0
brendhanbb

Why did you make your first jump and how old were you when you made your first jump?

Recommended Posts

First jump at age 18 in 1968. Still jumping half a century later. I wanted to jump since I was age 12 and saw skydivers in action over Calistoga CA. It looked, to me, like the coolest thing in the universe. My folks believed in free-range parenting. They said "find a place that will train you, pay for it yourself and we will sign any and all liability waivers". I tried 3 places but none would train anyone under 18 regardless of parental waivers. I begged them to make an exception but they stood their ground. I was also fascinated with old propliner aircraft like Beech 18s, DC 3s, and larger 4 engined models. I used to spend weekend time hanging out at Oakland Airport North Field which in the 1960s had a collection of semi-derelict Constellations, Douglas DC 4, 6 and 7 and even an intact Boeing 377 Stratocrusier in Trans Ocean Airlines markings. In the pre TSA days it was easy to get access to the field. Many mechanics were glad to get free help and an extra set of hands from an airplane fanatic kid. I learned a lot about how those old planes were kept flying and about runaway props, fires, structural corrosion and other hazards of operating these old planes on a shoestring budget. I asked how I could get a ride in an old propliner and was told that skydiving was about the only way since none were flying scheduled passenger runs in CA and cargo planes couldn't legally carry passengers. One mechanic told me DC 3s and Twin Beeches were frequently used in skydiving and the rides were cheap. Turned out that Perry Stevens had a loft and training center right at the Oakland Airport North Fields so I signed up and became a jumper.
2018 marks half a century as a skydiver. Trained by the late Perry Stevens D-51 in 1968.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
New Zealand 1977. I was 22. A couple of people at work wanted to do it so I made the arrangements. Neither of them turned up. I made two jumps that day. Static line was the only option and I made 5 of those. I believe I was the first student of Auckland Skydivers after they changed the name from the Auckland Parachute Club and moved to Whenuapai.
...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am 45 and made my first jump July 2018. I always wanted to try it but was terrified of heights. It was almost like I lost a bet to do it. I and some of my coworkers went to Twin Peaks after work, and I thru the idea out there. I was hoping they would all say, the hell with you white boy, you're crazy. Than I could at least say I tried and be off the hook of going. It had to be the other damn redneck at the table that said I want to go too. I was thinking oh shit, but hoped he would forget about it. Every day at work, he would ask if I got it all set up. Now, Im worried, because I cant get out of this. So, we are set up to jump on saturday, and friday night was the worst night of trying to sleep, I think I ever got. I couldnt eat the next morning, and it was a good thing I didnt. We are at the dz, and we went thru the filling out of the paperwork, you know, in case you die. We than have a video to watch. After that my tandem instructor is going thru everything and I am trying to act like I am cool. I remember looking at my altimeter and at 10k, they open the door and Im not f#$king ready to do this yet!! It was 3 that for whatever reason were jumping at that altitude. We get to our altitude, and i dont remember anything the instructor said on the ground. I dont remember seeing anyone jump before us, I dont even rembering my videographer climbing outside. All I remember was the door was open, and we were getting closer to it. I was literally shitting bricks right now, but I wasnt going to make youtube, with me sobbing like a little child. I had zero altitude awareness, and I didnt save our lives. Jeremy decided to make an aggressive turn, and I told him I would throw up all over him. We made it to the ground and I was paper white, and dry heaving. Here comes my videographer asking me if I would sign up to go again!! Im thinking no way in hell am I ever coming back, and I replied sure!! I even paid for the next jump and still wasnt going back. We went back 2 weeks later, because now I was pissed. I wasnt going to let this beat me, and I was determined to at least have altitude awareness and deploy our canopy. It took me about 10 jumps before I stopped being completely terrified of the door, and now I am addicted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was almost 32, and it was a little over a year ago. I was looking to do new things, just to get out of my comfort zone and do some fun stuff. I went to a strip club for the first time, went skydiving, and took a motorcycle class that I failed because I couldn't pull off the figure 8 thing on the Harley Street 500 they supplied. So I decided against riding motorcycles.

