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Found 28 results

  1. That's right! You heard it here first. Skydive America Palm Beach is now the proud landlord of some new guests. Yep, that's right. Scotty Carbone (a self-proclaimed skydiving gypsy), his lovely wife, Tammy, and his 3-legged dog, Hercules, have traveled across time and space from their last dropzone which was Skydive Spaceland in Texas and have finally landed and set up home on the Skydive America property. This is fantastic news for Skydive America and the jumpers as they have brought their entourage of trailers and tents including the cutaway cafe. Now Skydive America has the one thing it was missing -- the constant smell of food in the air, as they knock out some smashing breakfasts lunches, and dinners along with plenty of cold drinks, tea, coffee and homemade sandwiches, munchies and all sorts of skydiving goodies. Skydive America was, is, and has always been an awesome dropzone which I thought had everything (except decent food). I mean where else do you get to jump with Olav Zipser, Jerry Bird and Scotty Carbone all on the same load on a weekly basis? When asked how long they are going to stay, the reply was, "for at least a couple of years." Scotty brings with him about 12,000 skydives, good food, a bang-on sense of humor and some great organizing, along with more stories than an old Jewish grandma at a Matzo ball party. This weekend the skydiver writing this actually replaced his gold chain, that's been around his neck for the last 15 years, with a black piece of leather, a closing pin and a couple of beads, after being told by Carbone, "why you wearing that girlie thing kid, you need to be wearing one of these," as he kindly charged me $18 for my new necklace and told me how all skydivers with more than 200 jumps must wear these (hey who was I to argue -- I have 250 jumps -- he has over 12,000 and he did give me a free cup of tea). Anyway, having Scotty and Tammy there have only added brownie points to the dropzone and added a sense of history. I mean, when I am awakened at 7:00 AM on a Sunday morning by the sound of horribly loud 70's music blasting from the "Carbone Zone" Trailer/Café, and I walk out of the bunkhouse and there's the sweet smell of bacon and French toast in the air and then there's Scotty Carbone with his big chef's hat, a pair of boots and boxer shorts and not too much else, scuttling around and kicking up dust dancing with cooking spatula in hand, it reminded me of a scene from "Good Morning Vietnam" or of old skydiving days. I don't know -- it just seemed to make me feel nostalgic and was definitely a lot better than a bunch of us sitting around eating cold Egg Mcmuffins before first load. So, needless to say, the "Carbone Zone", Tammy and Hercules, the 3-legged dog (who runs 22 miles an hour behind Scotty's scooter wherever he goes -- you have to see it -- it's hysterical), are warmly welcomed by the all the skydivers and everyone at Skydive America. (Yes, even the freeflyers have to eat you know.) When I arrived home after another great weekend of jumpin', the wife said "Where's your chain?" I said, "its in my bag -- I am not wearing it anymore. I'm a skydiver and Scotty Carbone said I have to wear this." To this she replied, "Who the f#@# is Scotty Carbone. If he told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?" (She's not a jumper.) Then, surprisingly, she said, "I actually hated that gold chain -- you look much better in that new thing, whatever it is." Andre Stepsky b32323 TFQ #1 www.tumblefuqs.com
  2. This week saw the loss of two skydiving heavy-weights, Pat Works and Scotty Carbone, in separate incidents not related to skydiving. Both Pat and Scotty were long time members of dropzone.com and legends within the skydiving community as a whole. Pat and Scotty couldn't have been more different in personalities, though they garnered both love and respect from fellow skydivers in their own individual approaches to life. Scotty Carbone It's difficult to say anything on Scotty that hasn't been talked about already on dropzone.com. In fact, a thread started way back in 2002 sought to bring together both stories and rumors relating to Scotty, titled "Who is Scotty Carbone?", which gathered more than 150 responses including individuals such as Bill Booth who shared his own story on Scotty. Although controversial at times, Scotty's brash nature and loud personality was accompanied by a willingness to help others and an unmatched ability to bring smiles and laughter to those around him. He will always be known as a man who followed his own path and didn't allow others to dictate how he should live. Not only was Scotty a well known personality in the community, but he was also a skilled skydiver with plenty of jumps behind his name and 'more cutaways than most people have jumps'. Scotty Carbone Memorial Thread Pat Works Pat Works will always be remembered for his contributions to the world of skydiving. He was a key participant in the creation and overall establishment of the relative work (formation skydiving) discipline back in the 1970s. In the 1990s he again played a crucial role in the development of VRW or vertical formation skydiving as it is now known. An extremely skilled skydiver with more than 8000 jumps behind his name, Pat sought to share his knowledge of the sport through his writing and authored several popular books, including: "United We Fall", "The Art of Freefall RW" and "The Art of VRW: The Way of Freefly" Pat was truly spurred on by his eagerness to teach and was never shy to hop onto the forums and share his knowledge with others. He was also a member of the Skydiving Museum with roles as historian, museum curator, collections and curatorial committee. Although he has left us, Pat's contributions towards the sport shall be noticed for decades to come. Pat Works Memorial Thread We thank Pat Works for his considerable literary contributions to the sport and Scotty for being himself and bringing a smile to those around him. BSBD
  3. François (Frank) Xavier Chevrier, 81, President of FXC Corporation and Guardian Parachute, passed away suddenly on September 17, 2012. For over 60 years, Frank had been very active in the military life support equipment industry. Frank, from Montreal, Canada, joined the Canadian Air Force in his teens. He came to the U.S.A. in 1962 and began working in the aerospace industry in Southern California. In 1973, he founded the FXC Corporation in Santa Ana, California, which bears his initials. With his FXC team, he immediately addressed an upswing of industry interest in parachute safety and advancing escape system technology. FXC Corporation developed and became a world leader in Automatic Parachute Ripcord Releases for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, NASA and foreign militaries. FXC Corporation is also a designer and manufacturer of critical components for military ejection seats and aerial delivery applications. In 1976, Frank acquired the Guardian Parachute product line. Today, the Guardian Parachute Division is a qualified manufacturer of all parachutes for U.S. militaries and a designer of High‐Glide Tactical Parachute Systems for Special Forces and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Recovery Parachute Systems. Frank had been a long‐time corporate supporter in the military aircrew life support equipment community of the SAFE Association and the Parachute Industries Association. In recognition of his business leadership, industry service, and commitment in delivering life‐saving product innovations, Frank was recently informed that he was selected to receive the 2012 SAFE Association Career Achievement Award at its Annual Symposium in October 2012. The company will celebrate its 40th year of operation in 2013. Frank was a resident of San Juan Capistrano, California and is survived by his wife Irene and four children: Sylvia, Rick, Anna and Francois, Jr. He also has five grandchildren and five great‐grandchildren.
  4. World-renowned author and skydiver Dan Poynter (D-454) passed away peacefully yesterday after recently being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Renal Failure. While Dan may no longer be with us, his writings and the connections he formed within the skydiving community will ensure his legacy is kept alive for a long time to come. He will be remembered not only for his books, which span more than 35 years and include more than 120 titles, but also for his attitude which drove his success. Dan's career began with the management of a parachute company in California, after which he became more involved with the design aspect of parachutes and became a design specialist. An active and skilled skydiver, Dan began to write about his knowledge of the sport with a seemingly unrivaled knowledge, specifically with regards to equipment. In 1972 he released "The Parachute Manual—A Technical Treatise on the Parachute", which is often seen as one of the leading early publications on skydiving gear. In 1978 Dan released the original copy of "Parachuting: The Skydiver's Handbook" - a book that has been seen by many as one of the cornerstones of skydiving literature. Unlike some of Dan's other work which was focused more on the technical aspects and aimed towards riggers, The Skydiver's Handbook brought to the table a collection of extremely valuable information and advice for all skydivers, from those just beginning their journey to those who already have several thousand jumps. Dan's publications were not limited to his self-published books either, and his column in Parachutist magazine was always thoroughly enjoyed by many. Dan developed a keen interest in hang gliding as well, which lead him to write the book "Hang Gliding" which became a bestseller with over 130 000 copies sold and remains one of Dan's most recognized works. The fact that Dan was writing on topics with a smaller audience posed challenges for the writer, who realized his best option in the distribution of his work was to self-publish. Dan established 'Para Publishing', where he would spend years being the sole driving force of the company. Writing, publishing, promotion and even shipping was all handled by Dan, despite the numerous copies being sold. His determination and drive in the management of Para Publishing lead him to write a book on his experience, "The Self-Publishing Manual". It also lead to him becoming a well known motivational speaker. Dan Poynter had always been ahead of his time, from his early technical books on skydiving equipment right through to his methods of book distribution. In 1996 Dan was already selling information products from his website, something that would only become common place years later. His achievements both in publishing and in skydiving will not soon be forgotten, with both his work and countless awards testament to the impact he had on skydivers around the world.
