10 QUESTIONS WITH JEFF NELSON

Monday, April 21, 2014

Jeff is the chief pilot at WSC and an AMAZING pilot! Jeff is part of our drop zone family and has been with us for a long time. We are grateful to have Jeff for his integrity, experience, expertise. Learn about him with this weeks 9 Questions With… (this week, it’s 10 Questions).

1. What attracted you to flying in the first place?

JF: I was born into it. 3rd generation pilot in my family. My Grandfather flew B-17’s in WWII and then flew for American airlines after that, along with flight instructing on the side teaching countless people to fly. My dad also did a lot of flight instructing, flew Cobra helicopters in vietnam, and flew for American airlines as well. Growing up I flew a lot with my dad, at a local airport where he taught me how to fly. Thanks to my dad I went to Arizona for my 14th birthday where I soloed a glider. Crazy to think that I could legally fly by myself before driving a car. After that I soloed an airplane on my 16th, license on my 17th and had my multi engine and commercial rating 3 months later. Since I’ve flown aerobatics, multi engine turbines, taildraggers, and have gone on a lot of flying adventures across the country.

2. Rumor has it that you took your high school prom date to dinner in an airplane – were you the most popular guy in school after that?

JF: Yes I did fly my date in high school. No I wasn’t the most popular, but it was talked about a lot. Myself and other couples borrowed my dads twin cessna and flew to the Mall of America the day after prom. The year after that, thru a friend who was also a pilot we flew a corporate jet to a champagne brunch at a lake side resort.

3. Of the many different kinds of aircraft you have flown, what is your favorite and why?

JF: My favorite aircraft I have flown is an aerobatic biplane called a pitts special. My favorite because of the skill envolved to fly it, and the capabilities of the aircraft. Very fast and nimble. Much like a skydiver and their canopy, I enjoy learning to master an aircraft so it becomes part of me. I am as comfortable flying an airplane as most people are driving their cars.

4. Who / What inspires you?

JF: My dad and grandfather inspire me the most. They both taught me the importance of a man’s handshake, honesty, and integrity. My grandfather always saw the best in people no matter what and had a way of helping them build upon it. My dad’s flying abilities always inspired me also. He can fly everything from a 65 hp j-3 cub to a Boeing 777 better than anyone I know!

5. Of all the places you have visited – what is your favorite place and why?

JF: That’s hard for me to pick one. But I guess any tropical Caribbean island location. Warm weather, palm trees, ocean water, and mainly the lack of snow! Love it! I can’t stand large cities or crowds of people.

6. You’re a rare breed – a pilot and a skydiver. What is the most memorable skydive you’ve ever made?

JF: My favorite skydive so far would be my AFF check dive. Upon successful completion, I felt this amazing sense of accomplishment. There had been a long gap in my life where I had worked so hard at something to achieve and earn it. I also enjoy group tracking dives because I feel like superman flying horizontally thru the sky, and maneuvering relative to other jumpers. That’s pretty cool!

7. What is something about you that few people know about?

JF: I’m pretty much an open book. But most people don’t know, that I enjoying woodworking. I don’t claim to be any good at it yet, but I’m learning. Both of my grandfathers were amazing craftsmen, and I inherited a lot of tools and machinery from them.

8. Do you have any other interests outside of skydiving and flying?

JF: Outside of flying I enjoy R.C. airplanes and helicopters, woodworking, riding motorcycles, spending quality time with my kids, or generally any outdoor activity.

9. What are your future goals?

JF: In the future I would love to own my own aircraft. Probably something aerobatic. I would love to sell rides and give introductory or high performance transitional training in this type of aircraft.

10. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?

JF: I would love to travel all over the world some day, there is so much to see. But if I had to pick one, I would like to go see the pyramids of Egypt.

A lady smiles while in free fall during a tandem skydive.

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