It’s hard to believe that May is now behind us, the first two months of the season gone, and only five short months remaining. But May went out on good terms – after losing many weekends to torrential downpours and other horrible weather here in Michigan, Memorial Day was delivered to perfection: 90 degrees, clear blue skies and a steady breeze. I could tell you about jumps 418, 419, and 420 – but I’d rather you go check out the Video Fan Page and tell me what YOU think about them!
For today’s post.. I’m going to tell you about a few other jumps on my mind.
Jump 1: I will always remember my first jump – especially when I see my FJC Instructor across from me on skydive. I’ve met a hundred other Instructors since, but it’s hard to imagine following anyone else out of the door on that first jump. Brenda gave me the confidence that day to take my first one-way plane ride to altitude, and somehow, in eight short hours of instruction: she made me believe I could fly.
Jump 149: It’s all fun and games until suspension lines start snapping. I can very distinctly remember sitting in the saddle at 3,000 feet looking up at my busted parachute. I’d already had a high-speed malfuction and cut-a-way, but this three minute canopy ride was the longest of my life — choosing to land a busted but working canopy, rather than cut and take a chance on a reserve ride, was seriously one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in the sport.
Jump 239: Solo Night Jump, Forth of July. To be alone, falling at 120 mph, slowly turning, watching every firework display for 50 miles around. Simply amazing. I’d never felt how “big” that holiday is – it’s not just your city shooting fireworks into the sky – but the entire Nation at once! You just have to go up a few thousand feet to get a good view of the show.
Jump 371: Over four hundred times I’ve “held my hands up high, feet and knees together, prepare to PLF, and get ready to flare”; it may have been easy for us all to recite those words (or some version of them) when we first got our A license – but are you ready, I mean really ready, to PLF on every landing? Whether it be pilot-error, funky winds, or a hundred other things, sooner or later you WILL have a rough landing – you may break your back, twist an ankle, or just roll it out, stand up and go manifest for the next load — the quality of your PLF makes the difference.
[Reading back this post as I add it to the new site, today July 4th, 2023, makes me smile. That PLF again much later, did save my life. https://jeromyalexander.com/2022/01/]
Jump 390: I’ve done Cat-Fly-Arounds dozens of times (it’s my favorite three-way), but when recently asked to sign an old log book entry, I just couldn’t picture the jump. Flipping back through my own log book, I was able to verify the jump – but I still can’t quite picture it in my mind. What can be learned from a jump I can’t remember? A reminder to slow down and value each jump a little more.
Jump 413: Getting coached by a student. As I equaled or surpassed the experience and currency of some jumpers I initially looked up to for guidance, I noticed some tension when I started returning to them – giving advice rather than taking it. Those tensions quickly fading as they realized I was merely trying to help them as they had helped me. The shoe was on the other foot early this year, as I struggled to quickly rebuild my currency, and had a previous low-timer with a fresh Coach rating point out some basic body position errors in my flying. I don’t think I took it as gratefully as I could have, I’ll have to do better next time, all I’ve got to say about that is… “it was April”, and… Thank you. Feel free to signal me some toe-taps anytime. 😉