Life begins at Halcyon

Daredevil Don is hooked on the freefall

22 May 2019 | by Halcyon Parks

The sky’s the limit for the fearless Don Pearsall who can’t wait to achieve his skydiving hat trick.
Don, who lives at Halcyon Parks with wife Mary, plunged into 2019 by taking his second tandem skydive from about 3km above Caloundra in January.

The New Year’s leap into thin air came just months after Don celebrated his 95th birthday with his very first skydiving adventure.

“I had wanted to do one of these trips for quite a while,” he said.

“I had to have a go before I got any older.

“I had this guy strapped to my back and we had a freefall of about 1,200 or 1,5000 feet before he pulled the parachute open and we floated down from there on.”

While many would baulk at the thought of jumping out of a plane, Don embraced the experience, choosing to jump from the maximum height of 15,000 feet so he could freefall part of the way.
“I wasn’t really scared, I had confidence,” he said.

“The guy who was on my back does this six or eight times a day and he’d been doing that for six years.

“The scariest moment is when you jump out the first time.

“There’s a bit of a jerk upwards but only for a couple of seconds, then you’re falling and it’s just magic.”

For Don the initial freefall was an exhilarating start to an unforgettable adventure.
“You don’t know what to expect, but strangely it’s terrific, really tremendous and you see so much,” he said.

“We were freefalling about 180km/hour, which is pretty fast.

“Then when they open the parachute it slows down and you just float and the sights are absolutely amazing; you’re looking in all different directions up and down the coast, inland and out to sea.
“Everything is so clear and looks so neat and tidy from the air; it seems to be just one big pattern and looks really tremendous.

“It took about 10 minutes to go from 15,000 feet to the ground, and it was so interesting.”
Don, who walks up to 4km each day and works out twice a week, said he had no problems getting a clearance from his doctor for his maiden jump.

“He was a bit surprised that I was doing it but he wished me well for the flight and hoped that I enjoyed it,” he said.

Don hopes to make his third tandem jump for his 96th birthday in August.

“People talk to you as though you’re crazy to do these things,” he said.

“And it is quite a shock at first but after I found it so normal, so simple and so easy that I had to do it again.

“I’m definitely going again; just to be sure I know everything about it.”

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