  5. According to his bio on the Avalore team page (www.avalorefreefly.com), Adam Mattacola, apparently began jumping in 2004 at my local drop zone, Sibson, near Peterborough in the UK when he was still in his teens. I don't remember him. Back then I had 200 jumps and thought I was the right royal shiznit. Who was I to look for the new AFF grads to jump with? Pshhh puh- LEASE! I was too busy making sweet 2 way head up jumps and trying my best to look like I knew what I was doing by colour coordinating my free fly suit colours I had on order. I had just got my C and was strapping a camera to my helmet. I was WAY too busy to deal with the likes of this young scrote! Fast forward a few years and an almost quick blink of the eyes later, and the same guy is hot off the presses, having just rolled off the newly awarded Euro 40 way HD record and the 11 way Brit HD record days before his 22nd birthday and he has also been garnered the austere title of UK Senior FF champs 2005 with his Avalore team mates. So is a record holder AND champion. All in the space of a few years since he first started. Accomplished at the sprightly age of 21, a full decade younger than me. "Hmmmmm", I pondered to myself this week, "how in the sweet name of Buddha, Allah, God, Jah and Jehovah did this guy get SO good SO quickly?!" Am I bitter? Of course not! That would be infantile. It's all love in this sport (especially when I might run into the young hotshot at some point and want some coaching off him!). Seriously though, Adam is obviously one of what I like to call the "new breed", one of the "rising stars" and all that other names that people call those very talented, young people who seem to progress so quickly in their given sporting discipline. I was curious to find out how he had managed to do it, in such a short space of time, and share his insights with the members of the skydiving community, old and young alike, so that we could possibly learn something from him, and shine some light on an obviously very talented flyer. So without further ado, I decided to find out just what the hell this guy had been up to to progress so quickly and do so well for himself in such a short space of time. Enjoy! Name: Adam Mattacola AKA Killa Cola Age: 23 Occupation: Airkix wind tunnel instructor/ Coach; AFF Instructor and Skydiving coach First skydive (date and location): Tandem skydive Sibson August 2004, AFF Seville August 2004 Years in sport: 3 Number of jumps: 517 Number of mals: 0 :-) Kit: Vortex2 Hurricane 120, PD120 with CYPRES Describe yourself in one sentence: determined, loves a challenge, loves to get laid and a little crazy. Background:I did a tandem jump in August 2004 at Sibson, I had always wanted to jump out of a plane since I was little....I've always been a little thrill seeker and who loves to do something new...in my head not many people have done skydiving and it scared the majority. I like to be different. After we'd jumped that was it, I was hooked - no fear in me at all and I had a big cheesy smile on my face which I could not wipe off for days. As soon as I landed I went to the internet and booked the AFF!!!! I knew this sport was for me. AFF in Seville 2 weeks later out of a small Cessna with instructors Alex and Jonno (thanks guys). Levels 1-5 I passed first time without a correction signal and with instructors letting go (no tunnel time at this stage). So that night I suppose you can say I got a bit ahead of myself and thought this was an easy ride and went and had a few beers. But stayed out late and only had a few hours kip like you do and went to the DZ knackered. Level 6.....spin flip twist spin spin flip twist all the way down. Hmmm shock to the system. Maybe this is not such an easy ride after all. Repeat Level 6 and yes it was a repeat - literally! ....spin flip twist spin spin spin. Instructor said go home have some rest and lets finish the course tomorrow. Went home had a kip then practiced on my bed all night. I soooo wanted this license. Then the next day I passed all levels and was one happy bunny. Jumped at Hinton. Got into freefly at around 50 - 60 jumps because it was something new and everyone said how hard it was.... I love a challenge, I love to learn something new and hard! I then went to Sibson and started to jump then had a Russia trip to Kolomna, it was great. 84 jumps in 2 weeks. Halfway into Russia I was still rusty in my sit and it took me along time to get to the base. As soon as I got there it was time for break off! Damn! Everyone started to mock me and I was like, "Come on... I only have 70 jumps!" So I decided "I WILL GET THERE BEFORE BREAK OFF!". So, out of the plane and zoom - but I didn't take into account stopping. Straight through the base. "Oops!". My nickname is "Cola" due to my last name and then they just added "Killa" as I tried to kill them all... hence "Killa Cola". A lot of the jumps were 2 way sit with Dylan and now I can freefly. (it's better to learn in smaller groups I think). After 200 jumps my buddy "Big Al" AKA Heman recommended me to Airkix to be an instructor. Thanks to him I got the job. I was an electrician before and was happy to leave. Weeks went on and everyone raved about how fast I picked up flying. I just thought they were being nice. A couple of months in and I was there flying around with the top flyers and then all of a sudden they were asking me how to do things. It was one big hit the first time it happened. The legends asking advice from me, all in just a few months! I competed in the World Challenge 2007 wind tunnel comp with Michi from Bedford. We came fourth, only 2 points behind Babylon, who were third. Avalore at this point, were looking for a third member as one had left. They asked me whilst at Airkix. I wanted to compete and get experience but had no money. Avalore has good sponsorship and let me trial for them at Lillo in Spain and they were happy with me. I am now a member of Avalore by spending next to no money - I'm very lucky. I then wanted to be able to teach anyone, so I did my AFF instructor course at Lillo so now I can teach from complete beginner to advanced headdown and can now pass on my knowledge. I heard about the Euro record and was desperate to take part. It represented something new and challenging and something not many people can say they have done. The biggest I did before that was 7 way head down. I went from the trial straight into a 20 way. Wow! I was buzzing. Got onto the 30 way record attempt out of 70ish people who turned up for the trials. Deep inside I was exploding with excitement but trying to stay cool about the whole thing. We completed it first time. Then it went to 36 people, then up to 40. Then as a fun jump/British record jump we did an 11way - 3 points. Now, when I get the chance, I will train with Avalore for the Nationals and hopefully we will do well. Alot of other good teams are out there. I now do coaching for all levels of skydiving too. A lot has happened to me in a short space of time - sometimes even now I have to step back and take a deep breath and make sure I'm not dreaming as all of this has happened in the space of working at Airkix within 1 year! What's a typical day like for you:Wake up to a cheesy tune as an alarm on my phone, so I can't help but smile even though I'm tired. Hot shower then turn it cold for a few seconds just before I get out. Wakes you up. Go to Airkix to work, give experience and enjoyment and share the sport I love with hundreds of people, and see them smile from ear to ear. Chill out when I get home, then do 'the thing I'm learning' at that particular time. I always like to be learning a new skill from learning a different language to playing piano or guitar or another sport. Then either go to bed or maybe go on my laptop and look at certain pages on the internet which I can't say about in this interview and...well...you know the rest! Who do you look up to in the skydiving world and why:I look up to every high achieving competitor as it takes a lot of commitment, hard work and motivation to be in a team. I also respect a lot of students due to there determination by not quitting when they come to a move they struggle to do. Best jump you have ever had and why:I think maybe the pants jump I did in Russia. Seven of us in just our boxers and all not really very experienced. It was basically naked bodies flying all over the place out of control with the great expressions on their faces - so much fun but we froze our bollocks off! Favourite type of jump right now and why:Has to be a chasing dive with buddies, without trying to lose one another. It's true free flying as you fly at all angles and positions like eagles, carving tracking and belly/ back flying (which I feel are also important areas to be good at) and quick directional changes. Tracking also has to be one of my favourites as I can't do it in the tunnel, and there is so much to do in tracking, so many angles and different speeds. How have you managed to progress so quickly in such a short space of time?Tunnel time for sure is the quickest way to learn skydiving skills. It disciplines you to do everything on spot with a coach right in front of you and if you hit that wall, you don't want do it again so you make yourself do it right! I always pushed myself and never let something beat me because it was too hard to do. I believed in myself and after I flew I watched back over my flights and made sure I understood how the wind works with your body instead of just flying and being able to do it without actually understanding WHY. That's the way to do it, making sure you understand why things happen. Being relaxed is a also a big part of flying, so if possible you need to be sure you're not sexually frustrated. Trust me it affects your flying! Favourite coach you have had coaching from and why?The Airkix tunnel instructors.... a friendly, helpful bunch who have time for their students and they are very good at what they do. What makes a skydiver experienced?Attitude to the sport, safety wise, is very important and that's for both while under canopy as well as in freefall. Also, not knowing HOW to do something but more importantly, WHY it happens - that's the way to learn. If you understand "the why", it is better then doing it a million times and not understanding it. Some people with a couple of hundred jumps have better knowledge of the sport than some guys with a 1000 jumps. What would you change in the sport if you could change any one thing?Make it cheaper and be able to jump from a higher altitude. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?I really don't know...I can see myself still in this sport for sure, but I think mainly just coaching and passing on knowledge I have gathered over the years. I tend not to plan the future - I'm more of a guy who goes with the flow and whatever is around the corner, I've just got to make the most of it. You only live once!!! Greatest non skydiving accomplishment:4th in the Bedford World Challenge, but if you count that as skydiving related then most probably being in a dance video doing breakdancing. Favourite quote:Make it happen and live your dream - life is only as good as you make it. Freefall or canopy ride?Freefall - you share the experience with alot more people while it's happening. Swoop, or straight in?Swoop - it's challenging and it's something new to learn, but it's also very dangerous if you underestimate it. Jump numbers or experience?Experience - if you have the knowledge and understand it, its better than a bit of paper saying I've done 2000 jumps. RSL or no RSL?No RSL - could be a situation where it would not be best if reserve come out straight away. AAD or no AAD?AAD for sure just make sure it's the right one for what you are doing....if you swoop - make sure you have a swoop CYPRES. Fun jump or training:Fun jump - no pressure and makes it easier to enjoy every moment of the skydive Noddy or Big Ears:Noddy Steak or Tofu:Steak... rare The journey or the destination:The journey - the destination may not turn out to be as good as you thought, but getting there is one big adventure and you have no idea how its going to work out. Sex or jumping:Got to be sex, as it is free......well for most people anyway...sex while jumping would be interesting! Money or fame:Money. Fame could lead to no privacy. Money will take a lot of worries away. Many thanks to Adam for taking the time out to answer these interview questions!
  6. So, Saturday was my day to celebrate 68 years on the planet by checking off a very much delayed personal experience on my list: a tandem free-fall skydive! It began with checking www.skydivenm.net to view a number of their tandem jump videos. They looked like what I expected so I picked up the phone and scheduled a date some three weeks in the future. This Saturday, "jump morning" began with a short drive from Albuquerque to Sky Dive New Mexico's hangar at Belen's Alexander Airport up on the East mesa. Shortly after I arrive, I am in a 45 minute, very professional and meticulous ground training by Tandem Master, Rich Greenwood. This is followed by a period of waiting until it is my turn to go up. I pass this time very pleasurably watching others go through their suit-up and check-out, their pre-jump practice, get into the plane, go up, float down, and then watching over their shoulder as they review the videos of their jumps and receive their "First Jump" certificates. All the while, there is a group of six to eight individuals in the hangar meticulously repacking parachutes for next jumps. I'm beginning to get that meticulous is a good thing in skydiving. Then…it's my turn! Kelly Wilson, my Tandem Master jump partner, hand picks a professional jumpsuit for me to put on. Kelly has been doing tandem jumps for a bunch of years and the folks he's taken up before me today have all been giggling and beaming afterward and saying it's totally awesome and that I'll do just fine and love it. Kelly meticulously straps me into my jump harness, which is like a full parachute harness except for two important features: four really heavy-duty clips on the back…and …no parachute. Kelly wears the parachute. And just before we exit the plane, he will attach me super snuggly to his front with those four clips and tighten everything with final web strap adjustments. Kelly puts me through three complete practice cycles of exit, free-fall, rip-cord pull, and landing firmly reinforcing Rich's earlier training. Then Kelly, Ron, Jason and I all head for the awaiting Cessna. Ron Weagly is our videographer (I want a DVD record to remind myself and prove to my kids and grandkids I really did jump out of a perfectly good airplane), and Jason Korrel is our commercially rated pilot. Kelly and I do an exaggerated John Wayne walk for Ron's video. John Wayne walk - remember I'm old enough to have seen the movies. We tuck ourselves into the cockpit and Don starts and revs the engine and we begin our rollout to the runway. After a somewhat noisy, twenty-minute, breathtakingly beautiful climb over the spectacular East mesa with the Rio Puerco River reflecting in the sunlight, we are 11,000 feet above the Belen Airport and the skydive landing zone. It's time for me to put on my goggles and jump headgear. Then in the not-any-too-big-for-four cockpit, I get on my knees facing forward so Kelly can hook me up and check everything out (meticulously). Next, Ron pops open the over-size right door letting a wave of really cool thin air to blast in. Ron steps out and hangs on to the wing strut with one hand and starts videoing Kelly and me as we begin "exiting the plane." I grasp a strap inside the open