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Time For A Twofer

I’ve thankfully been receiving more and more first jump stories so its time for a twofer, two women who have made two or more skydives each. Felicia is now employed as a parachute Packer at Pacific Skydiving Center, and Dawn is a Traveling Physical Therapist who made her second jump in Hawaii two weeks ago at Skydive Hawaii. Hope you enjoy their stories.

Felicia after her 43rd jump.

Back in April 2006, my dad and I came to Hawaii for Spring Break. We stayed with some friends who lived over here and one of them worked for Skydive Hawaii. She would always talk about skydiving and even one day showed me videos. It was the first time ever seeing someone jump out of a plane. My heart started beating really hard with excitement and I knew I wanted to try it. The next day we left Waikiki headed to the north shore.  The closer we got clouds moved in and it started to rain. My girlfriend told me we might not be able to go due to the weather, which at this point I would not have been very disappointed because I was so nervous. Shortly after we arrived the weather cleared. There was no turning back now!!! While my tandem master CeCe was harnessing me up, my freefall photographer Georgie asked me how I was feeling. All I could think of was” nervous and excited all at once”. As the only passenger in the small Cessna 206 airplane I wasn’t quite sure how to feel. I had over whelming emotions going through my head and my heart felt like it was going to explode.  When the door opened on jump run the video showed panic and fear all over my face and I know I felt the same.  I’m surprised it wasn’t more difficult to get me to dangle on the outside of the door while waiting for CeCe to say the word go. The first few seconds were terrifying. Once belly to earth and Georgie was in sight I quickly calmed down and thoroughly enjoyed the remainder time in freefall. Under canopy we did some turns and for the first time in my life it felt like I was flying. It was such an amazing experience.  Totally worth it! A couple years later I came back to Hawaii just to learn how to skydive. Now I work in the industry as a packer and I jump for fun. This sport honestly changed my life.    Felicia B-36423

Dawn on her second jump with Tandemmaster Jim Cargille.

My first tandem ever was with my buddy big Jim at Skydive Hawaii, Feb of 05′. I was just visiting him on my way to Thailand and Nepal and had no intention of skydiving. I hung at the DZ for about 10 days watching him take people skydiving and realizing how cool it might be and that he made great decisions for safety. Needless to say the winds were crazy on some of those days. I finally said ok Jimmy, I’m ready. Max was standing there and he said ” I jump with you”. It was great and Big Jim, made it so easy. Of course he was there for my first scuba diving event and made me feel safe after my little freak out moment on the water. It was big Jim, Max and I jumping on a beautiful day and the whales were breaching off shore and surfers surfing. I was soooo amazed. And of course to be jumping with a great guy like Max. Very memorable. Can’t wait to do it again! 🙂   Dawn Rossi, LMT PTA

You can enter your comments/feedback on this story via the “comment” section beneath this text, this is a moderated blog so your comment won’t appear until its’ approved, once approved it will appear in the Recent Comment column on the right side of this page.

If you have a “first” story/pics to contribute they’re appreciated; however please self-monitor, nothing explicit or verging on the illegal; submit them via email to:

Skydive-Nitty-Gritty@hawaii.rr.com

Wishing you blue skies, gentle winds, and soft landings! – Larry D-6730

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Several other friends also made their first helicopter jumps last week on St. Patrick’s Day at Dillingham Airfield just like Tim in the previous story and they kindly sent me copies of their videos. Here’s a great mix I put together of one jump with Thi Chhoeun, Randy Stamper, Mike Ragsdale, and Jim Howard; Thi has a fun exit as she hangs upside down on the heli’s skid. Mahalo for the footage folks!

You can enter your comments/feedback on this story via the “comment” section beneath this text, this is a moderated blog so your comment won’t appear until its’ approved, once approved it will appear in the Recent Comment column on the right side of this page.

If you have a “first” story/pics to contribute they’re appreciated; however please self-monitor, nothing explicit or verging on the illegal; submit them via email to:

Skydive-Nitty-Gritty@hawaii.rr.com

Wishing you blue skies, gentle winds, and soft landings! – Larry D-6730

The day before I was to make my 199th jump (1st from a helicopter) I was forced to call in sick at work.  The sick feeling I had was not because of the anticipation or nervousness, but because I had a bad sinus infection.  I did everything I could to try to ward off the illness, everything from eating chicken noodle soup to chugging a large dose of cherry flavored over the counter medication (that taste nothing like a cherry) before I went to sleep.

There was nothing that was going to keep me from jumping out of that helicopter.

