On Saturday, December 10th at 11:30 in the morning, my friend Mike Zagorski and I were invited to break a Hawaii State tandem skydiving record with Skydive Hawaii on Oahu’s North Shore at the Dillingham Airfield dropzone.
Setting a Hawaii Tandem Skydiving Altitude Record on December 10, 2011 at Skydive Hawaii
This was the third time that I have jumped with Skydive Hawaii, but this experience was definitely unique! There were eight of us that actually jumped, we had four people filming and taking pictures of the jump and of course the two skydivers that we were attached to.
Participants in this record setting jump were, Diver Dunn, Papa Dopp, Ignacio Martinez, Amberly Brown, Rod Boden, Randy Stamper, Mike Zagorski and myself.
Normally folks tandem jump from about 12,000 – 13,000 feet depending on the conditions, on this day we headed up to the 21,000 foot elevation, nearly 4 miles in the sky, where we were had to wear oxygen masks because the air was so thin.
Gaining altitude we put on the oxygen masks at 8,000 feet and then continued to climb to 21,000 feet
I was a bit worried about the weather and on Skydive Hawaii’s facebook page they posted the following a few hours before our scheduled jump:
Today’s State record high altitude tandem skydive will be well above the clouds: Isolated showers. The rain could be heavy at times. Mostly sunny, with a high near 79. Breezy, with a east wind between 8 and 16 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Well the weather on the ground was perfect for the jump at the Dillingham drop zone however in the air it was much colder and we were required to wear gloves and even carry emergency oxygen tanks in case the parachutes deployed early in the jump where there might not be much oxygen in the air.
Looking up in the sky in anticipation of this record breaking attempt
The temperature at 21,000 feet on this day was 27 degrees BELOW ZERO and I was quoted on KHON2 News saying:
“The Skydive Hawaii people said this is the first time they’ve ever took a tandem people up to this elevation, 21,000 feet. Normally the tandem jumps in Hawaii are done between 12,000-13,000 feet, so they brought us almost twice as high as they normally do,” said Damon Tucker, a Big Island resident.
21,000 feet equals about 4 miles.
The temperature up here — 27 degrees below zero!
“I was so cold I thought I was going to freeze I was literally frozen,” said Tucker.
And before he knew it, it was time.
“And next thing you knew I was jumping out and doing somersaults outside the back of the airplane. It was crazy I mean it was crazy,” said Tucker. “What’s going through your mind is you hope that chute is going to open. You’re dropping so fast and realize you’re in a really dangerous predicament.”
“We dropped out about a minute and a half of free fall, then they pulled the chute and then we floated about five minutes down,” said Tucker. “Between being nervous and between being scared I was making sure I was having a good time and that was the really important thing.
What I didn’t tell the news station… is that for the first 10 to 15 seconds of that jump… I literally thought I was going to pass out!
I'm holding my nose and attempting to blow through it to clear out the air pressure that was building in my ears
A lot of folks were saying your crazy or your nuts to do something like this… but I think skydiving is safer then driving a car on our local highway here in Puna and I bet the statistics could actually prove that! The scariest thing for me about the jump… was when we were leaving the plane and just holding onto the outside of the plane!
Here goes nothing!
Here is the raw video footage of the freefall part of my jump:
I’d like to thank Skydive Hawaii President Frank Hinshaw for offering National Bicycling Champion Mike Zagorski and I up on this record setting jump! It was definitely a thrill of a lifetime and I look forward to jumping again sometime soon!
Skydive Hawaii President Frank Hinshaw and Mike Zagorski and I pose for a picture after the record jump
Filed under: aloha, Announcements, Entertainment, Hawaii, Oahu, Something New?, Sports, Tourism, Transportation, Unexplained Phenomenon Tagged: | Hawaii, Parachuting Record, Skydive Hawaii, Skydivng Tandem Record, Tandem skydiving, Where to Skydive