cabin door and slide my right foot from under my butt out into the wind and onto the large metal step. I follow that carefully with my left foot. A brief glance at the ground. A smile to the camera. Kelly reminds me to hook my thumbs under my harness shoulder straps and then says, "One. Two. ARCH!!!" and we "exit the plane" into a clear, cool, bright-blue New Mexico sky. I pull my head back and my feet up into as much arch as I can as Kelly deploys the drogue chute which will help stabilize and ever so slightly prolong our free-fall. Tap-tap on my shoulder and I unhook my thumbs and extend my arms and hands out in the free-fall "flying" position and check the altimeter strapped on my left wrist. Free falling from 11,000 feet down to 6,000 feet is totally unlike anything I have ever imagined or experienced! It is almost indescribable. Afterwards I will remember it as like flying without a plane, just body-wise, like in a really great flying dream. Kelly gently rotates our position to face into the sun. Ron floats down right in front of us and gives me a thumbs up which I return with a wave and as much of a smile as I can muster into 120 MPH free-fall wind in my face. Earlier, I've seen the other videos and I want to be sure to smile and wave into Ron's camera so the kids will think that Dad's cool. Heck … so Dad will think that Dad is cool! Too soon, it seems, the helmet beeper goes off in my right ear signaling we are falling through 6,000 feet. Kelly gives me a reminder tap on the shoulder and I reach down for the orange plastic ripcord handle on my right hip. Got it! Quick easy pull! Onethousandone, onethousandtwo, onethousandthree, and the canopy deploys with surprising gentleness --and everything goes mystically silent. I can stop looking into the camera and look around and see the entire Middle Rio Grand Valley and East mesa dangling beneath my feet. There just really aren't enough exclamation points to do this view and experience justice. The silence of hot air ballooning might come close, but we are 5,000 feet up, ever-so-gently falling, there is no burner noise, and we can steer! Ron, the videographer, has continued his free-fall so he can beat us down and set up to video our landing. Kelly asks how I'm doing. I say I'm doing great, but I don't tell him I'm darned near crying because of the sheer beauty, the silence, the majesty of it all. He pulls down on the left riser and we pirouette counterclockwise - then the right riser into a clockwise pirouette - pure magic and beauty. I see Ron's canopy way below us now, lining up his landing. The e. e. Cummings poetry quote, "The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful," comes to mind. I look at my wrist altimeter and we are at 2,000 feet. At 1,500 feet Kelly says the folks on the ground in the landing zone can hear me if I holler loud - so I begin hollering and waving for the next couple of minutes just because it feels so good. Then we are at 800 feet and Kelly is heading us up into the wind, I pull my feet up for a butt-slide landing and the next thing I know -- I find myself comfortably seated on the ground in the landing zone -- Kelly has released the clips -- Ron is holding out his a hand to help me stand up, all the while videoing my very wide grin and asking me, "So, how was that for you?" It was great, stupendous, indescribable. Again, not enough exclamation points! He records some more banter and a high five exchange with Kelly, and we get into the Skydive New Mexico van for the 3-minute ride back to the hanger. Ron provides a quick preview of my video, and, hey! I look pretty good! (A little secret: smiling broadly, sticking your tongue out and waving at the camera in free fall looks way more cool than you can imagine.) Kelly and Rich and a couple of other skydivers congratulate me and then Kelly is handing me my very own personalized "Tandem First Jump Certificate." Then it seems like it's all over too soon. We walk back to our car for the short drive back to Albuquerque and dinner and home. A wonderful mirage-like memory and vision of what I've just experienced keeps playing over and over in my head: Ron pops the door open, I look down on the mesa and the Rio Grande Valley, Kelly leans me out into our free-fall, we stabilize, Ron floats in front of us with his camera, I pull the rip-cord, we float ever-so-serenely down to a gentle butt-plop landing and I feel myself grinning like a goose (geese do grin, don't they?). For days later I notice I can still easily replay these wonderful scenes in my mind and, I am still grinning like a goose. And that's how I did my first free-fall skydive. Life is good! Some day if you want to discover what your goose grin feels like, you can begin by going to www.skydivenm.net, checking out the neat tandem videos, and hooking up with Rich and Kelly at the Belen Airport … and you'll do just fine and love it! Post script: The mailman just delivered Ron Weagly's DVD of my jump and I slapped it into my PC for viewing as quickly as I could. All I can say is (1) he made me look sooooo very good, and (2) I'm thinking about going again. Copyright Tom Miles, 2007 Albuquerque, NM
  7. admin

    Arthur's Gift

    Arthur Stapler, known as "Rebel," was a vibrant, intense man who never took no for an answer. Rebel died Saturday, May 14, 2005 at age 47, of Multiple Sclerosis. But it isn't his death I want to talk about, it was his life, and the gift he gave everyone he knew, especially those of us here on Dropzone.com. He gave the gift of dreams, of challenges, of inspiration. His death hurts. I received a call on Friday from his father, relaying Arthur's request that he be remembered to all of us here at DZ.com when he had passed. We were such a large part of his life; we were such a large part of his dream. I thought and cried and thought some more about how to best remember him...and when I received the news this morning of his passing, I cried some more. I grieve not simply for me, and not simply for his family. I grieve for the loss of him in this world, of a man who, despite his setbacks, despite his illness, made a difference to many, many people. In his living, he showed us how to live for real, at 100%, no holds barred. He showed us how to trust at the most deep level; he showed us how to dream and dream big, and then make it happen. He showed us what life is about; freedom, joy, peace, happiness. Rebel had this dream, you see. For him, wheelchair bound and in assisted living facilities, it was a really really big dream. He wanted to skydive. He told me once that until he had come to Dropzone.com, he hadn't realized he could skydive; he had only been searching for a skydiving photo he could print out and gaze at. He had already skied, biked, and any number of other things. And then he realized he wanted to skydive. What he really wanted - what he craved, he said - was to see the world from above, to know the thrum of a jumpship, to slide out into forever, to hear the sudden noisy silence of freefall, and to dance towards the earth under a canopy. He jumped twice, despite the fact that multiple sclerosis had robbed him of mobility, of independence, of movement. Jumped into the sky, tasted the freedom, danced in the sun, and stole our hearts with his brightness of spirit. Somehow, CNN got wind of his story and interviewed him, and he was so proud of what he had accomplished, and what he could show others. He was able to communicate, through his dream of skydiving, and in his doing it, that whatever you dream, you can get. Whatever disability is yours, it only holds you back if you allow it. And if you're going to dream, you might as well dream on the largest scale you can...for in the dream, buried as a pearl is inside an oyster, is our freedom. He spoke to millions of people that day, and as I sat on the sofa 3000 miles away from him, I saw his pride, I saw his joy, and I saw his love. His enormous self jumped out of the tv, challenging all of us to reach past whatever we think of as barriers, challenges, obstacles, and meet him one-on-one in his magnificence. To see him take to the sky, to see the beatific expression of expectancy, anticipation, and confidence as he left the plane and slipped into the sky, to see him land and say "I wanna go again!!!" was his gift to us. And what a huge, gigantic, rare gift he gave us. He gave us the experience of a dream well dreamt, a goal well challenged, obstacles met and overcome, choices made and respect earned. His gift taught at a deep level. In his living, he showed a passion and a zest for life, to take what is given you and make the best of it. He had two careers, two marriages, and more dogs than he ever admitted to. He laughed, loved, and lived fully, shooting laughter over the phone, winging a hug through the email, teasing me about my life, my dreams, my hopes. He did that with many people, and each were touched in their hearts. He made me laugh, and made me understand that obstacles are only in our mind, only if we choose for them to be obstacles. You want it? Go get it. You wish for it? Do it yourself. You can do anything, you just have to dream bigger than your challenges, and it will be here. I've had some time to reflect upon this most ordinary, unusual man. Contrary terms? No, not really. For he was a blend of both the ordinary and the unusual. He was a balance between that which is and that which could be, if one would only open their heart's eye and look. He was both teacher and student, of all subjects, big and small. He was ordinary, and he was unusual. He was real, tough, gentle, kind, stubborn, optimistic and rebellious. He got what he wanted; not because people felt sorry for him (he would never have allowed that), but because it was right for him, for his life, for his dreams. He made things happen...and happen they did. He not just talked the talk, but walked the walk...and flew the flight. Rebel dreamed of freedom. He dreamed of moving through space, touching the infinite, of being in the heart of the world, in the sky. He wanted...and he got. And now, as I try to imagine what he's doing, I can see him running. Cheering. Flying. Swooping with his angels, and dancing with God. He is joyous now, zinging around, doing everything at once ('cause that is what heaven would be for him...everything....), and he smiles so widely his face cracks. He is free now, loved and loving, ever present in those whose lives he touched, into whose hearts he burrowed, in whose spirits his met there in the sky, dancing in freedom and in joy. I listen closely, and I can hear his laugh again, loud, reverberating through my heart. Arthur's gift was himself. Rebel my friend, dance with the angels, and smile with God...and endless blue skies for you. Endless, perfect summer blue skies. Rebel with a Dream Rebel's Photo Gallery For more information about Multiple Sclerosis, please go here: National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  8. Perris, CA (November 23,2004)- Pioneer B.A.S.E. jumper Jeb Corliss and Go Fast! - sponsored test pilot Luigi Cani, have paved the way for a world record landing attempt of a wing-suit—minus a parachute. Jeb and Luigi teamed up to gauge speeds and gather data to safely land Jeb’s wing-suit. Testing was critical, as no one has ever survived a landing attempt without a parachute. Jeb flew in free fall donning a parachute alongside Luigi, who was at the controls of the world’s smallest and fastest parachute—known as the ICARUS VX-39. The two were able to gather data using GPS systems attached to Luigi that tracked exact forward speeds, exact fall rate and glide angles needed for a safe landing. After two days of test piloting, Jeb Corliss said landing the wing-suit was possible as early as next year. "We found there is a definite and reasonable speed for a landing attempt sometime next summer. We’re now developing four different types of technologies to land safely—it’s very important to land with zero injuries," said Corliss after analyzing data from the test flight. Showcasing the evolution of the sport of skydiving, Luigi Cani remarked on the uniqueness of Jeb’s wing-suit project. "The testing shows the technology of the sport—nowadays we can jump a parachute that flies as fast as a person in free fall and currently we’re discovering technology to land a wing-suit without a parachute," said Cani. "If Jeb lands the wing-suit without a parachute and survives—he is going to be my hero," added Cani. About Go Fast Sports & Beverage Co. Go Fast Sports & Beverage Co. is the producer of Go Fast Energy Drink and Go Fast Sports Apparel. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Go Fast is involved with sports and athletes of all kinds – from triathlon, parachuting and mountain biking, to B.A.S.E. jumping, climbing, skier-x, motocross, kiteboarding and more. For more information, please visit www.GoFastSports.com, or call 303.893.1222 or email [email protected]
  9. Airborne03

    ERAU Skydiving Club

    Embry Riddle Aeronautical University is not only one of the top ranked aerospace engineering schools in the country, but it also produces a large number of our airline pilots. The university sits just four miles from Daytona Beach, one of the world’s most famous beaches - home of Bike Week, Spring Break and even the birthplace of NASCAR. While some ERAU students spend their free time relaxing and soaking up the sun, a select group of students use the beach as a backdrop for their aerial playground. ERAU Skydiving Club offers the ultimate thrill to students, faculty and staff, who wish to participate in a tandem or complete their AFF course and become a licensed skydiver. ERAUSC utilizes the impressive facilities at Skydive Deland, located in Deland, Florida, only 15 minutes from the university. Skydive Deland graciously offers discounts to club members. Within the first three weeks of school this semester (hurricanes permitting), the Skydiving Club has grown to over 40 members. Over a dozen new AFF students have completed their ground school and are ready to start becoming skydivers. ERAUSC’s popularity has grown throughout the local skydiving community over the past year. As a university, ERAU has looked past the negative stereotypes of the sport and now embraces truly what skydiving tries to accomplish. This is evident by the request for demonstration jumps into almost every major event for the university, including ERAU’s homecoming air show and static display this November. This year, ERAUSC has vowed to promote the sport of skydiving to even a larger number of students and expose them to every aspect of the sport. As of now, four separate teams, including three freefly and one female 4-way team are training to compete in Collegiate this year, once again being hosted in Lake Wales, Florida. For these ten college students, classes are spent day dreaming about their next opportunity to jump from a plane, rather than fly one. Unlike most people who compete in the USPA Nationals, many of these students have full time jobs and are full time students. Four of the students are part of the Reserve Officer Tanning Corps program for the Air Force and Army, some are pilots, and even a few are engineering students. One competitor has even been working for NASA for two years. The teams are not sponsored by local skydiving companies or dropzones. Part of what makes Collegiate such a great sport is that most of the competitors did everything in their power to raise money to compete. Very little funding is available through schools or local companies to support such a dream. It is nice to see how dedicated these college skydivers are to our sport.
