Registered: October 2002
That is the question, but sometimes, Beaver Islanders discovered on June 26th, 27th, and 28th, you just don't have a choice–especially when there's a guy strapped to your back standing behind you in the jump bay of a small, single-engined plane, and he's coming out the hatch no matter what you do or say.
Thanks to Ed Wojan, Luther Kurtz and his team (fellow skydiver Joy Bose from India, coordinator Julie Strickland, and pilot Patrick Murphy) were on hand at the Township Airport to take pairs of daring Beaver Islanders up to 11,000 feet–a 25-minute climb that led to a 4-minute breath-taking descent, beginning with a 4,000' freefall that reached terminal velocity (120 mph) before the experienced Air Guide pulled the cord.
A jump cost $200, and everyone felt it was well worth it, especially on such a clear, sunny day. The Bridge was visible in one direction, the Foxes and Manitous in another. Each landing came down on the Airport turf after gracefully-steered glides that swooped the coupled team back and forth over the system of runways. There were family expeditions: fathers and sons, and fathers and daughters. Wives went with their husbands-or, in some cases, left them gawking and grumbling on the ground.
The many spectators came away from the event with a crick in their neck and the summer's first tan. After each trip the chutes were diligently repacked, and the next team was given some instruction and told to climb aboard. Several first-timers thought their only hesitation would come when they were asked to step out of the plane, but with all the noise and wind, the anticipated paralysis failed to materialize. A few people were hurt (a cracked sternum, some unclench-able fists, and a few twisted ankles); but those plentiful screams were pretty much of pure joy. Everyone asked the team, “When are you coming again?”