Review of: No ETA: The Pioneering Days of Skydiving
If you’ve ever been skydiving before, or are even remotely interested in the sport, you’ve probably wondered at some point, just how it got started. Who was the lunatic who looked at a plane for the first time and said, “I want to jump out of that”? I know that as an avid skydiver, I myself have wondered that many times.
I can still remember back to my first time skydiving and being absolutely terrified to make the leap. The difference was, I knew intrinsically that I would be safe. I was skydiving with a reputable operator, and one that had a great safety record. They had tens of thousands of jumps under their belt and zero accidents in over a decade of being in operations. And still, I was scared out of my wits. I couldn’t even imagine what was going through the minds of the first people to go skydiving, not quite knowing what would happen to them.
The book “No ETA: The Pioneering Days of Skydiving” lays out the very early days of skydiving. The book’s author, Dick Fortenberry was around in the very early days of skydiving since the 1950s. Dick was originally interested in skydiving when he joined the US Army at 18 years old, and attended jump school with the 77th Special Forces Group.
All it took was one jump for Dick to realized he was hooked to the feeling for life. After leaving the Army, he was nowhere near ready to stop jumping, and became one of the pioneers of the sport. Back then, skydiving was not considered the sport it is seen to be today. Skydiving was seen as nothing more than a tool for the US Army. That was, until Dick and his skydiving buddies started doing it recreationally.
Since skydivers back then (and many of today as well) keep log books and record every jump, all of his experiences back then were accurately chronicled. The book acts as a memoir of Dick’s experience of helping to transform skydiving from something that the Army needed to do, into something that thrill seekers love to do.
The book is a truly fascinating look into the history of skydiving, and should be of interest to anyone who has ever wondered exactly how skydiving gained popularity. The fact that it is excellently written, only adds to my admiration of the book.
The one and only criticism I have of the book, is that it only covers Dick’s life and experiences from 1957 to 1965. While Dick definitely had an extremely interesting life during those years, I didn’t want the book to end and wish he had expanded on what he did after 1965. Still, as amazing as this book is, I find it hard to fault it for anything at all.
5 out of 5 Stars