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Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving

 


gimpboogie

Oct 30, 2007, 9:33 AM
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Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving Can't Post

Hi everyone,


It's Minna here from Ontario Canada.
I did a tandem sky dive with Angus Smith on Aug. 6th 2007, and got bitten seriously by the sky diving bug.

It had been about 3 yrs I seriously read about sky diving,
contemplated sky diving, and imagined sky diving until that day came,
but when I finally did, it was a given that I would sky dive for the rest of my life...
it was just a matter of 'how' it could happen.
Since I left my wheelchair down at the PST DZ that day,
I had to start thinking of ways I could land on my own, during subsequent dives (I didn't intend to dive strapped to Angus for the rest of my life).

Angus offered to be my AFF instructor, and he searched around for some info.
He found Tonto, and through him Peter Hewitt
(whose AFF instructor Tonto was).

Through these connections, we discovered how to modify some pants for me to free fall safely, and are in the process of making leg braces for my knees to keep me stable in FF.

I just came home from a weekend of my 7th tandem progression sky dive, and learned early Mon. Oct 29th morning that we had lost Tonto on the same day of my most successful sky diving day and the day we finalized our winter project plans.
To build my leg braces and pants,
go to the wind tunnel to see how this all responds in FF before I'm sent out of the plane on my own without Angus.

With an attitude of gratitude towards those sky divers who share their wisdom and experiences,
so that people like Angus can help folks like me to leave the wheelchair behind truly be free...
I leave this intro here with you today.

-minna


andm31  (A 21908)

Oct 30, 2007, 10:05 AM
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Re: [gimpboogie] Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Minna!

That is an amazing story and an amazing journey you are beginning and really happy to see you going up into that big blue thing we call a sky Smile

It would be so cool if you keep us updated on your progress?


Premier skymama  (D 26699)
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Oct 30, 2007, 10:27 AM
Post #3 of 19 (2962 views)
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Re: [gimpboogie] Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome to the forums! Smile That's wonderful that you have so many people helping you reach your goals. I'm sure Tonto would have been so proud of your progress. I hope you continue to find ways to make skydiving work for you. You will be an inspiration for all those people who say, "I can't", when it comes to minor aches and pains.


Jewels  (Student)

Oct 30, 2007, 1:35 PM
Post #4 of 19 (2948 views)
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Re: [gimpboogie] Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, Minna! That's a fantastic story about how you got here. Sounds like you've already made the kinds of connections you need, but a friend of mine has an organization that you might want to look into: http://www.handi-capable.org/. He lost part of his leg in a roll-over accident and both skydives and flies in the tunnel. I have no idea how that compares to your situation, but the two of you might be able to compare notes and he might have some good ideas for you regarding freefall. Check out his website if you're interested. In any event, go for it!


Peej  (B 2456)

Oct 31, 2007, 12:43 AM
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Re: [gimpboogie] Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome to the forums! Wink Keep up the good work, t would be proud Smile


gimpboogie

Oct 31, 2007, 4:41 AM
Post #6 of 19 (2921 views)
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Re: [Peej] Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi,

Thanks for the great welcome, and positive vibes.

The online sky diving community is like the
in person one,
-open and welcoming.

Sure -progress
Thats easy for now
I've progressed to bringing a case of beer every weekend I go :)

First case of beer was the altitude awareness, TTO's
(practice pulls I call them)
and deployment @ 5.5 on my 1st tandem progression.
As Angus playfully stated "you saved my life" upon landing for my deployment
(he has a great sense of humor and deep serious concentration coupled with exceptional teaching skills)

The second one was the back flip exit, and learning to recognize my drop zone, upper winds and starting to flare
(although at 20f! thank goodness for Angus being there).

