How Skydiving Changed My Life

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Sarah Crowley

by Sarah Crowley | A-67923 | Yosemite National Park, California

In October 2012, as my ground school date neared, I was filled with a level of fear I hadn’t known possible—a sort of hysteria—but implosive and oh so quiet. When the day (Halloween, appropriately) arrived, the fear didn't vanish, but it at least shriveled to something manageable. In retrospect, I suppose that pre-jump terror was not just a meditation on my mortality or the thought of breaking bones but a deep intuition that I just might change ... the horror of that. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Steve Phelps

Steve Phelps | D-26782; AFF, tandem and IAD instructor; PRO rating | Bixby, Oklahoma

In September 1979, I had to make a very difficult decision, one that brought decades of regret. I was a U.S. Army Green Beret on Operational Detachment A Team 552, a green-light team that performed HALO jumps and SCUBA dives. I had completed Underwater Operations Training (SCUBA school) the previous year and was slotted to go to HALO school. I was ready to extend my time in the Special Forces to attend the school, but at the last minute my company commander told me that I must re-enlist; an extension was not enough. My wife had just had our first child, a girl, and I had plans for college, so I refused and left the service when my enlistment expired a few months later. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Olga Wilhelmine Munding

by Olga Wilhelmine Munding | B-42017 | New Orleans, Louisiana

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked the captain of a 747 jumbo jet flying overseas. I was barely 6 years old, visiting the cockpit (they used to let kids do that), and the pilots were showing me what is was like to be up front. Grinning, I flashed my missing front baby teeth and said, “I want to be a pilot and an artist.” Hmmm ... yes, indeed. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Tim Long

by Tim Long | D-5187 | Tucson, Arizona

I do not know how, but I always knew I would do a parachute jump. My favorite toy as a kid was a G.I. Joe with a parachute rig. In 1974, at age 22, I was in San Diego on a Coast Guard ship playing war games with the Navy. Mike Noto, a medic on the ship, found out that we could do a static-line jump at Otay for 40 bucks. I signed on. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Mallory Wisong

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by Mallory Wisong  | A-72461 | Ossining, New York

Fear does not stop death; it stops life. Learning to skydive has taught me this lesson and helped shape the person I am today. I was never one of those people who had always wanted to skydive. No bucket list, dare or any amount of peer pressure was going to get me to jump out of a plane. In fact, I had never even considered skydiving until my husband made his first tandem. He was hooked immediately and got his license that same year. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Paulo Marinho Gesta de Melo

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by Paulo Marinho Gesta de Melo | D-32697 | Ithaca, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil

I was born with a heart condition. I’ve always known that I would have to get surgery to replace a heart valve, but the prognosis was that this would not be necessary until I was around 60 years old. So I’ve had a normal life. I’ve always been active, doing triathlons, cycling, working out, and in 2001, I started skydiving. In 2006, I decided to take skydiving seriously and traveled to boogies, camps and freefly and swoop championships. I became an AFF and BBF instructor (basic body flight, essentially the coach equivalent in Brazil’s student progression) and started traveling every month to train in the U.S. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Lisa Ann Simpson

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by Lisa Ann Simpson | C-41459 | Ithaca, New York

When I started skydiving, it was the first thing I had actually done just for me. In 1997, I made one tandem for my 30th birthday. I fell in love with skydiving, but I was a single mother of two children and my most important goal was to raise them. Almost 15 years later, I told a girlfriend at work who was a skydiver that I had once made a tandem and would love to do another one. She told me that she had a friend who took students on tandems and gave me his contact information. On November 13, 2010, I drove to Skydive City Zephyrhills in Florida. I had no idea that my life was going to change forever. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Chris Dawson

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by Chris Dawson | Ithaca, New York

What I have learned from skydiving is that everybody dies. OK, I didn’t learn this from skydiving. In fact, I am not really a skydiver. I have made two jumps in my life. One was a static-line jump and the other was a tandem. Both were terrifying. But my wife is a skydiver, and I have learned a lot from her involvement in the sport. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Pierre Tomasini

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by Pierre Tomasini | B-41392 | Tempe, Arizona

One evening in France in 1982, a national-news broadcast featured a story on a skydiving school’s open house. I immediately perceived that there was no need to be an athlete to jump: Gravity works for everybody. It was a big revelation for my teenaged mind. I told my parents that I wanted to jump, and fortunately they did not make it difficult. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Danele Elliott

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by Danele Elliott | A-71548 | Killeen, Texas

The last message Ethan ever saw from me read, “I’ll call you tomorrow. I love you.” I did call the next day, but he didn’t answer. I had no idea that in a few hours his brother would be calling to tell me that my husband of almost eight years had passed away in his sleep. more »