It’s always interesting talking to people with a long skydiving history. Karina Kaiser is an old school jumper with a fantastic journey in her skydiving career. After she stopped jumping for many years, she fell in love with the wind tunnel and eventually made her way back into the sky. Karina’s skydiving life and story behind it are impressive. From when she did her first jump, passing through the tunnel and getting back in the sky. I hope you enjoy reading this skydive interview with Karina Kaiser as much as I have enjoyed writing it!
When did you skydive for the first time?
I did my first static line jump on June 24, 1973. I had joined the club in 1971 or so when it started in my home town in Muenster, Germany. Beginning to go to the drop zone every weekend to hang out, learn to pack, etc. I was just not allowed to jump. By the time I was 15 years old, I was itching to get into the sky as well. So, I received special permission from the government, which came through shortly after my 15th birthday. It made me the youngest skydiver in Germany!
Karina Kaiser – Video Part 1 of 2 (scroll down for more)
Where did you skydive for the first time and why?
My first jump and subsequent jumps were done at a small airfield in Werdohl, Germany. We were a small club, and I enjoyed being there, being with everyone and sharing the weekend, the gear, the car ride, the campfires at night. It started to feel a bit like a big family.
Later I jumped at other DZs and, in the end, moved to the UK. Here is where my skydiving progression accelerated, culminating in being part of the Women’s World Record in 1990 in Niort, France. We built an 80-way formation on the 7th attempt and held this flat and stable for 14.5 seconds (photo below). It was excellent as there were women from 19 different Nations
When did you stop skydiving? How long before you got back into the air?
I stopped skydiving in 1995 when I got pregnant with my daughter. I thought I would jump again, but when she was born, it was just not an option or desire anymore. After my son was born, all thoughts of ever skydiving again vanished for good.
In 2015 I came to Empuriabrava for a little holiday with my daughter. I had jumped there a lot between 1985 and 1992. This is where I saw a wind tunnel for the first time. I met Pete Allum in the car park, whom I hadn’t seen since the early 90’s either, and he took me for my first flight in the tunnel.
What did you think when you flew in the tunnel for the first time?
First though? OMG, here comes my next addiction! 🙂
How many tunnels have you been to?
So far, I have flown in 21 wind tunnels. The smallest one being 10ft, I believe, and the biggest one 17 ft. I have done approximately 120 hours in the tunnel, and I am loving it heaps!
When did you get back into skydiving? Why did you come back after all these years?
I was invited for an interview by Roland Hilfiker. He opened the drop zone in Empuriabrava in 1985 and ran it for many years. He asked if I would like to do an interview about “old skydiver/new time tunnel flyer” for the upcoming Indoor Skydiving Summit in February 2020. After we did the interview, he casually introduced me to the Chief Instructor at Skydive Empuriabrava. Things just ran its course from there…
I had seen all my friends doing cool stuff up in the sky, and I got more and more inspired. Mostly as I was able to fly a lot of those things in the tunnel already. When I took to the sky with Pete Allum on that 2nd jump, I already knew in freefall, “the sky has me back”! The joy was immense.
What is the most significant difference in the sport you see between the 1970’s and today?
Hmmm, many things have changed. There was not VFS in the days I skydived. People did start with free-flying in the ’90s, but not as it is today. It was all belly flying. I also see heaps of knowledge now to teach people, be it in the sky or canopy. The safety measures are much more improved, and there are courses for all categories. I am particularly impressed with all the skills under canopy. I am delighted that these fantastic canopy courses are on offer.
How do you see yourself in the next few years in the sport? What are your goals?
Well, that is hard to say. For now, I am looking forward to being able to put all I can fly in the wind tunnel into the sky too. Also, jumping with friends worldwide again. I would love to attend some nice boogies and just enjoy each and every jump. I feel that my journey may be an inspiration for others, and I hope to support them in starting to live their dreams too! 🙂
Regarding skydiving, what is your dream?
I have mellowed quite a bit, as in the past, I have attended many competitions and records. No longer do I feel the need for this anymore. Now I am super joyful just to skydive for many years to come and travel to exotic events again. It really is just being part of the sky family and skydiving with good friends, and doing fun stuff up in the sky! <3
Karina Kaiser – Video Part 2 of 2 (scroll up for part 1)
Keep coming back
Thank you Karina Kaiser for helping create this skydive interview. It is fascinating and exciting to learn about your skydiving journey over the years. I am glad to know you and that you have found your way back into the sky to continue your skydiving story!
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