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.

 

“Zero”

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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.

 

More Wingsuit Porn

It’s opening day at Skydive Twin Cities but unfortunately we got snow overnight, ( it’s too cold to jump) and the wind is howling, (so it’s too windy to jump) So instead of posting some sh!t Hot video from our first day of the season I’m posting the latest Sh!t hot wing suiting video from Norway. I especially like when these guys buzz the gondolas on their way down. And you wonder why wingsuit pilots are getting killed in record numbers? OK, maybe you’re not wondering.

Gravity Check

In the sprit of trying to make up for my six month hiatus from blogging I’m bringing back my practice of posting photos from my iphoto library. Flying, skydiving, hunting, skiing, and anything else I can find to try and entertain you guys without all the work of actually writing. Bread and circuses you know.

Melanie S with KM 9.27 JW 025Just another day at the office

Super Girl In A Tube

Sorry to interrupt my ramblings on the subject of survival but tis the season for thankfulness and I really can’t relate to you all how blessed I am this year until I bring you all up to speed on what’s been happening in the McCauley family for the last 6 months or so. This would’ve been easier if I hadn’t taken a 6 month break in posting huh?

Super girl left college in Minnesota and moved out west to go to a school that had a better program but seeing that the price for out of state tuition is a little expensive she’s decided to work for a year to establish residency. So why is this even remotely interesting? Because to support herself she got a job at the local wind tunnel. Now I know most of you have no clue what the hell that is so I’ll try and explain. A wind tunnel is where skydivers go to practice their free fall skills in a controlled environment without the worry of getting by a planet. The great thing about a wind tunnel is that you can fly for minutes at a time instead of seconds and that makes for faster learning and LOTS OF FUN! (sorry, but I get excited) And why, you still might ask, is this interesting? Because dear reader she get’s to fly in the wind tunnel for free and develop skills in mere months that normally would’ve taken years. And not only that, her family get’s to fly in the tunnel for free as well! (not that I care about such things)

Fast forward to early this month and Cathy and I make the big trip out west to see how our first born is handling living in the big city all alone. We did all the normal stuff parents do when visiting their daughter. Cathy spent three days cleaning SG’s apartment while I spent the same amount of time getting her Land Rover back into some sort of safe driving condition. Did you know that you have to take the grill off to change the turn signal bulbs? Yah, me neither. But the trip wasn’t just helping SG with the little things she’d neglected we did manage to make two trips to see where she works and try out the wind tunnel. I was up first and despite the fact that I’ve been jumping for 30 years and have over 15,000 skydives I still stunk. Indoor skydiving is WAY different than the real thing. In my defense the instructors said that I did better than most skydivers in the wind tunnel for the first time because it’s not the same thing as free fall. Still, I’d hoped I would’ve been a little better than that. But the big story of the day was the show my wife put on. Because despite owning a drop zone, and being married to one of the most amazing skydivers in the the world, (that would be me) she has never jumper out of a perfectly good airplane, or even one of ours. Cathy started out like any other first timer in the wind tunnel but she was doing so good the instructor let go of her and she killed it! No wobbling about, no smashing into the walls, nothing, rock steady. You typically do 2 minutes at a time and by the end of her second round she was doing complete turns and moving back and forth like an expert. SG and I were astonished. Oh and speaking of Super Girl, she’s amazing in the tunnel. I knew her skydiving and dance background would translate perfectly into flying in the tunnel but I had no idea just how good she’d gotten. And yes, this is hard to say, she is better than me in the tunnel, WAY better! Of course she works at the tunnel and gets to fly everyday, but still. Super proud of my girls I am.

IMG_9770Where’s Cathy? Someone has to take pictures.

If you don’t know what indoor skydiving looks like here’s a little taste. I’m almost as good as these guys. And by almost I mean not at all.