  10. Larry Hill DZO of Skydive Arizona and sponsor of Arizona Airspeed returned to the sky at the World Free Fall Convention 2004 in Rantoul Illinois. Remarkably this was just eighteen months after total shoulder replacement surgery. Larry spends a fair amount of his time while on the drop zone in the main hangar giving hands on advice to the maintenance staff or out on the grounds behind a tractor. It isn't easy turning wrenches when making repairs on heavy equipment, especially if one of the major tools is broken such as a shoulder that doesn't allow for movement. At the time of Larry's replacement he had lost full range of motion in his shoulder. This coupled with the pain associated with the malady, prevented him from skydiving. Not only as a skydiver and a pilot was Larry affected, but the overall quality of his daily life was diminished as well. It was then that Larry opted for the total shoulder replacement. Shoulder replacement surgery is an option for treatment of severe arthritis of the shoulder joint. Arthritis is a condition that affects the cartilage of the joints. As the cartilage lining wears away, the protective lining between the bones is lost--when this happens, painful bone rubbing against bone arthritis develops. Severe shoulder arthritis is quite painful, and can cause restriction of motion. While this may be tolerated with some medications and lifestyle adjustments, there may come a time when surgical treatment is necessary. What is a total shoulder replacement?Total shoulder replacement surgery alleviates pain by replacing the damaged bone and cartilage with a metal and plastic implant. The shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint, much like the hip joint. The ball is the top of the arm bone (the humerus), and the socket is within the shoulder blade (scapula). This joint allows people an enormous range of motion at the shoulder. When shoulder replacement surgery is performed, the ball is removed from the top of the humerus and replaced with a metal implant. This is shaped like a half-moon and attached to a stem inserted down the center of the arm bone. The socket portion of the joint is shaved to clean bone and replaced with a plastic socket that is cemented into the scapula. Larry offers that his shoulder is the best that it has been in years and he is virtually pain free. Larry says that he is in high hopes of skydiving more often in the future, but for now he has mounds of dirt to move as Skydive Arizona makes way for its newest addition, the SkyVenture Arizona Wind Tunnel.
  11. Former President George H.W. Bush celebrated his 80th birthday Sunday by parachuting twice onto the grounds of his presidential library. Both great leaps were made in tandem with more experienced jumpers from the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute team from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. After the jump Bush encouraged others. "Don't just sit around watching TV talking to it. Get out there and realize at 80 years old you still got a life. And that is what this was about. "I like speed and I like the thrill of it, but that second part is, I think it sets an example for older people... because you are 80 years old that doesn't mean you are out of it, out of the game." Stiff winds led Bush to cancel plans for the second jump to be done solo. Bush's first jump occurred at 7:45 a.m. (8:45 a.m. ET) and his second at 1:20 p.m. (2:20 p.m. ET). His exit from a twin-engine DeHavilland DHC-6 Twin Otter turboprop plane traveling at 120 mph at an altitude of 13,000 feet was made in the company of six soldiers, three of whom had cameras attached to their helmets. About 60 seconds of free fall were followed by five to eight minutes of gliding onto a landing on a grassy field, near where he plans to be buried. Two Secret Service agents accompanied Bush on the plane, but did not jump. Several hundred people, including former first lady Barbara Bush, witnessed the event. Also watching the jumps was former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who said he turned down an invitation from Bush to participate as a jumper. "I'll consider it maybe for his 90th birthday," Gorbachev told reporters. Bush's second jump was preceded by separate jumps by actor Chuck Norris and Fox News Anchor Britt Hume, both of them also done in tandem. The leaps marked Bush's fourth and fifth parachute jumps. The first wasn't planned. As a Navy pilot during World War II, Bush bailed out of his plane when his torpedo bomber was hit by anti-aircraft fire south of Japan. His two crewmen died. Bush last jumped on June 9, 1999, in celebration of his 75th birthday. Last week, Bush told CNN's Larry King he wanted to send a message that "just because you're 80, that doesn't mean you can't do fun stuff or interesting things." With his five official jumps, Bush has enough to earn a skydiver's pin. Asked whether his father would indeed celebrate a future birthday by jumping again, Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida told reporters, "I hope so. ... I want my dad to live forever." Bush's jump actually came a day after his birthday, which he celebrated Saturday in Houston with a gala dinner at Minute Maid Park, home of the Astros. A number of foreign dignitaries attended, including Gorbachev and former British Prime Minister John Major. Other famous faces on hand included comedian and CNBC host Dennis Miller, tennis star Chris Evert and pro golfer Greg Norman. The guests were entertained by stars of country and Christian music, including singers Clint Black, Vince Gill, Amy Grant and Yolanda Adams. Proceeds from the event will go to the George Bush Forty-One endowment, which helps fund the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Points of Light Foundation. Jim McGrath, a spokesman for the group "[email protected]," which helped organize the events, said the 41st president "remains actively involved in all three of these organizations." In light of former President Ronald Reagan's death, McGrath also said on the group's Web site: "Given the charitable nature of these events, we believe President Reagan would be the first to say 'the show must go on.' "
  12. Twenty- three year old Michiko Kawaragi has made the trek from Japan to Skydive Arizona twice in the past six months. Her goal, to make as many skydives as she can afford. With 600 + jumps to her credit, this quiet yet friendly young woman has a dream, and that dream is centered on competing in the Open class division of freestyle skydiving. To become skilled in any sport it requires, dedication, discipline, a great deal of practice and a first-rate coach. Michiko's limited funds would not afford her the opportunity to hire a coach let alone do the volume of jumps required to reach her objective. Sometimes however, good fortune smiles down upon us and we receive a gift when we least expect it. Such is the case for this aspiring young flyer. At the behest of a close friend, Michiko was encouraged to enter an online essay contest sponsored by Snickers® candy bar entitled: "Dream Support." The criteria set forth was to write a 200 word essay detailing the dream and what it would take to make it come true. The winning entry would receive $10,000 U.S. and those funds would have to be spent within a 3 months period solely on the pursuit of that dream. Michiko received a phone call at 3:00 am one morning while in Arizona informing her that she had won the essay contest! Early the next morning, Michiko went in search of former World Freestyle Champion Omar Alhegelan. Michiko was in high hopes that Omar would have room in his busy schedule to coach her. She was thrilled to learn that he would indeed have time. Michiko was soon on her way to making a dream come true. Michiko admits that there is a great deal work to do before she has honed her skills enough to compete as a guest at the U.S. Nationals. She does aspire at some point to be invited to a World Meet. For now she is eager to continue her tutelage under Omar, and feels honored and privileged for the opportunity. Michiko offers that with proper coaching she has been able to make some very noticeable progress, none of which would have been possible without a sweet dream or a sweet tooth. Photo: Jason Peters
  13. We are extremely happy to announce that Mr. Edward Anderson, better known as Bushman, is to join the Aerodyne group to become Chief of Operations (COO) of Aerodyne Research Inc, our subsidiary in Florida, USA. In this position Bushman will manage the North and South American sales operations and head the worldwide marketing team. Until recently Bushman was employed as Marketing Director by Performance Designs and has extensive experience in the parachute industry. He has represented Performance Designs for 14 years in various positions and has been based in many countries on various continents. Through his contacts with skydivers around the world he has built himself a strong reputation and won the respect of many business partners and will bring that with him to the Aerodyne Group "I am proud and excited to join Aerodyne and I feel this is an opportunity for me to take on new challenges and utilize the skills I have acquired over the years," said Bushman. "Aerodyne has great ambitions and I plan to contribute in every way I can to make them a reality." Originally from South Africa and holding a Swedish passport and US permanent residence, Bushman now joins an equally international team of long time parachute professionals. Aerodyne International is a newly formed group operating sales hubs in Europe, North America and South Africa, as well as 3 factories. Since the new Aerodyne went public at the PIA Symposium in last January, we managed to launch the Solo, Pilot, Vision and Amax 9-cell main canopies as well as the Smart reserve. Effective immediately, we are also taking orders for the Icon harness-container system. For more information about Aerodyne and our products please go to www.aerodyne-int.com
  14. admin

    Rebel with a Dream

    "Tuesday. I'm going to jump on Tuesday. If the weather holds, that is." Like a teenager, Arthur Stapler's voice cracks with excitement. "It's been a bad spring and early summer here," he chats on, "lots of rain and clouds. I would have done it sooner, but they had a record or something they wanted to get. So Tuesday I will do this. If the weather plays nice." View Rebel's Photo Gallery View Rebel's Video ~19MB!Arthur, known as "Rebel" for reasons which are perfectly clear once you know him, has Multiple Sclerosis . MS is a neurological auto-immune disease which attacks the brain, and disrupts the timely and smooth flow of the nerve ends by destroying the myelin sheath. Diagnosed on his 21st birthday, Rebel completed college, pledged a frat house (ask him about his egg story someday!), married, divorced, married again, and has had 2 separate careers, both as a VP of an automobile dealership and in textiles. Now, Rebel's MS has progressed to the point where he is completely reliant on a powered wheelchair. He still has, however, limited use of his right hand. He's used that hand to reach out and grab his dream of bodyflight. He's going skydiving. "Ever since I was a little boy, I wanted to fly. So I went hunting for a picture of skydiving to put onto my computer, to look at sometimes. Did a google search. Up popped Dropzone.com, and I was sucked in. Like a tornado, but good." He laughs. "All I originally wanted was a picture, and look what happened." Rebel researched dropzones, settling on CrossKeys in Williamstown, NJ. He called them, and talked to them about the possibility of him making a tandem skydive. Without announcing it to family or friends, he arranged possible dates and times, and coordinated with a few conspiring aides to assist him in finding the sky. As the day neared, he sent out invitations to family and friends. He was getting excited, he said, glued to the weather stations and planning. If it wasn't going to be Tuesday, it was going to be shortly thereafter. He was going to fly. His sister Marci said she thought he was crazy at first, and then, "why not? Why not?? I had no real questions about it, I didn't really think about it, I figured the details will come as we go. At first, I didn't even realize it was going to be tandem. I just knew if he wanted it, it was going to happen. That's Arthur. And that's wonderful." It was clear on Tuesday. Beautiful, blue, midsummer day. Rebel didn't tell anyone at his assisted care facility where he was going (they thought he was at the doctors). Rebel packed up and went out of state to CrossKeys. And pulling up at the dropzone was, he said, "interesting." Having never been to a dropzone, he was immediately aware of "the vibe", that feeling of barely suppressed excitement, of manageable exuberance. Amy, his little sister, was there. "My brother became my hero a few years ago, and continues to be so. This is just typical of him. He decides to do something, and then just goes and does it. He sees everything as a surmountable challenge for him. There's nothing he can't do when he decides to do it." Connecting with Tandem Instructor Range Luda, who has lots of experience in bringing physically challenged folk into the sky, Rebel knew he was going with a master. Nothing to stop him now, nothing at all. It was happening. And he felt great. Getting him into the jumpsuit was accomplished, and then Rebel says "I didn't know what to expect next. And man, I was surprised." A specially designed harness was brought out. It strapped the legs together, and immobilized the arms across chest, along with attachment points for the tandem master. "Well, now I know what bondage is. I was looking for ladies in high heels and leather, but they didn't show." He laughed. "I'm kinda glad they didn't, either." Trussed like the family Thanksgiving turkey, Arthur was on his way. Back into the wheelchair, and down the dropzone into the loading area. There sat the 208, waiting. Inviting him into the sky. Motors thrumming, loaded, ready to go. He was going to skydive. First out means last in, and so he got a door seat for his first jump. He recalls wondering if they would shut the door, but distinctly remembers not being nervous. Feeling the anticipation, sure, but not nervous. During the climb to altitude, sitting on the floor with his tandem master behind him, he feels the bindings regularly tighten on the harness, hears slight snicks as the attachments are fastened. He is attached, and ready to go. "Here I am, in a plane, going 2 1/2 miles into the sky, with a bunch of people I have never met, doing something most people never do, and I wasn't nervous. Not one bead of sweat appeared, not one flutter in my stomach. Everyone on that plane was laughing, cheering. I didn't know