United States Army
29 years old
Q: How long have you been jumping out of planes?
I've been jumping since 1995. I made my first jump when I was 23 years old.
familyeducation.com: How much time do you spend training?
- We start the day at 6:00.
- Run 2-4 miles.
- Jumping starts at 8:30.
- Make 8-10 jumps a day.
- Break for lunch.
- At end of the day, we discuss how it went.
Q: What other things do you do to stay fit?
We lift weights and do lots of pushups and sit-ups. We also do team-building sports like soccer or volleyball.
Q: How do skydivers compete?
There's a 3-centimeter electronic dot on the ground. Our job is to land as close as we can on that little dot. You want to have a score of zero. Whoever has the lowest score wins. And the worst score in a jumping competition is 16.
Teams make 10 jumps in a competition and at the end, the person with the lowest score wins the competition. In the Army there's no purse, we're not allowed to accept money at all.
Q: How do people get started skydiving?
First step is to get a basic jumper license. You get your basic license after 20 jumps. $1,000 will buy you about eight jumps. But if you want to own your own parachute with all the safety equipment, you're probably looking at $4500 just to buy equipment.
Q: Have you ever gotten hurt after all these jumps?
I get some sore muscles but no serious injuries.
Q: Do you consider your sport extreme?
To me not jumping isn't extreme, because I always have a handle on everything I'm doing up there. Other people might consider it extreme because they've never jumped--but it's definitely an adrenaline-getter. In a way, every jump is like a first jump. I put pressure on myself because I want to do well. So I get jitters a little bit.
Q: Any advice for kids interested in sky diving?
First, you have to be 16 with parental consent before you can jump. Otherwise, kids must be 18. You must go to a reputable drop zone. Look for places that are U.S. Parchute Association rated. That will mean it has one of the safest drop zones. They regulate sky diving, so diving schools and jumping instructors have to meet certain criteria with safety. A lot of drop zones are advertised online, so you can get a lot of information on the Web about skydiving. Just make sure you do all of your homework!
Q: What do your parents think about what you do?
They love it. They're very proud of me--only 90 people in the entire Army do this job. I love it because every day is exciting and fun. I think this is the greatest job I'll have in my life and the best thing I've ever done. There are two things I love: I love to sky dive and being in the army and there's no other place where I could put the two things together.
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