Dian Takes a Dive!

Life's been a bit of a battle for me for several months now...
primary caretaker for mom who had a stroke,
worrying about my brother battling for his life,
and trying to handle crazed hormones from menopause
that causes stress, sleeplessness, hot flashes,
night sweats and short bouts of depression.

I needed to do something nuts and "Dian like"
to prove to myself that I can still do ANYTHING,
and that I can still get a little crazy and laugh.

So I jumped out of a plane!

And now...not even the sky's a limit for me!

(THANKS for this fantastic gift, Greg!! ILU ~)

 

08/08/08

What a beautiful day to do something totally nuts!

6:30am, we're off in the car to our plane in Wisconsin.

Greg pulls out our "horse" for a short flight to the jump site.

Greg's flight buddy, Chuck, takes a pic of us with Air Chappie (the plane).

Greg punches in the coordinates into his GPS and...

...we're off! How pretty.

We land at Skydive Midwest

Greg checks out the aerobatic plane that just landed. Turns out
this plane belongs to Mike...the pilot who will be flying our jump plane,
who just arrived and is now doing the preflight check on the King Air jump plane.

Pilot geek photo.

I'm in the first jump group...with Diederick, from South Africa...
the same guy who gave us our initial, group instruction.

Hooking me up to the tandem harness.

During the group instruction, Diederick told us about the
calm glide down and a chance to see the beautiful view. But since
we often fly, I've seen that view. I want to enjoy the RIDE.
So he offers to spin me a bit during the float down. I won't
see much, but it'll add to a wild ride. SOUNDS GREAT!

Below, he's explaining that if I should need to barf,
please barf in my own shirt so I don't barf all over him. HA!

There's our ride...King Air B-90.

Time to head to the plane.

Off we go across the field to our ride. THUMBS UP!

Load 'em up. Turns out, except for our photographer, Keith,
I was the last one in...meaning I'm the first one out!

We begin to back-taxi to the end of the runway.

And we're off!

Greg's view of our take-off.

Hanging on as this plane shoots for the sky.
Notice I'm the first one by the door.

Still thumbs up...not sweating yet!

Nothing like a little motivation!

This the is view from about 8,000 feet...about 1/2 way there!

Nearly 8,000...heading for 14,000+

HA...more motivation on the door!

My instructor...Diederick, tightly strapped to my back.

Keith...our still & video photographer.
(Very cool that he operated the camera with a bulb held in his mouth!)

We quickly fly up to 14,000 feet. A few final adjustments
to tighten the straps and my goggles...

Keith opens the door and hangs outside the plane.

MY TURN!

Okay, NOW you can tell I'm starting to get a bit nervous!

Diederick and I crab walk to the opening.

I look down, but don't have time to think about it.

Folding my hands, head back...

One, two, threeeeeeeeeeeee......

Right after we exit, Diederick first releases a drogue, like a mini
chute, which will slow us just a bit so the photographer can take pics.
Without it, we'd fall too fast. I wouldn't be able to enjoy the
free fall as much because it would be over too soon and the
photographer would probably miss most shots.

I'm still in launch position, with my feet bent and up in back
and my hands folded in front of me.

Once balanced, he taps my arms...which is my signal that it is
now okay to let my arms out and FLY!

Now it's spread eagle in a flying free fall for 60 seconds...
from 14,000 to 5,000, which is when he'll pull the canopy open.

(Such an attractive look as your face flaps in the wind...
doing about 120-130 knots.)

What an INCREDIBLE feeling as you fly through the air on a pillow of wind.

I'm actually screaming out...THIS IS SOOOOO COOOL!!!!

A little Travolta dancing in the air for Greg.

Diederick getting ready to pull the cord.

He tells Keith he's pulling in 2 seconds.

RIPPPPPPP....

(They do offer the student the opportunity to pull the cord,
but I told him I wanted him to "drive"...I just wanted to enjoy!)

Phase II

Keith continues down as we drastically slow as the chute deploys.

Going down!

Keith's, our cameraman, shadow as he lands before us.

Video camera on the side of his head, digital on top.

And here we come.

As the others calmly float down, we do some wild spins.
First one way, then the other. As I said, I've seen the view...
I wanted the wild ride more! And I definitely got one! WAHOOO!

Leveling off as we get closer to the ground,
to prepare for our landing.

I needed to pull my legs up so we could slide in on our butts.
This was safer to ensure we didn't fall
over on each other and/or break a leg.

The landing was easy and kinda fun...sliding into home on my butt.

Just after we land, so does our plane...
to gather up the next group of jumpers.

Great landing!

What an incredible adrenalin rush!

He asked how was the ride.

"That was SOOO F****** COOL!!!!"

An incredible rush after we land and a hug of appreciation
for my instructor who gave me a GREAT dive!

A second to catch my balance and breath...
and it's back to the hangar,
back to our plane, fly back to our airport, back to the car...
and drive back home.

I swear I giggled the entire way home!

Diederick grabs his chute and jogs back to setup for another
tandem jump in the next group.

I'm strolling back, still enjoying the high.

Telling Greg, over and over...
That was GREAT...what a RUSH!!

What a fantastic experience! The smile hung out for DAYS!

If you ever get the chance...and nerve...DO IT!

And if you're in the Chicagoland area...contact
Skydive Midwest, a GREAT bunch of folks who take
good care of you!!

"Why would you want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane?"

"Because the door was open!"

"Trying to explain skydiving to someone who has never done it,
is like trying to explain sex to a virgin!"

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