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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 20, 1979)
Skydivers tumble and fall hut are addicted nevertheless
tuesday, november 20, 1979
By Bill Graf
There are drug addicts, there are running addicts, now,
there are skydiving addicts.
Claude Wilson, a jumpmaster and instructor with the
Lincoln-based Expert School of Parachute Jumping, said,
"When I started jumping I was in school, and like every
one else in school I was always broke, But I never had any
trouble finding the money to go skydiving. It was like a
drug addiction, only worse."
Wilson explained that for him, skydiving allows a free
do that is difficult to find in modern society.
"While diving, you must concentrate totally on what,
you're doing. It's like a most jealous mistress, it bleeds all
other problems or thoughts from your mind."
Max Nelson, who is working towards his parachute
rigger rating, said he skydives for the excitement. .
"I like the speed of mobility a skydiver has. Just the
slightest movement of your hands will cause you to go off
in a different direction." '
Maggie Bacon; a UNL student said she had always
wanted to skydive or hand glide. "'.'' ,
After her roommate made her first jump, Bacon
decided to give skydiving a try .
"I took my first jump , on the way down I decided that
it was the sport for me." 1 ::
., Twenty jumps later, Bacon said that like an addiction,
she is "caught up" in skydiving.
However, once she became more caught up than she
cared to be.
"I was tumbling during my free fall" Bacon said.
When I release the chute, the risers wrapped around my
legs." Risers are lines that connect the jumper to the
canopy ot the parachute.
She added that she had been trained to handle the situ,
ation, and because of that training a tragic incident was
MARY WARING, a junor at UNL, said she started to
skydive "because it was a sport that I hadn't tried yet, so I
decided what the heck." '
Waring has only made one jump but she said she hopes
to jump again as soon as she finds the time.- - ,-
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"The scariest part is standing out on the strut waiting
to jump." But once you make the jump, she said, "It's
"It's really quite safe "Waring said. "If some thing goes
wrong with your main chute, you pull this tab which re.
leases the chute and at the same time opens the reserve
Waring took advantage of the school's one jump
course. . .
Wilson said that this six-hour beginner course covers
how to land, how to exit the plane, body positions,
canopy control and emergency procedures.
"About half of the class deals with what to do in case
of an emergency. If you don't have it when you need it,
you'll never have a chance to try it again," Wilson said.
Wilson also said skydiving is the fastest non-mechanical
sport. " .
"ONCE A DIVER reaches his terminal speed, he-will
be falling between 100 and 200 mph."
By applying the right move's, horizontal speeds of 60
mph can be reached, he added.
According to Wilson, one skydiver who jumped out of
a balloon at 102,800 feet was able to break the speed of
sound during his free fall. ; . ;
Although no one in the Lincoln-based Sport Parachute
Club has reached the speed of sound, they still do more
than just jump out of airplanes. .
'The most complex formation I've been in involved 31
jumpers,". Wilson said. He added they are trying to get
away from the basic circle formations where all the divers
. "One formation which includes 16 members is called a
quadradiamond. Four divers form, a diamond and the four
diamonds are joined at their points."
He explained that the divers have between 45 and 70
seconds to make the formation and break and open their
chutes to allow enough time to land safely,
. Collectively, the members of the Lincoln jump club
make about 5,000 jumps a year.
In their 22 year history, Wilson figures the club has
made about 1 10,000 jumps with only one death.
"Statisically it doesn't sound bad," Wilson said.
"But it is bad. Nearly all skydiving accidents can be
traced to a human failure. In the case of the one death, we
asked him to wear a certain piece of safety equipment,
and he refused."
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