Skydivers Jump Over Meteor Crater
By Jim Dolan
Over adult beverages at Tsunami Skydivers’ 2019 Party on the Playa boogie in Costa Rica, photographer Bruno Brokken was talking with a group of friends when he had a question: How would they like to make a jump over Meteor Crater in Arizona so he could photograph it? Everyone was enthusiastic, and they immediately did some preliminary research through Google. By the time they had shared a few more drinks, they had a plan.
In June, Brokken and Jim Dolan reached out to the Barringer Crater Company (which owns the site) and the Meteor Crater Visitors Center Board of Directors to discuss the possibility of making a jump in October to coincide with Brokken’s trip to the United States. (Brokken lives in Spain.) The meteor-jump proposal received approval with the stipulation that the jumpers could not land in the crater. The site of the meteor impact 50,000 years ago is of enormous scientific value, and since the 1970s, only NASA astronauts (who train there) and scientists on research trips have entered the crater. However, the area around the crater has plentiful landing areas, as well as amenities such as the visitors center, so the team continued with its plan.
On Sunday, October 20, the group of five (Brokken, Dolan, Casey Pruett from Germany, and Brad and Janet Jessey from Las Vegas) and ground crew members Jake Dolan and Joe Herbst met with pilot Marc Hogue of Skydive Phoenix, which leased its Cessna 206 to the group for the jump. Due to everyone’s busy schedules and other logistical considerations, this was the only day available for the jump, so fortunately the weather and winds were good.
The group got in the plane, which flew over the crater. Following a long climbout, the jumpers exited and tried to get into position to frame the crater for Brokken’s camera. Brad Jessey dove to complete the 4-way, and Brokken got his shot. Everyone tracked away with smiles on their faces, and then Brad Jessey made the whole thing even more exciting by having a malfunction and a successful cutaway and reserve deployment. (Fortunately, the cutaway canopy was easy to track down in the high desert surrounding the crater.)
Following the jump and dinner, everyone gathered their gear and went to watch the sunset from the rim of the crater. Then the jumpers exchanged hugs, said their goodbyes and began their long treks home with images and memories that will last a lifetime.
Jim Dolan | D-20486
Las Vegas, Nevada