Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dalcorp takes to the Sky. Kimberly Nocita makes first solo jump towards certification.

Kimberly has always loved center stage. It's usually acting in a play, performing in musical theater or playing a recital. This time, however, center stage moved up a 12,500 feet! Not many people know, that deep down inside, Kimberly is an adrenalin junky. After making a few tandem skydiving jumps over the past few years, it was time for Kim to take a leap of faith, or should I say, start her journey towards getting her certification in skydiving. So about a week ago it was out to Perris Valley to start the process which included 6 to 7 hours of classroom instruction, 2 wind tunnel sessions and her first jump. As you would imagine, your instructor plays a major role in your training, and Kim was so fortunate to be assigned Pat McGowan as her jump master. Pat has over 15,000 jumps in the past 20 years, has set numerous skydiving records and competed in national and international competitions for many, many years. His credentials aside, he is an incredibly patient man, a loving husband and father, and passionate beyond belief for the sport that he loves.

After a long day of classroom instruction, Pat asked Kim the question that every student is waiting for....."Are you ready to go skydiving?" After a few final words of instruction, Pat and Kim made their way to the plane and up to 12,500 feet. The wind was almost exceeding the 14 mph limit for jumping, but it stayed below the maximum just long enough for them to get into the air. After exiting the plane, Kim ran through all of her required moves and simulations with time to spare. Pat and Steve, her other instructor, had time to take her through a few extra maneuvers before it was time to deploy her chute at 5,000 feet. It was a little tricky landing with the gusty winds, but with Pat talking to her on the radio, she made it down safely with an ear to ear grin on her face. "Let's do that again!" were the first words out her mouth. So in about a week, it will be back out to Perris Valley for two more jumps in route to her certification. When Kim is asked the question why she's decided to do such a costly sport at this time in her life, she gives the same answer that her grandmother, Margaret Davis, has given to so many over the years. "If not now, when?" Kimberly, those words will serve you well.

Here's where it all begins.....

Pat McGowan, with over 15,000 jumps under
his belt, beginning the day of teaching. Over 6
hours of classroom instruction before it was
time to fly.

Practice, practice, practice.

Pat going over all the safety features built into
today's equipment. Dad's happy.

Suited up and ready for the wind tunnel.

The wind tunnel allows divers to work on body
position and maneuvers without the expense of
making actual jumps. It has greatly accelerated the
learning curve of new skydivers. Lookin' good, Kim!

Next to opening your chute, knowing where you're
going to land ranks right up there on "the important things
to know" list.

On the way to the plane.....

One final run through on exiting the aircraft.

Student and instructor share a little quite time...

....old "Sharky"

It's up and away to 12,500 feet! Check out the
other divers landing next to the runway. It almost
looked like they planned this picture.

Checking altitude with her "pink" altimeter.

....and pink goggles! Pat hooked her up!!

The instructors stay close to monitor a series
of practice maneuvers that Kim had to perform.
She finished them all with altitude to spare!

5,000 feet and Kim deploys her main chute.
"It's all REALLY good" now!

The instructors begin to break away.

Check out Pat on the left. Is he a "Rocket Man"
or what?

Lookin' good.

Coming in for her landing...flying the Italian colors!

The "Eaglet" has landed!

The proud instructor and a very happy student!
Thank you Pat for sending her home in one piece.
You're the Man!!!

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