Steindorf claims falling from the sky is nothing to fear

By Ken Luchterhand

John Steindorf is still reflecting on his leap from the sky in August and he’s eager to get into the air again.
Last summer he performed his first skydiving experience, a memorable experience that is still fresh in his memory.
He and his wife, Beth, made a commitment to the adventure, so they gathered information, then traveled to the Skydive Wissota Indianhead Sport Parachute Club near Chippewa Falls.
John is a Ho-Chunk member and he is a presidential aide with the Ho-Chunk Nation Office of the President.
The required training for their first jump was only a couple of hours since it was the tandem jump.  The tandem jump is when an instructor is attached to the jumper and he or she can provide assistance during the fall and deployment of parachute and landing.
When the plane took them up to 10,000 feet, John was anxious for the experience.
“I had no fear. I wasn’t nervous or scared at all,” he said.
The two tumbled out of the plane a few revolutions before straightening out into a freefall. John wore an altimeter on his wrist and the instructor told him to pull the chute at an altitude of 5,000 feet. If he didn’t at that point, the instructor would wave his hand in front of John’s face.
“A woman jumped out of the plane as the same time as us and she was recording the entire fall, so I got distracted and didn’t pull the chute until we were at 4,500 feet,” John said. The woman recording the experience on camera has a record as having the most free fall time in the United States.
As the tandem jumpers floated to the ground, John was allowed to steer the parachute by means of handles affixed to the side cords. At the landing, John needed to lift his feet up high because otherwise the weight of his instructor on his back would cause injury to his legs.
Meanwhile, Beth was awaiting her time, but another airplane was in the vicinity, so the jump plane climbed to 11,500 feet for her jump.
John and Beth both are anxious for their next experience, which will be a static line jump, which they hope to complete this spring. With the static line jump, they fall unassisted, but a tether line is attached to the jump plane which pulls the line to deploy the parachute. But in order to do so, the couple must attend an all-day class of instruction.
“As soon as they open in the spring, we will be there,” he said.
Rules exclude anyone under 18 and people who weigh more than 230 pounds from skydiving with the organization.
They are no strangers to adrenaline, having completed many other exhilarating adventures, including parasailing, being lofted into the air by parachute behind a boat. There is no question in John’s mind that he wants to continue skydiving.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I want to get certified and be able to skydive on my own,” he said.