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Photo 2003 Bill Jones
The Scuba Guy (Bottom Right) at 14,000 feet descending at a rate of 120 mph.
There is no climbing back into the plane at this point.  You can see the wind pushing my face.
To my right is Randy.  Let's not talk about the guy above me.

The day started when I (and 22 other sky divers) took off in a De Havilland DHC-6-200 / PT6a-20 Twin Otter from Spaceland near Rosharon Texas.  It only took about 12 minutes from take-off for this STOL (Short Take-Off & Landing) aircraft to get into position at 14,000 feet for the jump.

 I told my instructor that when it was my turn, I didn't want to stop at the door and think about what I was doing.  I expected the feeling of stepping out of the plane to be very violent.  Soon, it was my turn.  I stood up and walked through the door without stopping.  All I recall was realizing that I was actually outside of the plane watching the Twin Otter fly away.  The air noise was so loud that I couldn't hear myself talking.  I was saying a few words to myself.  Free-falling for about 50 seconds, I was getting close to 5,000 feet and it was time to pull the chute.  As the canopy deployed, I slowed from 120 mph to 10 mph in about 3 seconds.  The jump became very quiet and peaceful at that point.  The ride continued "under canopy" for the next 5 or 6 minutes before landing.  I flared the chute slowing to 3 mph just before touch-down and landed standing up.  The wind caught the chute and pulled me down to the ground.  Looking at the video tape of the jump, I had a big smile on my face for the entire ride.

De Havilland DHC-6-200 / PT6a-20 Twin Otter

Wing Span: 65 ft (19.8 m)
Length: 49 ft 6 in (15.1 m)
Height: 18 ft 7 in (5.7 m)
Weight, Empty: 5,850 lb (2,654 kg)
Weight, Gross: 10,500 lb (4,763 kg)
Cruising Speed: 154 mph (248 km/h)
Maximum Speed: 184 mph (296 km/h)
Rate of Climb: 1,650 ft (503 m)/min
Service Ceiling: 27,000 ft (8,230 m)
Range: 887 mi (1,427 km)
Power Plant: 2 Pratt & Whitney PT6a-20, 578 shaft horsepower (ESHP) turboprop reverse-flow gas-turbine engines
 

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