Sky Dive

Movie Inspired Activity, Funded by Mushrooms

Human Services major, Terry Christiansen and his daughter experienced the thrill of a lifetime last weekend.

After watching the popular movie, “The Bucket List,” Christiansen realized that there were things he still wanted to try before his time on earth is up, and after a successful day of mushroom picking to earn funds, he thought it was the perfect time to start on his own list.

Christiansen and his daughter headed for the spacious blue sky above their heads. After important safety instruction from the Eugene Skydiving club’s jump instructors, they boarded a small airplane at the Creswell airstrip. They were about to become novice skydivers.

“I was concerned about doing everything right,” said Christiansen.

Christiansen’s skydiving instructor was just as concerned that the jump was safe, but it didn’t stop him from teasing a novice.

“My instructor was a really nice guy with around 5000 jumps. But when I asked him if he had done this before, he told me it was his ‘first time jumping.’  He waited a few seconds and then said ‘with you.’ He really helped to lighten the mood by telling a joke, and once we got up there I was still feeling pretty confident,” said Christiansen.  Two instructors flew with Christiansen,  one for him and another for his daughter.

When the aircraft reached about 6000 feet, Christiansen’s instructor strapped himself to the back of Christiansen while his daughter’s instructor did the same with her, thereby beginning their first father-daughter skydiving experience.

Beginners to the sport of skydiving are required to perform a number of instructed tandem jumps before they are able to jump solo. 

“I went out first, and she went out second,” said Christiansen. “It was supposed to be a ready-set-go thing, but it all went so fast and then we were out of the plane.”

In one quick move, the duo plunged to Earth, hearts pounding, with winds of up to 180 miles per hour whipping past. The lesson on slowing down by arching and spreading his body was fresh in Christiansen’s mind, but his daughter plunged rapidly downward until her instructor helped her regain proper form.

“She was flailing around in mid-air,” said Christiansen. But soon the cords were pulled, and the parachutes deployed, creating vibrant colors amongst the blue of the daytime sky.

Sky Dive

With instructors strapped to the duo’s backs, the colorful parachutes filled the sky above their heads as their rate of descent slowed.

“It was dead quiet, and it felt like I was stopped in mid-air although I knew I was still falling. I think I can cross bungee jumping off my bucket list too because that’s what it felt like when the parachute opened,” said Christiansen.

After getting over the fear of leaving the airplane and the physical impact of the parachute opening, Christiansen began to worry about his landing. “I could only imagine myself sliding across a grassy field on my backside, legs high. However with the newer parachutes you only come in for a landing at about 15 mph, and my landing turned out to be very smooth,” said Christiansen.

Overall, the extreme free-fall went by too quickly for Christiansen. “It felt like minutes during free-fall but was only seconds,” he said. “As soon as I hit the ground, I wanted to go back up.”

Christiansen, after his adrenaline pumping experience, has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

When I got home I couldn’t even focus on my homework or concentrate on anything; we were both so jazzed up. I think I have a new addiction.”


The Mainstream is a student publication of Umpqua Community College.