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It was a beautiful spring morning at my beloved DZ, Skydive the Ranch in Gardiner, New York. The air was cool and crisp, and the sky was cloudless. I was doing wingsuit hop-and-pops from 10,000 feet with the hope of generating interest in this new-at-the-time discipline.
In the beginning, there was accuracy or, as it was called at the time, “spot jumping.”
This was going to be my first time out of a CASA, and I got to sit right by the tailgate, which was extra exciting for me.
It’s easy to let your guard down when it comes to emergency procedures.
Think about the skydivers you’ve met over the years who drifted away. Nothing happened, per se; they just ... well ... disappeared. Some of this attrition is natural. The pressures of finances, family and career come into play. But have you wondered how much attrition owes directly to repetitive stress injuries on these athletes’ minds?
In the early 1990s, a skydiver reported that an automatic activation device saved his life. This jumper experienced a main parachute malfunction and pulled his cutaway handle but never pulled his reserve ripcord.
“Every man dies, but not every man really lives,” is a quote from the movie “Braveheart” but could easily apply to the group of friends I have been honored to know and perform with in this perhaps strange but compellingly thrilling sport.
Determining world champions is not the only purpose for holding world championships. Promoting the sport, exchanging knowledge and information and strengthening friendly relationships between participating nations are equally important. The 35th Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Freefall Style and Accuracy Landing World Championships at Dropzone Erden near Montana, Bulgaria, August 24-31 offered the chance to do all of those things.