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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Skydiving some background

Today I am going to put out some info on skydiving hopefully someone reading will have some input on this info for the benefit of our readers. Skydiving is defined in Wikipedia as: Performing acrobatics during free fall, prior to deploying a parachute. Well that explains it I can not do acrobatics on the earth so strapped to someone else is out of the question, but seriously folks.
Andre Jacques Garnerian made a jump from a hot air balloon in 1797, man I wish I could have seen that one go down. No doubt the man was brave but I can almost rest assured that a change of underwear was also required. But in reality that Italian master Leonardo Da (man) was the first to really take a look at this. A model of his device was tested and determined to be a working piece of equipment. I guess getting a plane to take him up was the real problem, and what makes a man think of such things like a parachute back then. air travel was not happening, balloon travel not real popular.
Now on any given weekend you can find people jumping from any number of aircraft, my friend had a person jump from his ultralight, just kinda fell out of the seat. Over here at Laurel they have a big plane that hauls em up, and it is like clock work you hear the plane climbing, quiet, then the engine comes back up and the plane is in a spiral returning to the field. If you have optics you can see the people falling after they open up their chute soaring around like birds. I have noticed that some of them can stay airborne for quite some time depending on the style of chute they are using. Maybe this weekend I can get over and talk with some of em and find out a little more info on the equipment and plane. By the way anyone want to jump out of the plane?


  1. Be Careful! A guy I work with went there to just check it out. And now he has his own equipment and jumps every weekend. He is in his late forties or early fifties.

  2. Let me give you my take on it. I did a parachute jump back in the late 1970's. At that time Del Tech was running a course called "Sport Parachuting" and it was being taught by Gordon Reiner. This was not a free fall thing where you are attached to someone nor did you pull your own chute open, the chute was attached to static lines and it was a good thing as the shock of falling once I jumped, totally made me forget anything until the chute opened. This was up in Milford at the airstrip and you flew in a plane with six other people and climbed out on the wing of the plane and released yourself into the wild blue. One shocking things I hadn't given much thought too was how fast the wind was going pass the wing of the sircraft - took me a couple of times until I could get my foot situated on the wing strut. The float down was great - totally quiet, easy float down, could have landed standing up but they taught you to roll. Next problem was once on the ground you had to bundle up that parachaute and hoof it back to the air strip. Based on my calculation the first three jumps are the safe ones after that you become too cocky and you screw up and have an accident. Out of ten students only one broke an ankle and only one ended up in a tree.

  3. I worked for Gordon Riner in 1998 at a grass strip just west of Salisbury, MD. The man was a true legend in the skydive community. He was still teaching skydiving at the age of 78.

  4. I was THE ONE that ended up in the tree!(maybe in 1977?) At least I was One that did and that was my last jump. It was going to be the tree or the pond; I chose the tree. My carelessness was not because I had gotten "cocky", but because I did not go when my spotter, Ross W. and pilot Dave K told me to go. It was my First Free Fall and I turned to say "my last word" to Ross before I jumped, and saw that he was saying a prayer for me. Seeing that put "the fear of God in me" and I was too scared then to go...and when I finally did, I was way off mark.... What a great group of jumpers though. They all came to my aid and I descended the tree without injury. Couldn't say the same for the parachute, though. SO very much fun at Milford Airpark in the 70's! Great memories!