Yes, I like to jump out of airplanes for recreational purposes!  My first jump was about 14 years ago and the idea was to cure my fear of heights.  The expectation was to make one jump and be done with it.  The first jump was scary as all hell, but I was immediately hooked and have been doing it since.  And the fear-of-heights thing is long gone!

Enjoying the post-jump afterglow

HALO Skydive - 30,000 feet

One of the more unique jumps I've done is a skydive from 30,000 feet.  One of the requirements for this jump was to take a flight physiology course from the Air Force, which includes a ride in a decompression chamber.  I took the course at Beale Air Force Base.

The chamber ride was interesting.  We were wearing military oxygen masks and helmets.  After a quick trip to 5000 feet (of pressure) and a period of pre-breathing O2 to reduce blood nitrogen levels, they simulated a rapid ascent to 25,000 feet.  At this point, they directed us to remove our O2 masks and start working math problems on a clip board.  After working through several add/subtract problems easily, I came to one I just couldn't solve: 21 - 8.  My other symptoms were tingling and light euphoria (but light euphoria is better than no euphoria!).

The day before the jump, we met at Skydance in Davis for a briefing and to make two low-altitude (13,000 feet) test jumps with the equipment.  We then met at 5am the next day to get geared up:

My friend Paul said "You look like you're ready to start a war!"

I used my regular parachute.  We used a standard military bailout rig - the bailout O2 tank is on my left hip.  We boarded the plane, hooked into the on-board O2 system and pre-breathed 100% O2 for about 45 minutes before taking off to reduce the dissolved nitrogen levels in our blood to avoid decompression sickness.  The ride to 30,000 feet in the Caravan took about an hour: about half that for the first 24,000 feet and the rest for the remaining 6,000 feet.

The jump was amazing.  The sky was a deep blue that you just don't see at low altitudes.  But most impressive was the view.  San Francisco, Monterey, and Lake Tahoe were clearly visible.  It was -30 degrees C at altitude, but thanks to being sealed up, the cold wasn't bad.  Freefall lasted about 2 minutes, 40 seconds.



First jump July 3, 1992 in Hollister, CA.
Total number of jumps 591
Total freefall time 10 hours, 10 minutes
Number of different aircraft types jumped from 12
Highest jump 30,000 feet (on 9/21/02)
Lowest jump 3500 feet
Number of different countries jumped in 2
Number of different states jumped in 3
Number of different drop zones jumped at 10
Biggest freefall formation I've been in 23 people
License held Master (D-25243)


Number of jumps from various planes

Cessna 182 2
Cessna 206 3
Cessna 411 4
Cessna Caravan 5
Beech B18 1
Piston Porter 1
Turbine Porter 4
King Air 305
Twin Otter 201
Sky Van 59
DC-3 3
Fairchild C123 1
Sikorsky S55 helicopter 1


Places Jumped At

Adventure Aerosports, Hollister, CA

Skydive Monterey Bay, Marina, CA

Bay Area Skydiving, Byron, CA

Skydance Skydiving, Yolo County, CA

Blue Sky Adventures, Paso Robles, CA

Skydive Arizona, Eloy, AZ

Marana Parachute Center, Marana, AZ

Air Adventures of Clewiston, Clewiston, FL

Skydive City, Zephyrhills, FL

Sydney Skydivers, Picton, Sydney, NSW Australia



Last updated: 10/01/2008