Saturday morning I awake to my early alarm still groggy with the symptoms of my illness masked by the large dose of medication from the night before.  My mind was excited and ready to jump, so I got in the car and made the drive to the dropzone to receive the pre-jump briefing.  On the drive, I realize that my sinuses and throat was still hurting but that was not going stop me from this amazing opportunity to jump out of a helicopter.

I get to the dropzone and I completely ignore the signs that I should not be jumping because of my sinus infection.  The first 2 loads go up and then I hear someone say “5 minute call, load 3”.   That is me and I gear up!!  I completely forgot that I was sick and feel nothing other than the excitement and anticipation of my first jump from a helicopter.  As I walk out to the runway, my fellow jumpers and I do a gear check and quickly plan of our exit to hang from the landing skids and release at the same time.  I will let this video explain how it went from there…

(Video shot by Tim with fellow first time helicopter jumpers Blaire, Stephanie, and Pete.)

I loved every second of it, even though the exit did not go as planned. I land with so much excitement and adrenaline flowing that I do not even notice that my left ear is completely clogged. I start contemplating on how I can get packed quick enough to get on the next load and jump again.  I placed down the canopy on the deck to pack my rig and I finally realize the pain in my left ear.  My ear was totally clogged and caused intense pain.  It actually took some time for me to accept that was going to be my only jump today, even though I couldn’t stabilize the pressure in my ear for almost 3 hours.

The next two days I enjoyed fighting the illness only because I forgot about the pain everytime I relived my jump from the helicopter as edited and reviewing the video I took from my helmet cam.

That day there was 15-20 minutes pain free (ride to altitude, exit, freefall, canopy flight and landing).   JUMPING FROM THE HELICOPTER WAS AMAZING!!!

Tim  A-60486

SkydiveNittyGritty is a place for the sharing of first jump stories and information concerning all aspects of the sports of parachuting/skydiving, with a goal of enlightening everyone who is curious about them and the exhiliration that they can bring. I encourage everyone to share in the conversation with your experiences, questions, and answers; knowledge equals confidence and courage.

You can enter your comments/feedback via the “comment” section beneath this text, this is a moderated blog so your comment won’t appear until its’ approved, once approved it will appear in the Recent Comment column on the right side of this page.

If you have a “first” story/pics to contribute they’re appreciated; however please self-monitor, nothing explicit or verging on the illegal; submit them via email to:

Skydive-Nitty-Gritty@hawaii.rr.com

Wishing you blue skies, gentle winds, and soft landings! – Larry D-6730

This Hawaiian life…..

I remember a Mountain Dew commercial of a guy skysurfing and thinking, “someday I’m going to do that.”  Skydiving was always a dream of mine, something to do once in a lifetime, but I always had trouble finding someone willing to go with me.  Between the long road trip, money, and oh, jumping out of a plane, a lot of people talked but none committed.

It wasn’t until I moved to Hawaii on my first travel nurse job that it became my reality.  After the most difficult 6 months of my life and reassessing and changing my life values, I spent my last month in Hawaii doing anything and everything to live life to the fullest.  On that list was skydiving, I had 2 weeks left and discovered it was one of the most inexpensive and beautiful places in the US to do a tandem so I thought why not……My roommate, who had been before, decided to go with me and we headed up to Dillingham airfield on the north shore skydive, it was April 2005 and we had a Jack Johnson concert to attend that evening,  a perfect Hawaiian day in my mind.  Little did I know it would become a tradition for several years to follow.

Courtney's first skydive exit with tandemmaster Kelsey.

Courtney's first skydive exit with tandemmaster Kelsey.

We waited for what took FOREVER, but when it was our turn, all the staff seemed excited because the “caravan” was going up, I had no idea then what that meant but found out later that it was the larger plane on the drop zone and much better for riding in.  We got geared up, my camera man shot some embarrassing video and we walked to the plane.  I don’t remember going up  or much freefall, what I do remember is when that door opened and I looked down outside the plane, I repeated a few choice words over and over again in fear and excitement and out I went with my tandem instructor.

Next thing I know there was a guy in front of me with a camera on his head, smiling happily, then a parachute was over my head and I was getting motion sick from the canopy doing turns….once the spins stopped, it was breathtaking, the most AMAZING thing I had done and I had never felt more alive!   I remember telling many how much I loved it and would go again but didn’t think I’d ever go alone.

Courtney in Freefall for first time.

Courtney in Freefall for first time.