Third case was the 3rd dive, with four 360 turns alternating direction and snapping them down pretty solid on heading before deployment @ 5.5

Then came the 'disaster' dive...
The one where I deployed late
(started @ 5.5, but couldn't find the monkeys fist (we switched from the EZ 384 to the tandem sigma -bad move-we've switched back since and I can deploy in 500f instead of 1000f now ))
@ 4.5 and looked up stating
'its there, its square and its useable'
[WITHOUT touching the toggles!]
and began to work on strapping my legs up for landing position rather then DZ location and upper wind awareness.
(still flared too early also)

Then I finally learned.
Realizing if I didn't,
I'd kill myself on my own.

5th onward I've executed solid arches
(that never was the problem, i was pretty solid when Angus failed to pull us into a bak flip after we both tried and failed -he commented 'too stable!' in my log book)
deployment sequence is followed properly now and canopy control in the last dive on Sun. was actually very good, i picked my approach properly and flared for 2nd dive in a row 'right on'.

Tonto helped to develop the pant design which I am going to be using.

At the JSC website at their AFF photo gallery there is Peter Hewitts 1st AFF dive with Tonto and the pants are there in their beginning stages. With webbing between the legs,
and later development was knee braces that held the legs @ 90 degrees @ the knees.
the pants have straps on the knees with a ratchet system to pull up the legs into landing position which is knees held up high towards the chest and land on your butt (ooh yes, extra padding in there ;) )

I saw lots of video of wind tunnels
(and free flying, which is what I gravitate towards).
And feel confident of these pants, and our success in Feb. when we plan to go to FL (hopefully) of New Hampshire.
I know Peter can sit fly, and do just about everything else in FF, and lands well.... so this is possible.
Our paralysis is about the same level.

Folks who have amputations have the advantage of muscle control in thighs
*(unless its a hip down amputation, which gives the same effect as us)*
so their flying is more similar in the leg control aspect to typical sky divers then us.
In fact, the landing is where they will deal similar fate as us.

I like your friends site, it is positive and not a pity party or hero worship site
-thats a refreshing view to see,
I can relate much better with his site then most.

I'm not here on this planet to dwell on the past,
or the 'what ifs'
but rather to DO, and to LIVE, to the fullest each day
with meaning and a reason other then myself.

Thanks for the welcome,
I'll be retiring for the season,
got a spare chute I'm practicing packing with during these winter months.

the weather pretty much closes in on us here now,
anyways for these tandem dives with Angus...
last weekend we went through sun, rain, hail, snow, and some moments to dive in between
(while having to rush the plane in the hangar when the hail was approaching until we could haul it out and dive again), in -10C upper temps.

Now it is time to create these pants,
choosing colours and patterns to honour Tonto's
contribution to AFF sky diving
(of course sky diving in general)
which is the best way to get paraplegics into sky diving.

I'm so fortunate with having found Angus,
(he has been sky diving 27 yrs -D472)
I'm in good hands.

Blue skies,
-minna


gimpboogie

Nov 2, 2007, 12:32 PM
Post #7 of 19 (2886 views)
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Re: [gimpboogie] Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving [In reply to] Can't Post

All week I've bee watching the cloudy windy skies,
thinking that the blue skies are reserved for Tonto, and that's why there is no sky diving weather here.

Then the dreams started,
3 nights as of Mon. have dreamed of sky diving.
Always the feeling of freedom, absolutely dissolves me.

I email my coach,
(our dives last week were supposed to be our last of the season )
and tell him, arrange for kid-sitters, dog-sitters,
transportation to the DZ,
and he tells me he has 297 tandem's this season,
with my 1st with him being his 220th (which pushed him over his 17 yr tandem master record, and was my first).
Telling me that he would love to do his last dive of the season, as his 300th and with me again.

Off to the DZ I go, with little cash in my pocket,
a sliver of good luck (for the one day I'll need it)
and high hopes for a great weekend (it's going to be sunny and warm for the first time in a month!)
sky diving, and expecting to learn something.

My thoughts keep migrating to Tonto,
strange as it seems,
since we never met...
Tonto, represents to me,
what Angus is to me,
the lifeline upon which I rely right now,
the source of the knowledge I seek.