what to think, what to expect. I was there, though, and that was what mattered. I was going to skydive." Rebel's voice takes on a hint of concern, however. "After awhile, people got quiet, and then started moving around. I thought 'What? Did the engine die or something?' And then a red light went on. They opened the door. I could see the sky. It was huge. And then the light went green. Goggles were put onto my face. We scooched over to the door so my legs dangled over the edge. And then Range asked me if I was ready to skydive. I nodded." With a rocking motion, they slipped from the edge of the door, and out into the blue. Out into the world they flew, no thought, no fear. "We dropped out, and I looked down, and God's honest truth, I only realized I wasn't in the plane was when I saw Erik (the videographer) in front of me." Wonder creeps into his voice. It lowers almost to a whisper. "I'm there. In the sky." Awed. Amazed. And then he recalls thinking "What was everyone telling me about breathing for? I don't have any problem." "I remember feeling weightless," he says, "when I'm sitting in my chair, I'm 134 dead weight. When I was there, I was gliding. I felt weightless. I felt so comfortable, so intense. So peaceful." Merging into the sky, Rebel was free. As they soared and flew through the day, the videographer with them, Rebel knew of the overwhelming bigness of the sky in a way not known to most. "It was so huge, so beautiful, so peaceful", he recalls. "I was outside of the plane - I was in the sky, I was immersed, inside something, blended into something. I knew Range was there, I knew Erik was there, but I was alone. And I was free." Rebel does not remember the canopy opening very clearly. "Poof, soft, and then we could talk. All I could say was 'I want to go again' ". As they danced through the sky under a Strong tandem, Rebel was absorbing everything. "I remember thinking this is what the birds see. I see it like the birds do now. I've looked out of a plane window before, and that is nothing compared to what I saw. Nothing." "I had no concept of time. Forever and too short. I felt just wonderful. It was like a 7 minute orgasm," he laughs, "but free, weightless." Range took him through several spirals, and sliced through the day dancing especially for Rebel. And as they descended, Rebel was grinning. On final approach, Rebel saw his family and friends coming out towards his landing spot. And the landing was absolutely perfect. "It was like a kid playing jacks - soft, mellow, easy." It was over. Rebel recalls "it was like when you go on a rollercoaster, and can sit in the seat and just hand the guy another ticket to go 'round again. I was looking for the ticket guy, but he wasn't there." He received the log entry, his certificate, and bumperstickers. After getting out of his harness and jumpsuit, everyone went over and watched the video on the big screen. "They were giving me hugs," Rebel chuckles. "The President didn't get these hugs. The guy who jumped with the dog didn't get it. I got a lot of love from everyone." Jumpers on his load, other jumpers and dz'ers who were just there, all came over and high-fived him, shook his hand, or hugged him. He was surrounded with the vibe of skydivers; he was now, too, a skydiver. He doesn't know all these people, he says, but he doesn't have to. He felt the love. "I am carrying his pictures around," says his father Michael. "I'm like a Pop with Little League. Everyone has to see them. They show a man who is happy with his life right now, and has something to live for. Arthur is a risk taker but this is a different kind of risk. Not many people...would think of skydiving, but Arthur? Well, that's him. I am very proud." Amy, his little sister, said she was never nervous. "Arthur is my big brother. He does what he says he will. If it takes a bit longer, fine, whatever." Arthur's voice has a quietness, an almost factual insistence, a sureness to it. "What I did today was something which proved that people with disability or illness, whatever physical challenge, can do anything they really want to do. If they want to sit around and be pissed off, cry 'why me', so be it. I am not going to do that; I have never have done it. I have skied on quad skis, I have biked on a tricycle, I am maybe going to get to drive a race car. Now I fly, too. And I am going to do it again." His voice intensifies, if that's possible. "I have learned to make things accessible. I learned how to find answers. If I can't do it now, I'll figure a way to do it later...I learned to realize I could do a lot of things. This was something huge, something important, this skydive. And I did it." "Look, I think of "MS" as two letters. Mighty Special. I can offer people a lot of things. There is someone beyond the wheelchair, beyond the person who can't get up. I can offer many things. I can listen, I can give, I gotta lot of love inside me. MS is only 2 letters. There are 24 other letters left. And I'm busy using those, too." Arthur is still processing the jump, days later. I speak with him, and hear the ecstasy in his voice. "Hey. Tell me again. Why do you want to jump out of a plane?" "Because I can." Yes, Rebel, you can. Special thanks to the folks at CrossKeys: Range Luda - Tandem Instructor Paul Eriksmoen - videographer Lauren Demme- Manifest Jonathan Gordon (Jonno) - Pilot Glenn Bangs- Drop Zone Manager> For more information about Multiple Sclerosis, please go here: National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  15. PITTSBURGH -- Robert Bonadies was falling at a rate of about 176 feet per second when he grasped the rip cord of a student who had tumbled out of control, saving her life and sacrificing his own. Bonadies, 47, of Vernon, Conn., was one of 21 people honored Thursday by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, established in 1904 to recognize human courage under extreme conditions. He died on May 6, 2002 while instructing students at Connecticut Parachutists, Inc., near Hartford, Conn. Bonadies, called Bobo by friends and family, was passionate about skydiving and running. His wake was attended by an estimated 4,000 people from both communities, including those he had taught to jump from planes and finish marathons. The wake lasted more than five hours, said his friend and fellow instructor at Connecticut Parachutists, Inc., Don Semon. "The circumstances were pretty shocking for everybody, but in this type of work, things happen quickly," Semon said. "Certain people act in certain ways." Bonadies was performing an "accelerated free fall" from 12,000 feet with another instructor and two students, Semon said. The student began to tumble around 5,500 feet and was unable to activate her chute, authorities said. "The procedure is, at 2,000 feet, if a student's canopy is not open, you open your own chute and look out for yourself," Semon said. "You've done everything you can." Bonadies stuck by his student as she hurtled toward the earth until he was able to activate her chute, enabling her to touch down safely, witnesses said. Traveling at 120 mph, it was only seconds before Bonadies was killed. He had been diving since the mid-1970s and was a veteran of more than 2,700 jumps, Semon said. Bonadies was one of five people honored with the Carnegie Medal posthumously. He is survived by his wife, Lisa and two teenage children. Also honored Thursday was Michael K. Daley, of Mount Washington, Ky. Daley, 47, a salesman, squeezed under the cabin of a tractor-trailer that had caught fire, trapping a woman inside. Daley suffered first-degree burns while pulling the woman from the fiery wreck in Jeffersontown, Ky., on Feb. 5, 2002. The woman spent five months in a hospital recovering from extensive burns. Another medal recipient was 46-year-old firefighter Jerome F. Fryer, of Hamburg, N.J. Fryer ran from his station during a shootout in March 2001 to aid a police officer who lay wounded just outside. With police exchanging fire with two men, Fryer helped the officer to the station where he and other firefighters treated him for a gunshot wound to the leg until further medical help arrived. Industrialist Andrew Carnegie started the hero fund after being inspired by rescue stories from a mine disaster that killed 181 people. Awards are given only to those the commission feels risked their life to an extraordinary degree in attempting to save the life of another in the United States or Canada. On-duty emergency workers and police are not honored unless their actions are clearly beyond the call of duty. The awards, bronze medals that come with $3,500 for the honorees or their survivors, are issued five times a year. About $26.4 million has been issued in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits and continuing assistance over 99 years.
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    SkymonkeyOne Retires

    On Friday, January 24th 2003, Sergeant First Class Charles W. Blue II stood at attention in front of his Commanding Officer for the last time. After 20 years of service to his country, SFC Chuck Blue, also know as Skymonkeyone in the skydiving community, retired from the U.S. Army. As witness to the fact that there was a large crowd at Chuck's retirement ceremony, one could tell that he was a well respected member of his unit and among the people in Raeford and Ft. Bragg. Amongst the group watching the ceremony were his fellow soldiers, friends, skydiving buddies, past roommates, girlfriend Katie Sell and family members. Earlier in the week, Katie had phoned Chuck's father and step-mother to let them know about Chuck's retirement, but she wasn't sure they were going to be able to come. Five minutes before the ceremony was to begin, Buddy, the DZO of Skydive Opelika in Alabama, and Diane Blue walked through the doors, surprising everyone in the room but most of all Chuck. During the ceremony, Chuck's Commanding Officer recited Chuck's military history and then he said many kind words about the type of soldier Chuck was. Finally, Chuck was presented with a medal, and a large framed collage documenting the different areas in which Chuck became proficient during his tenure in the Army. The ceremony ended with a long receiving line of everyone giving Chuck their well wishes and he gave every person a big hug in return. One could tell from the grin on Chuck's face that his retirement was a moment he was quite happy to be experiencing. Once the ceremony was over, it was time to party in true Skymonkey fashion and it was declared that everyone was to "drink like Vikings!" The ceremony and party were both held at Aviator's Bar and Grill on the Raeford dropzone located at the P.K. Airpark in Raeford, N.C. A delicious buffet dinner was provided for all of the partygoers, including desserts made by Katie herself. There were many shots and toasts abound, all saluting the man of the evening making it a very celebratory time. To add to the festivities, the Bob Steele Band, a rock/blues band, performed for the remainder of the night. The band brought the house down with their smooth, rocking sound, and got the crowd to dance the night away helping the party continue well into the morning. All in all, it was a great way to honor an amazing soldier, skydiver and man. SFC Blue enlisted in the army on 23 October 1981 on the delayed entry program. He then entered active duty on 2 August 1982 after graduating from Beauregard High School in Opelika, Alabama. Upon completion of 11C basic training at Fort Benning, GA, then Private Blue was assigned to B Company, 3rd Battalion 36th Infantry, 3rd Armored Division in Ayres Kassern in Kirchgoens; the post generally referred to as "the rock". After completing the Basic Airborne Course in September 1984, Spc4 Blue reported to the Special Forces Qualification Course. Then he went onto Company C 1st Special Warfare Training Bn where he completed the 18C Special Forces Engineer Course. Upon completion of the course, SFC Blue was assigned to B Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group where he spent the next 6 years. In September 1991, SFC Blue volunteered for newly reformed 3rd Special Forces Group. SFC Blue was assigned to Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group where he spent the next seven years performing both the Junior and Senior Engineering duties. In July 1998, SFC Blue was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group S-3 where he served as the liaison for the BN's Company D in Fort Bragg and geographically displaced Company C. These companies conduct some of the highest risk training in the United States Military. SFC Blue is a graduate of the 18C SFQC; the Operations and Intelligence Sergeant Course; the Combat Dive Qualification Course and Combat Dive Supervisor Course; the Military Freefall Parachutist Course and Military Freefall Jumpmaster Course; the Special Operations Training SWC pilot course in 1988; and the Anti-Terrorist Instructor Qualification Course. His awards and decorations include the Expert Infantryman's Badge; the Master Parachutists badge; the Military Freefall Jumpmaster Badge; the Combat Diver Badge; the Guatemalan and Honduran Master Parachutist Badges; the German Shutzenshnur (gold award); and the Dominican Republic Military Academy Instructor Badge. He also received the MSM, ARCOM with 2 OLC's; the AAM with 6 OLC's, two awards of the Humanitarian Service Medal for service in Cuba and Haiti; the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; 7 awards of the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal; the Overseas Ribbon and the Army Service Ribbon. SFC Blue retires to the life of a professional skydiver and hippy biker and he is now taking over the reigns as Manager of the Raeford Parachute Center School. He is accompanied by his girlfriend, Katie, his dog, Billy Bob, and his cat, Kitty.
  17. Due to unfavorable weather conditions Michel Fournier had no choice but to postpone his attempt to jump from the stratosphere till May 2003. This is the next possible meteorological window for the Big Jump. Two attempts to launch failed: the first because of the wind which got up prematurely and the second due to a technical hitch during the inflating of the envelope. The team of the Big Jump packed their bags, having waited up to the end for an opportunity to launch the balloon that would have raised the pressurized capsule with Michel Fournier to more than 40,000 meters from where he would have jumped. As expected, on 20 September the jet stream strengthened to 300 kph announcing the imminent arrival of the winter and closing until next May next year the meteorological window favorable to human flight in the stratosphere. On the plains of Saskatchewan, the first snow will soon be falling but Michel's jump is not cancelled, just delayed.
