While we’ve seriously missed jumping out of planes these last few months, what we’ve missed even more is hanging out with our DZ family! As we ready to open the dropzone for the 2020 season, we’re looking forward to connecting with our DZ community again. In the meantime, we thought it would be fun to spotlight some of Skydive Tecumseh’s community members and get to know them a little bit better.
First up, Mr. Ryan Hanold!
1. How did you hear about Skydive Tecumseh?
I did my first 2 static line jumps at Skydive Tecumseh back in 1998. To be honest, I don’t remember how we came across Skydive Tecumseh I just remember that it was over some potent beverages that myself and two of my friends decided to jump. It was, at first, my idea and I asked my good friend (lets call him AJ) to join me. He immediately said no and that I was crazy. Unfazed, I asked another friend of mine Sarah (I only knew girls named Sarah in college). Sarah, being the adventurous girl she was, instantly agreed and started to plan. AJ, learning of Sarah’s newfound interest in skydiving and having interest in Sarah himself, suddenly found himself wanting to jump out of a plane. On our second jump AJ did not fully clear the step and hit his elbow on the step of the 182, which in turn caused him to punch himself in the face knocking him out briefly. He did however maintain a good arch and came to just after his main deployed, passing the jump. AJ suddenly lost the urge to jump anymore and I lost my ride to the DZ.
I can’t tell this story without mentioning that it was about a month later that the world lost Sarah to a car accident. I did not know Sarah for long but she lived a free yet tragically short life. She had a profound impact on me.
2. How many skydives do you have? What is your most memorable one?
I have 4,484 jumps. I deeply enjoy all of my jumps but one jump stands out more vividly over the years than the others. It was back when Tecumseh had a few 182’s and it was a less than ideal weather day. There was definitely a layer of clouds and from the ground it looked low, the nearby weather station however was reporting the layer to be much higher and at a jumpable altitude. The owner at the time asked a couple of us if we would do a ceiling check, this was when a fun jumper load would go up in a 182 to ensure the clouds were in fact high enough to take up Tandem passengers. The fun jumpers looked out the window at the darkened sky and passed… until I uttered the wrong words… “too bad”, I said naively “this would have been my 600th”. One of the most experienced jumpers (lets call him Dale) shot up and said “we’ll go!”. We were not 10 feet in the air before the rain started to hit the windshield of the 182. Dale just looked at me and said “That’s not a ceiling”. As we climbed through an unfortunately unobstructed 9,500 feet of rainy yet otherwise clear skies I regretted deciding to forgo my jumpsuit for a t-shirt and shorts. On exit the rain was annoying, in freefall it felt as if my skin was being power washed off my body. I remember looking at Dale’s face, somehow expressing a pleased sense with himself, yet still in extreme agony. Upon landing, I took inventory of the damage, welts all over my exposed limbs, the skin around my lips raw and bleeding, sore all over. It was later that Dale admitted that his original plan was to dump me out at full altitude, but upon exit decided that would have been the easy way out.
3. Who/what inspires you?
My father inspires me more than any other. He is confident in who he is and quick to admit his faults. I aspire to have the self confidence he does.
4. What is something about you that few people know about you?
I spent some time as an evangelical christian going door to door and talking to people about Christianity.
5. What other interests do you have outside of skydiving?
I am a Father, a Skydiver, a Husband, a Son, and a Glass Maker, in that order (lol). So outside of skydiving my sons keep me busy with their schedules and activities. I do quite enjoy my employment in the glass making industry. I work with the float glass process that involves floating glass on molten tin to ensure flatness. It is endlessly fascinating to me.
6. If you could meet anyone in the world for a coffee and a chat (alive or deceased) who would you wish to meet with?
Werner Heisenberg – I have some bones to pick.
7. What are your future goals?
I believe goals are very personal things, but I will share that I aspire to give back to the sport that has given me so much in any way I can other than being the S&TA again.
8. If you could pick one superpower, what would it be?
The ability to cut through red tape effortlessly… nothing annoys me more than bureaucracy, the word is even annoying to spell!
9. If you could change anything in the world, what would it be?
I would eliminate illnesses or diseases that afflict children. In my opinion, there is nothing more heart breaking or that will make you feel more helpless than severely ill kids.
10. What makes you laugh the most?
Self-deprecating humor is definitely my go to. When we lower our guard, accept that we make mistakes and can share the humor in those moments, we start to make some real connections. People only laugh and truly find the humor when they can see themselves making the same mistakes.
Wonderful staff -- my tandem instructor, James, was funny, clear, and made sure that I was comfortable during the entire experience (which involved two flights and a bit of "will-we-or-won't-we" due to clouds).
The dive itself is unreal -- exhilarating and meditative, terrifying and relaxing, absolutely breathtaking. I absolutely recommend you try it here first. Skydive Tecumseh has a great reputation, and there's a reason for that. I hope to go again.