We will finish off our season,
diving 3 times for Tonto,
once for each sky diver in the AFF instruction formation.
I feel like designing fly pants with the shape of 3 sky divers, two holding the one on the middle, and the one on the left side of the student sky diver will be a different colour then the other two.
these will be flying down the side of my pants.

It's just an idea that keeps popping up in my mind.
As a tribute to the sky divers who share, and sacrifice
so we all may enjoy this sport so immensely.

Blue Skies to all,
-minna


gimpboogie

Nov 6, 2007, 3:37 PM
Post #8 of 19 (2855 views)
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Re: [gimpboogie] Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi,
Here's a video of my 9th tandem progression
dive,
this ones dedicated to Tonto.
-minna

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWtiQyGVJl4


Para_Frog  (D 29814)

Nov 8, 2007, 2:11 PM
Post #9 of 19 (2828 views)
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Re: [gimpboogie] Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving [In reply to] Can't Post

Here ya go: Clicky

Very inspiring accomplishment. As you go forward, it may interest you to get in touch with our buddy Russel (pBASEtobe). He's a T3-T4 paraplegic and an accomplished skydiver/BASE jumper.

Project Zero-P

He's the king of adrenaline sports-enabling gadgets.

Have fun up there...and welcome to the club. Beer!


(This post was edited by Para_Frog on Nov 8, 2007, 2:17 PM)


gimpboogie

Nov 12, 2007, 4:29 PM
Post #10 of 19 (2764 views)
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Re: [Para_Frog] Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving [In reply to] Can't Post

excellent,
thanks for the "clicky" thingy (I'm a still somewhat of a techno-peasant).

Is this the same Russell from California who has the video of the wheelchair BASE jump?

My coach and I have had some email contact with him.
We found Peter Hewitt online, and Lonnie also.
Peter is supposed to come to Canada next summer, and when he does by then I should be solo. Lonnie, Peter, I (and any one else we can drag into it) will do a "gimp boogie -where noone's got a leg to stand on" while we do a Tour de Dropzone.

I'm hoping Russell will join us.Last I talked to Peter, his planned arrival in Canada would be end of June to mid July.
Dropzones beware, the gimps are taking over!.

I just ordered knee braces which are hinged and can lock into several different degrees In the wind tunnel in Feb. we will figure out which angle will be best for FF.
Then a few AFF dives in the spring and I should be set to go.

I am planning to go to Bridge day next yr.
BASE is definitely in my plans.

Currently I play wheelchair rugby (watch the movie Murderball and you'll get the idea ... ), basketball, drop into vert ramps when ever I can, skateparks, sprint kayak, row and play around with my kitewing.

BUT SKY DIVING BEATS them ALL!
(surely BASE will be neck in neck with sky diving....)
There's nothing I can think of that I wouldn't try once, as long as it involves speed and adrenaline (ooh well it's my obsession with those that got me into the motorcross accident.... but heck I don't regret riding motorcross ).

Thanks for the great link to Russell's site.
I'm spending the night checking out those videos.


gimpboogie

Nov 16, 2007, 6:17 AM
Post #11 of 19 (2710 views)
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Re: [gimpboogie] Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving [In reply to] Can't Post

I want to go watch people BASE jump.

I'd only consider it once I get to perhaps 1000 dives, get a 7 cell non-vented canopy, learn to fly it like its an appendage of mine,
hang around riggers and pack my own reserves,
pack myself line twists on purpose and get myself out of them,
become proficient with rear riser controls,
deep brake landings,
become excellent at accuracy and jump from balloons or helicopters so I can experience that dead air exit then I would consider BASE.
I'd want to be as rational, and responsible aqs possible before attempting BASE.

Does that sound reasonable expectations?
OR is there more I need to consider?

Thus, in the meantime I'd like to go next yr. to Bridge Day to watch others.
My question is:

IS there any other BASE 'events around that I could go watch ?


