Most students’ weekend plans involve relaxation, hanging out with friends and spending time outside. Weekends for David Mccune, junior in professional piloting and skydive club president, include jumping out of a plane and hurtling towards the earth.
“I couldn’t really think of anything better to do on the weekends,” Mccune said.
Mccune is no stranger to adventure. Despite only being 21 years old, he has skydived 46 times and said he hopes to double this number over the summer.
In the fall of 2019, Mccune joined the club, which has dropped thrill-seekers from the sky over the Abilene, Kansas, airport for the last 57 years.
Despite the name, Skydive K-State is not limited to Kansas State students — the group’s Facebook boasts over 900 members. Mccune said he guesses 50 to 100 of those members are active jumpers — all united in their love for the sport, but with different reasons for sticking around.
“For different people, it does different things,” Mccune said.
Mccune said he has heard many stories from members about how skydiving has helped with managing their mental health and combating depression. For Mccune, it’s how he enjoys spending his weekends and hanging out with friends — hanging out of a Cessna 182, that is.
The club offers tandem jumps for beginners. These are jumps done with an experienced skydiver that prepares a jumper for solo jumps.
Thomas Miller, sophomore in biomedical engineering and a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, said once he learned Skydive K-State was one of the cheapest ways to get certified, he was ready to join.
“The feeling I have free-falling is the best feeling of freedom,” Miller said.
Miller said the 45 seconds before he pulls his shoot is where he finds peace.
“When I make a skydive, everything else just kind of isn’t as important anymore,” he said. “It kind of goes away and I’m focused solely on what I’m doing in that exact moment, which is free-falling.”
Since joining, Miller said he’s found a community of K-State students in the club, including those whose purple pride and love for skydiving stuck around long after they became alumni.
Things look a little bit different for the club today than in the past because of COVID-19. The team added masks to the list of necessary gear while in the planes. However, it will take more than a global pandemic to keep them out of the air.
In fact, some dedicated team members can be found at the Abilene airport every weekend. Zach Borowski, vice president of Skydive K-State, is one of these members.
“If they’re open every weekend, I’ll be there every weekend,” Borowski said.
Currently studying professional piloting in his first year at K-State, Borowski is quickly progressing towards becoming a licensed skydiver. Since joining the team in September of 2020, he already completed 36 jumps and plans on adding to that number this weekend.
“I got a notification that we’re going to be open this Saturday — open at eight, wheels up by nine. I’m itching to go — let’s go,” Borowski said.
Outside of their passion for skydiving, one thing all three skydivers have in common is the community they found in their club.
“Everybody is there to do the same thing — have fun and do it safely,” Borowski said. “It’s just a good ole time.”
Mccune said any students interested in joining the team can get into contact with him over OrgCentral, or are welcome to go to the Abilene airport on a Saturday morning to watch them jump and learn more.
Students can find more information about the club, as well as directions to the jumping zone on the Skydive K-State website.