June 1999 High Altitude Jumps at Skydance Skydiving

Here are the four of us at dawn in front of the Caravan jump plane.

[Jeff exiting]
Jeff exiting at 24K.

[Adrian exiting]
Adrian exiting at 24K.

[Twin 22]
Tad has more of these "Twin 22" bailout bottle assemblies. These provide up to 40 minutes of oxygen and are pressure demand instead of positive pressure. More comfortable compared to the positive pressure "green apple" bailout bottles previously used. No blast of O2 when activating. However, you have to check the flow indicator (on the hose from the Twin 22) for active flow before disconnecting from the aircraft console.

There I was... just another jump from 30,000 feet (the 10th or the 11th for me). John Lewis did his 18th jump from 30K on Sunday. I've done this many times that I was not required to do the rehearsal the day before, but I did it anyway. It is quite different jumping with a O2 mask because the reduced peripheral vision. As on all 30K jumps, I frequently checked my equipment. At this altitude, "things" can deteriorate rapidly so extra caution is needed.

Didn't do much but sight-see on the way down. Sun was bright to the east so didn't see much of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Was able to see a great profile of the San Francisco Bay Area.

We got an extra 1000 feet! On the way up, ATC cleared us for FL290 or FL310 so why not take the upper deck. Not that it really made a difference in the jump but damn it was good for ego. The climb rate slowed way down to 300 fpm. We dumped Adrian and Jeff out at 24K (they did there 30K the next day), John and I exited at 31K. Well, I did it again. I knocked Tad to the floor approaching the door as I swung around to do a poised exit. Tad spotted and then would step back for me and John.

A Cessna Caravan was used this year and it had more room, but the main O2 tank was right in the center of the floor so it was awkward (hey, we gotta have something to complain about).

Miklos showed up for the Sunday 30K jumps. Not to be outdone by Saturday's load, he requested (and paid extra $$$ for aircraft time) to get the Sunday load to 31,100 feet. The extra 100 feet was insignificant but higher than our Saturday load.

I brought along a few empty small plastic water bottles. Before exit at altitude, I capped these so back on the ground the bottles were crushed because of the higher pressure. Each bottle was labeled, "A Piece of Sky" This bottle contains 30,000 feet. Do not open or you will let the vacuum out." Nice gifts for the whuffo friends. I gave one of them to my dance instructor, she found it amusing. I then found out she is an experienced skydiver with 40 jumps, back in the days of rounds and gutter gear when she was a teenager. No static lines, all freefalls including her first jump. Currently, I've been training for a foxtrot showcase routine for later this year but I have a bad habit of speeding through the number two count. She asks why I keep doing that (in spite of her continual coaching), I said, "I'm afraid the dance floor will leave without me." Her reply, "The excuses I hear from students... !"

Disclaimer and Purpose


Parachuting is a high risk activity and you can be seriously injured or killed as a result of your participation in parachuting and related activities.

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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