Para_Frog  (D 29814)

Dec 3, 2007, 4:57 PM
Post #12 of 19 (2614 views)
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Re: [gimpboogie] Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving [In reply to] Can't Post

Yup, that Russel!

If you're ever in Idaho, look me up. You'll get a solid immersion. We have "events" every day! Wink

I'll be at BD...look me up there too.


skyjump11  (D 5595)

Dec 13, 2007, 12:53 PM
Post #13 of 19 (2568 views)
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Re: [gimpboogie] Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving [In reply to] Can't Post

Your posting began with, "Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving."
From where I sit, you 'left' that wheelchair a long time ago. Your 'mind' and 'attitude' and commitment to 'move on' has taken you from that chair a while back. And I also understand the thought of, "Boy! I wish I was the 'one' writting this, instead of the 'one' receiving it."
Way to go for you! I am proud of you!
grace, peace & blue skies
Merry Christmas
sep


dannydan  (Student)

Dec 14, 2007, 3:57 AM
Post #14 of 19 (2549 views)
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Re: [skyjump11] Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Way to go for you! I am proud of you!
grace, peace & blue skies

I second this sentiment!!!! WOO freaking HOO!!!

WELCOME WELCOME WELCOME Min...

peace :DD


gimpboogie

Dec 19, 2007, 2:05 PM
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Re: [Para_Frog] Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Yup, that Russel!

If you're ever in Idaho, look me up. You'll get a solid immersion. We have "events" every day! Wink

I'll be at BD...look me up there too.

I'll be SURE to do that Russel,
I've started talking to Lonnie on facebook and we got some plans for next summer for a bit of "immersion" right here in Ontario....
My coach Angus tells me he thinks its truly possible for me to have my A license by the end of next summer season, and with that A, a letter from my DZ (PST) stating anyone can call there anytime to verify that its "real" that I did learn after I got into this freak'n chair, no one should be able to stop me from sky diving at any DZ like anyone else.

So, Lonnie and I are planning a bit of 'gimp freefall'
who knows what will happen when two crazy gimps start jumping out of planes, 'maybe start off as praying mantis and end up as horny gorilla's Wink by the time were ready to deploy...

It will probably be a 'first', two gimps docking in FF and getting "something going on" Angelic worth getting your videographer out to follow us around.

Glad to meet you Para_Frog,
I'm certainly going to come find you at BD next yr.!
and well, Idaho, never been there so if there's some "immersion" going on, I'd be willing to do a cross country ultra marathon in my wheelchair to get there Sly

-minna


gimpboogie

Dec 19, 2007, 2:31 PM
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Re: [dannydan] Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks DannyDan and Skyjump11 for the welcome and great greetings.

I just visited my coach Angus, brought him the two leg braces I was able to acquire from Ebay.
They lock into a variety of angles (up to 11 different ones)
We figured around 60% would be a place to start and see how that works in the tunnel.

Then today I found an email from him about our upcoming tunnel trip that he's going to " try to coordinate it so that we are there the same time as the 'Canadian Tunnel Camp'. ....you will get to meet a bunch of your fellow Canadian skydivers, including Rocky and Tana Nash (Stratosphere 4 way team), who organise this event. They are good friends of mine, and a LOT of fun!"

http://www.geocities.com/team_stratosfear/

I can't believe this all!
someone pinch me, kick me, throw me off the roof to make sure I'm not hallucinating!

I'd push myself down to NH if I could go during Stratosphere 4 way team camp even just to watch.

All is set to go now, just have to wait to make sure that the tunnel is going to allow me in there (seeing as there hasn't been too many gimps in those places from what i hear)....
I have faith.
They will allow me to go.

My life is a blast...
I love life.

I was sick there this fall for quite a while, with kidney infection, sinus infection and aspiration pneumonia, until on Nov. 30th I felt so weak I thought I had trouble breathing.
Called he doc and he said to go to the ER.
Well, i almost didn't go, but the dreams of the tunnel made me want to make sure i was going to be healthy.

