Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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Larry Andrew (left) accompanpanied by two friends, Dennis Jensen and Joe Miller.
WIU professor completes 1,000th skydive
By Jodi Pospeschil
Western Illinois University Assistant Computer Science Professor Larry Andrew took to the skies over the Quad Cities Sept. 15 to complete his 1,000th skydiving jump.
Andrew, a 60-year-old cancer survivor, completed three jumps that weekend, to take him to a total of 1,001.
Andrew and his sister took to flying at a young age because their father, a pilot, owned several airplanes. Andrew began skydiving in 1974 when he and his sister were in college in Massachusetts and decided to give it a try.
“I made seven jumps that summer, but due to work schedules, logistics and life in general I did not jump again for 23 years,” he said. “In 1999, I moved to Macomb and discovered a drop zone here at the Smith Airfield on the east side of town. So I started again, and this time I stayed with it. Along the way, I earned all four skydiving licenses offered by the U.S. Parachute Association and an instructor’s rating.”
Besides jumping from small aircraft, Andrew has also completed jumps from high altitudes that required oxygen as well as helicopters, a DC-9 airplane, a Russian WWII biplane and a hot air balloon.
“I am also the current co-holder of the unofficial high altitude record for sport skydiving in Illinois,” Andrew said. “I intend to continue skydiving as long as I can do so safely, along with my other hobbies of paragliding, rock climbing and spelunking. I also would like to get back into scuba again if the opportunity presents itself.”
For the last two years, Andrew has completed about 20 jumps per year.
“The jumps I have made are mostly standard skydives from the airplane straight down to the ground,” Andrew said. “But I have also made several cross-country jumps where you open your canopy immediately on exiting the aircraft and are flying it to your destination seven to 10 miles away. It’s interesting to watch the traffic below on I-80 as I cruise right along with them, just a mile or more overhead.”
To see photographs of Andrew’s milestone skydiving venture, visit http://tinyurl.com/9z4s9zv.