Palatka Helicopter and Skydiving

Chaz Pokracki / Staff Reporter

If your friends jumped out of a plane, would you? Well, that’s exactly what the Embry-Riddle’s Skydiving club did on March 4th. This time, however, the skydiving club had something special. The Palatka Airport, where they do many of their jumps, had a Bell UH-1 Iroquois (Huey) come in for a special occasion. Arriving shortly before the Huey, there was a Shorts Skyvan 3M-100 that some jumped out of before loading the Huey. The club was given the opportunity to jump out of this Vietnam-era helicopter, as opposed to the regular plane they usually jump from. In addition to this, there were also veterans dressed up for a parachuting demonstration. The veterans were dressed in camouflage and army fatigues as a homage to the Huey, appreciating its bygone value.

Upon arriving at Palatka Airport, there was an immensely comfortable vibe lingering around. There were tents erected next to the parking lot, and many hammocks littered the porch area. Everyone was friendly and considerate, and the number of dogs and puppies around the building itself was incredible. It truly gave off a welcoming, homely vibe. The skydiving club is such a friendly, close-knit family.

The skydiving club members jumped a couple times from the Skyvan and then a few more times from the Huey. Filling their bodies with adrenaline, they dived at around one hundred and fifty miles per hour before pulling the ripcord to their parachutes, slowing their descent back to Earth. Jumping out of a helicopter is an unforgettable experience: so pristine and majestic. Some of the divers were jumping that day so they could keep up on their hours, while some were there just for the experience, and some for both. Many do this so often that they simply spent the day practicing their techniques and landings. One of the skydiving club members said that they would do it over and over again every time they had the chance. Seeing the excitement on the skydiver’s faces was priceless. The skydiving club here at Embry-Riddle and the many guests at Palatka that day put on a great performance and welcomed guests with a friendly, fun attitude.

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