skydiving lansing

How Lansing is like Skydiving

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

…wait, what?

We know. That’s a total non-sequitur. But we’ve been skydiving near Lansing for the past fifty years, and we can tell you with authority that skydiving has more than you’d think in common with the good city of Lansing, Michigan. Here’s how:

1. Those pervasive myths have gotta be busted.

If you’re from around here, you’ve probably heard the “Biddle City” myth — the idea that a pair of con artists sold most of Lansing (which was underwater most of the time prior to the introduction of the dams that stopper up our waterways) to unsavvy investors. As it turns out, that’s not quite how it happened. Here’s a solid debunking.

At Skydive Tecumseh, we love to mythbust: especially about skydiving. There are so many misconceptions about the sport that we hardly know where to start. From the idea that skydiving feels like a rollercoaster (wrong!) to the myth that only the young and dumb should skydive (even wronger!) to the erroneous fear that you won’t be able to breathe in freefall (…?!), skydiving is full of myths. Once you’ve jumped, you’ll bust ‘em all!

2. Facing a crazy situation? Try the crazy alternative. It just might work out.

This takes a little explaining, but bear with us.

In 1847, Michigan’s capitol was Detroit, and Lansing had a population of about two dozen. However, the British influence from Canada was pressing hard on the northerly Detroit. Savvy strategists realized that they had to make a change of course, and soon.

It was 1847 when one of Michigan’s founding pioneers, James Seymour, campaigned for the little Lansing Township to become the state’s capitol. Just like every other big decision, there was a lot of back-and-forth before they made the call — in fact, the Senate voted 51 more times before reaching an agreement — but they did. And now, Lansing is, y’know, it.

As most things do, that kinda makes us think about — well — skydiving. Most people don’t start skydiving because it’s the obvious choice for what to do for a hobby. Most people start skydiving because outer and inner pressures are forcing them to make changes in their lives, and they want to reboot their lives in an empowering way. They have to, really. The choice to skydive may surprise just about everybody, but they know it’s the right one. And we’ve never heard anyone say it wasn’t the right call.

Tandem skydivers looking happy in mid free fall

3. Womens’ history is celebrated as a big deal.

New York City? Nope. Chicago? Negatory. Los Angeles? Nuh-uh. Incredibly, Lansing was the very first city in America to establish women’s history organizations.

You might be just as surprised to hear that the sport of skydiving is far from a sausagefest when it comes to our shared history — and we celebrate those brave female freefall pioneers quite avidly. From Jeanne-Genevieve Garnerin, a French balloonist who was the first woman to descend under a parachute (in 1799, from about 3,000 feet up) and continued to do so for starstruck crowds as she toured around Europe at air shows. Jeanne-Genevieve’s teenaged niece followed suit, jumping 39 times under her proud aunt’s auspices.

Kathe Paulus co-invented the collapsible parachute – specifically, one that’s meant to be folded and packed into a bag – with her husband. The husband died on a test jump, but Kathe continued to test jump and improve the equipment. She actually made a tidy sum selling them during WWI.

Then, of course, there’s Georgina “Tiny” Thompson. In 1913, she became the first woman to parachute out of a plane. Georgina’s story is amazing: She started out as child labor in a cotton mill, was married at age 12, had her first child at 13 and lost her husband promptly afterward. At 15, she saw parachuting at an airshow and was so moved by it that she immediately signed up to join that literal “flying circus.” The diminutive dynamo was an immediate hit, dressed in pink ruffles for every show, drawing big crowds wheresoever she went. Fun fact: One day, when her quick thinking saved her from a near-fatal equipment malfunction, she proved that it was possible for a pilot to safely jump from a damaged plane, changing military history forever. Tiny died peacefully aged 85.

4. It’s just smart.

Lansing is listed (by the Atlantic Cities magazine) as the “16th Brainiest City in America.” For serious! A whopping 36 percent of Ingham County residents hold at least a bachelor’s degree.

Thank goodness Skydive Tecumseh is so close to Lansing – skydiving is just the activity for such a cognitively gifted population! Making a jump inspires creativity, motivates, clears old patterns and opens you up to a hobby that just might introduce you to the community you’ve been waiting years to meet.


Skydive Tecumseh, the closest skydiving dropzone to Lansing, has been introducing new jumpers to the thrill of freefall for more than half a century. National- and world-level skydiving teams train in the skies over Lansing, alongside hobbyists, skydiving event participants and more first-time tandem skydivers than you can shake a stick at. We’d love to count you in. Make your reservation today!

I drove more than 2 hours to jump with Tecumseh because I wanted a reputable company and I was not disappointed. They were very safety minded and professional. The staff was very friendly and made the whole experience fun! If you're only doing it once, pay the extra and get the video package. Very well done, you won't be disappointed.

Ken Reeves