My Sky Diving Accident

May, 2001

It had been almost 20 years since I had jumped out of a plane. It was a weekend long company picnic is Sonoma. I had 28 jumps under my belt.

I decided to do a tandem jump and get some adrenaline in my life.

Long story short, I was told I was next. The jump master hooked my back up to the front of him. It was so tight, I couldn’t breathe.

Then he tells me to scoot on my knees to the opened door of the small plane. He gave me instructions on where to place my hands and how to place my legs, between his, during the fall. And to merely roll out of the plane. He counted to 3 and we rolled.

I was completely disoriented at first because we did several barrel rolls at 185mph. You go a lot faster when there’s two of you jumping. In fact when it’s time to pull the chute, the jump master pulls a small chute first, to slow us down so he can pull the main chute.

We fell from the plane at 19,000 feet and did a nice free fall. I even convinced him to do the bullet dive head first. Man, it’s not flying, it’s FALLING!

I paid extra for a guy to jump with us with a video cam on his helmet. He jumped first.

We were having a blast for a couple minutes and then he said he was pulling the chute. Upon doing that, the sudden slowing and the physics of the fall made my head snap back and hit the jump master squarely in the jaw. He was out cold at 9,000 feet. But I didn’t know that. In fact I wouldn’t know it until I woke up from unconsciousness on the ground.

As we neared earth, I kept yelling, asking when he was going to control the handles that slow the parachute down? That woke him up, but not in time. By the time he was focused, we were too close to the ground to have one of those TV landings on our tippy toes or on our butts.

Instead, he drove me head first, at 40mph, into the ground. I was convinced by the crew not to wear a helmet for the sake of the video. Great idea!

Having a 180lb guy on my back while driving me into the ground must be like an NFL tackle. Fortunately, the ground was loamy from so many landings…so he dug a 15 foot trench with my head. According to the video, I disappeared below the soft dirt and all you can see is the other guy. He flipped us over and I was out cold. You can see everyone running to us and then the filming stops.

Needless to say, I had a big Owie! I survived. I’m guessing you only get one of those in your life.


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