I finally managed to make a couple of skydives this weekend, after about a six-week hiatus. My undesired "break" from the sport was a combination of bad weather on the weekends at home and travel on the others. In celebration of getting back in the swing of things, I post a video of a jump I did about 8 years ago in upstate New York (below the fold):
This is a ten-way formation jump that was organized by a skydiving legend, Billy Weber (who can be seen at the beginning of the video in white, pointing at all the jumpers). Weber is famous in the skydiving community for appearing in an instructional video called Break-Away, in which he intentionally experiences every parachute malfunction imaginable and demonstrates the proper emergency procedures.
Immediately after exit, I'm the guy in the green-and-black (with pinkish grippers) on the left side of the screen. In bigger formations, the order in which people arrive at the formation is important to avoid confusion. Billy immediately gets together with a person in a black jumpsuit and a third person is supposed to 'break in' to the formation, followed by me as number four. This was one of my proudest skydiving moments, because the person across from me had a hard time getting in, and I had to 'hover' just outside my position, without grabbing on. This is harder to do than it might seem: the relative wind is constantly buffeting you in freefall and pushing you slightly every which way, and you must actively keep yourself in the proper location by adjusting body position. Once the other jumper gets in position, I quickly come in, followed by the rest of the skydivers. It was a successful jump, and I got a "thumbs up" from Billy once we had landed!
Truly, it was one of my proudest skydiving moments; alas, it would be followed by many embarrassing, shameful ones in future years!