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.
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.
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.
You’ve all seen these signs at construction sites and the like and you all know I own a skydiving school, which I’m sure most of you think is really just accident factory. Well i’m here to tell you that nothing could be farther from the truth, except when it isn’t. For the most part, skydiving is a “relatively” safe sport. I could quote statistics on how much safer it is than this or that activity (such as driving, or calling your wife fat) but you wouldn’t listen. As far as most of you are concerned, only two things fall from the sky. Bird sh!t and fools. So I’m not going to bother. But I’ll tell you this, in the skydiving community we take our safety VERY seriously! Every year before we start tossing our flabby bodies from reasonably maintained airplanes we all get together for a safety day where we go over emergency procedures, safety issues and the latest and greatest safety devices that those guys with big brains come up with to keep us from hitting the ground with more speed than is generally considered safe. Our safety day was this Saturday my staff and I thought it was a big success. We had a big turn out and even though I was the main speaker it seemed like everyone actually paid attention. We were looking forward to (hoping for) an accident season.
Well that all ended yesterday, the very first day of jumping, when I heard one of my staff say “Remember to take a cell phone with you! Just like Kerry said yesterday!” My first thought was “What!? The only time I mentioned taking a cell phone with you was when……….someone was hurt. Shit. I ran outside the building and saw people running to a still form in the student landing area surrounded by a parachute. Again…shit. I ran out to help and was relieved to see the jumper laying on his side, conscious and talking. “I think I broke my leg.” With the situation changed from life or death to “Bummer dude, you’re going to miss 8 to 10 weeks of the skydiving season” I started my official accident investigation with the classic “What happened?” Apparently he just made the classic mistake of turning too low in order to face the wind on landing and hit the ground before he completed the turn. He said “I knew I was too low halfway through the turn.” Instead of commenting on his mistake or calling him something unflattering I expressed sympathy and hoped he’d be back soon. Not really the time to call him a moron. I think he was doing that enough for both of us.
P.S. one other note, he is a transplant jumper from another state (so I didn’t train him) and he missed my safety day presentation from the day before, (maybe he should’ve taken the time)
PP.S. Got word today, he’s going to be OK. Had surgery to to fix his broken femur (ouch) but will be back in the sky later this summer. Hopefully a bit smarter because if you’re going to be stupid you’d better be tough.