Diving Into The School Year


Senior Graham Hayes celebrated his 18th birthday by jumping 15,000 feet out of an airplane. Hayes is now a certified skydiver, from the teachings of the instructors at Skydive Kansas City.

“I wanted to do something fun during COVID. So I was just like, ‘Well might as well jump out of an airplane,” Hayes said.

At first, Hayes said skydiving made him nervous but a couple of jumps later he now feels used to jumping out of planes. Hayes said that skydiving was difficult to learn, “At first it takes a lot of time and studying to learn and understand how to move in the air but over time you get the hang of it.” Hayes has made skydiving one of his main hobbies.

Hayes had to train for months to be prepared to do true skydiving. He then had to receive a license to skydive, which he said took a long time to get the license accepted.

“The first three jumps you are strapped to someone. Then you have to take a six hour study course and a couple tests. Your first seven jumps after that you can jump solo, but with someone hanging on to you,” Hayes said.

From jump 10-25, Hayes said you jump by yourself without anyone else touching you. However, an instructor must observe. Then, the trainee has to pass a final exam which gives the official certification.

Hayes said steering is the riskiest part of skydiving. “You have to be very careful when landing because that in my opinion is the dangerous part. It’s not that hard to steer but have to keep caution of trees, other skydivers, clouds, and lakes,” Hayes said.

Skydiving begins from 15,000 feet above surface level. When freefalling Hayes said that a skydiver will fall up to speeds up and over 200 miles per hour. A dive can range in different time increments, it could take up to 20 minutes or as fast as a couple of minutes.

Hayes’ mom, Honey, said that skydiving makes her nervous. 

“My mom doesn’t like it at all. I never text my mom before a jump, I just text her when I am heading home. I just don’t want to scare her,” Hayes said.

Honey said that even though she knows Hayes is safe, she only wants to hear about the good parts. “If there’s been a problem, I don’t know about it,” Honey said.

Jason, Hayes’ dad said that he is glad his son found a hobby he enjoys. “Graham is very responsible and thinks quickly on his feet.  After watching him solo dive and visiting with his instructors, there’s no reason to be nervous.”

Hayes and his family enjoy traveling the world. Hayes said his favorite trips so far include Dubai and Switzerland. When he is able to travel again, Hayes wants to skydive everywhere he goes. 

“I hope to sky dive in Hawaii someday. Jumping over a beach and ocean would be cool,” Hayes said.