Archive for Thursday, October 5, 2006

Young parachutes at age 85

October 5, 2006

At the age of 85, Pat Young has lived an extraordinary life, but before last weekend, she still had one more thing she wanted to do.

The Baldwin City resident went sky diving near Wamego Saturday and loved it.

"It was great," Young said. "When you first fall out of the plane, you feel the pressure. It's noisy and you can't talk to the guy you are with. You free fall and he had signals to follow. It was neat."

After free falling for several minutes, Young's partner who she was strapped to and is a professional skydiver, pulled the parachute open. Young really enjoyed the ride down in the parachute.

"When he pulled the chute, there was a jolt, but not much of one," Young said. "Everything was just as quiet as can be and we were just floating up there. It felt like we were sitting up there on something solid. I could talk to him and he asked me if I wanted to have some fun. I said 'sure.' We went around in a circle once."

The landing was different than Young thought, but wasn't too rough.

"It was pretty good," Young said. "We had to land on our seat, not our feet. He had told me to put our legs straight out in front us. I have sat down harder sometimes. It wasn't that much of a jolt when we hit."

On Saturday, Young jumped with the Kansas State University Parachute Club. They went up to 10,000 feet before leaping out of the airplane.

Young was not alone on the jump as 18 members of her family watched from the ground below.

"They said that was the most people they have ever had to watch," Young said. "There we six great-grandchildren there. One of my sons, who would've really liked to be there, is living in Lincoln (Neb.) now and he had tickets for the ball game, so he wasn't there. My sister was here from California, but not for that. I wasn't going to tell my sisters about it, until it was over. She just happened to be coming right at that time."

Last December, Young was given the sky diving trip as a Christmas gift from her children.

"It was from my kids and their families," Young said. "The grandchildren weren't in on the paying for it. I had no idea what it cost them, but they made the arrangements and paid for it."

In Aug. 1943, Young enlisted in the Women's Airforce Service Pilots. She made it through the first two levels, but didn't graduate from the program.

"I had the required number of hours to be in the program, but I just wasn't that good of a pilot," Young said.

Her love of flying began about a year before she went into the WASP program. Years later, she had thought about sky diving, but wasn't sold on the idea.

"I thought it might be a neat experience, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to do it," Young said. "Then my kids said they would pay for it and I had some friends who had done it. It was great. I wasn't sorry I did it."

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