Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Jump 42 - In loving memory of Andy Knowles

Picture the scene... I'm 13,000 feet above the ground clinging desperately to the outside of a PAC 750XL. There's a gentleman inside the plane giving me a look that says 'Get in or get off, but make up your mind.' Another two second of fighting the propwash, and I give up... I give him one last manic look, roll my eyes and let go. It's not an elegant exit, but I'm in the air again for the first time in 68 days.

For the next 55 seconds I'm falling towards the ground at an average speed of over 130 mph trying to remember how to fly. The whole way down, all I can think of is that Andy probably wouldn't have approved; he always did think I had a few bolts missing. But since there was no service or memorial, I will remember him in my own way.

55 seconds later I give up and realise that I just can't fly. I stop wobbling a bit, wave my hands over my head and about 4 seconds later there is a beautifully stable canopy above me.
On the ground it's a struggle to not cry, but when he went, I promised the next flight to him.

Andy, Mom... I hope you guys are back together looking down at me. If I'm the only TV you get up there, I'll try to at least make it entertaining.