Skydiving: High-flying, thrill of a lifetime
By Mara Allen
PULASKI – It’s a bird, it’s a plane! Nope, it’s a skydiver.
For the past four years, Skydive Freefall Adventure, a family-owned business on the outskirts of Green Bay, has strived to provide its customers with the best “jumping out of a perfectly-working airplane” experience possible.
With more than 30 years of experience, Leon Kunesh, owner of Freefall Adventure and certified tandem instructor, spends his days sharing his love of this unconventional sport with those looking for a thrill.
With no other skydiving operations in the immediate area, Kunesh said he quickly discovered the interest in the extreme sport was high.
Joined by fellow instructor Dillion McCrimmon, who is also a certified tandem instructor with eight years of skydiving experience, the duo has helped roughly 1,000 people take the leap of faith since 2018.
However, that number doesn’t come close to the number of jumps the instructors have completed.
Kunesh has jumped more than 2,300 times, while McCrimmon has recorded more than 3,000 jumps.
The coolest thing I’ve ever done
McCrimmon was first introduced to skydiving through a friend who jumped for his birthday – something he said he had no interest in.
“I told them, ‘No, you’re crazy. That’s dumb, and I’m not doing it,’” McCrimmon said. “I kept saying I wasn’t going to do it. I wasn’t going to throw $200 out the door of an airplane.”
After resisting the suggestion multiple times, an offer to foot the bill and running out of reasons not to, McCrimmon said he finally decided to give it a try.
“I did my first jump, and I was up all night thinking about how awesome it was,” he said. “I woke up still thinking about how it was the coolest thing I’ve ever done. I signed up to jump again the next weekend. The following weekend, I registered to get my license so I could jump by myself.”
McCrimmon said the best part of his job is being able to share what he loves with others.
“My favorite experiences with other people are when they’re really scared and nervous,” he said. “But once we land on the ground they’re like, ‘Oh my God, that was amazing. That was the coolest thing I’ve ever done.’ Being able to relive my first skydive experience with new people every day is awesome for me.”
A few interesting stories
McCrimmon said in all the time he’s been helping others take the jump, only once has someone backed out before jumping.
“He said he was excited,” McCrimmon said. “We got in the plane and we were flying up. I was talking to him and he didn’t seem too nervous. But as soon as the door opened, he froze, grabbed onto the pilot seat, and said, ‘I can’t do this.’”
Though McCrimmon said he did his best to convince the man that everything would be alright and to go through with it, the man was adamant that he was not jumping, and he didn’t.
McCrimmon said there are times when jumpers know that when it’s time to jump, they’ll chicken out and ask the instructor beforehand to make them do it anyway, even if it meant literally having to push them out of the plane.
Earlier this season, the staff at Skydive Freefall Adventure helped make a couple’s twin gender reveal special.
During his skydive, McCrimmon said the father released smoke bombs into the air – both of which were pink.
For more information, check out skydivefreefalladventure.com.
My own skydiving experience
On April 10, I joined Skydive Freefall Adventure’s long list of skydivers in celebration of my 21st birthday.
“Ready. Set. JUMP,” Tandem instructor Leon Kunesh said as the two of us catapulted from the edge of the door out of the plane from 10,000 feet.
We were in freefall for 30-45 seconds before Kunesh had me pull my parachute.
The total jump – from leaping out of the plane to landing on the ground – was the coolest eight minutes of my life.
If I had three words to describe my experience, I would say insane, epic and incredible.
If skydiving is on your bucket list, I highly recommend booking with Skydive Freefall Adventure to cross it off.
“Everybody’s gotta try it once,” Dillion McCrimmon said. “If you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it again.”