How Skydiving Changed My Life

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 »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - J.T. Valente

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by J.T. Valente | D-26340 | Mount Holly, New Jersey

When I was 9 years old, I witnessed my first skydive. That was when I knew my dream of flying could become reality. Nine years later, I made plans to jump with a friend who worked for a skydiver. We toasted with a few drinks on the eve of our big event. The next morning he chickened out, and I was left without a connection to the sky. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Tiffany Becker

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by Tiffany Becker | C-40498 | Acworth, Georgia

"I'll never, ever skydive." I said those words out loud at one point in my life, partly because I was genuinely scared and partly because I could sense the pull toward the sky. Later, as a single, 27-year-old woman, I heard my sister say she would skydive, and I caught myself responding that I would jump with her. I seemed to have forgotten about that "never, ever" part and made tandem reservations for the two of us. We spent the day at the hangar waiting out clouds, and when it came time for us to jump, we had the plane to ourselves. I didn't want to witness my sister falling out of the plane, so I volunteered to jump ahead of her. My first thought once I landed was, "Why was I so scared of this? It's amazing!" After we walked back to the hangar, my tandem instructor gave me a brochure about AFF, and that's when I knew I was hooked. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Ted Atkins

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by Ted Atkins | A-73783 | Notts, United Kingdom

“Tell me that again? Your first jump was from 29,000 feet?” Yes. It's a bit of a story... more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Dara Shapiro

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by Dara Shapiro | C-42751 | Plantation, Florida

2014: What a crazy year! I experienced the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Shannon Searls

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by Shannon Searls | D-33131 | Ventura, California

For Owen and me, it was love at first flight! We had each been jumping at Mile-Hi Skydiving Center in Longmont, Colorado, for about one year before we exchanged our first words, some silly comment while we were packing next to each other. The following day we joined a group for a trip into the Rocky Mountains. Owen and I found ourselves in the back of a car for the three-hour trip. I had confessed my lack of tracking skills, and Owen jumped at the opportunity to show me. Little did I know he was starting to work his magic. (OK, I kind of knew!) more »