First Plane Jump

Fresh out of Marine Corps boot camp and finally home. Don’t remember how I heard about it but there was a parachute club nearby. I was nervous just driving to inquire. The club was there and in the midst of giving instructions.

The instructors name was Pat Murphy and he filled me in on what was required. Having years of experience, he was a pro. Climbing on top of a picnic table he showed how to land. Bend your knees and roll when you land. The cost was $3 dollars which amounted to about $30  in todays money.

Jumping off the table a few times I forked over my 3 dollars. Walking over to a 4 seat plane there were 3 of us to make the jump. Pat Murphy and a guy who had been in the Army Air Corps. With the doors of the plane removed we taxied down the run way.

Reaching 3000 feet the pilot cut his engine which made things pretty quiet. Murphy instructed the army guy to climb out of the plane and hold on to the strut until he gave to ok to jump. The army guy just sat there. He refused to move. Ok said Murphy, Finn you climb out. I did but was shaking. looking at the airport beneath me it looked like a better place for me to be. My older sister had come with me and like myself did not think it would happen so quickly.

Murphy gave the signal and said “jump.” What did I do? I disobeyed and held on. Several times, using language that I can not print here he told me to jump. Finally I left go of the strut. With a 12 foot check cord there was nothing I had to do to open my parachute. There was a pull cord and I was told not to pull it unless my parachute did not open. 12 feet of cord but it felt like forever for it to open so I reached to pull open my chute.

No need my chute opened. Talk about quiet. Never since have I felt such quiet. I could hear the wind in my chute was now drifting in space. Downward slowly and such a wonderful feeling. Getting near the ground I was so excited I almost forgot to bend my knees. When I landed no one had to tell me to roll as I went end over end.

Guys in the club rushed over to unhook my chute and walking back my legs were like rubber.

Twice more did I jump but then something happened. Driving out to go again there was a group to go before me. Murphy and 2 other experience jumpers. Reaching 10, 000 feet you could barely see them as they jumped. No tether chord they were free-falling. One chute did a partial open, the guy above slammed into him with both breaking bones. One was paralyzed for life. I made a decision. My plane jumping was over.

In had faith but not that much faith. I had never even packed a chute and never went back to learn.

Would I do it again today? Not sure but I am glad I did.

Jumping out of a plane took a lot of nerve. But I have done some things that took much more.

One thing was the night I got Saved. Being brought up Roman Catholic I fit perfectly the mold “Once a Catholic Always a Catholic.” With 12 years of Catholic education I was never told one time how to get Saved.

After I heard a Preacher tell the story I mulled it over and could not argue. I was exactly who the Preacher said I was. I was way short of what God had expected of me or created me for. Did it take a lot of nerve to admit that I was a failure? You better believe it. However I was told by this Preacher that Jesus was the answer. Conflicted and by myself driving to work I told the Lord that I was a miserable failure in life and from now on was going to put my 100% trust in Christ and believe every thing He ever said.

Unlike jumping out of a plane My belief has never changed. Sure I am still way short. For sure I am not some great Christian but this is what I know:

John Newton who wrote Heavens theme song, “Amazing Grace” penned these words as he advanced in age and was losing his memory,

“Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.”  

You may be a great sinner but Jesus the Christ is a greater Saviour. Do something brave and forsake yourself and put your 100% trust in Him. Never will you regret doing so. More later as I recall…….



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