Sky high and lov­ing it

Easy Does It

The Advance of Bucks County - - WORD ON THE STREET - Ge­orge Robin­son

Amanda Cre­meansI para­chute readyI stood in the open door of a Su­per lt­ter air­plane twoand-a-half miles above the earth and stepped out. That’s my grand­daugh­terI never once telling any­one about her se­cret am­bi­tion to sky­dive!

ln the groundI her par­ents Bob and iaura heard only the dron­ing of the mo­torI her plane hid­den DEoYH fluIIy wKLWH FOouds DJDLnsW D EOuH sNy.

A 25-year-old work­ing Bucks County girlI APDndD KDd nHYHr flown Ln Dn DLrSODnH EH­foreI much less jump­ing from one.

ln a hot day this mon­thI Amanda and meteI a sky­div­ing in­struc­tor from Cross heys Air­port in tilliamstownI N.g.I and strapped to­gether tan­dem-style to mete’s chuteI stepped out into space 13I500 feet above mead­ows and rolling hills far be­low just across the bridge from mhiladel­phia.

Sud­denly their para­chute openedI yank­ing Amanda and her part­ner straight up seem­ingly to where the plane had been mo­ments be­fore. Her ears popped and her breath caught in her throat.

“f’ve al­ways wanted to sky­di­veI but work and money were al­ways stand­ing in the wayI” my grand­daugh­ter said. “Then f de­cided the WLPH KDd FoPH Wo HxSHrLHnFH EoWK, fly­LnJ Dnd sNy­dLYLnJ DOO Ln onH Dd­ven­ture.”

But there was more to it than board­ing a planeI tak­ing offI stand­ing in an open door far above the earth and step­ping into space. Be­fore even walk­ing onto the run­wayI there were pa­pers to sign and waivers to grant to legally pro­tect both the sky­diver and the air­port in the re­mote (she hoped) pos­si­bil­ity some­thing might go hor­ri­bly wrong.

“, firsW KDd Wo DFNnowOHdJH Ln wrLWLnJ , might dieI” Amanda saidI “and other un­pleas­ant things could hap­pen if some­thing went wrong with the para­chute or the planeI the pos­si­bil­ity of a crashI or f might faint or be­come dizzyI all kinds of real and imag­ined un­knowns.”

ft all added up to play­ing a wait­ing game be­fore be­ing free to es­cape the bounds of earth with her sky­div­ing guardian an­gel whose job was to guide the novice sky­diver WKrouJK D suFFHssIuO, SOHDsDnW, Dnd sDIH Hx­pe­ri­ence.

“BHLnJ fiWWHd wLWK D YHry KHDYy KDrnHss around the legs and over the shoul­ders might take as long as 15 min­utesI” she said. “There DrH PDny oI WKHsH OLWWOH HxWrD duWLHs Wo SHr­form even be­fore board­ing the plane.”

APDndD WoOd PH sKH wDs Fon­fidHnW Ln DOO WKH SrHFDuWLons dHPDndHd oI D firsW-WLPH sky­di­verI “but for meI it was an un­set­tling EuW Iun HxSHrLHnFH.”

Fi­nal­lyI the time came to take that big step into space. The dis­tant earth yawned back at her as if it were a toy vil­lage. “mete and f talked on the way downI and he asked me if f felt faint or dizzyI” Amanda re­mem­bered.

“He was taller than meI” she saidI “so f felt good about that. His legs were longer than mineI so f knew he would land be­fore me.”

Amanda had to re­mem­ber cer­tain posiWLons on KHr firsW MuPS, suFK Ds NHHSLnJ KHr sWoPDFK flDW, noW Wo EH DODrPHd wKHn KHr breath sud­denly was sucked out in the S0 sec­onds of freefall be­fore their para­chute opened. “ft made me feel as if f was go­ing to suf­fo­cate.”

Then there were the land­ing in­struc­tions she had to re­mem­ber: hnees bentI toes pointed upI and heels down as the ground rushed up to meet them.

Did she en­joy sky­div­ing enough to jump again?

tithout hes­i­ta­tionI Amanda gave a thumbs-up and a big “Yes! f plan on go­ing up and jump­ing a sec­ond timeI” she said.

“BHIorH WKLs HxSHrLHnFH, , KDd nHYHr HYHn flown EHIorH, EuW , wDsn’W nHrYous DEouW jump­ing. f pre­pared by watch­ing sky­div­ing videos.”

The only un­com­fort­able thingI she con­fessedI was her ears pop­pingI al­though “chew­ing gum helps when that hap­pens.” Asked if she had any qualms about a sec­ond or even a third or fourth jumpI she gave a two-word an­swer: “thy not?”

7KH MuPS onOy WooN fiYH PLnuWHs. :KDW’s fiYH PLnuWHs ouW oI WKH Eusy OLIH oI D worNLnJ girl? And what goes up must come down.

that was her last word to her par­ents be­fore she took off? “ByeI” she re­calledI ad­dLnJ WKDW nHrYous SDrHnWs wHrH Wo EH HxSHFWed. “They couldn’t talk me out of it.”

bven her grand­fa­ther? Come to think of itI no­body asked me.

yrdez­doe­[email protected]­

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