This weekend I learned a lot about life, love, passion, and pain…yet it feels like it flew by faster than Superman chasing angels. I arrived at Pepperell with my friend Jason Carter, just in time for Lurch/Brian’s first trial flight of the “Frankenwing” aka “Tim Burton” aka “Blair Stitch Project” wingsuit.
Made from a 40 year old motorcycle jacket and bits and pieces of nylon found around the DZ, Lurch calls this the “world’s first industrial grade wingsuit.”
Industrial grade indeed.
Sewn from 300 lb Spectra, industrial zippers, parapack and cordura…this monstrosity flies. It really did. And did well. Lurch was very nervous when we got on the load, complete with shaking hands and he wouldn’t shut up :-).
He gave the count, we exited, and he flew. Really flew. Totally in control, totally in perfect form. The tail flapped a little, but that wasn’t anything to be disappointed; most tails flap.
He landed, and the sheer joy, excitement, and energy radiating from his body was infectious. We all cheered, laughed, and had a great time recounting the jump. Then the weather hit, knocking us down for a while.
In the downtime, i called a friend, and the rain almost immediately stopped, thus teaching us who to call when the weather bill is past due.
I did jump a couple of different suits, including Jeff Nebelkopf’s monster wing that won him the world distance challenge. I also made several jumps on Scotty B’s Mach 1, which made me all the more excited to receive mine.
On Saturday morning, i felt a strange sensation in my ear, much like water rolling around in there. Being the curious person I am, I removed my helmet and stuck my finger in my ear. Imagine my surprise when I pulled it out, covered in blood!
I’ve had an ear infection for a while, but never before have I seen this. Very little pain, so I decided that since my ear didn’t hurt, it was “clear” (it would pressurize/depressurize) and I was already on a load, I’d jump. No problems, and so I jumped for the rest of the day.
Woke up this morning to find more blood on my pillow, so I chose to stand down for the day. Turned out to be the right call….the weather turned nasty and the one bird-load that did get up didn’t get out. They rode the plane down.
Justin, thanks for putting on a great event. Scotty, thx for letting me use your monster wing. Jeff….I was hoping some karma would rub off as I wore your championship SuperMach…but I still sucked in it.
The people at Pepperell are wonderful!! Finally got to meet an old on-line friend, Howard White, who showed me some great history from the sport skydiving world. He’s forgotten more than most would ever know.
Pepperell staff were not only incredibly inviting, they treated all the birds very, very well. Packers are terrific!!! “Hey, could you speed up my opening a bit?” Sure…no problem. “OK, that was a bit too brisk…” OK, no problem. “That was a PERFECT opening…” Cool…!
T’was fun seeing old friends, making some new. Soby, the Brothers Gray, Lurch, Ricardo, Mark…thx for the hospitality! it’s always fun jumping with my bud Scotty Burns, he’s got an attitude of joy that is infectious. Pervple Mike is a great base, and Justin Shorb; a terrific instructor. Jeff, thanks for the nylon