I saw a "learn to surf" billboard on my way to the wind tunnel, and thought, "Oh, I know what's next!" but it didn't happen.

My first skydive sucked, and I was more afraid to do it the second time, but that's why I had to go through with it, so I did my first AFF jump, and landed feeling like I could go right back up and do it again. That's why I always tell people I think everyone should skydive at least twice.

Then I started hanging out on the dropzone a lot, I think it's fun hanging out on the airstrip with a bunch of outgoing people, chatting it up with the first timers, etc... and I was attracted to the freedom of it, the counter-culture elements, and thought, "Hey, I would love a career in this environment."

I started to immerse myself into the lifestyle, learned how to pack mains from the sole packer on the dz, and found I was enjoying it and was good at it, so I started looking more into the gear and different packing methods, packing reserves, BASE rigs, stuff like that.

I started thinking about possibly coaching or being a cameraman or TI, but I pretty quickly realized that wasn't my path, since I don't have a desire to jump several times a day. Still, I continued to pursue packing and rigging, got my rigger's ticket before even finishing AFF, then continued to work on my skydiving. Lots of people told me you don't need to be a skydiver to be a trusted rigger, but I disagree, so I continue to focus on the sport very broadly to continue gaining experience in every area.

That's when I left home for a 7 month skydiving vacation, basically. I lived in a tent in Z-hills for about 6 months total, and went to work in Hawaii for a month, but I didn't fit in there.

Now I've done 50 skydives, knocked out the B license requirements, and am continuing to work on my rigging knowledge. Eventually I will leave again to camp on a dropzone, or whatever other living arrangements they offer for employees.

Unfortunately, I never made it into the employment sector at Z-hills. I wanted to be a packer, but I found out later that they considered me lazy and a squatter because I only jumped once a week or so, and wasn't looking for other employment where my rigging skills would go unused. Oh well.

I just remembered you only asked about first jumps, but hey, this is still relevant! Because it shows how much of an impact it had, and was my first time knowing what career I wanted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was 28. In December of 2018. I have lived 8 min from my DZ for the last 10 years. I had always wanted to do just one tandem jump. You know, because, try everything once. I made my first tandem jump and loved it so much that I signed up for AFF the next day. Talk about a slippery slope. Yeah. I'm not a natural. I took a little break and spent some time in the tunnel and now I'm stoked to go back and finish AFF next month. ^_^ 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two years ago I started with 2 tandems and I really loved it and my friend told me he's thinking about doing AFF....

A few days later after lots of beers we signed up for the next season 2018. We watched a lot of videos during the months of waiting and went to the tunnel as well. For a long time I thought I'm psychologically well prepared to start! But as closer it came as more nervous I became :D  Two days before the start I couldn't sleep or eat anymore....Level 1-3 were not real for me...didn't even realise what I'm doing....and then I got a mindfuck....had to do a floater exit and climbing out of the door scared the shit out of me....managed level 4 but level 5 was too much for me....was shivering the whole ride up to altitude....after that I stopped for 4 months....thought I'll never go up again. But I couldn't get it out of my mind and I knew, if I wouldn't try again, this will be something I will regret forever. So I went back and passed Level 6, 7 and my first solo on the same day. I was never so proud of myself in my life before.

I'm now almost 32 and have 60 jumps now, my first rig and I can't wait for summer to be finally in the sky again <3 And I'm sure I'll do this sports for a very very long time.....

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good friend, Brad, was killed on a low turn. Brad always asking me to go jump with him when I was having difficult personal times. I never went. After his service I went and did a tandem in memory of him. Once I did that I was hooked. I would have been 27-28 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow. That is one of those bittersweet, momentous human stories that shows how meaningful the people in our lives are. If only those came with second chances... wasted potential is built into the physics of our lives, it sucks. Sorry to hear of that devastating loss, but you seriously honored him. Well done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account. It's free!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
0