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    Profession in Adrenaline

    Leigh Ainsworth's recipe for success is a volatile cocktail of nylon, titanium and huge air. At just 18 years of age she has become New Zealand's youngest commercial freefall photographer, and jumping out of a perfectly good aeroplane for a profession is something she has aspired to for many years. Leigh experienced her first tandem skydive at age 13 which started off her addiction for adrenaline. At age 16 and whilst still in high school, Leigh put all her savings into an AFF (Accelerated Freefall) Course to become certified to skydive solo and completed 126 skydives during the next year. Last year Leigh studied at the Christchurch Parachute School where she attained a NZQA Diploma in Skydiving. During this course students learnt all aspects of working within the skydive industry. Having previously skydived at Queenstown, Leigh was very excited to complete the work experience module of her course at NZONE 'The Ultimate Jump'. NZONE has been operating tandem skydiving in Queenstown for the past 12 years, and with the addition of a Cresco Turbine aircraft, and more recently a Fletcher Turbine, has enabled the company to do 15,000ft skydives and has more than doubled its capacity in the past 18 months. Strong product demand has provided the opportunity for Leigh and two other course graduates to be trained and employed by NZONE as commercial freefall photographers. "I've always wanted to be a skydiver. Now my dreams have come true, and being paid to jump is definitely an added bonus". Leigh's ultimate ambition is to one day achieve the title of 'World Freestyle Skydiving Champion' and with over 450 skydives already is well on her way. NZONE "The Ultimate Jump" - www.nzone.biz
  19. Somewhere high in the skies above Saskatchewan, Canada this week, a retired French army parachutist will jump from a height of 40,000 metres in a freefall he hopes will propel him faster than the speed of sound. If 58-year-old Michel Fournier is successful, his stunt will shatter four world records: the highest, fastest and longest freefall jump, and the highest balloon ascent. Mr. Fournier and his team, who have dubbed this death-defying exercise Le Grand Saut or The Big Jump, were planning to take off in a massive helium balloon yesterday, but called off the jump because of high winds. "The team is ready for this and will every day now be checking the weather until conditions are just right," said Diane de Robiano, spokeswoman for the project.If the wind abates, the jump may take place in the next 24 hours, or possibly later in the week, she said. The exact location is being kept secret. This experiment into how the human body responds to breaking the sound barrier is to be conducted by freefalling from a height where the earth's atmosphere meets space, a distance the project's Web site depicts as 4 1/2 Mount Everests stacked on top of each other. The bizarre international venture has consumed the energies of more than two dozen scientists, physicians and technologists for more than a decade and has cost about US$3.4-million so far. For Mr. Fournier, who has embarked on a relentless personal training regime that has included more than 8,000 jumps and periods of meditation, the leap would be the realization of his life's ambition. He sold most of his personal assets and spent several years lining up international funding for the venture, which began as an unusual assignment when he was still a colonel in the French military. "What attracts me most is the extreme challenge," Mr. Fournier said in a press conference earlier this summer. The last attempt to break the highest freefall record proved to be fatal. In 1965, Nick Piantanida, a New Jersey truck driver, encountered equipment failure when his face mask blew out and the lack of oxygen caused such severe brain damage that he went into a four-month coma and died. The current record for longest freefall was set in 1960 by Joseph Kittinger, a U.S. army captain, who dropped 25,820 metres from a balloon and reached a maximum speed of 1,006 km/h, slightly faster than the speed of sound. He fell for four minutes and 37 seconds before his parachute opened. Mr. Fournier hopes to reach a maximum speed of 1,600 km/h, about 1 1/2 the speed of sound. His freefall is predicted to last about six minutes and 25 seconds. The team involved in Le Grand Saut is relying on a wide range of state-of-the-art technology: a specially manufactured, remote-controlled balloon; and an air-tight and ultra-low temperature space suit designed to withstand temperatures as low as minus 100C for as long as 10 minutes. The aim of the project, according to its Web site, is to simulate a full-scale rescue of a team of astronauts after reaching a critical high altitude. "Studies of the new questions posed by this world premiere event, such as the issue of how to protect the skydiver from the bang of breaking the sound barrier, have mobilized hitherto unknown scientific techniques," the organizers boast. What seems to be most worrisome for the team is the prospect of Mr. Fournier going into a spin at the beginning of his jump, which would make it virtually impossible to stop the rotation "because of the density of air at this altitude," said Henry Marotte, of the French Aerospace Medical Laboratory. "That is the most worrying scenario from the medical perspective," he added.
  20. ELLINGTON -- Marylou Laughlin wiped tears from her eyes as she walked off the field next to Ellington Airport, her parachute in tow. Moments earlier, she was one of 39 skydivers to form a flower-like formation thousands of feet above. The formation set a state skydiving record - all in the name of Robert "Bobo" Bonadies, an instructor who died in a parachuting accident May 6. Bonadies died helping a student pull her parachute rip cord; he never had time to pull his own, police and skydivers said. "This is the first time I cried since the fatality," said Laughlin, of Granby, who is the United States Parachutist Association regional director and a member of Connecticut Parachutists Inc. "It was like Bobo was really with us," she said. Wednesday was the first of a two-day skydiving event that Bonadies, president of the Connecticut group, helped plan. Bonadies, 47, of Vernon, wanted to get more than three dozen skydivers airborne to complete the formation. The club's goal was 56 skydivers, a far cry from the 28 who failed to properly complete a formation in an impromptu jump eight years ago. Rather than dampen their passion, Bonadies' death motivated the skydivers to carry on. Called "Bobo's Big Dream," the event continues today, as skydivers attempt to form multiple formations within jumps. More than 50 skydivers traveled from as far as Philadelphia for the first day of jumping. They ranged from 67-year-old Howard Burling of Bristol to Paula Philbrook of Pepperell, Mass., who brought her 4-year-old son and mother to watch. But success wasn't easy to achieve. Menacing rain clouds kept skydivers on the ground until the afternoon. Then, as the sun broke through the clouds, revealing blue patches, the skydivers got ready for the first jump. First, they practiced on the ground ("dirt diving"). Hunched over like dads playing monster, they extended their arms, moved toward each other to form loops and broke away. They rehearsed jumping out of the plane on wooden platforms. Then came the real thing. Thirty-nine parachutists, plus three with video cameras, piled into three planes. On the first jump, the formation was almost completed, save for a few jumpers who were unable to latch onto a loop. The second time, 40 jumpers were too far apart to create any kind of pattern, save the central ring. The third time was the charm. Thirty-nine skydivers fell into formation like clockwork, forming four rings outside a central ring. Three of the outer rings, or "rooms," had a jumper in the middle. The fourth room was empty, in a salute to Bonadies. By one count, the skydivers held on to each other for 11 seconds. That's out of a 50-second descent from 13,500 feet at about 120 mph. Their landings were staggered, punctuated by fluttering parachutes. Spectators cheered as skydivers whooshed across the grass below and hugged one another. "Hey, don't forget, guys, that wasn't 39, it was 40, and it was for Bobo," said Roger Ponce de Leon of Hamden, who helped plan the formations. ~ The Hartford Courant
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    Chasing a World Record

    I've always considered myself to be an average recreational skydiver. Although I've been throwing myself out of airplanes for twelve years now for various reasons I've never been able to afford to jump as hard as is needed to be really good at this. A year ago while I was lying around recovering from back surgery I decided that 2002 is my year; this is the year that I'm going to go from being average to being one of the best female big way RW jumpers in the world. I'm going to be a world record holder! My employers, Kate Cooper and Tony Domenico, are the dive organizers and two of the principals in Jump For The Cause. They were responsible for organizing the current Women's World Record skydive, a 118 way which was achieved in September, 1999 at Perris Valley Skydiving in California. The 1999 event was also a benefit for breast cancer research, raising almost a half million dollars for the Susan B. Komen Foundation. I was involved in fundraising for the '99 event, but my skydiving skills were not up to the level required to be a part of such a big dive. JFTC is doing it again in 2002 and this time it's going to be bigger and better. Plans are to not just break the old records (both skydiving and fundraising) but to shatter them! The dive will be a 141-way, and the fundraising goal is to raise over one million dollars in donations. The beneficiary this time is the City of Hope, a hospital just outside Los Angeles, California. JFTC's focus is again breast cancer as this form of cancer hits far too many women, including several survivors who were on the '99 dives and will be a part of the '02 dives also. The City of Hope treats patients suffering from all forms of cancer without regard to the patient's ability to pay. Coming back from 15 months stuck on the ground due to a back injury to being a part of the next women's world record skydive in only ten months is a huge goal. Getting there is going to require not only a lot of jumps, but also a large financial, mental, physical and emotional commitment. Over the next months I'm going to keep you up to date on my progress toward this goal through monthly "dispatches" as I go about chasing that world record. Getting back in the air slowly so I would not re-injure myself was important to me. Since jumping safely is one of my primary goals I sold my old gear and upsized both my main and reserve. Once I had my new rig complete it was time to start jumping again. I did one solo on January 5th just to see how it felt. That jump went well, and it felt so good to be back home in freefall that I did another the next day. The following weekend it was time to do an RW jump and see how the back held up. Saturday the 12th I showed up at the Perris DZ and hooked up with RW organizer Mark Brown. He had a 9 way group already on a twenty minute call so I joined them to make it a 10 way. We dirt dived a few points, geared up and got on the Otter. I was diving out of the plane right behind the base, which was a great test for the back. Very happy with my flying on that dive; even though we never built the first point I was in my slot and flying pretty well. My back muscles were a bit sore after that dive so for the second dive of the day I did another freefly solo and worked on my sit. Kate and Tony were organizing some larger dives for the Jack Off To Perris boogie the next weekend. They were asking for a full day commitment from those who wanted to join them; this meant five RW dives in one day. While I was unsure of my physical ability to make five hard RW jumps I committed to doing it for one day anyway. Showing up at the dz at 8 am on a chilly Saturday morning was the first challenge! Thanks to a pot of coffee and thermal underwear I managed to get there a few minutes early. A group of 26 jumpers met up in the Bombshelter for the briefing. Looking around I saw jumpers with a wide range of experience, from 200-ish jumps on up to several who were part of the world record skydive done in Thailand in 1999. After a briefing from Kate and Tony emphasizing safety we adjourned to the creeper pad to dirt dive the first load. Much more time is spent on dirt diving a larger formation load than on any freefly or smaller belly fly jump. First the organizer places the jumpers in their slots, then everyone shifts around for the second point, then back to the first. After running through the dive several times the organizers put it in the plane, with half or less of the jumpers directed to the trail plane and the rest to the lead plane. After a few run-throughs of the entire dive, from exit to breakoff, it's usually just about time to load the plane. Everyone runs off to grab their gear and meet up in the loading area for another dirt dive or two in full gear. This is the time you focus on memorizing your keys - the four to six different things that will let you know you're in the right quadrant, docking on the right person and setting your body up at the correct angles - and being sure that you know what you need to do to make the second point happen. The sun was starting to do it's job as we loaded the planes for the first load but my feet were still semi-numb despite the two pairs of socks I had on. I'd be floating the trail plane on the first jump so I was one of the last to climb on the Otter. We were a happy little group; manifest had given us the plane to ourselves so we had a comfortable and fast ride to altitude. The ability to predetermine what the fall rate will be on a larger dive and to "dress for success" accordingly, whether by using different suits or by adding or subtracting lead, is a primary skill for the big way jumper. I'd just purchased a slightly looser RW suit, this one with booties, as a replacement for my aging, skin-tight Pit Special (bootie-less) and was wearing it for the first dive of the day. As I approached my slot I was fighting to stay down with the formation; it took me several tries to get into my slot and make the smooth soft dock that was my personal goal for that dive. Unfortunately for me, I didn't realize what my problem was right away. We landed from the first one and I dropped my gear off with the packers. Hiring a packer is highly recommended when you're doing a big way camp; often there is barely enough time between landing and the video debrief to get packed up. Using a packer gives you time to hit the bathroom, grab a bite to eat or just to relax for a few minutes instead of rushing to pack and make the debrief. I found it well worth the $5 each pack job cost me. The second dive was going to be a repeat of the first so the dirt dive went much quicker. I didn't "dress for success"; instead I did the second dive in the same baggier suit because it allowed me to wear a sweatshirt to combat the cold. This was a mistake, as I learned when I was once again fighting to fall fast enough and still make a smooth controlled dock. For the third jump I debated between adding a weight vest or switching to my other, tighter suit. I decided to go with the other suit since I'd done enough jumps in it to be comfortable flying it; I've done so few jumps with weights that I am not yet confident in my flying skills wearing them. This turned out to be a good decision; although the third jump went to shit around me I was in my slot, falling fast, and had achieved my personal goals for that dive of a clean approach and a smooth and soft dock. The fourth jump was a repeat of the third, both in my flying and the fact that the other side of the formation was having all kinds of problems. For the last jump of the day Kate and Tony gathered three more really good jumpers to make it a 29 way, and they invited freeflier Brandon Park to play around and under us. For this dive I got to exit as a floater from the SkyVan. Floating the Van meant that I'd be exiting just ahead of the base; my job was to hang off the rope handle mounted on the wall of the inside of the Van and leave on the "G" of "Go." What a fun exit! The visuals of watching the base and then the divers leaving the tail is one of