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Out of 10,000 feet of fall, always remember that the last half inch hurts the most.
— Captain Charles W. Purcell, 1932
I was on the point of cutting the cord that suspended me between heaven and earth . . . and measured with my eye the vast space that separated me from the rest of the human race . . . I felt myself precipitated with a velocity that was checked by the sudden unfolding of my parachute.
— Andr—-Jacques Garnerin, world's first parachutist, 22 October 1797.
I watched him strap on his harness and helmet, climb into the cockpit and, minutes later, a black dot falls off the wing two thousand feet above our field. At almost the same instant, a while streak behind him flowered out into the delicate wavering muslin of a parachute — a few gossamer yards grasping onto air and suspending below them, with invisible threads, a human life, and man who by stitches, cloth, and cord, had made himself a god of the sky for those immortal moments.
A day or two later, when I decided that I too must pass through the experience of a parachute jump, life rose to a higher level, to a sort of exhilarated calmness. The thought of crawling out onto the struts and wires hundreds of feet above the earth, and then giving up even that tenuous hold of safety and of substance, left me a feeling of anticipation mixed with dread, of confidence restrained by caution, of courage salted through with fear. How tightly should one hold onto life? How loosely give it rein? What gain was there for such a risk? I would have to pay in money for hurling my body into space. There would be no crowd to watch and applaud my landing. Nor was there any scientific objective to be gained. No, there was deeper reason for wanting to jump, a desire I could not explain.
It was that quality that led me into aviation in the first place — it was a love of the air and sky and flying, the lure of adventure, the appreciation of beauty. It lay beyond the descriptive words of man — where immortality is touched through danger, where life meets death on equal plane; where man is more than man, and existence both supreme and valueless at the same instant.
— Charles A. Lindbergh, contemplating his first parachute jump, 'The Spirit of St Louis,' 1953
Why does one want to walk wings? Why force one's body from a plane to make a parachute jump? Why should man want to fly at all? People often ask these questions. But what civilization was not founded on adventure, and how long could one exist without it? Some answer the attainment of knowledge. Some say wealth, or power, is sufficient cause. I believe the risks I take are justified y the sheer love of the life I lead.
— Charles A. Lindbergh
If riding in an airplane is flying, then riding in a boat is swimming. If you want to experience the element, then get out of the vehicle.
When the people look like ants — Pull.
Young man at EAA Oshkosh: "What color are your
Yeah, I knew a lot of those guys who parachute jumped at county fairs in the twenties and thirties, I just never knew any of them for very long.
— Fritz Orchard
Skydiving has been my life, and it will probably be my death too. But hopefully not yet, for I have many years of jumps left in me.
— Robin Wilcox, four days before dying too soon, 1997.
Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute.
— Gil Stern
Only skydivers know why the birds sing. They never have to pack a parachute.
In a world in which we are all slaves to the laws of
gravity, I'm proud to be counted as one of them freedom fighters.
Skydivers do it in the stable spread position.
I now know the color of fear. . . . It's brown.
— Anonymous skydiver.
And wow! Hey! What's this thing coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding word like... ow... ound... round... ground! That's it! That's a good name - ground! I wonder if it will be friends with me?
— Douglas Adams, Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy.
Once you've thrown your pilot chute, you're done. It's out of your hands. From that moment on you just enjoy the view or panic.
— Tim Rigby, BASE jumper, quoted in Men's Journal,' September 2005.
It is one thing to be in the proximity of death, to know more or less what she is, and it is quite another thing to seek her.
— Ernest Hemingway
Just because nobody complains, it doesn't mean that 100% of the parachutes are working properly.
If at first you don't succeed, well, so much for skydiving.
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