South Whidbey Record


Frequent flyer from Langley makes fourth jump

South Whidbey Record General assignment
September 7, 2013 · Updated 3:08 PM

Trudy Martin prepares to fall from a plane at 13,000 feet with skydiving instructor Kelly Craig on Aug. 22. / Photo courtesy of Trudy Martin

It lasted less than one minute, but 87-year-old Trudy Martin felt the wind rush across her face and the adrenaline pump through her veins as she raced toward the ground at about 180 miles per hour.

Martin, a Langley resident and adventurer, landed from her fourth tandem skydive jump at Harvey Field in Snohomish last month.

She has always liked the air and once hoped to be a pilot. To date, she’s been in an air balloon, a paraglider and ridden in planes across the mountains in Alaska and New Zealand.

“I like heights,” Martin said. “It makes you feel like you’re a bird. I have no fear of it.”

Martin thought this time was more addictive than her previous jumps. After a 15-minute flight to the top with scenes from Mt. Rainier to the Seattle skyline, Martin took the plunge. She jumped from 13,000 feet above the Earth, traveling at 180 miles per hour for about 60 seconds. When the parachute opened, the speed was reduced to about 29 miles per hour for the five-minute ride to the ground under a full canopy. She said most people jump from around 10,000 feet, but being a frequent flyer, Martin was upgraded to 13,000 feet, which provides for a longer freestyle time.

This was an easier jump, she said, because she wasn’t overwhelmed with the experience as she was on previous jumps. This time, she could enjoy parts she missed before, such as the scenery.

Martin has had the same tandem partner for past three times, instructor Kelly Craig.

Landing is not painful, she just gets up and walks away after a jump. Most people still think that landing is the hardest part, but it’s much easier now, she said.

At the field, the view is spectacular looking up as well with jumpers diving one right after the other, she said. Children especially love to watch it, she said.

The danger of the jump doesn’t even cross Martin’s mind. The danger is no different than stepping into an automobile, she said.

Martin did her first skydive at 70 years old. Since then, she tries to go every five years for her birthday — coincidentally the same years as former president George H.W. Bush skydives, with the exception of this year due to health reasons, she said.

As for jumping for a fifth time, Martin said she always says no after a jump, but you never know.

Martin has traveled a lot in her life and would still like to try hang-gliding and zip-lining.

“It’s just a quirk that I happen to like,” she said. ‘What can you do at 87 that’s exciting? Walk.”


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