David Richardson working towards solo skydiving license; Student describing once in lifetime experience

David Richarson takes his first dive in honor of his 18th birthday. He is now completing requirements for a skydiving license.

David Richardson

David Richarson takes his first dive in honor of his 18th birthday. He is now completing requirements for a skydiving license.

Marissa Altenburg, H/S Editor

     “I’ve always loved heights and always dreamed of flying. I began to consider skydiving almost two years ago,” says senior David Richardson.

     Before this, I’ve enjoyed cliff diving and rock climbing. I’ve also been watching videos of BASE jumping for many years. BASE jumping consists of parachuting from fixed objects. In fact, the acronym BASE comes from the four main categories of objects thrill-seekers jump from: Buildings, Antennas, Spans (bridges), and Earth (cliffs, for example) according to Wonderopolis.

            In preparation to get certified, Richardson began researching drop zones this past month.  He chose Maytown Sport Parachute Club (MSPC) because “it’s the closest dropzone which offers a training course. Also, as it’s one of the oldest skydiving clubs in the US, I knew it would be a much more personal experience than I could expect at a larger, corporate dropzone,” comments the adventurer.

     “I just wanted to do something fun for my 18th birthday and I decided on a tandem skydive.  As soon as my feet hit the ground after my tandem jump in January, I knew I wanted to come back in the Spring to start working towards my license,” says Richardson. 

     A tandem skydive is what you typically see when a person without a license wants to jump. The two people are strapped together during the entire descent while still getting the free fall feeling according to skydivescs.com.

“At MSPC, they teach an instructor-assisted deployment (IAD) course. On my first day, I spent almost 5 hours in their classroom before completing my first jump. I came back the next day and did my second IAD jump. For each of my next three jumps, I’ll be doing a “practice pull,” in which I will pull a piece of newspaper out of the parachute container in order to simulate pulling my own parachute. For now, I’m just learning how to fly solo while they give me instructions through a radio in my helmet. By the end of the course, I’ll be learning how to pack my own parachute. If I pass each level, I can earn my “A” license in only 25 jumps,” Richardson states.

     Richardson said he has only learned the basics up to this point which include, how to arch your body for exit and freefall, the parts of the parachute rig, malfunctions that could occur and solutions for the situations, how to steer,and how to land.

     The first time he went he was not nervous. Richardson said that he was slightly uneasy at his first IAD jump because his canopy would not allow him to steer at first, not to add the rough landing following that. He adds “I wasn’t scared, but it does feel very weird to be all alone at 3,400 feet.”

     Something that surprised Richardson was the speed at which the ground approaches right before you land.

     Once he has his license, he plans to continue to gain experience by getting more jumps in my log book, and hopefully travel to some beautiful dropzones.

     The skydiver is very inspired by Chase Reinford from Adrenaline Addiction on YouTube and by the quote “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return,” by Leonardo da Vinci.