Tag Archives: Skydiving

Close-Up-Tandem-Dive

After Hours: The Highflier, Eric Forshee

Eric Forshee runs NGKF’s national business development, client relationship management and marketing for property services. He also oversees property management operations in Arizona, Texas and Colorado. In his first five years with Grubb & Ellis, Forshee helped win more than 50MSF of new property assignments. A team player at the office as well as from 30,000 feet above ground, Forshee participated on a competitive skydiving team for about a decade.

Describe your first sky dive:
I took my first jump in Delmarva, Md., in 1991. I was working in Washington, D.C., and realized that I was terrified to go anywhere near the edge of the roof. A friend was going skydiving for the third time and invited me to participate. Friday night before I went, I realized I was terrified. The drive was two hours, and I was nauseated the way there and felt sick all the way up to altitude. The jump master was about four inches shorter and 50 pounds lighter than me, and he told me not to put my feet down until we landed. At the door, he asked if I was ready and all I could do was nod yes. We went out the door and tumbled three times and then stabilized. Once we were stable, I was calm and excited and loved the feeling of flying free. Upon landing, I stood up and realized he was hanging on my back, so I dropped to my knees to let him down. It was exhilarating and I decided right there to do two static line jumps that day.

How many dives have you completed?
It took me 10 years to get my first 100 jumps, but when I moved to Arizona in 2001, I made a lot of friends and eventually was asked to join a team. When I am competing, I get about 250 training jumps a year. Today, I have 2,756 jumps and three cutaways.

When did you start diving competitively?
I started competing in four-way in 2002. We were pretty bad at the beginning, but we stuck with it and eventually hired a professional to train us. We won several gold, silver and bronze medals in local competitions and we competed in United States Parachute Association national competitions in 2003 through 2008, when our team stopped jumping. I competed on an eight-way team in 2011 and 2012. Since then, I have jumped with the team in training a few times and hope to get back to full-time competition in 2015.

What’s your most interesting dive story?
I had about 175 jumps, and I went to a national skydiving event in Rantoul, Ill. We had been jumping a couple days and decided to do an early morning jump the next day. We were on the first load of the day with a group of 10 jumpers. As we were breaking away from each other, one of the less experienced jumpers dove straight down and deployed his parachute beneath me, which forced me to roll away and deploy my parachute lower than normal (I usually deploy around 3,000 feet and I was at 2,000 feet when I deployed.) When my parachute came out, it was a tangled mess and I immediately cut it away and reached for my reserve. My automatic activation device beat me and we both pulled just below 1,000 feet. I was shaking so hard by the time my parachute opened at about 600 feet that I could barely steer and land. Everything worked as designed and I landed safely and was repacked and back in the air within about four hours.

Do you still have a dive achievement on your to-do list?
My next goal is to learn to fly wingsuits. They can extend your skydive free-fall time almost twice as long and you can cover tremendous geography on a single skydive. It is exhilarating and probably the closest you can get to actually flying instead of falling.

Photo: runnr_az, flickr

Skydiving Arizona

Near the end of my first year at Arizona State University, myself and two other friends decided to take a leap into something we’ve never done before.

The chance to jump out of an airplane from 13,000 feet in the airPhoto: Ryan Harvey, Flickr was presented to us, and we weren’t going to turn it down. Getting the three of us on board with the plan was an easy task; we had all been craving a new thrill, and skydiving was high on our list.

In the early morning we gathered together into one car and made our way to Eloy for a visit to Skydive Arizona, a company that provided everything we would need to complete our skydiving adventure.

After about an hour-long drive from Tempe, we arrived at our destination where we wandered the site a bit and watched other skydivers coming in for their landing. Soon we learned the basics of skydiving safety and how our jump would work. Next we put on our harnesses and headed to the plane that would take us up into the sky.

A little car that looked like an elongated golf cart with no roof took us to the plane just as our nerves came into full swing. We hopped off the cart and climbed into the plane that had benches lining the Skydiving, Eloy, Photo: Ryan Harvey, Flickrwalls instead of the rowed commercial airline seating that I was used to. This was definitely the smallest plane I had ever been on.

After a fairly quick take off, we were headed up to our destination of 13,000 feet. Hip hop music played over the speakers as we nervously joked around and took pictures with each other.

Soon it was time to jump out of this plane that I had just started to get used to. I watched the first two people, who were experienced jumpers, flip out of the plane and quickly fall away into the sky. As I inched forward and approached the door, I got my first real glimpse of the wide open sky and a small world down below. In one swift motion the entire world was flipping above and below me, like nothing I had ever experienced before. It was amazing to see and feel such a huge mass of land being thrown around me like it was nothing.Skydivers, Eloy, Arizona, Photo: runnr_az, flickr

After free falling for a short time, I pulled the cord that released the parachute, and while pulling on the handles to steer the parachute into some drastic and very amusing turns, I gently floated back to ground level. I landed smoothly into the grass, quickly followed by my other two friends.

The rest of our day and night was spent in a euphoric state, reveling in what we had just experienced, and eager to do it again.