Yesterday, Frank T.K. Hinshaw, of Hawaii Island Skydiving pulled off a maneuver over the skies on the Big Island that has never been attempted before as he became the first known man to “speed-wing” into Pololu Valley here on the Big Island.
I asked “TK” what a speedwing was and he stated, “a speedwing is a small paragliding wing first developed after “blade running” competitions became a bit more well-known. These competitions began with skydivers “ground launching” their parachutes and flying down ski slopes. Soon, paragliding manufacturers picked up the sport & began making small paragliding wings adapted for this purpose. In short, a speedwing is a very small paraglider.”
I’ve gotten the chance to meet Hinshaw a few times over on Oahu where I have tandem jumped three times with the last one setting a Hawaii Tandem altitude jump where we jumped from 21,000 feet. I asked Hinshaw how long he’s been doing this and he stated, “I began ground-launching/speedflying in earnest shortly after I was separated from the United States Military Academy Preparatory School at the beginning of 2009. We first began by foot-launching our skydiving parachutes back in 2008 in an experimental fashion, this charge by the skydivers was led by Evan Whitlock. But it wasn’t until 2009 when we all bought our first real speedwings, mine was an Ozone 12m Bullet. We routinely began flying off of Kealia and the rest of the Mokuleia range on the North Shore of Oahu. We soon expanded to Makapu’u and began looking for more intense places to fly such as the Stairway to Heaven (Haiku Steps) on Oahu and Kalalau Valley on Kauai.”
When asked what inspired him to jump into Pololu Valley Hinshaw says “Flying into Pololu was just an idea that was given to me by Jake Kilfoyle after he saw a picture I took from the lookout. Since then I have wanted to do it, especially because I moved to North Kohala to start my skydiving business. However, I injured my knee doing another activity, and so I never had the chance to attempt it until the other day. It was just something that had to be accomplished sooner or later in order to progress the sport.”
Here is the video footage that was taken of the jump. Normally “TK” uses a GoPro when he does stunts like this but he didn’t have his equipment with him.
Recently TK had an incident that made him re-evaluate what he was doing and took some time off and I asked him about this incident and he said, “I was doing a practice jump before the 4th of July because I was going to jump the American Flag into Schofield Army Barracks for Independence Day. I ended up getting entangled with the Flag, it was an ordeal, but I landed fine even though my equipment was malfunctioning. I took a very short break from skydiving due to issues in my personal life, not so much because I was spooked from the jump. I am a very busy individual with trying to progress all the sports I am involved in, dealing with the government on a constant basis (usually negative), and running my new skydiving business here on the Big Island.”
I still haven’t gotten a chance to jump with him here on the Big Island, but I look forward to it. I don’t think I’ll be doing anything crazy like jumping into Pololu Valley anytime soon.