Imagine jumping out of a plane at 6,000 feet, locking legs with two others and landing safely on the ground just seconds later.
That’s just another day in the life of a SkyHawk paratrooper and they brought their talents to Saskatoon on Friday to kick-off the final Canada Remembers Air Show.
Leading the crew out of CFB Trenton in Ontario, Captain Jake Porter said it wasn’t too long ago where he couldn’t handle heights.
“I was afraid of heights when I got out of the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC), I got posted to my first unit and they sent me on my basic parachute course with the army in 2009 and I caught the bug and loved it ever since,” Porter said, shortly after landing from a jump where he flew a 450 sq. ft. Canadian Flag.
“It’s something I wanted to do for myself to prove that I could and if there’s one thing the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) instills in us, it’s to push yourself.”
Now with 386 jumps behind him, Porter said each jump is as thrilling as his first.
The decision to jump out of airplanes for a living came a little easier for Sgt. Daren Cross. Originally from Surrey, B.C., Cross said his thirst for thrill knew no bounds.
“I was big into the army and videogames and just always jumping on stuff, cliff-diving, rope-swings, everything I was always looking for an adventure,” Cross said, adding at the tender age of seven, that’s when he told his parents he wanted to be a paratrooper.
“My parents didn’t believe me, when I seven or eight, but then I brought the recruitment form home when I was 17 they took me a little more seriously.”
Cross and two other closed out the paratrooper demonstration, with what can only be described as a spinning circle heading straight for the ground.
“When we start we’re stacked on top of each other – then we do a series of transitions where the top two link their legs with each other … the legs are linked and they actually climb down to the bottom climb down my lines and we then form a half-moon,” Cross explained, adding they only have a few seconds to perform the stunt then they have to disengage from each other.
“The ground comes up pretty quick when you’re going straight down and you’re at 200 feet and it’s time to start setting up for landing but it’s a lot of fun,” he said.
“It’s always a great rush we call it an air-bath up in the sky and it’s great when the weather is like this.”
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