Rural Missouri - June 2013 - (Page 40)

N E I G H B O R S To The Skies Preston Hartung’s love for skydiving has taken flight as a new business In 2011, Preston Hartung opened Skydive Mid-America for those looking to try the extreme sport of skydiving. To date, he has executed more than 800 jumps. T by Kyle Spradley kspradley@ruralmissouri.coop divers and specializes in training jumpers through Preston’s introduction to skydiving began in its weeklong courses. 2000 thanks to his father, Larry, and older broth“They teach you all the ins and outs,” says er, Eric. At the time, they were heavily involved Preston. “Through several jumps, I learned what with archery and often visited Las Vegas for touraltitude to pull your chute, how to maintain naments. One year, the boys decided to stability and properly check your gear and try out a wind tunnel, which mimics Macon how to maneuver yourself while in the air. the feel of a freefall indoors. • “It was pretty expensive, so my dad Skydiving is actually really simple. You asked, ‘Why not do the real thing?’” the basically just jump.” Five years later, Preston complet28-year-old recalls. “I unfortunately was too ed more than 500 jumps. Reaching young and couldn’t go, but as soon as I was this milestone is a requirement old enough, I knew I wanted to try it out.” by the United States Parachute His father and brother were instantly Association — the governing hooked on the sport and during the next several years, Preston tagged along for numerbody of the skydive industry — before an instructor can offer tandem jumps. ous jumps — whether it was at the landing zone Since opening his business, he has taken more or up in the airplane along for the ride. than 150 jumps with people of all ages. “I started at 16 by doing static lines,” says Pres“Stepping out on the edge of the plane was ton. “This is the beginning stage for most jumpthe scariest part, but once you began the freefall, ers. You jump out of the plane, but you don’t get it was so exhilarating,” says Allene Gremaud of the feel of freefall because a 15-foot-long cord that Kirksville, who went on a jump with Preston last is attached to the plane pulls the chute for you.” summer. “I was a little nervous at first, but after Preston knew he was ready for the next level, we listened to a tutorial from Preston and got so he decided to become a certified skydiver in instruction from him, I knew we were safe. He put 2006 at Skydive Chicago. The private airport in me at ease. And if you ever thought about trying Ottawa, Ill., is one of the premier facilities for skyit, I would go for it!” Preston looks to eventually turn his skydive business into a full-time job, but as of now, it keeps his summer weekends booked. “When you skydive, it is just so peaceful up there, and I still get an adrenaline rush every time I jump,” says Preston. “I just love to see the excitement of the people. It’s a mind overload of emotions going from scared at first, which is natural, to exhilaration. I am glad I can share that with them. But I still find it funny to think that people trust me to throw them out of an airplane.” he door opens and a blast of air rushes in and almost knocks you off your feet. Peering out the cockpit of a Cessna 182, a patchwork landscape of farms and forest that resembles an organic quilt is the only thing between you and 10,000 feet of airspace. “Up here it’s amazing how square everything looks,” Preston Hartung yells through the howling wind. “It’s time to jump!” He climbs with you out onto the plane’s landing gear for mere seconds — for some it may feel like an eternity. With your heart racing, the moment comes. Attached in tandem, you flip off the plane and gravity takes over. As freefall begins, the journey back to terra firma is one of the most intense adrenaline rushes one can experience. Nearly a minute passes, then the parachute deploys, providing a gentle, safe float back to the ground. Preston is a skydive instructor and for nearly a decade, he has been taking to the skies and leaping out of perfectly good airplanes. To date, he successfully has performed more than 800 jumps without any problems and now is turning his hobby into a business by providing skydive trips for those interested in experiencing the extreme sport. “In 2011, I opened Skydive MidAmerica because there isn’t anyone else close that does this, so I figured I’d bring something unique to the area,” says Preston, who lives in Macon. “I think everyone should try it once. There truly is nothing else like it, but it is a very simple sport that almost anyone can do.” Most days, Preston works for his dad’s construction business, but whenever he can, he is at the Macon airport, preparing for his next jump. “Almost every weekend during the photo courtesy of Jeff McHenry summer, I am out taking a group on a jump,”says Preston, whose jumps Allene Gremaud of Kirksville joined Preston for a skydive in the summer of 2012. In start out at a little more than $200. nearly two years, the 28-year-old has taken more than 150 people on jumps. 40 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP Those interested in skydiving with Preston may contact Skydive Mid-America at 660-385-5867. Visit www.facebook. com/skydive.m.america for more skydive pictures and updates. http://www.facebook.com/skydive.m.america http://www.facebook.com/skydive.m.america http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - June 2013

Rural Missouri - June 2013
Table of Contents
Comments
Columns
Back to the land
Full steam ahead
Outdoors
Out of the Way Eats
Where shall I thee wed?
Missouri Snapshots contest
Hearth and Home
Missouri’s forgotten war
Plant during summer’s sizzle
Around Missouri
Marketplace
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - June 2013

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