While conventional advice tells you not to jump out of a plane when all of your friends are, the UConn Skydiving Team does it anyways.
“It’s exhilarating and calming at the same time,” said Will Savage, the team’s vice president who has been part of the team for two years. “It’s super fun and your heart rate is elevated, but at the same time, it's very peaceful because nothing else is on your mind except that skydive and you really get to focus on the dive you are doing and the beautiful scenery.”
The club’s mission is to promote skydiving, make it more accessible to students, prepare and participate in competitions and have fun. Andrew Yin, the president of the team, says the team skydives every weekend with Connecticut Parachutists in Ellington, Connecticut.
“We primarily jump out of planes every weekend. We also fly in the wind tunnel in New Hampshire almost every Friday,” Yin said.
Ethan Beattie, the team’s secretary, has been a part of the team for almost three years.
“When you start off, it’s that adrenaline rush that everyone is looking for and you still get it when you go, but we kind of see it as more relaxing thing we do on the weekends,” Beattie said.
The club is also doing a couple of jumps onto UConn during Spring Weekend with some people landing on the Great Lawn at around noon and the more experienced members jumping near the food truck festival at around 6 p.m., Yin said.
Another member, Megan Ryan, who has been a part of the club for over two years, said that each dive is a unique experience.
“It’s just something fun to do and you always get to work on new things while you are in the sky so it’s not the same thing every time,” Ryan said. “As you progress and try new things, you can have more fun with it.”
Beattie said they participate in national competitions against military and civilian teams. They also compete in wind tunnel competitions. The team won a gold medal at the USPA National Collegiate Competition in 2016.
Anyone can be a member. Yin recommends students start with a tandem dive which they host every semester. The club is holding a tandem dive this weekend and will discount prices for UConn students. Students will be attached to a professional diver during the jump.
“If you enjoy your skydive and want to get your license, you can start the AFF, the accelerated free fall process, the student process to getting a license,” Yin said.
Beattie said that the club holds meetings every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in Student Union room 106A, across from the game room. They hold presentations and can answer any other questions students might have.
Joshua Oculam is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.