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A Day in the Life of a Skydiver 19 Sep 2016

I catch up with local Skydiver Henry Morgan & talk about jumping out of planes for a living…

henry and chris night speed flying pic

Where do you work: “Skydive Franz.  Our office is on the main street Franz Josef, and the Drop zone is 7 kms out of town at the airport.”

How long have you been working there & how did you get the role of Drop zone Safety Officer?:  “I’ve been working for Skydive Franz since the company first opened six years ago.  I first started by packing shoots for them, then I went to skydive school in Methven.  I then came back & got the job of cameraman, then as a tandem instructor in 2012.  To date I’ve done 3300 jumps.”

night flying compressed

What goes on at the drop zone?: “When it’s busy (in the summer season) we have groups of 9-12 people arrive at set times during the day, every 2.5-3 hrs.  They meet their instructors, get geared up and briefed…and jump out a plane!  We take all ages, from 9 yrs – 90 yrs.  There is no age restriction in NZ but they do need to be able to fit the safety gear accordingly.  In summer when the weather is good, we could each do up to 16 jumps in a day.”

What do you enjoy most about your job?:  “I enjoy the people I meet from all over the world the most, including the staff – skydivers are quite interesting people.  The kids that jump are the best – they have no fear, so are not tense and nervous like most people.  The people that are the most scared, though, are the most happiest when they land and that’s pretty cool.  The oldest person we have jumped was in their mid 80’s.”

What do you do for adventure, when your job is what others do for adventure & fun?:  “I’m into Speed flying – skiing with a parachute above your head.  It’s a growing sport in NZ and we have a group of skydivers here into it.  Also I’m working towards entering a Canopy Piloting competition overseas soon.  They don’t have a NZ competition, even though NZ have some of the world’s best Canopy Pilots.”

henry speedflying

Tell us a bit about Canopy Piloting (also known as ‘swooping’):   “It’s a big competition where you engage your parachute over a shallow, artificial pond of water.  The goal is to negotiate courses that challenge different performance skills, like speed, accuracy and distance.  It’s a bit more spectator-friendly compared to skydiving.”

Do you still get an adrenaline rush ten times or more a day? That must be exhausting!:  “No, not as much as that first few times I did it.  It’s still incredibly fun, but I can focus and think properly as well.  The amount of training and repetition of jumps you have to do helps with getting rid of the fear and nerves.”

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start out in a skydive career?:  “Do it!  But take your time, don’t rush – starting out packing shoots like I did was an important step for when I eventually became a skydiver.”

Skydive Franz are renowned for having awesome music playing in the plane.  What’s your favourite?:  “Everything that the others play is choice,  but 90’s hip-hop is my favourite.”

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