On July 11th, 2010, I made the trip to Skydive Atlanta in Thomaston, Ga, as I had so many times before. I was to meet James Hall, a graduate of Georgia Tech and member of the Georgia Tech Skydiving team, and turn over my skydiving rig to him. I had already sold off a lot of my other equipment such as altimeters, helmets, jumpsuits, etc; but selling my rig meant I was finished jumping.
A Skydiving “Rig” is the parachute and is composed of the container and harness, the reserve parachute and the main parachute. I had purchased mine in August 2005, and about a year later changed the main (“downsized”) to a 168 square foot semi-elliptical canopy called a “Pilot” made by Aerodyne. I had over 500 jumps on this particular canopy and loved it.
On July 11th I realized that it may be my last day to jump for a long time (maybe forever), and made four jumps. One with good friends Don and Jean who I had known during my entire skydiving career. I did another jump with a student, doing some coaching. I made a “freefly” jump with a friend. My final jump that day had to be a wingsuit jump.
Flying wingsuits had become my favorite thing to do. I had over 800 jumps overall and over 300 of them were wingsuit jumps. On that last jump Tish rode along in the plane as an observer. I jumped with Gary Shaffer, who is a friend and was one of my instructors when I learned to skydive. We exited the plane and I flew near the plane hoping Tish could see me, then I turned and found Gary in the sky and went to him. There were some beautiful clouds in the sky that day and Gary and I had a great skydive. Tish later told me that she could see me flying along for a long time and really enjoyed that.
Then after that last wingsuit jump I made a perfect landing, came into the hanger and put my canopy up on the rack for James to make one final inspection of it. James paid for it and that was that ! I was finished skydiving.
The day was not completely over. My skydiving friends made an announcement that I was getting out of the sport, they brought out a cake and gave me a little going away party. Much appreciated.
I wrote another long post about my last skydive, if you would like to read it, click HERE.