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The Paper


Leapin' Lueders!
From the Isthmus archives, June 1, 1990

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Intrepid Isthmus news editor Bill Lueders jumps from a plane at the invitation of Seven Hills Skydivers, surviving to recount the experience in a cover feature. He boards the single-engine Cessna after five hours of classroom training and two more hours of outdoor exercises, telling himself "I can do this" again and again. The door swings open at 3,500 feet, and Lueders gets into position, "hanging in a 100-mph wind from the wing of an airplane." The time it took for the chute to open, supposedly three to five seconds, seemed like only an instant - "an instant long enough for me to forget to count, forget my name, forget everything except my own boundless terror." When the chute finally opened, he pulled down on two toggles to break speed and "stopped dead in the air. Never in my life have I heard such silence." After landing with an adrenaline high that lasted for hours, he returned the next weekend for another jump.

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