Jumping out of a plane isn’t something that most people can say they do multiple times a week.
For Sarah Barnard and John Fisher, staff and administrative employees at CMU, this is a normal occurrence. Barnard and Fisher are both experienced skydivers, and have an unparallelled love for the sport.
“My favorite part is the rush of being in the air; it’s basically like you’re flying in the sky,” Barnard said.
Barnard, a Study Abroad adviser and Outreach Coordinator, has been working for the university for two years and grew up watching her grandfather skydive. In 2005, she decided to do her first tandem jump, and now she goes as often as she is able to.
“My first jump is something that I will never forget,” Barnard said. “Looking out of the plane as I was about to jump was an unforgettable experience – almost unreal.”
Fisher, Associate Vice President for Residences and Auxiliary Services, started skydiving in 1971 while on active duty in the Army.
After leaving the Army in 1974, he did not jump again until 2003, when he met some local skydivers who convinced him to get back into the sport. Since then, he has averaged more than 100 jumps per year and tries to jump three to five times per week.
“Most of my jumps are made at Central Michigan Skydivers, but I’ve also jumped at other locations around the state,” Fisher said. “As an experienced, licensed skydiver with more than 1,100 jumps, I have my own equipment, so it is easy to travel around to various drop zones.”
Aside from enjoying the rush of free falling, Barnard and Fisher both agree those who share a passion for the sport help create a community unlike any other.
“The skydiving community is very diverse, and we all share a common bond similar to many other groups who have something in common,” Fisher said. “Contrary to some stereotypes, we are not all crazy!”
Jumping out of an airplane from miles above the ground can be a scary thought for some, but Barnard and Fisher both have advice for first-timers.
“You really just have to do it,” Barnard said. “It’s easy to get psyched out from fear, but if you push yourself just a little bit, it’s a really awesome and unforgettable experience.”
Fisher recommends a first jump at Central Michigan Skydivers.
“You will get to experience the exhilarating effects of free fall and a beautiful parachute ride, and then you can get the video to show all your friends,” he said.