April 21, 2007

At Skydive Long Island, Calverton, NY located at Calverton Airport - Formerly Grumman Aircraft 
I was visiting my family in April 2007, and my sister Ginger told me that she decided she wanted to go SKYDIVING for her 60th Birthday - and asked if I wanted to go, too! I have wanted to skydive for over 20 yrs and my both daughters have wanted to skydive for many years as well plus Gingers daughter wanted to join us.

So the five of us women all went skydiving for our VERY FIRST JUMP, TOGETHER!
Eileen(28), Kathy(34) & Me(62), Ginger(60) & Brooke(20) harnessed up for our jump. Kathy and I decided to wear the jumpsuits they provided.

Single file, Indian style...heading to the plane. That's me first, Kathy and then Eileen. We are each with our instructor. These are tandem jumps. Only certified jumpers can jump alone. WE were fine with that!

Kathy boarding, Eileen behind her, Brook following (in pink) along with instructors and individual cameramen for each of us to photograph and video our jump.

All abroad - packing into the plane. That itsy-bitsy plane!

Brooke in the front left, then Kathy and way in the back is half of Ginger. Across from Ginger, my gray head shows and up front to Eileen on the right. We were packed tight like sardines in a can!

There were two men for each of us jumpers! That's 15 people!
PLUS a few other guys as well that were jumping alone.

The plane begins to taxi away from the boarding steps to climb to 13,000 ft where we will all jump out the door!

Eileen was the first one out. She and Chris are falling out the door.
That's Curt, her cameraman in front of them.

Eileen's first jump - the free fall.

Here's Brooke already out the door and free falling.

You are falling approx 120 mph! There's NO sensation of falling at all - except when you first leave the plane. After that, you are not passing anything so you just feel like you are in a fierce wind blowing at you.....but you are falling straight down, belly first for a very loooong 60+ seconds.

The ground is so far below you that it doesn't feel like you are moving.

Next thing I knew, Kathy was sitting on the edge of the open door - with her instructor and the cameraman in front of her.

Kathy during the free fall.
Kathy - over Long Island!
The rope you see coming off the instructors pack has a small chute on it called a drone. It's purpose is to slow you down because when two people jump together, you fall faster than if it were just one person.

Notice that my instructor just let go of the plane. The cameraman put his hand over my hands and he let go at the same time (that paces him with us as well all fall).....I am screaming "NOOOOOOO!!" I didn't want to go....but they didn't hear me over the engine and wind noise saying, "I don't want to do this. I don't want to do this....."

I was so upset after watching my children FALL OUT THE OPEN DOOR OF A PLANE.....that I didn't want to do the same thing! :)

Oh yeahhh.....I am screaming as we fall away from the plane.  I must confess, I do NOT like the free-fall at all. It's EXTREME!  But I sure do love the floating once the chute is pulled!

We're going down feet first at this point to clear the plane - off it goes and how about the guy still standing on the outside of the plane!! Wild!

Ginger was the last one out.

Great shot of Ginger The Birthday Girl and her instructor Rick.

There are 5 parachutes floating down in the sky. There's an initial over each one of us. That's the five of us women all in the air together. From left to right there's Brooke, Ginger, Yvonne, Kathy, Eileen.

Ginger and Rick floating down and ready to land.
The chute ride is about 4 minutes long and is amazing!

Here comes Kathy!
When you are drifting in the chute, you look down and you can see your harness around your legs and your feet....and nothing else below them! It's such a weird sensation!

Brooke and Mike come in for a great landing!

The direction and even speed of the chutes can be controlled by the instructor. They come in nice and slow and set us down easy!
Very UNlike the old round parachutes of bygone days.

As soon as i touched ground, I started crying my eyes out! I was just so upset to see my girls fall out of the plane that even though I loved and enjoyed the chute ride, I still cried so hard when I touched down. Go figure.... Here I am still wringing my hands and can't stop crying.

Victorious Jumpers - I'm all smiles now. Eileen, me and Kathy walking back to the buildings from the field on the other side of the airstrip.

Brooke and Ginger making their way back, too.

We waited for our videos and pictures and it was discovered that Eileen's cameraman's battery went dead right after they jumped! Making a very BIG EXCEPTION, the owner gave Eileen another jump with a working camera this time so that she would have pictures and videos too. They do not normally do this!

That was great. I think he made this exception because of the fact that we had brought Newsday along and he was going to get a whole lot of free publicity for his company from the article on our jump!

So here goes Eileen for a second jump the same day! She jumped with Curt and they did double flips, tumbling head first out of the plane!

While they were free falling, another jumper from the plane came up and joined them! Isn't this a fantastic picture?

Everyone wished THEY got a second jump - except me!
I was so thankful my camera didn't fail!

May 4, 2007

I was determined I was going to make another jump - without my kids there - to make up for how upset I was on the first jump. My sister said she'd like to go with me, so on May 4, we took our SECOND jumps together!

On the plane. I am with my same instructor as first time. These pics are taken with a fish-eye lens and it rounds out and distorts the sides. Don't care for that.

Seriously....I was not afraid at all and there was NO scream! How about that view sitting on the edge of the doorway and the earth far below me? We are 13,000 ft up in the sky.

AWAY FROM THE PLANE WE GOOO! I can't believe this is ME in these pictures!

Byeeee plane!! Down we go.

Okaaaay! I am OK! I am fine. See me signaling that I am ok?? :)

But it was SO COLD up there that I couldn't keep my hands open! My fingers were freezing and stinging from the cold. I didn't have gloves and could have used them. I didn't expect such cold, cold air. It wasn't so cold like this the day of our first jump.

Check out the ropes above us. Dunc had just pulled the chute and the bars flew up and the ropes had not yet pulled tight!

The chute is beginning to open and it pulls us out of the free fall into a straight up and down position. Great shot!
I'm coming in for a landing.
Doing the Happy Dance with my instructor! No tears this time!  I was so thrilled. Now THAT'S the way my first jump should have been!  (Leave it to your KIDS to mess you up! HAHA)


The very next day, May 5, 2007, Eileen and I went together for what was a THIRD jump for both of us!
Instructor Chris, me in the middle, and my daughter Eileen harnessed up and waiting for the plane to come back so we can go up for our jump.

Me and Dunc (had him all three jumps). We turned belly up as we fell out the door and we did ONE flip. I was afraid to try two! So here we are falling away from the plane. I didn't have a cameraman this jump but Eileen's photographer took three of us falling away from the plane for me.

Chris and Eileen standing outside the plane's door and holding onto the bar. They did triple back flips from the plane! Way to go Eileen!!

There they go flipping away from the plane! What a fantastic picture!! Eileen was thrilled!

And guess what!--I jumped before her this time and she COULD NOT WATCH ME GO OUT THE DOOR! How about that! hahaha

Wheeeee......the photographer reached out and took Eileen's hand during the free fall!

Eileen's photographer also took this picture of me landing.


That's how I went skydiving three times in two weeks. It was wonderful to be able to share these jumps with my family.
What a wild experience!

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