Winter Skydiving

 
 

Yes there really is such a thing, winter sky diving, or the few who can call themselves "Order of The Flying Polar Bears", and Minna Mettinen-Kekalainen just sent her application in, as their 1st paralyzed skydiver.
It all happened, so innocently, just a few skydives in the winter in Canada, on a 'refreshing' weekend where the temperatures on the ground were -16Cand @ 9,500ft where she was 'falling' out at it was a breezy -26C. (-14.5F degrees)

There is enough preparation involved for a paralyzed skydiver in the warmth of the summer but winter skydiving can quickly become a true life and death experience, for which extreme preparation is needed.  Paralyzed limbs tend to be cold at best of times, but falling 130mph in those temperatures, it's a different world. Minna needs to also prepare for a possible landing somewhere else other then at the drop zone (that is what  skydivers call their parachute school), being prepared to stay there until someone finds her. She literally dives with survival gear packed into every pocket, not to mention the 5 layers of clothing she wears. With a balaclava, the hoodie and goggles under a full face helmet there can not be any exposed skin, or it will be frozen by the time she lands, only 5 minutes or less after falling out of the plane.  The plane, a Cessna 206 without a door, flies for 20 minutes with 5 skydivers huddled close to each other to share body heat, just for that chance to get out and skydive in these extreme temperatures. Skydiving is a passion so deep for Minna, that even these extreme conditions won't stop her from following her dreams of flight and the freedom of not being the motorized wheelchair she typically lives in. Winters are difficult for anyone in a wheelchair and this is one of the reasons why Minna will skydive in these temperatures, because in the sky the snow never stops her from flying her body.

Not only is Minna paralyzed, but she deals with other difficult health issues. She is one of the only solo paralyzed skydivers in the world and takes any chance she has to go fly. She is so determined to go skydiving that she spends certain times of the year living at the airport in an airplane hanger. Minna definitely fits the definition of Extreme Chairing.

Extreme - (a character, situation, or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average. going to the utmost or very great lengths in action, habit, opinion, etc.)
Chairing - (living life while using a wheelchair because of a high level injury, disability, or limited mobility)

 
     
                         
       
             
E.T. Designs