Jun 17, 2012, 11:34 AM
Post #1 of 13
In memory of Alex Chulsky
I didn't know Alex personally, but had just done a tandem jump with him 5 days prior to his death. I can only offer an account of our jump together.
My wife and I both jumped as birthday presents to each other. Her instructor was a New Zealander, mine was Alex. At some point on the ground, someone mentioned accents, and Alex said something with a thick Russian accent. It turns out he was Russian and came to the US when he was 3 years old. My wife is Russian as well, and they immediately started joking back and forth in Russian.
As I had been interested in getting my license, I asked Alex if we could practice turning while in free fall. He demonstrated the necessary hand/arm movements, along with going over everything else we'd do on the dive. On the ride to altitude, he methodically and repeatedly went over all the gear. As he cinched our harnesses up, he jokingly asked if I had ever been that close to another man before. I laughed and said the previous closest was probably when I had given a friend a ride on my motorcycle, and he mentioned that he used to ride as well.
We were one of the last out the door, and on the jump, we practiced a few 360's as planned, with him guiding my arms to start and stop the turns. After the canopy was out and flying, he excitedly asked "So what did you think of that??!??!". I said something like "it makes doing 180mph on a motorcycle seem downright tame", and he laughed, saying that he had sold his bike and gave up riding because it was too dangerous. We did the usual turns as we glided back down to the landing zone.
After landing, as we walked off the field, my 3 year old son saw us and came running up. I put my soft helmet and goggles on him, which looked hilarious. Alex laughed at that, said it was awesome and exchanged a hi-five with my son. He had mentioned the upcoming birth of his first child in January. I had asked if he knew the sex yet, but he said it was still too early.
My wife and I both had a great time, and Alex was thorough, professional and confidence inspiring throughout the entire experience. My sincerest condolences go out to his family.
Thanks for the jump Alex. I didn't really know you, but you'll be missed.
(This post was edited by Chris3D on Jun 17, 2012, 12:46 PM)
THIS is what needs to be in the papers as well.. somehow he has been overlooked by the media and called simply "the instructor from brooklyn" in all the articles. This was truly a beautiful weekend of flying. i am hurting terribly for everyone closest to him, and even though i only knew him very briefly, it was nice watching you smile Aleks...
Thank you for posting. I have been jumping at the Ranch for many years. I can't remember one instant when Alex did not sport a happy grin. He infected every one around him with his love of life and fun. My condolences to both families for this terrible tragedy. You will always be in our hearts Alex. Blue skies.
Jun 19, 2012, 9:00 AM
Post #9 of 13
Re: [alonadelson] In memory of Alex Chulsky
[In reply to]
I want to thank whoever made the video it made me sad, happy, and this loss a bit easier to deal with. I first met Alex at SDLI at 7am on a sunny morning when he showed up first at the DZ. He tracked me down and explained he was the video guy for a four way team that would be practicing there all day. He said he never jumped here before and wanted the full run down. He was very interested in landing patterns, landing area seperation and overall general rules. I was impressed with his thoroughness. We went on to talk about video, four way, his camera setup, and basic skydiving chitchat.
Fast forward, Alex called me up and asked me to be his Tandem Examminer and explained he wanted to start doing tandems. I agreed and he came to my house for three days and went through the course. He did exceptionally well, always asking questions and rearfirming he was doing things properly. I rode on the front with him three times and must say I was impressed with his skill. Not a small guy at the time he handled himself very well and was obviously a skilled skydiver.
Since, I saw him sporadically and in Alex fashion he was always smiling and joking around.
It is hard to explain but I am very sad for the skydiving community, his friends, his family, and all family and friends of his passenger. I do know that if he could have done anything at all to prevent this he would have. He had a enormous heart and a zest for life.
Alex was a real special guy. Energetic, enthusiastic, positive, personable, fun loving, self deprecating, honest, loyal... You got Alex raw and unfiltered 100% of the time. Left no doubt that he was happy, and that he valued his friends and family above everything else.
Just echoing the thanks about your post, Chris. It has been so hard, reading all the media accounts which either mention Aleks almost as an afterthought, or insinuate that he was somehow negligent. We (I think I can speak for the Ranch community in general) really appreciate your recognition of his competence.
Jun 19, 2012, 8:34 PM
Post #12 of 13
Re: [jkbernstein] In memory of Alex Chulsky
[In reply to]
It's the least I could do. Aleks, Ron, Jimmy and the rest of the guys at the Ranch left such an impression on my wife and I, that I just felt compelled to comment. I've followed the coverage in the news and have also been offended by the lack of recognition of Aleks' loss and the suggestions that he was somehow negligent. From his gear checks on the plane, to his instruction in free fall, to his attention to traffic while under canopy, it was clear to me that he was exceedingly competent. So much so that I was surprised to learn how young he was, I think that level of thoroughness and focus is rare in someone of his age.
We only knew him for a few hours, but it's clear by the comments here how highly he was regarded by those close to him. You guys are in our thoughts.
I was a member of the 4 way team Alex shot video for. He was eager and willing to learn. He was a very happy go lucky guy with a smile for everyone and no malice towards anyone or anything. .He was courageous,lighthearted,cheerful and always looked for the good. He was totally a professional and knew his craft. His life will always remind me to emulate those traits as well as reminding me to be more patient, more compassionate and to do it as ALex would have done it, with a great big Alex, I will miss you.BSBD