During the gear safety inspections, Moe Viletto, Sam Gouws, and myself, found several deficiencies. Each yr we find something wrong with the rigging of some of the gear, I look forward to the yr we find nothing, although,...I'll probably be worried I missed something when that time comes.
When I got to the bridge Sat morning, I had a weird feeling,....something just didn't feel right. I couldn't put my finger on it,...was it the chair not feeling right? I had to take my backup chair, because of supply issues for parts on my main chair, it wasn't ready for this trip, so I was forced to bring the backup. Was it not enough sleep? I never get much sleep during the days of Bridge Day, and this yr was no different. I'd only managed about 8hrs sleep over 3 days. Or was it just nerves? Anyone who says there's no pressure with 100,000 people watching you, is either lying, or alot braver than I am! I put it down to nerves, and just tried to push through it. Once I got up near the edge, that weird feeling got stronger. So I took some extra time to visualize the jump, from beginning to landing, several times. Usually that calms any screaming nerves, but not today. After a long time, I realized the feeling wasn't going to go away, so I'd just have to go. I look to Bert, and give him the nod that I'm ready, he answers with "READY",.....3,2,1 off we go! Usually the chair will naturally roll off into a front flip, (see the picture) however,...this time it just stays level for a second. The worst thing would be if it starts to roll backwards, so I lean forward to start the front rotation, and it works, but it's slower than before, and I eat up much more altitude than on my previous jumps with the chair. I tell myself, WAIT for it,.......WAIT for it! Opening at the wrong time would almost certainly mean death. Lines, or part of the parachute tangled around a wheel, would never clear itself. I open fine,....the strap system works fine, all set up for landing. There are no winds,...and the landing area at Bridge day is uphill into gravel. I have quite a bit of forward speed on landing, and as soon as the front wheels touch down, they dig in and stop dead, and toss me into the air almost doing front flip,...BAM! First thought was "Good thing I have those new G-Form pads on, cuz that could've hurt!! HAHA! Rolled away with only a couple scratches on the back of my one hand.