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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Day 3 - Jump For The Cause

Today was the big day. We met at 7AM in jumpsuits to dirtdive a 180-way all womens formation for the first time in history. This morning was a lot of dirt-diving, oxygen briefings and things like that. The warm-up jumps went well but now we have all the added variables of oxygen, 9 airplanes, a bunch of videographers (5 or 6 at least), high altitudes, and 180 bodies in the sky. The Aussies have a great t-shirt - on the back there's a long story that includes all sorts of hardships like "After a go around at altitude, we fell through a cloud, landed off, and hiked a mile with 10kg of lead...... Only after that have you earned the right to say.... "TOUGHEN UP PRINCESS". We all toughened up today
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as we spent slightly under two straight hours in full gear in the sun running out exit frames, looking at radials and set-ups, waiting for and loading the airplanes. The planes taxiied out only to have the first jump aborted due to the high winds" It was a good call. We finally loaded up again this afternoon for the first 180-way. There was some confusion at exit due to the new oxygen system we're using (more on that later) and the usual confusion as everyone sees the picture for the first tiome but all in all a very good first attempt. The second one was even better. On these first two jumps we were not trying to build the entire formation. Only the base, the spines radiating out from the base and the first two rows of ribs (new terms even for skydivers) were allowed to dock. I'm part of a spine. No docks for our spine though as someone was missing (had gone low) near the base (center).

New oxygen system - why didn't they think of this years ago? We all have our own canulas which hook up to the system in the airplane and which we jump with. The confusion came when the command to "Climb Out" came down the line and folks unhooked from the oxygen only to realize they now had this tubing they couldn't figure out what to do with! It was really funny to look across the formation in freefall to see oxygen hoses flapping in the wind!!

Tonight was a really special evening.Dana Bowman from the Golden KNights jumped in with a flag and then gave a motivational speech. He lost both legs in a freefall collision just over 15 years ago and probably stood up his landing better than most of us. In addition, several "Wounded Warriors" from Camp Pendleton were on hand and many veterans. We also got a COOL flyby from a C-17.

It looks like perhaps some folks are starting to blog? You might be able to get somewhat recent updates here as well:;sb=post_latest_reply;so=ASC;forum_view=forum_view_collapsed;guest=61834004

Tomorrow we have a scheduled takeoff at 7:15AM We'll be leaving the hotel by 6AM. This stuff is fun!! On to bed....

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