skyXtreme Your Stories
Vol. 7 - April 2000 - English Edition The Magazine from Skydive World


 Pearls on the Net


 Your Stories

Beyond Skydiving
 Treasure Chest
 Featured Sites

News & Articles
 Current News
 Boogies & Meets
 Events & Courses

 NSL News [USA]

 SSI Pro Tour

 Safety Issues

 Wanted!   NEW!

 World Weather


 Shop Zone

 Skydive World

 Greeting Cards

 Skydive Forum

 Skydive Books

 Your Gallery





Cast a vote for
Skydive Top Sites

Webdesign by
© 2000

This page is for your skydive articles and stories. Do you have something interesting to say? Do you know a funny, extraordinary or exciting story? Write it down and share it with the readers of skyXtreme.

Cross Keys Musings
by Espen - The Flying Norwegian -
Photos © 2000 MonkeyClaw

The Start

I realized on the plane from St. Louis to Philly that it was going to be a great trip. During the safety briefing by the stewardesses...oops...I mean flight attendants, this is what came out over the speaker: "Please note the different emergency exits on this plane. There are two emergency exits in the front of the plane, one on each side over the wing, two in the rear of the plane, and there is an emergency hatch all the way in the rear courtesy of Mr. D.B. Cooper." I got a weird stare from the guy next to me when I burst out laughing. It was apparent that he didn't know who D.B. Cooper was. This was a DC-9 though, not a 727, but from another recent thread it sounds like they call it the Cooper Flap on both.
She went on to say: "And for those of you who have yet to learn how to operate the seat belts, which have been in use since 1965, the staff will be more than happy to show it to you." She was clearly a veteran, and I got off to a good start even before getting to the dropzone.
Airport Security
Didn't get a second look in Des Moines when I sent my rig through the X-ray machine. Got asked if I had a belt in my bag in Philly when I was going back. After explaining that it contained parachutes for skydiving, one of the security personnel took it to the "explosives detection" machine, wiped and checked it, gave me a "Have a nice day, sir" and off I went. Maybe I don't look weird enough for them to bother with me? And I'm a freeflyer to boot. Go figure.
The Weather
It could have been a lot better, but it could have been a lot worse as well. I was stuck on the ground the first weekend, but that made it a perfect setting for Safety Day on Saturday. The sun didn't come out until Monday and stayed out through Wednesday. I was going to jump on Wednesday as well, but I decided to stay on the ground because of the winds, at least for the first load. Seeing Rick's Jedei bounce all over the place due to turbulence as he landed showed me it was a good decision. Thursday and Friday were miserable, with flurries of white stuff on Friday morning. Saturday was really nice, although a bit on the chilly side.

The Dropzone

A nice carpeted hangar, cafe, gear store, rigging service and a King Air [+ an Otter during the "on-season". Not sure about the CASA though, as the webpage is getting a bit dated on that. Get on it Tim!] makes for a good setting. A nice sized landing area, although a bit surrounded by trees [if you land out, you land OUT! There is no in between.] was also appreciated.

Freeflyers © 2000 MonkeyClaw

The People

Now *this* is where Cross Keys really showed its true face. I can't believe how great all the people I met were! It is a relatively large dropzone (with a turbine, it's big to me at least), but it has the "Small Cessna dropzone" feel. No attitudes, no "clicks", no bitching, no moaning, just lots of great vibes!
The first thing John (the dzo) told me was "Make yourself at home." There was no need to tell me. I felt it the first day I was there and it lasted throughout my stay.
FS (RW for the oldtimers) people interacting with the Freaks was of the non-hostile kind. Conversations over a beer after a long day of jumping were of the not-so-hot-headed type, and everyone always smiled. I was warned that the East Coasters were rude on our way to the dz, but Tim forgot to tell me that this didn't apply to the dropzone.
Being on a dropzone like this makes you forget about getting in so-and-so many jumps in a day. You just suck in the atmosphere and enjoy it. Two or seven jumps? Didn't matter. It was still a great time. I could go on for a while longer about this, but you get the picture.
The Jumps/Coaching
This is what I came here for and I wasn't let down here either. To all "beginner" freeflyers (don't know about FS, but I would wager a guess that it applies there as well); Get some coaching or at least some video by someone who knows what they are doing. I've been freeflying for two years now, but most of that has been either solos or with relatively inexperienced freeflyers like myself.
Man, did getting some coached jumps make a difference! Being told what you do wrong just isn't the same as seeing it on video with your own eyes. You can tell someone a hundred times that they have "lazy feet" (my problem when sitting), but showing it to them on the screen makes it really sink in.

Exit © 2000 MonkeyClaw

I hadn't done a lot of sit-fly jumps before I got there, which clearly showed on the first coached jumps (Coaching starts with sit-fly, and there's a good reason for it). After 5 coached jumps, my sit-position wasn't exactly graceful, but I could hold it and I got a few wicked transitions in. That was a lot of fun!

My first sit-sit transition (don't worry, I bought beer as soon as I got there!) wasn't graceful (lazy feet again), but I nailed it and didn't cork.

