|Blue Skies Forever, Jan!|
by @nne - firstname.lastname@example.org
|For all those who lost a loved one
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I'm not there, I do not sleep.
I am the essence of a clear blue sky.
I am the yearning to climb very high.
I am the breeze you feel as you spot.
I am the rapture of flying your slot.
I am the rustle of a canopy in flight.
I am the flicker of camp fire light.
When you pass through the door into open air,
I know you're smiling, I am the wind in your hair.
So do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
Photo © 2001Chris "Grrr"
Camera flyer Jan Davis, a.k.a. Jan "Devil", died at the Parachute Center in Lodi, California, on March 31. She was 49 years old. She was an experienced jumper with more than 3000 jumps. Jan was filming the last tandem out of an Otter, and the tandem master saw her with a spinning malfunction and subsequent cutaway. When she cut away, her reserve bridle caught on her front-mounted still camera. The ring sight tangled with some of the lines, and the locking stows of the freebag did not release. She apparently worked on the problem all the way down. She had pulled all the handles, and had managed to remove the helmet before impact.
Authorities said it will take more time to determine what happened in the final moments of Jan Davis' life, because the video camera she was carrying broke on impact. The Federal Aviation Administration began attempting to repair a videotape that was inside the shattered camera.
After a fatality March 24 at Carolina Sky Sports involving a camera flyer whose main suspension lines were wrapped around the eye piece of his camera helmet causing an entanglement with the reserve chute, Jan wrote on the rec.skydiving newsgroup:
"Yesterday, after thousands of camera jumps, I had the new and unsettling experience of feeling my left riser hang up on the back portion of my top mount video camera. I don't know how or why as it was only momentary, but I felt it pulling up at the back of my helmet, pinning my head down so I couldn't look up to see what was happening. Just as I started think about reaching to unclip the helmet, the riser popped loose and let go. No biggy, nothing serious..... but it made me wonder if I could get out of that helmet fast enough if I needed to......"
Unfortunately, Jan was not able to ... and we lost an outstanding woman and skydiver who was loved by many in the skydiving community. She suffered from congenital bilateral hip dysphasia caused by a birth defect and had two artificial hip joints. Despite that, she picked up skydiving in 1995 and since, made 3000+ skydives. Jan will be missed by her friends, her fellow skydivers on the newsgroup and those who met her during the many boogies she attended over the years.
Jan maintained a website with hilarious pictures of the "Altered Egos" of her skydiving friends from the newsgroup. She wanted us to have a good laugh, so, visit the site at www.birdwalk.com/DevilsWorkshop, and remember Jan with a smile on your face.
Jan's memorial service will be held on April 28 at her house at 841 Calais Circle in Hollister, California. The Memorial starts at noon. An ash dive will be made at the KDFC Boogie at the Parachute Center in Lodi, May 26-28.
Read Rita's memories of Jan at "Your Stories" in this issue of skyXtreme.
See also www.Makeithappen.com/wis/bios/ for Jan Davis' biography and read how Jan's friends remember her.
Blue skies forever, Jan!