those things a whuffo will just never understand. The first point was to be much like the first two dives; a six way star with 5 and 6 way loops built off of them. We built that to 28 with one jumper going low and unable to get back up to join the formation. Kate keyed the second point anyway and we broke to a three way donut surrounded by "whackers" - the completed formation would look much like the business end of a weedwhacker. Even thought only one of the three whackers completed it was a fantastic jump for me - my whacker was complete and it was so cool to see Brandon carving around and under us! Even better for me… that was my 799th skydive. I was surprised to find that even after doing five hard and fast RW dives on Saturday I was not as sore as I'd expected to be that night or the next morning. I was strongly tempted to join the group for five more on Sunday, but I had to reserve Sunday for my son David's first skydive, an AFF Level I; this would be one skydive that I did not want to miss! My 800th jump was another freefly solo, bombing out the door just prior to David, his instructors and cameraman. I landed in the student landing area and met up with him as soon as he landed. A new skydiver had been born! The next day at work I again thanked Kate for letting me play on the great skydives we did on Saturday. I was very pleased when she told me that I'd done pretty well; as long as I continue jumping and getting really current I'd likely have a slot on the record dives come October. Going from where I'm at today to being a world record holder involves a huge financial, emotional, physical and mental commitment for me. The financial area is a big one for me, as I'm a single parent who prefers the mental and emotional satisfaction I get from my job instead of the larger paycheck I might be able to get working elsewhere. I've started my fundraising efforts. US$2250 is a lot of money to raise and I'm not able to donate the entire amount out of my own pocket. Several of the active posters in the Forums here on Dropzone.com have already started me on my way - a big thanks to all of them for your early belief in me and your support of Jump For The Cause. Along with my co-worker and fellow JFTC participant Linda Hardesty, I'm having small pink ribbon decals made up by a local vendor; these will be used as thank you gifts for those donating and will also be available whereever I am for a small donation. My federal tax refund arrived! Other than a portion set aside for some very needed car repairs, the majority of this year's refund will be going toward skydives, coaching and the deposit required of all of the dive participants. The application for my FAI sporting license has been faxed to NAA and my license should be in the mail. This license is required of every participant on an aviation sport world record attempt. A copy of the FAI license and a card showing membership in USPA or an equivalent non-US aero club, both showing expiration dates after the dates of the record dives, must be submitted to JFTC to assure a jumpers participation in the dives. Why am I doing all of this when my slot on the dives is not yet assured? That's where the mental part of my commitment comes in. Dr. John Rosalia, in his book "Mental Training for Skydiving and Life" says to achieve any goal you must first "begin thinking, living and acting as if you already have what you are striving for." Securing my slot on the dives is one of the smaller goals I've set for myself along the way to reaching my ultimate goal of being a world record holder. Working on this theory, the day the money showed up in my checking account I handed dive organizer Kate Cooper a check for $225 to cover the deposit for the WWR event. By beginning my fundraising, spending the money and taking care of the neccessary paperwork now, I'm living and acting as if I already have my slot on the record dives; in my mind it's already a done deal. Should some unforeseen circumstance keep me from reaching my goals, all moneys I've collected will be applied to the fundraising goals of other women who have their slots but are having problems raising the needed funds. Stay tuned for the next steps along the way to becoming a world record holder… Donate to JFTC though Lisa using PayPal and the email address: [email protected] Dropzone.com is an official sponsor of Jump for the Cause Lisa Briggs (skybytch) is a moderator in the Dropzone.com Forums
  22. admin

    Sylvester Armand St. Cyr

    Sylvester Armand St. Cyr passed away in his sleep earlier this month. It was a peaceful transition for a very productive, prolific member of the cast of the human stage and arena. Sylvester St. Cyr joined the Christian Skydivers Association in October 1994, number 215. He was a retired teacher, actor/writer, a member of POPS, SOS and jumped at Perris Valley, California. He had made over 1,000 skydives. Sylvester was a spokesman and recruiter for the CSA at POPS and SOS meets throughout the country and in Canada and Australia. In May 2001 he organized the First International CSA Freefall Fellowship at Perris Valley. Sport parachuting was not the only adventure that Sylvester knew. A paratrooper in the US ARMY in the early 1950's, he was also a two-time boxing champion and coach of the championship team while on duty in Korea. Following his stint in the military he became an undercover narcotics officer for the New Orleans Police Department. As a New Orleans patrolman, he was the victim of kidnapping and attempted murder. He escaped by defying the perpetrator's orders to run a police road block with his cruiser and instead aimed it at a tree and jumped just prior to the vehicle's impact. His adventures in undercover work and the characters he met provided the background material for his book, The Saint and Sinners. Sylvester was also an authority on New Orleans style jazz musicians. His father, Johnnie St. Cyr played in Louis Armstrong's band and with many other popular musicians. He grew up in the music business and learned it first hand. His acting career spanned movies, television and most notably the stage. Sylvester appeared in at least fifty stage productions including "Guys and Dolls," "The Philadelphia Story," "A Raisin in the Sun," and "A Soldier's Play." In addition, he also performed stunt work. In his later years, Sylvester, nicknamed L'Ange Noir or The Black Angel, teamed up with his long time friend Paul H. LaCroix to perform skydiving exhibitions, especially for high schools. LaCroix and St. Cyr, both from New Orleans, had known each other since 1947. LaCroix piloted their airplane, a Cessna 172. Often accompanied by Bob Pruitt, they claimed to be the only Black Skydiving Team in America. Sylvester lost his pilot and old friend this past summer when LaCroix also passed away. St. Cyr often filled the counselor role in his earlier work as a teacher. He was always concerned with the lack of direction in some of the young men that he met. "They think that the only way to make it is professional sports," he once said. Sylvester wanted to demonstrate that the sky's the limit for opportunities and furthermore, pro sports is open only for a few. L'Ange Noir has flown into eternity to join his beloved Jesus Christ. We will miss him but pray that his example will remain a strong vision to those that gather at the drop zones and venues around the country where he left his smile, his love and his encouragement. This is a Eulogy for Sylvester "Saint" St. Cyr by Ron Schott, CSA1 of the Christian Skydivers Association. Sylvester Armand St. Cyr West Covina, California 29 May 31 - 3 Jan 02 by Ron Schott, CSA1
  23. As skydivers, we like to tend to think that we know a little more about life than the average Joe Blow Whuffo. We like to think that we see something that others don’t, and never will, without experiencing the incredible rush of crossing the threshold of an airplane door at 12,000 feet, entering into the unfamiliar world of freefall. Sometimes, knowing how we and what we do can be regarded as insane by a good portion of the world, we can use that knowledge to gain a sort of perspective on the world that was never available to us before we took that first step. Some of us told our families that they were just going to have to live with the fact that we skydive. Well, I guess most all of us told them that in one way or another. Regardless of how it was worded and how positive they were about the whole notion, though, I have heard one thing echoed throughout the industry and the families who support us; what makes the fear bearable is the knowledge that what their loved one is doing means the world to him or her, and that is what matters. As our friend, Taya Weiss, leaves for South Africa for a year, it is this same attitude that many have expressed; we are all sad to see her leave us, but at the same time, are so pleased that she will be following her heart in taking this enormous step for her life. Taya is a 24 year old skydiver from Northern California, who, in the past year and a half that she has been jumping, has generally been found at Bay Area Skydiving in Byron, or Skydance Skydiving in Davis (with at least one reported sighting at the Chicks Rock! Boogie in Elsinore). After graduating from high school at the age of 16, she attended Harvard, where she acquired a bachelor’s degree in Social Theory. She is a highly intelligent, caring, inspirational individual, who has a lot to offer the world and its citizens. It is Taya’s passion for helping others which has lead her to make the decision to spend next year in South Africa, working with a human rights organization called Visions in Action (www.visionsinaction.org). Everything that Taya has is going into this endeavor. As a friend, and someone who thinks she is an awesome person, I offered to help her in raising the money necessary to survive through this yearlong volunteer position by sponsoring a raffle in her name. Basically, we have nearly 20 prizes totaling over $2500 in possible value, from some great sponsors. There is anything from a free pair of freefly pants from Firefly, to free copies of Good Stuff, both the VHS and new DVD versions, discounts off of helmets, ½ off a new Reflex II container, and much more. I would encourage you to check out the website below for more information, and to send off a quick e-mail to wish her well. The days are counting down to her departure at the end of December, and any and all moral support is greatly appreciated. So, If you want to have a chance to win cool prizes cheap, throw a couple of dollars in an envelope and send it off. Not only will you have a chance to win, you will be supporting a fellow skydiver in making a difference in the world. For more information, check out the website: http://tayatoafrica.topcities.com You will see options to participate through paypal and through US Mail. The paypal account is [email protected] (also the address for any questions relating to the raffle). Please visit the website for the snail mail address. You can email Taya at: [email protected] Blue Skies! "Skydiving is an expression of freedom, courage, and individuality, a physical and visceral celebration of life at its most intense and beautiful. At the very least, it will be the best adrenaline rush you've ever had." – Taya Weiss
  24. PEPPERELL -- Shortly after Ann Parsons saw her husband hit the ground while practicing a new skydiving move, she saw him do exactly what they learn in training: roll. "I thought, 'Oh my goodness, he's going to be sore tomorrow,' " she said. But Charles G. "Chuck" Parsons, a 41-year-old Groton resident and noted nuclear physicist, would never regain consciousness. 'A LEADER': Skydiving was just one of Charles Parsons' passions. A noted nuclear physicist, he invented many scientific devices, several of them patented. PHOTO COURTESY CHAD GRONBACHAfter remaining in the intensive care unit at University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester for three days, his family decided to take him off life support Tuesday evening and donate his organs. Witnesses to the Saturday accident said Parsons, an experienced sky diver, miscalculated the depth of an advanced move called a "hook turn," which involves spinning around 180 degrees at a low altitude and steering downward to catch speed. "It was horrible," said Dennis Ducharme, a 30-year sky diving veteran who witnessed the accident from the ground at Pepperell Skydiving Center. "It was just plain horrible." Ducharme said Parsons should have attempted the move at a higher altitude. Parsons was also experimenting with a new, faster type of parachute. Weather did not appear to be a factor, according to police reports. A wake will likely be held Saturday at the Badger Funeral Home in Groton, and Parsons will later be buried in his hometown of Canton, Ohio. Parsons, who moved to his Ames Road home in Groton four years ago, had owned his own company, Catenary Scientific, for the last eight years. He had invented many devices, several of which were patented. "He was the most brilliant person I knew," said his wife, who is the head librarian at the Lawrence Library in Pepperell. "This will be a big loss to the physics community." He formerly worked at Bedford-based Niton Corp., where he developed improved technology for measuring lead in lead-based paint. Ann Parsons said her husband was working on several other projects that would have benefited the field, as well as the community at large. Parsons held bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees -- all in the field of physics. Her earned his doctorate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. But there was more to Parsons than sky diving and physics -- he loved just about everything, his wife said. "He was passionately into to every facet of science and the environment," she said. "He could crawl under the car with you and repair brakes, and in the next minute talk physics with world-renowned scientists. He was a very special person." His friends agree. "He was a leader," said Chad Gronbach, a close friend and sky-diver. "He had a very large heart. He was someone who always went out of his way for someone else." Gronbach, Parsons and three others formed a sky-diving team called Burning Daylight -- a team that Parsons put together two years ago, members said. The team hasn't decided yet if it will remain intact. At the time of the accident, members were training for the U.S. National Skydiving Competition this fall -- the largest of several sky-diving competitions that take place throughout the year. Parsons started sky diving about 20 years ago, but gave it up when he began school and his career. When he and his wife moved to Groton, she treated him to a tandem jump at the nearby Pepperell Skydiving Center for his birthday. After that, she said, he was hooked. Even though the sport eventually took his life, Ann Parsons said she's glad her husband did what he loved. Participating in the sport improved his life both physically -- he lost 60 pounds in the last year -- as well as emotionally, she said. "He sky-dived the way he lived his life -- passionately," she said. When Parsons took the sport up again in 1998, he earned his Accelerated Free Fall license, which is needed to jump alone. In all, Parsons had about 920 jumps under his belt. The sky-diving community is very tight-knit, and news of the accident spread across the nation via e-mail almost immediately after the accident. Those involved in the sport say it is generally not dangerous, despite its seemingly risky nature. Paula Philbrook, vice president of the Pepperell Skydiving Center, said there are about 15,000 jumps a year at the center. Minor injuries such as twisted ankles are not uncommon, she said, but serious injuries are rare. The center, located at Pepperell Airport on Nashua Road, has been open for more than 30 years. According to the United States Parachute Association, there were 3.4 million jumps made in 1999 and only 27 fatalities. The percentage of death in other sports, such as scuba diving, skiing and flying, is much greater, according to statistics. There are strict rules and safety regulations that each sky diver must complete before jumping, said Philbrook, who also knew Parsons well. Those who receive a license must complete a seven-jump training and safety course. Friends said Parsons was a very safe sky diver, and always took precautions. "He was very safety-conscious for himself and the people around him," Gronbach said. "He was always full of smiles, a very happy man."
