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Page 74
AUSTIN EXECUTIVE AIRPORT
A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
R
on
W. H
enRiksen
Chapter 3
the insurance-revoking avocation of canopy
formations, or you didn't; and you did all of
it without a lot of dialogue. Rarely, if ever, did
Henry hear another seasoned skydiver de-
fend himself for his kooky sport. You either
got it or you didn't, and if you didn't then you
took up something else that was less thrilling
and dangerous.
Part of the appeal was facing your own fear.
For Henry that fear had little to do with fall-
ing from five thousand feet with nothing be-
low but air pushing cheeks against bone and,
somewhere, far in the distance, a smudge of
Texas dirt as welcoming as a combat drop
zone. The real experience started while you
stood around waiting for the airplane to re-
turn from dropping jumpers and land and
taxi and come to a stop so you could crawl in
and take your seat. The fear increased during
climb out when you were well committed, re-
signed and self-terrorized, when your life was
fast-forwarded in front of you.
The actual jump was a piece of cake.
Fear or no fear, jumping out of airplanes
was cool. Hooking up with other jumpers on
the way down before their chutes had opened
(what skydiving aficionados refer to as free-
fall relative work) was cooler. But the coolest,
1983. Unknown female on her first jump from 3,000 feet. Austin Parachute Center owner Clark Thurmond
installed a camera outside of the airplane that the pilot would trigger. Photo courtesy of Clark Thurmond.