June 1998 High Altitude Jumps at Skydance Skydiving

Many of the jumpers made their first 30,000 feet jumps on these series of jumps. It was also noticed that Airplane Engine + Lots of $$$$ = Altitude Performance. Unlike last year, the King Air promptly flew up to FL300, and, with permission from Oakland ATC, the second load on Sunday went to FL310. But the Friday loads didn't go that high (only 13K) because of cloud cover.

John Lewis made his 14th jump from 30K and Milkos made his 13th. I am now at 9 jumps from 30,000 feet. I was on the first load Sunday morning (just my luck the second load got an extra 1000 feet). I could not make it for the Saturday load as I was busy with a more important event.

After the pilot reported jumpers away from FL300, an airline pilot called, "Oakland Center, uhh, can you repeat that altitude?" After Oakland's reply, a third voice came on the radio, "Woooooooowwwww!

I poised exit with Mike "Zip" diving after me. Somebody said, "Forget trying a 2-way, you guys will never connect! I'll bet you 5 bucks." Well, Zip pinned me around FL280. We didn't do anything except just cruise on down to the thicker atmosphere. Zip never got his 5 bucks though. Our KIAS at exit altitude was 170 but it felt like the plane was only doing 90 mph, hands-on experiment of pressure density. Speaking of experiments, I brought along a tomato, some grapes and cherries to see the effects of lower pressure. The grapes and cherries didn't do anything but the tomato developed a small tear at FL190. As we continued climbing, it didn't do anything else. So I would conclude tomatos will top out at 20,000 feet.

I did bring along an empty Evian water bottle and capped it right before exit. It was fully collapsed back on the ground. See the Photo Gallery for a picture of it.

I only brought one of the commerative bottles labeled, "A Piece Of Sky. Notice: This bottle contains 30,000 feet. Do not open or you will let the vacuum out." I mailed it to a friend back east but then I found out it was Lodi Lisa's birthday on the following week, I would have given it to her instead.

I used regular skydiving goggles this time as I did not like the use of ski goggles on September's jumps.

Some of us were talking about jumping from above 100,000 feet, with the intent of beating Joe Kittenger's record of 102,800 feet set in 1960. Many have attempted but the big block is money, in the order of millions of dollars. The jumpship would have to be a balloon and these can be made to exceed 100K. There are other items required such as a spacesuit which is difficult to get (not like getting a regular jumpsuit ). However, Kittenger used a drogue chute for his 1960 jump to help freefall stability and some said that was really not a freefall (this argument sometimes gets kicked around for tandems). So there are people that want to do a drogueless freefall from above 100,000 feet. There are two items of concern. One is spacesuits are very stiff in vacuum and they are tailored to a sitting position. The second concern is nobody knows what happens when a human goes supersonic before reaching the thicker part of the atmosphere. Oh well, I guess we will stay with 30K jumps for now.

Evening Magazine was going to do a report on these jumps from 30,000 feet but they backed out.

Disclaimer and Purpose


Parachuting is a high risk activity and can result in serious injury or death.

This website is for noncommercial, informational purposes only. This is not an instructional guide.

The purpose is to provide information on skydiving from high altitudes. I am not an instructor and I am not claiming to be one. For those interested in learning to skydive or participating in a high altitude jump, you must obtain training from competent and rated instructors.

Michael Wright, D13106
Website Editor

Feedback is desired (suggestions, comments, errors, gripes, whatever) Michael Wright, email address
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