Fun Run parachute jumper asks a favor

Tom Morris
Parachuter Tom Morris has delighted crowds during the Mount Shasta Fourth of July Walk and Run for 19 years now. Sailing to the ground near Mercy Medical Center this Sunday, Morris asks that everyone stay clear of his target area until after the canopy touches the ground.


by Tom Morris

First, I would like to thank everyone who has over the years expressed appreciation for the parachute jumps during the Fun Runs.

Each year it has involved an effort to put the logistics in place for the jumps. The biggest factor has been the availability of an aircraft from which to jump. This year has been especially difficult. As the date approaches, I am still working on getting a helicopter from Redding.

This year there are other factors involved that might affect the possibility of jumping. Things are still “up in the air,” and I won’t know until the morning of the 4th whether or not I will be up in the air.

If I am able to jump, I expect to land in front of Mercy Medical Center between 9:05 and 9:10 a.m. Each year, after the jump, people tell me that I jumped too early or too late for them to see it. I have tried to time it to satisfy the largest number of viewers.

I have a favor to ask. During my approach to landing I am focused on multiple parameters, including ground obstacles, aircraft in the area, prevailing wind, crosswinds, wind burbles from trees and buildings, updrafts and downdrafts [air rises over asphalt and sinks over vegetation], alternate landing sites, ground speed, airspeed, sink rate, density altitude, and how the parachute is responding to control inputs. I am shooting for a small target, from a great distance. It involves total concentration.  

Here is the favor: please remain outside the target area until after the canopy touches the ground. The area will be marked off with tape and there should be ground crew to provide clearance. Several years ago some knucklehead insisted on doing figure-eights on his bicycle in the middle of my target, and argued with the ground crew while I was on final approach. Like the Space Shuttle, there is no “go-around” with a parachute. Landing is assured; walking away afterwards is not.

This year’s jump is especially important to me – if I can make this one, it will be the Silver Jubilee Jump, the 25th consecutive year. Also, I believe that it will probably be the last one.

Whether by air by land, I am looking to seeing all of you on the 4th. Have a wonderful holiday in our beautiful town.