Blue skies in October (I’m an AFFI!)

I’d be hard pressed not to simply admit it. I’m a horrible blogger. I truly wish I had the time and/or dedication to keep this as up to date as I wish I could — mostly, because I presume one day I’ll be old and gray and will need this record of events to look back and remember what I did when I was still young enough to do it.

The season of 2011 has been a good one — albeit, very busy with life and kids — and with what time I have to even think about skydiving, I’ve used to actually skydive – not sit and write about it. Though today, I simply had to find the time to write a few quick notes about such a fantastic weekend; and the progress made over the last several months.

Last I’d posted, I’d gone through the a canopy course with Brian Germain – which I would highly recommend for any skydiver. I followed that with a dozen 7,000 feet hop-n-pops to work on the skills learned, then focused entirely on coaching and two to four way skydives — I was trying to prep myself for the AFF course taught by Bram Clement. I could have written a dozen posts about that course – if only I’d had the time. At different points throughout that week I’d thought I was surely going to fail, followed by the next day when my ego would tell my I was head and shoulders above the class, followed by the next day of certain eminent failure.. At least for me, that class was a week of extreme skydiving. Not to mention the heat wave Mother Nature decided to give us!

The 95 degree weather, with just as much Michigan humidity, surely didn’t make it easy – but I managed to pass three of my four evaluation skydives; with all thanks due to awesome Instructor Examiner, his wonderful assistants for the course, each and every one of my classmates, and even one quick prayer to God after landing on my last eval! But by that point in late July, I’d managed to almost fulfill one of my largest desires since first jumping out of a plane five years ago – I was an AFF Instructor. At least my membership card said so.

Real life, as it often does, quickly stepped in; I found myself back into a daily routine.. work, home, and kids.. barely enough time to even look at the skies with wanton lust. August and September soon passed, with barely a few jumps, and none using my new found Instructor rating. Then my unspoken prayers: If only, there could be one more summer weekend – in October.

Well damn it, there was. Seven days of supreme weather made for skydiving; and even more (yes, more!) my schedule for work and children seemed to part like the Red Sea and I found myself at the dropzone. A few coaching jumps and then I got to funnel a two-way train exit into another sit-fly attempt, and then my trusted DZO approaches me to tell me I’ve been cleared for AFF – a privilege previously withheld pending review of my competence for the task – and that’s it. As quickly as the autumn leaves turn from green to red, yellow, and brown – I took to the air today with two first jump students. I was very pleased with both students performances, as well as honored to look across those students and see the Instructor, then a Coach, I met on jump #12.

Today marks the beginning of another long journey for me. No more than my first skydive made me the skydiver than I am today; did my first Instructor jump today make me the competent Instructor I wish to become. As much as the night after my first jump four years ago, I’ll end this post with a simply thought in my mind… I wonder what comes next.

Blue Skies.

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