When I get there, the nurse says:
"why is your heart rate 35?"
(How the heck am I supposed to know.... was my initial thoughts, then my 'ego' kicked in and I said maybe because I'm really physically fit like Lance Armstrong, his resting heart rate is 36".
Wrong answer! Tongue
They hook me up to some cardio machines...
heart rate is dropping, were at 20 beats per minute now,
blood pressure is dropping...
cardiologist is called and atropene is administered to increase the heart rate.
OOPS! it had the opposite effect!
sent me into flatline the nurses said.
It was the strangest feeling.
so peaceful, the peripheral vision started to black out and everything looked like it was far away at the end of a long tunnel...
then everything went black...
15 seconds my heart had been stopped until they did the electric loop, or paddles or what ever the heck they had to do to kick start the old ticker again.
Spent Nov 30th to Dec. 12th in critical care hooked up to an 'artline' (like an IV but in my artery)
to monitor each heart beat, oxygen saturation and blood pressure,
on 3 IV medications to try to increase the heart rate which still wanted to hover around 30 to 40 despite these meds.

Ohh but then Angus came to visit!
HE DROVE in a freakn blizzard directly from work for 5 or 6 hrs just to come to my bedside,
and give me a good reminder that the tunnel time is waiting for me...
that the blue skies are there...
that i have a life to live.

Well didnt that kick start the old ticker and the cardiologist to this day has no idea why those medications didnt do the trick, but the adrenaline rush from my own body thinking of sky diving brought back the life into me I know....

2 days after I left the hosp. i went to the dropzone.
the owner was shocked as hell, I was worried wed have to put him on the artline and atropene....

but heck, doctors have been known to be wrong before,
They told me in sept. 2005 that I had 60% chance of dying within 3 yrs and 90% chance of dying within 5 yrs of their 'death sentence' attempt (diagnosed with ALS)
...

now I just go back to see them once a year to remind them that with determination, a strong will, (or is that stubborness?), positive thinking and beautiful dreams of doing wonderful things a persons mind is stronger then anything else.
I refuse to die laying around in a hosp. bed.

This time the infections had turned into sepsis, systemic blood poisoning and thats what grabbed my heart muscle
but just the thoughts of sky diving and watching tons of sky diving and BASE jumping videos each day,
reading Brian Germains books, and having Angus show up at my bedside was enough to remind the old ticker that IM IN CONTROL here.... not the damn infection.

Im still finishing off antibiotics for another week or so,
but stronger, and ready to fly anytime the word comes down that I can get out there to the tunnel.

Blue skies to all,
and remember...
do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do something you want to do, if it is in your heart and mind as a strong desire...
you WILL get there.

I wasnt going to share this lil hosp. side trip story because what the heck does it have to do with sky diving?
but it occurred to me it has EVERYTHING to do with sky diving.
IF I didnt want to get up there to dive so badly,maybe my mind would not have fought every heart beat.


Lonnie  (C 2051)

Jan 7, 2008, 7:12 PM
Post #17 of 19 (2360 views)
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Re: [gimpboogie] Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving [In reply to] Can't Post

YOU ARE A TRUE INSPIRATION!!

Can't wait to C'YA in the air!


gimpboogie

Jan 8, 2008, 10:06 PM
Post #18 of 19 (2335 views)
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Re: [Lonnie] Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving [In reply to] Can't Post

Were going to FLY Lonnie,
till the sun sets
and then do it again and again!
Maybe it will work out that Russel will come also.
I'm SO stoked about diving with you Lonnie...
YOU re MY inspiration,
you've got guts!

This summer we will take the DZ's over and have gimps dropping out the sky like rain in the spring time.


grannyinthesky  (D 30311)

Jan 9, 2008, 5:13 AM
Post #19 of 19 (2330 views)
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Re: [gimpboogie] Greetings, left my wheelchair @ the DZ @ went sky diving [In reply to] Can't Post

I am so excited for you. Leave a little room in the sky for this old lady though. Ok?



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