Skydiving is man’s revenge on gravity. Some wheelchair skydiving quadriplegics say it is the ultimate rush. With a disability at 220 kph (140 mph) free fall it’s hard to disagree. Once lifted from our wheelchairs onboard the airplane, my tandem disability skydive instructor Sven reassured me, “I 4636 skydive zumps underz my belts.” As he clipped our harness together. “Three minutes!” came a shout from the pilot. All the instructors gave one last gear check.

Wheelchair Skydiving Quadriplegics Harness

Harness on all taped up and ready to jump
Harnesses on taped up ready to jump

The harness is difficult to fit. Being a quadriplegic in a power wheelchair, my arms and legs no longer have their full range of movement. Laying the harness on the floor then placing me on top, and wriggling me into it seemed to work best. With a few yoga like moves and one, “Oooh that’s gotta hurt” we had the sydiving harness on all buckled up and I was back in the wheelchair.

Heavily tape your knees and ankles together. Ask the instructors to wrap their legs around yours before pulling the rip-cord. You do not want your legs flying up knocking the instructor out. Well, at least not until you have landed haha. 

The wheelchair skydiving quadriplegics headed out to the airplane on the runway. The airplane doorway was about five foot off the ground. With the assistance of a step ladder, and given the many places to grab a hold of the harness, three strong people got me onboard fairly easily. Anyone can lift a bucket full of water. Not so many can hold one five foot off the ground for a long time. That is something to think about when people have to lift you. Don’t make them have to hold you up to long. It is quite hard to do. After a quick safety drill we taxied on down the runway.


Disability Skydiving

Blowing a kiss goodbye
Blowing a kiss goodbye

Leaving the wheelchairs far behind approaching 14500 ft. Sven shuffled me over to the open rear airplane door dropping my legs out. Strangely I felt very calm no fear or nerves at all as I sat looking out across the tops of the clouds. To my left I noticed a camera man hanging onto a handle outside the aircraft waiting to drop with us. With one last breath and a kiss goodbye to the camera man out we dropped.

A loud rush of wind smacked me in the face. Most quadriplegics have a diminished lung capacity. The 60 second free fall at 220 kph made it hard to breathe for the wheelchair skydiving quadriplegics. It’s like sticking your head out a car window on a highway only double the speed. Don’t ask me how I know that. As we near some clouds I took a big lung full of one in before punching out the other side. Now fully visible the ground seemed a whole lot closer and we were rushing toward it faster and faster.

Skydiving freefall
Skydiving freefall

With a hard pat on the shoulder Sven warned me the parachute was about to pop open. Bringing us to what seemed like an abrupt stop. All goes quiet and peaceful. I was glad I couldn’t feel the 220 kph harness wedgie. The guys would later confirm my joy walking to the car park cowboy style. Sven had forgotten to wrap my legs and they flung up in front of us but again I didn’t seem to suffer any harm.

For a few minutes we drifted by each other waving until it was our turn to land. Pulling down hard on one toggle we spiraled dropping altitude quickly. The big red X was in sight. We had arranged for carers to be waiting as we came in to land. I needed they could catch the legs of the wheelchair skydiving quadriplegics to avoid dragging them along the ground. It wasn’t needed with the breeze in our face, we had practically come to a complete stop when we touched down.

Bill landed back on earth
Bill landed back on earth

It was freezing cold on the free fall so rug up. We all gathered around a camp fire afterwards. Ears still popping while quadriplegic Bill in the second group of human missiles descended upon us. Only from an even higher 16500 feet (extra $40.00).

After landing Sven told me, “Zat make 4637 zumps but you da first wheelchair skydiving quadriplegia I ever skydive witt” I said, “Well I’m glad you waited until now to tell me that mate!”

After skydiving life seems boring. We sat staring out the window all week. It takes a while to actually come back to earth. If you’ve ever thought about skydiving, go for it wheelchair thrill-seekers.

Where: We skydive with Ramblers at Toogoolawah QLD. Australia.
Cost: $270 plus $70 for a video of your skydive and/or $45 for stills.
Rating: 4 star rating Start saving. Ramblers website:

22 thoughts on “Skydiving

  1. This is sweet! I’m a quadriplegic from the US, and I dream of skydiving some day. I have gone parasailing before but I imagine skydiving would be way more intense. I knew it could be done. Now I just have to make this happen!

  2. Loved reading this article.. I used to hanglide before I had illness with my nervous system… a couple of my friends have been skydiving and loved it! not sure if I have the guts to skydive!