Fast forward a year down the road and 6 tandems later, and guess who decided to take AFF, yep, this girl was hooked on the adrenaline and I was sick of just being the passenger, I wanted to do my own flips in the sky and fly my own parachute.  I had moved back to Hawaii, I needed to know what it was like to live in Paradise while loving life instead of struggling as I had the first time.  As my ground school teacher “Big Jim” told me when I graduated, “welcome to the biggest dysfunctional family you’ll ever be a part of.” And what truth that held, he mentioned having friends and family no matter where I went and a couch to sleep on anywhere a drop zone was nearby and how true that is.  Many jumps later, pies to the face, beers, and laughter, skydiving has become an integral part of my life.  Skydiving didn’t’ happen when I first wanted it to but it happened exactly when I was ready for it!

Courtney C-38726

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If you have a “first” story/pics to contribute they’re appreciated; however please self-monitor, nothing explicit or verging on the illegal; submit them via email to:

Skydive-Nitty-Gritty@hawaii.rr.com

Wishing you blue skies, gentle winds, and soft landings! – Larry D-6730

 

I tried to join the skydiving club my freshman year at The Citadel in 2001, but because I was a freshman, I just sort of got brushed off.  Shortly after I finished that first year of school, I went home and went to a party at a friend’s house.  There was a dude there, named Adam Hammond that I met a few times during high school, but I didn’t know him that well.  He was bragging to some girls about becoming a skydiver.  Having always chased adventure, I asked him when he was planning to go skydiving again; and I told him that I wanted to go.  When he told me he was going the following morning, I had two simultaneous feelings.  The first feeling could be summarized as “Oh $%^*, I can’t back out now….” The second feeling was of pure excitement.

So we met at the planned location, at the planned time, and drove out to Skydive Greene County, in our home state of Ohio.  I was promptly suited up, harnessed up, and shuffled to a plane with a crazy looking guy (in the not so good way) named Treeboy….I felt REALLY good about that….*cough*  I was the recipient of all the usual banter and jokes that I’ve grown used to over the years.  The jump was like nearly every other first tandem.  I didn’t do anything that we had discussed prior to take off, and I stared at the ground the entire time, totally ignoring the camera guy.  When we landed, I looked at my instructor and Adam, and the first thing I said was, “I have to do that again!”

Randy (left) with other BASE jumpers after a bridge jump.

The unfortunate thing about being a broke college student, is that I didn’t have enough cash to cover a second jump.  I had to call my dad and ask him to cover me until I got paid from my summer job.  That was of course after I explained to him that I had just jumped out of a plane and that I wanted to do it again.  Guess I failed to mention to my folks that I got a little buzzed at a party and decided to go skydiving.

Once I squared away the payment, Treeboy told me that since I wanted to do it again, they’d put me in their student program and teach me how to do turns, look at an altimeter, and pull the ripcord.  Initially, I wasn’t really down for that.  I just wanted to go for another jump; becoming a skydiver was a little bit beyond my ability to conceptualize at the time.  With a little coaching, I practiced the things that Treeboy showed me and we did another jump.

I made a few more tandem jumps that summer, but because of military obligations, I didn’t have time to complete the course.  Luckily, as a sophomore at The Citadel, I didn’t have the same issues that I had the previous year, and I was able to join the skydiving club.  The rest is history, I suppose.

Randy Stamper    BASE 1542

You can enter your comments/feedback on this story via the “comment” section beneath this text, this is a moderated blog so your comment won’t appear until its’ approved, once approved it will appear in the Recent Comment column on the right side of this page.

If you have a “first” story/pics to contribute they’re appreciated; however please self-monitor, nothing explicit or verging on the illegal; submit them via email to:

Skydive-Nitty-Gritty@hawaii.rr.com

Wishing you blue skies, gentle winds, and soft landings! – Larry D-6730

 

(Disclaimer: this is not a technical account of my first sky diving experience. You will not find cool lingo or daring feats of courage, so gear heads and adrenalin seekers can tab down to the next story with a clear conscience.) 🙂

Inspiration At The Library

My first sky dive came about when my friend Carolyn took me to see Larry Wiss present at the Hawaii State Library to honor the anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission when Commander Neal Armstrong, Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin and Command Module Pilot Michael Collins landed at the Sea of Tranquility and were the first humans to walk on the moon. As anyone who has ever spent time with Larry knows, he is a consummate professional and the presentation brought the excitement and awe of that amazing feat to life. After the program we spent some time with Larry in conversation and happily discovered that we were headed to the same Mexican restaurant for dinner. We decided to meet and enjoy the evening together. What I remember about that dinner was a table loaded with camaraderie and fellowship. The group that accompanied Larry were veteran skydivers whose eyes glowed with excitement and they breathed that joy that I would associate with surfers after a good day on the water. I caught the spark, it whispered in my ear all night.