  25. "Skydive Eilat" is one of only two skydiving clubs in Israel. Roy Ritter, the Chief Instructor is very proud of his 800 members but especially of the 16 year old Omri Galili who at the age of 10 announced: "I want to be a Skydiver." When he was 8, Omri Galili arrived along with his family for a vacation in Eilat. Like any other kid who comes to town he swam in the red sea and the pool, and also visited the different attractions, among them - the Airodium (Vertical Wind Tunnel). OmriMon's Profile Forum Posts OmriMon's Gallery Email OmriMon But unlike any other kid that visit changed his life. Omri fell in love with "flying". During the next visits of his family in Eilat, he kept going to the Airodium and turned the visit into a "week of flying", says Roy Ritter who's family owns the Airodium. "Already at the age of 10 he told me he is going to take the skydiving course", says Ritter about his young trainee. But Omri had to be patient. The skydiving course can only be taken after the age of 18. So in the meantime he kept getting more air time in the Airodium, and the checks he got from his Bar-Mitsvah he deposited into a savings account. When he got to the age that he could start skydiving, Omri came to the dropzone for a skydiving course which he got as a present from his mother on his 16 birthday. On Friday, April 13th his dream came true, and he jumped out of the plane. Despite of the date (Friday the 13th...), Omri wanted to jump anyway. "I didn't know what to expect, I was frightened and I was screaming", admits Omri. During the first 3 jumps the parachute is opened automatically by a static-line almost right after you leave the plane. Thereafter the skydiver has to pull the pilot chute himself. Omri has now jumped 31 times since that first jump. A great achievement for someone who has just finished the course a month ago. Every Friday he arrives to the dropzone, and there with the other skydivers he jumps, packs his parachute and when his turn comes he gets on the plane and jumps again. A MINUTE WITH GOD What makes people get on a small plane, climb to the height of 12000ft, jump out of it to fall for a whole minute? At Friday afternoons, the "Skydive Eilat" dropzone is crowded with men and women, mostly youngsters, waiting for their turn to get on the plane. The whole procedure starts with gearing up, through waiting at the waiting point, the flight up, the jump and getting back to the hangar, and finally the tiresome job of packing the parachute. Between jumps, they eat, exchange experiences, and catch a short nap in the shade. Bout not Omri. After the landing, he picks up the parachute and goes to the hangar to do what every skydiver hates the most - packing! Omri lays the parachute on the ground and desperately looks at the mess of the strings and fabric. While his hands dig and turn the fabric over, he exchanges experiences and impressions with his skydiving friends. Later they talk about altimeters and different kinds of parachutes, and all in a totally professional language. Most of the information is taken from the Internet. "When Omri wanted to buy a parachute, he came to me with specific details of what he wants", explains Ritter, "he knew exactly which kind, size and colors he wants, everything". The experience the older skydivers get in the field, the younger ones get from the Internet. At the club itself there are no differences. Everybody mingle with everybody: CIO editors, pilots, insurance agents, hi-tech people, students and high school pupils. 20 Percent of the skydivers are girls and their numbers are rising. Since there is no limitation on food before skydiving, everybody is busy eating what Dudi is making them. Everybody but Omri. After finishing packing the parachute, he sits on the benches not eating, not drinking and only waiting for his turn to go on the plane again. Q: What does your mother say? "She's cool with it. She's not frightened, only calls at the end of the day to ask how it was. I want her to do a Tandem, which is a skydive for two people, when the instructor and the student are connected together with a special harness." You don't have to take the course to do a Tandem, and it is suitable for everybody, 13 year old children and over 70 year old elders. Even people with physical disabilities and blind people for example can also do a Tandem. TO SIT IN THE AIR And what exactly are the skydivers going through? After getting on one of the two planes, one of them was purchased recently, the skydivers take off to the height of 12000ft (4km). At the signal of the instructor, they sit at the edge of the plane and after another signal, they jump. Then for a minute, at a fall rate of 250km/h, they fall. While falling with movements of the arms and the legs, you can sit, stand on your head and also do flips backwards and forwards, or dock with other skydivers for a group formation. After the first minute, which is as the skydivers say, the best part, you open the main parachute and float down. Q: What's in that freefall? Omri: You can't explain that feeling in words. You have to jump yourself to understand. Your body turns into a flying machine. Your arms and legs are like wings of a plane, and every movement effect your body." Q: And what do you think about while you are falling? "While freefall I think only about I'm gonna do at the next moment and just have fun. The thoughts are always focused on the jump." You could've thought that one of the main reasons to skydive at the area of Eilat is the incredible view, but apparently that's not it. "It isn't the view, it's the people that jump here", explain Omri. Q: And have you done scuba diving? "Nope. And I'm not interested in that either. I don't relate to the underwater view". "It's the adrenaline", explains Omri's sister, Efrat, which is also caught in the skydiving enthusiasm. After landing she breaks into screams of excitement. "I was screaming up in the air also", she laughs. "What a trip it was", said some other skydivers. Omri and Efrat were at the dropzone when the accident of the English skydiver who broke his leg occurred. Both of them don't understand why he did the turn so close to the ground. Both of them weren't intimidated by it. "There's nothing you can do, it's a dangerous sport", says Ritter, the chief instructor, who has about 4,500 jumps and was second place world champion in '94 for 2-way skydiving. There are two skydiving clubs in Israel- "Skydive Eilat", and "Paradive" at the Bonim beach. "And that's quite a lot for a small country like Israel", explains Ritter. The dropzone in Eilat was opened at 1996, and it's a family club. As mentioned, Roy is the chief instructor, and his sister Noya with 900 jumps is the dropzone manager and also an instructor. Their father, Moshe, flies the planes. 800 skydivers are members in the club. Skydivers from all around the world arrive there, among them Kenshy from Japan, who after doing a Tandem while he visited in Eilat, decided to take a course and eventually decided to stay in Israel. Today he works at the Jewelry Stock Exchange in Ramat-Gan and comes to the club every weekend. COLD FEET Q: Has it ever happened that someone got into the plane and didn't want to jump? Roy: "there was a reporter at the US who did a big article about skydiving and she was to jump herself, but she got cold feet at the last minute. Skydiving is addictive. And most of those who tried it wouldn't give up the treat." "I'm looking at the menu in a restaurant and thinking that for a meals price and a little bit more I can jump, so I give other things up", says an enthusiastic skydiver. For those of you who are interested, we will tell that it's not a cheap story - a skydiving course lasts 4 days and costs 990$. "In the north and other places in the world the price is much higher. 1500$", says Roy, "We're cheaper, because we have the Airodium. The students fly first at the wind tunnel, and only then gets to the dropzone. It's a great practice and prevents mistakes". The jumps themselves are also not cheap. A price of every jump 250 NIS (New Israeli Shekel, 64$). Omri who dropped out of school for personal reasons, works at operating a chat room of the Israeli children channel, and that's how he finances his jumps. He also bought a parachute which he paid for by himself with a little help from his grandfather. Omri comes every weekend to Eilat to jump, and gets his rides with other skydivers from the north. "And what do you do in the evening, go to parties in Eilat?". Efrat and Omri shake their heads: "After a day of jumping we don't have the strength to move", says Eftat. At the dropzone there are also air conditioned bunk houses, and at the end of the day, the guys continue diving. Straight to bed... THE EQUIPMENT The parachute is made of a Teflon fabric and silicone. The fabric is strong, light and can handle large mass. Every skydiver has also a helmet, altimeter, audible altimeter that beeps and tells you when it's time to open. If for some reason, the main parachute didn't open, there is a "babysitter", which is a black box that automatically opens the reserve parachute. And of course there are the jump suits. Despite of their beauty, they are not necessary, and you can jump in the nude. And some do. A few tourist skydivers chose to celebrate the new millennium with nude skydiving, and pictures of that funny jump decorate the club's walls. "Every skydiver has a nickname", says Ritter. Omri, who is today the youngest skydiver in Israel got the nickname FLY BABY. Omri likes his nickname very much: "Here the age doesn't matter. We are all skydivers and we are all friends. They treat me like an adult, and only sometimes they call me kid". When the "kid" grows up, he wants to be a skydiving instructor. "He will be an instructor and he will come to instruct here", says Ritter with pride. "I want him to do it all. You are looking at the pride of the club!". This article appeared in a local Israeli newspaper and was translated from Hebrew to English by Omri. Omri hangs out in the Dropzone.com Forums. Thanks Omri! ~ sangiro