969. Shell Creek

I never thought I’d jump out of a plane but there is a time and place for everything.

Today is the birthday of my beautiful first borns.  I had to do something to celebrate….        so I flew …….like a rock.

This was under a chute but it was a tandem skydive instead of the usual PPG.  I had met my instructor, Carlos, a couple of days ago when I stopped at the field to drop off a waiver.  Actually we had been waving to each other from across the LZ for a couple of years while I  was packing up from a flight and he was opening the Skydiving Business.  Talking with him I got the idea that the best way to retain my rights at Shell Creek was to let the people get to know me.  So… I booked a jump.

Everything went off perfectly.  After a 10 minute video explaining the rights I was signing away with the waiver and a 5 minute orientation with Roy on how to exit the plane we were ready to go.  I was the first to board and sat facing back behind the pilot.  Carlos sat opposite me and two other jumpers sat by the door.  It took about 15 minutes to climb through a layer of cumulus to 13,000 ft.  The other guys exited first and Carlos and I took position at the door.  He gave me two rocking moves and on the third, we were out.  I’m not sure I had my arch just right but we stabilized quickly and he tapped my shoulder to indicate that I could release the harness and use my hands to steer.  I have to admit that I was looking at my hands, and his, more than the scenery.  It was surprisingly easy to turn just by using my hand like a rudder.  I was just about to experiment with pitching down when he pulled the chute.  

I was expecting to be jerked but the chute didn’t inflate that quickly,  in fact, Carlos had to use some brake to get one side open.  The decent was a blast.  The first thing we did was pull full brake to make sure the lines were running free.  Then we pulled some hard spirals.  I was surprised by the huge amount of pressure and length of pull required to get some response.  I could barely hold it in the full drawn position and even then I think he was helping me.  So we did a few turns.  Nothing too dramatic but I guess it was unusual for a first time jumper to go for a second and third spiral.  The landing was quick we overshot by a couple of feet and I came down gently on my butt, as requested.

On landing I was greeted by a group of 70 somethings who had obviously been jumping for years.  My response to, “How wiz it?” Was, “Its like flying a school bus!”  That got a few laughs and we chatted a bit more while we stripped off our gear.  Anne presented me with a certificate and advised me to drive carefully on the way home.

A good time was had by all… and I think there will be no problems with securing the rights to fly my rig at Shell Creek Airpark.