- Originally printed in issue #14 (October 2010) of Blue Skies Magazine.
- Download “Goin In” by the Fuckin’ Pilot.
- Buy a reprint of this issue.
It was on a commercial flight from Vegas to Bridge Day back in 1997 that the conversation came up. There were eight of us making the trip for the annual event, some to jump and some to watch and film. All of us were skydivers and none of us had our rigs, which were all stored away in the baggage compartment not more than a few feet below us.
“How fucked up would it be to have a mid-air collision and no rigs?” asked Will Forchet, one of the jumpers on the trip, as well as the creator of “Lemmings,” the yearly Bridge Day film chronicle. “I mean, could you imagine it … We’d probably manage to survive the collision and get thrown free and end up on the longest skydive of our fucking lives without gear!”
As the conversation progressed between us jumpers—much to the horror of the non-skydiver passengers around us—we imagined what it would be like to end up on a skydive that could only end one way. As it turned out, we decided we’d all go ahead and go for that last kick ass 8-way speed star, partly in homage to “Point Break,” and partly just to have the FAA wondering how in the fuck the eight of us ended up holding hands in a perfect circle on the ground.
It’s a conversation that’s taken place on probably every drop zone on the planet, with everyone that’s ever strapped on a rig. “What if?” What exactly would you do if you found yourself on a jump that had one inevitable end: your death. It’s a pretty fucked up question, to be sure, but it’s a question that almost everyone I know has asked themself many times over. You’ve exhausted every attempt at fixing whatever is wrong, there’s no backup for the backup, all the handles are pulled, and you are just completely fucked.
What are YOU gonna do with the last minute or so of your life?
I’ve had friends give all the standard answers you’d imagine. “I’m gonna close my eyes and think of all the people I love.” “I’ll roll over on my back and watch the clouds going by.” “I’ll probably shit my pants and go out screaming like a fat chick who just realized there’s no more ice cream.” “I’m gonna aim for the nicest car/house/hot chick I see.” And on.
My favorite answer so far was told to me by the benefactor of not only my tandem rating, but two reserve saves and more than a few good laughs. Mr. Simon Wade, originally from England but now residing under a Joshua Tree somewhere in the desert, was the one who gave me the best “If I were totally fucked” answer yet.
“Mate, [he’s English, remember] if I knew I were going in for sure, I’d have to have a bit of a laugh. I’d make quite sure that all my handles were pulled and there was simply no other outcome. I’d then find a way to get me pants down round me ankles, grab me cock in one hand and shove the thumb of me other hand deep up me ass just to shock the piss out of whatever poor fucker found me! Can you imagine the S&TA on that one?? ‘Well, no wonder he went in!’”
The stupidest answer (and not exactly about going in, no matter what) was given to a group of Skydance [Davis, CA] jumpers while standing around the bonfire one evening. The recent student, who shall remain nameless, was asked how he would handle the prospect of a total main malfunction—not going in, mind you, just a main mal. Without even the slightest hint of sarcasm, he blurted out his plan, which surprisingly didn’t involve the use of his reserve.
“Well, if the main just didn’t come out at all, I wouldn’t wanna use the reserve ‘cause those things are too expensive to pack back up. I’d just go ahead and take off my belt, track on over to them power lines over there and loop the belt around ‘em as I fell past. See, that way I could just slide on down and not have to spend the money!”
(As a side note, this jumper later attempted to demonstrate how he’d get down from the power lines by performing a PLF from the top of the Skydance hanger. In just one short year he was walking again.)
Here’s hoping none of you ever find yourself having to come up with an idea for real, but for the sake of a bit of reflection or just a good (although warped) laugh, I now pose that question to you. For whatever reason, and whatever the circumstance, you have just found yourself on a skydive with that inevitable outcome. What are you gonna do on that final jump?
A friend once asked me a similar question involving flying the Otter. “So both wings come off the thing and you’re fucked ‘cause you don’t have a rig. What are you gonna do?” My answer was pretty simple: “Well, if there’s a hot chick in the co-pilot seat, I’m gonna try and get laid on the way down…Wait, even if she’s not that hot I’ll try and get laid…Wait, if there’s something with a pulse in the co-pilot seat and the wings just fell off, I’m fuckin’ it!” “And if there’s nobody there?” she asked. “Well, my old buddy Simon came up with an idea once…”
So, what are you gonna do on that final jump? Go to BlueSkiesMag.com and share your best laid plans.
[team_member image_url=”123875″ name=”Dean Ricci” role=”Monthly Columnist”]About the author: Dean “Princess” Ricci has more than 8,500 hours of flight time; 5,000 of those have been piloting jump ships for skydiving.[/team_member] [products_mixed layout=”listing” orderby=”ID” order=”asc” ids=”26630,121868″ title=”Get more like this!”]