Kevin Dueck, Meds 2016

The wind howled each time the door opened. I was near the back of the plane, so I would have to wait a few more passes. This was my first jump—a solo. Skydiving was something I always wanted to do and earlier in the week, a pamphlet caught my eye. It was pinned to a large corkboard in the Clearihue Building promising students lessons and a jump. I called and there were still openings. After training in a classroom on Friday and a morning of instruction on-site, I was ready.

Finally, it was my turn; the door opened and the wind blew. I was shaking, but knew what to do. Stepping out onto the strut, then the wheel, I got into position. Then, after a moment’s hesitation, holding on with just my fingers, I let go.

My chute opened seconds later, whipping my body violently. I didn’t recall the free fall, but knew something wasn’t right. I was spinning and still falling quickly. I looked up; the chute hadn’t fully opened. The cords were twisted. I was spinning clockwise, so I would first try to counter the spin as we were taught, if this failed I was ready to cut away and use my backup. I began to kick and the spin began to slow, then reverse. I confirmed the cords were straight and tugging the handles the chute fully opened. I spotted the landing zone and enjoyed my descent, the Rocky Mountains visible in the distance.