Back to Earth

After parachuting into airport at Lexington, Nebraska, 1970

It’s a strange feeling to exit an airplane 3000 feet above the ground. The 80 mph slipstream tries to push you back into the aircraft as you get into position on the wheel and wing strut. Perhaps the wind is trying to tell you something. When you let go and step off the wheel, there is a feeling of, well, not much of anything except: “Did I really just do that?”

After a brief interval, a twang from the back of the parachute pack lets you know something is going on and then, suddenly there is something solid to hang onto once more. Per training, the first thing on the checklist is to look up to be sure you are under a good, fully open chute. Wow! It really looks tiny, but otherwise all is well.

Next, you look at the landing zone and grab the toggles to steer the chute in the general direction. Then, just look around and enjoy the ride until a few hundred feet above the ground. Turn into the wind, and as you approach the ground, look towards the horizon, put both feet and knees tightly together to prepare for the “parachute landing fall (PLF).” Then suddenly, SLAM!

Man, you hit hard under a round parachute, but if you do the PLF correctly, the soreness from the landing is all over your body, not just the feet, butt, and head. Ok, stand up. Yes, the legs still work. Next straighten out the helmet, and gather up the parachute. Finally, watch the airplane that you took off in come in for landing, and think about doing it again. Well, maybe later.


Published by eskildoodle1

Retired physician with interests in writing, photography, music, and astronomy. I have written multiple stories of life experiences, travel, and astronomy, and have been playing the ukulele for 10 years. My wife Fairy and I travel frequently to the Pacific Islands of Hawaii, and French Polynesia, and I have learned several of their native-language songs. This blog will be a forum to share experiences with family and friends.

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