How Skydiving Changed My Life

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Larry Hayhurst


by Larry Hayhurst | D-29907 | Forest Hills, Pennsylvania

I started skydiving after age 50. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Ralph Kubicsek


by Ralph Kubicsek | C-37834 | Gainesville, Florida

Skydiving first came into my life in 2001 when I was 22 years old. I was sitting on the couch with my girlfriend at the time and said, “Let’s go jump out of a plane!” It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, and she was game. We drove to a DZ, and I got my first taste of skydiving. I remember being very nervous and excited at the same time. I have always been a bit on the anxious side, even as a kid, and this was really pushing me to the edge of my comfort zone. The entire experience was amazing. It really did feel like a dream, and I remember wanting to go again as soon as my feet hit the ground. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Laura Bonner


by Laura Bonner | Richmond, Virginia

I don’t skydive. As a friend of mine says, I stay on the ground and collect life insurance. And I have my reasons, none of which matter to you junkies out there, but I can admit that skydiving has irrevocably altered the course of my existence in ways that somehow mesh with nostalgic memories from childhood and then push me into the wondrous exploration of the unknown. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Barry Sinex


by Barry Sinex | D-31060 | Duluth, Minnesota

When I was 5 years old, I used to have dreams I could fly. If I ran and dove with enough vigor, I would experience a few minutes of flight. In 1969, we moved to Florida. On weekends I saw parachutes, and I was drawn to them just like a moth to a flame. It wasn't long before I was holding tension on the Para-Commander parachutes while the skydivers flaked their canopies. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Brian Doyne


by Brian Doyne | A-60685 | Fredericksburg, Virginia

To put it simply, skydiving gave me freedom. In February of 2005, I was deployed to Iraq as a member of an explosive ordnance disposal unit. Our job was the neutralization of explosive threats to coalition forces; we’re the guys and girls that stop roadside bombs from hurting folks. It wasn’t always easy, but truth be told, we sure had fun doing it. On February 24, 2005, I was doing a post-blast investigation on a blast site that had injured some American soldiers when three more devices went off. The largest of them was about 20 feet away and had an estimated 20 pounds of explosives in it. Besides hurting like a bunch of words not allowed in print, it did the following: mostly tore both legs off below the knee, screwed up all the tendons and ligaments in both knees, collapsed a lung, blew my left arm off below the elbow, destroyed my left eye, and fractured my skull (and those are just the major injuries). Needless to say, this was a life-altering experience. I’ve stayed positive, though, kept myself active and try to stay in shape, but the truth is—things hurt. All the time. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Shaun Brock


by Shaun Brock | B-34969 | Altus, Oklahoma

I’m active duty in the Air Force, and I have spent the last 12 years as a loadmaster, planning and calculating proper cargo and passenger arrangements on C-17 transport aircraft. Nine of those years, I worked on air drops. But until a little over a year ago, I was 100-percent a whuffo! I have watched countless numbers of parachutists jump out of my aircraft, and I can’t even count the number of times that I asked, either aloud or just in my head, “Why would anyone ever jump out of a perfectly good aircraft?” more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Tracey Sullivan


by Tracey Sullivan | B-35331 | Houston, Texas

When someone asks me, “Why?” I tell them that there is so much in life to experience that the greater question is, “Why not?” more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Doug Garr


by Doug Garr | D-2791 | New York, New York

It was April 12, 1969. I had turned 20 the previous week and found myself hanging from the strut of a Cessna 206. A sort-of-nerdy guy with horn-rimmed glasses who lived down the hall in my dorm had made several skydives. Though I kept oversleeping and exhaling with relief when bad weather scrubbed my planned jumping weekends, I figured if he could do it, I could. Also, as a sophomore journalism major, I thought it was a good story for my college newspaper. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Mike Engel


by Michael Engel | C-38710 | Middle Island, New York

In June 2000, I lost my brother in a motorcycle accident. Shortly thereafter, my family and I learned that he had made a tandem skydive the year before. We all wondered how he had felt when he made his jump. So the following year, my father paid for a tandem skydive for my youngest brother and me for our birthdays. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Hugh Roderick


by Hugh Roderick | USPA #149698 | Quincy, Illinois

I’ve always loved everything to do with aviation and have always wanted to be around flying ever since my dad first took me up as a toddler. As a 15-year-old working part-time at a grocery store in South Africa, I started taking flying lessons hoping to follow my dreams of a career in aviation. Shortly after starting lessons, the United States put an oil embargo on South Africa, and flying lessons went from 12 bucks an hour to $48. This put lessons out of reach for me, since I was still going to high school and working a few hours a week. I later saw a film clip on parachuting and thought, “If I can’t fly planes, I could jump out of them and would at least be around aircraft and the smell of avgas.” more »