Taking Flight

Photographs by Bob Dunham, Tyfani Detki and Luis Lopez-Mendez, freefall videographers.

Recently, five John Knox Village residents, Debra Sheffield, Linda Sahm, Geri Hasley, Lola Knaus, and Edith Buttner along with an entourage of village cheering them on, took the plunge when they completed tandem skydiving jumps at the sky dive capital of the world, Sky Dive DeLand.

“It was amazing! The staff and guides were all so friendly and encouraging. I was not nervous at all — until the second before falling from the plane! That feeling was quickly replaced by a sense of awe and freedom,” stated Debra Sheffield. According to Debra, “The wind and noise were tremendous during free fall — it would be comparable to sticking your head out a car window traveling on the highway. Once the parachute opened, everything calmed in peaceful quiet. It was overwhelming to see Earth from that vantage point as one is just hanging in thin air.” She further exclaimed, “I would love to do it again and take time to really appreciate the experience and scenery more fully. My sisters may visit soon, and I hope to talk them into joining me on another

Sky Dive DeLand offers training programs for all levels of experience. On the day resident Edith Buttner dove, Army Special Forces from Qatar were also in the drop zone practicing formations and landing as a team.

Although Sky Dive DeLand has been training jumpers and fulfilling bucket lists since 1982, its home, DeLand Municipal Airport has been providing continuous skydiving operations since 1959 including playing host to numerous National and World Champions and record holders.

Besides being known as the sky dive capital of the world, DeLand, Florida is also well-known for the development and manufacturing of parachute equipment and training technology for both military and civilian applications. The industry employs close to 600 people locally.