  3. I’m the editor of an Adaptive skydiving manual that combines tandem jumps Wind tunnel and AFF/PFF to assist disabled persons to be able to jump on thier own. This link is to a manual I have for you and other tandem associations. Give me any input, I’ve been a skydiving instructor for over 20 years and have been to 4 world Championships on 8 way and Canadian 4 way teams. But I have now focused my knowledge on making skydiving like all other sports, a way to get a disabled person to skydive by themselves. All the best, Blue Sky’s Rod Mack D-422 CSPA. 250-216-8401.

  4. Well spread my free adaptive manual around… I use to be a 4,000 jump national 4 way team member of Canada. in 2003 I had a bad accident landing, my fault, and was in a coma for 6 weeks I’m partially paralyzed on my left side. my injury was an ABI they told my family and friends that I would not make it… HA! proved them wrong. I’m now classified as Disabled or how I like to refer to myself is “Adaptive” I compete now in the Mobility sailing Cup at the Mobility Cup the Canadian nationals. So after I got out of the hospital I wanted to give back to my sport and all Adaptive persons that have an edge a way for them to experience what I had done and taught for 20 years. So I constructed a manual for free using all the forms of skydiving in combination for Adaptive persons to skydive safely so please spread my link around (see above).. All the best. Rod Mack D-422

  5. There is no doubt that as new techniques are tried and experimented with, the history of extreme sports will include many new and daring innovations. Skydivers rocking….

  6. Try reading my Adaptive Skydiving Manual for good idea’s also I have developed leg straps “Mack Straps” for more freefall control of Para and Quads legs in free fall so look it over see if it helps: Rod Mack D-422 Sorry I took so long…

  7. This is a beautiful and deeply inspiring little corner of the internet, dude. I love it. Keep it up. Plus, I know someone who’d take you flying in all sorts of cool aviatin’ machines, should you ever make it to Queenstown, NZ :)

  8. Well the CDN military SAR techs might be using it (Adaptive skydiving for the disabled) to help rehab disabled soldiers kool eh??

  9. I was teaching the 442 Squadron SAR Techs advanced freefall when I had my accident that left me in a coma for 6 weeks. So I can’t skydive anymore so I gave back to the sport that has given me so much. I’m disabled now with a hemipeligic left side. So I wrote the Adaptive Skydiving Manual for Para’s or any disabled person with good upper body mobility can get to the point of skydiving on there own.

  10. I live in Taupo New Zealand as a T3/T4 para I have done a 15000ft parachute jump here in Taupo and have another planned with the secound company here to compare the diferance, however I have to admit I am a adrenaline junky as I have also done a jetboat ride, white water rafting, tank driving with the army, bungy swing and have a full bungy jump planned in my and out of my wheelchair, I have a 1500cc suzuki intruder trike that I take people for rides on. Over if I can do all these things then anyone can do them. Here in NZ they will do anything to get you doing things able people do so get out there and do it.
    My goal is to do a tv program all about visiting the extreme events on my trike to prove if I can do it anyone can, however not concentrating on the disabled side, you can see, and its obvious Im disabled.
    (Anyone looking to invest in the program your welcome)

  11. Yo Spaz’s, I’m a C2 quad on total life support YouTube at “hannablehaims” I’m a first for most everything for high quads on life support. Pass on the videos they’re cool!

    Late, Randy

  12. My name is Richard I am A C6/7quadriplegic and I would love to try this I live near St Louis Missouri and would be willing to travel to do this could I please get some more information for this is one thing I would like to do possibly even get into as a profession becoming a handicap skydive consultant.

  13. Well Richard I put this manual together after my accident in 2003 after a bad landing they put me in a 5 week coma ans 8 months in the hospital thinking I could skydive again myself. I had also developed para & quad tandems in Canada before my accident. I have not skydived since but as part of my recovery I had a brain storm and wrote this manual for any adventurous drop zone to take it on. It will take more time for an experienced instructor and maybe more money on the students part. Myself I’m hemipeligic on my left side so skydiving safely is out of the question but I designed my para program for those with good upper body Mobility. The manual is free and online for anyone to access. So if you can find an adventurous Drop Zone or Parachute Centre to take this project on then the more power to you. Sorry I can not help anyone at this time. I put the manual together, for any one or instructor to use. Sorry I can not help ou persons at this time but I’m confident that my system will work. I wrote the manual soon after my accident so my mind was fresh with my current knowledge of skydiving at the time, since I was one of the top 4 skydivers in Canada. I hope you can find a Parachute centre with enough experience to take on this project. So please if they do all I ask is to give me ceadit for the manual.
    Rod Mack
    CSPA D-422

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