 skydives, in 24 hours, from 2000 feet, half of them in the dark, with only one arm.

This is his 4th event of this kind and his 2nd after the accident and it is an impressive thing to watch.  The high performance takeoff of the lightly loaded PAC 750XL is impressive and the climb to 2000 feet takes only 45 seconds or so. Then Kevin jumps out, deploys his parachute almost immediately and spirals down to the ground where he (hopefully) lands right in front of his crew who help him switch parachutes for a freshly packed one and hop into the same plane he just jumped out of which beat him to the ground and is waiting for him.

You might have picked up on another interesting aspect of this little event. If Kevin is making 300 jumps out of the same plane doesn’t that mean that someone (a pilot perhaps?) have to make 300 takeoffs and landings? Why yes dear reader, it does. And guess who the lucky pilot is that gets to have his rear end glued into the seat for this epic undertaking? That’s right, me. OK, there is another pilot who will be helping me by giving me breaks because let’s face it flying for 24 hours straight would be just a little bit dangerous. I know, I know, Kevin will be jumping for the same amount of time, but if he falls asleep on final the parachute still lands, and no fireball.

The whole thing is going to be a test of endurance and teamwork and we start today at 7:00 pm. I can’t wait.

Here’s a link to the story that the local news did.   300 Imperfect Jumps    And of course that’s yours truly in the pilot’s seat.

Learning Stuff

Some old guy once said “An object at rest tends to sit on his rear end until acted on by guilt, desire or, more precisely,  your wife’s desire.”

So there I was, enjoying my last month of vacation,( don’t hate the player, hate the game) when “she who must be obeyed” reminded me that number one son was due home soon from wherever the heck he was and that I’d foolishly promised him that I’d teach him to fly airplanes and stuff. Not even the overstuffed leather recliner I hibernate in could muffle the groan.   Like I’ve said  Now don’t get me wrong,……………….

The date on that un-finished post was April 8th. Since then I’ve been kind of busy. Now I know I’ve used that lame excuse many times in the past when I’ve let this blog get just a little bit stale but this time it’s justified, really, swear to God.

Now of course I don’t have time this morning to catch you all up on what I’ve been doing in as great detail as I’d like to but I have a busy day of skydiving ahead of me and time is something that I don’t have an abundance of these days.

So here’s the short list of what I’ve been up to these last two months.

Teaching number one son Connor to fly– We were hitting it hard for a few weeks and he was doing good but both our lives have gotten busy and we haven’t flown together for a few weeks. He’s been doing great though.

Bought a new house– Cathy and I lost our collective minds and instead of paying for Connor’s housing while he goes to the University of Wisconsin Stout we decided to buy a rental house to put him in and maybe make a little money while we were at it. Did we buy one of the existing and operating student rental houses that were for sale you ask? Why no, we decided to buy a house that was built in the 1800’s and that has been vacant for the last 30 years. The epic story of how Cathy, Connor and I have brought this great old house back to life would take forever but I’ll get to it someday, really……I promise. I will say the last month has been filled with many many days of renovation that aren’t over yet. I have to meet a plumber, carpenter, and insulation guy this morning before going to work, just as an example. Up to this point we’ve been doing the majority of the work ourselves. That has been the biggest time sucker upper.

Getting my CFI (certified flight instructor) rating- Along with teaching Connor to fly I was working on finally getting my CFI done. I studied and flew and worked with an instructor that I liked and was on the cusp of taking my ride when my instructor stopped answering my calls to set up the next appointment. Turns out that he had a heart attack. He’s not dead but is out of the game for the foreseeable future and that delay has stopped me in my tracks. I do have the name of another instructor but now that I’m in the meat of the skydiving season I really don’t know where I’ll find the time. I’ll have to make time somehow.

Running the skydiving school– Goes without saying that flying and jumping out of perfectly good airplanes full time keeps me kind of busy. (It’s a pretty good job. It does have it’s up’s and down’s though) Ba da boom.

 Getting ready for another Parkinson’s Disease event– Next Tuesday will be the 4th time a local jumper will be doing a large number (300) of jumps in 24 hours to raise money for Parkinson’s and I  will be one of the two pilots who will do all the flying. We will be using a PAC 750 XL (low wing turbine) and will be making an takeoff and landing every 3 minutes for 24 hours. Should be fun!

Last but not least I’m going to be FLYING AROUND THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!! I leave July 5th. so stay tuned for more details.

That’s all I have time for for now. I’d promise to post more but you’ve all heard that promise before now haven’t you?