Had I not done the coached jumps, chances are I would have done it and probably corked during a jump with someone else around. That's a recipe for disaster if there ever was one.
So again, if you're starting out. Have some fun by yourself, but get some coached jumps which you can actually *use* for some serious learning before you start out with too many people. It is well worth it. Monkeyclaw offers coaching at a very reasonable price, so check them out at! [I got a free Monekyclaw T-shirt and video, so that makes them my sponsors I guess :o)]
Now these are some awesome guys! Not only are they really good freeflyers [except when they're trying to take stills for their ad ;o)], but they are really cool to hang with. No attitudes and all fun! That's what it's all about, no?
The only one I "knew" was Tim (he's the one bothering everybody on the newsgroup about the updates on their webpage btw), but that was only through email. Still, I was treated like family [not the Manson family!!] as soon as I got there. So, if you have the time and money I cannot urge you strongly enough to go to Cross Keys for their Monkeyclaw Freefly Jam on May 26-29! It is bound to be a blast!

Oh, don't worry, the leftover food from their last Jam was disposed of when I was there. I'm not sure, but I think it crawled out of the refrigerator by itself. Having some pretty sensitive noses they, of course, left me with the job of taking the trash outside. Stuey had to bend over and swallow hard a couple of times (from retching, not what you thought!), which goes to show that he doesn't have Norwegian ancestors.

Freefly Fun © 2000 MonkeyClaw

I wish I could be there for their Jam in May, but unfortunately I'll find myself at the other side of the Atlantic at that time. I'll definitely try to make it to the next after that though. And so should you!
Newsgroup Stuff
Well, I finally got to meet DJ Mike (you've all been waiting for this, haven't you?) and Winsor as well. The latter is self-explanatory. He talks like he writes ;o) The first is a bit harder to explain though. If you've paid attention to what he writes, you should have it pretty much nailed. I'm guessing he treated me nice because I was a guest at the dz he's staff at, so I'm not sure if I met the real Mike or not...just kidding. He was not exactly what I expected, but he wasn't all that different either. He says what he means, which makes some people hate him. I had a great time talking with him though. And who would have thought he looked like a presidential candidate? The other staff at Cross Keys hadn't even picked up on that until I got there!
I also got to meet some lurkers, while I was there. And what can I say? From my track record here, I'm surprised that no one came out swinging when they heard I was there. Guess they took pity on me for living in Iowa or something [Damn, people like to ask why I picked it when they jump at a great dz themselves!]. I'm terrible with names, so I don't really remember the names of the lurkers I met [Except Mark "Rigging Adventures serving all your skydiving needs, etc" Kruse and the Irish man Spotty {pronounced Spo'y} Bowles]. Anyhow, it was cool seeing some new faces, and getting to know some of the people who read my shit. It was great meeting you all, and I hope to meet you again sometime.
Summa Summarum
Well, as you can probably tell, I had a great time there. If you ever find yourself on the Right Coast you should definitely check it out! It will be worth it! I could probably have written a couple of more pages about the place and the people, but it's a lot easier for you to check it out yourselves.

Espen - The Flying Norwegian
    The Flying Norwegian

A few "Thank You"s are definitely in order: Timmy, for setting me up and making sure I had a blast! I'm sure you being an ISU grad made you feel more responsible for me than needed, but it was appreciated nonetheless. You put the idea of going to Cross Keys in my head, and it was all I hoped it would be and more. I hope I can repay you some day!
DJ Mike, for setting me up with a place to stay. And for being nice to me even though I'm an ALF. Meeting you has made me realize more about the newsgroup and the people in it than you think. It was a learning experience. I'm sorry we didn't get to jump together, but there will always be tomorrow.
Jason, for the great coaching and the good vibes. Sorry you got stuck with my sorry ass during the weathered out days, but it sure was fun having you as a guide in Philly! I couldn't have done the tranny without you. Looking forward to the next time.

Bert, for some awesome headdown jumps. Thanks for making me relax and realize that I actually have learned something during my 2 years of freeflying. You didn't make me feel as much of a fuckup as I wanted to at the time.
Stuey, for being a great hare and for some great vibes. And for making me laugh myself silly from your antics (clean out the fridge after the next Jam, will ya?). Are you still walking around 5-points looking for your ProTrack by the way?
John, for maintaining a great dropzone with some awesome vibes. For making me feel at home in a strange place, even though I was just a lonely jumper passing by. Keep up the good work!
The pilots, for getting us safely and quickly to altitude and making sure I was never part of the shitty spots! You know how to take care of a ferriner!
All the others at the dz (too many to mention, and I don't remember half your names), for the great time you showed me and proving that attitudes don't have to exist, even at turbine dropzones. You all made the experience what it was and you made me feel sorry I had to leave. Thanks for making me feel at home and I hope our paths will cross again sometime soon.
Take it easy all, you haven't seen the last of the ALF :o)
Check Cross Keys's web site at

Feel free to download a small banner to put as a link on your web site.
Advertisers and sponsors please contact skyXtreme

© 2000 skyXtreme / Skydive World