Donna with tandemmaster Jonny Stewart, Dave Dow is diving down to dock on them.

At dawn I started trying to contact Carolyn but she has a Saturday morning workout ritual so I did not actually speak to her until around noon. That same day Carolyn arranged to meet Larry at Dillingham Airfield on the North Shore of Oahu. We spent much of the commute from Hawaii Kai to the drop site alternating between contemplating a swift death and thoughts of plummeting through the air to a two-point landing. We finally got suited up then it seemed like we spent a long time climbing to altitude, in the plane the atmosphere was thick with tension weighing the unknown and managing expectations. Finally it was my turn, my tandem partner Jon barrel rolled out of the plane and as planned, I was honored to have one of my new skydiving friends, Dave, fly in to hold hands with me for a few moments in freefall. I felt that the instructor should have told me that he was going to show me all the different ways to fall through the air because the head-first option scared the shit out of me. When it was time to touch down our friends were still on the field so we had little room to land but my expert partner saved us from embarrassment. Larry brought out his famous celebratory beer and we basked in the glow for a while.

Donna Sav

You can enter your comments/feedback on this story via the “comment” section beneath this text, this is a moderated blog so your comment won’t appear until its’ approved, once approved it will appear in the Recent Comment column on the right side of this page.

If you have a “first” story/pics to contribute they’re appreciated; however please self-monitor, nothing explicit or verging on the illegal; submit them via email to:

Skydive-Nitty-Gritty@hawaii.rr.com

Wishing you blue skies, gentle winds, and soft landings! – Larry D-6730

 

My roommate Ryan and I were both in the Navy and stationed in Hawaii.  His brother and friend came out to visit, and had 16 and 65 jumps each and some gear of their own to go with it.  It didn’t take much for them to convince us to go on a tandem while they made some solo jumps.  We got a group of about 6 to come with, and made plans for a few days later to go on our first jumps.  The night before we spent huddled around the computer watching every YouTube video on skydiving we could, threw back a few too many beers, and got ourselves as excited as you can get for the next day.  We got up to the Drop Zone bright and early the next day, still a little fuzzy from the night before, and watched as the first load landed.  The nerves definitely kicked in at that point.  I watched as everyone else got harnessed up by their instructors and wondered where mine was.  I heard a call for some Jake character to come to manifest, and saw this short dude with scraggly hair walk my way.  He was at least a foot shorter and 50 pounds lighter, so I laughed a little to myself when I found out he’d be my instructor.  We were a little bit behind everyone, but he kept things casual and reassured me that it was gonna be fun while he got me harnessed up.  I was terrified.  The flight up to altitude had me sweating and asking questions about everything but skydiving to get my mind off things.  The moment came, I watched my friends fall out of the plane, and immediately put my hands on the doorframe when we got to the edge.  Jake quickly got my hands onto my harness and out we went.  I couldn’t believe how quickly I forgot my fears as I realized this was the most incredible thing I’d done in my life.  I honestly don’t remember the details of the jump.  It was such an amazing view and such a rush of adrenaline, and was over before I knew it.  All I could think about when the parachute opened was that I needed to do it again.

Justin as tandemmaster taking his father on a skydive over Utah.

As soon as we landed I went into manifest, dropped my Visa on the counter, and signed up for AFF*.  The next morning I found myself sitting in front of Clarence being taught all about malfunctions, canopy flight, etc.  It all got pretty real at that point and I had a lot of second thoughts, but I made it through AFF in a few weeks without any incidents.  1500+ jumps later and a tandemmaster rating of my own, and it’s still the greatest thing I’ve ever done with my life.  I’ve met some of the best friends I could imagine and have been able to travel the world constantly testing my fears and living like it’s meant to be lived.  Thanks Skydive Hawaii for completely changing my life!

Justin Provo

*AFF – Accelerated FreeFall is a method of skydiving training.

You can enter your comments/feedback on this story via the “comment” section beneath this text, this is a moderated blog so your comment won’t appear until its’ approved, once approved it will appear in the Recent Comment column on the right side of this page.

If you have a “first” story/pics to contribute they’re appreciated; however please self-monitor, nothing explicit or verging on the illegal; submit them via email to:

Skydive-Nitty-Gritty@hawaii.rr.com

Wishing you blue skies, gentle winds, and soft landings! – Larry D-6730