Central Virginia Skydiver Shares 10,000th Jump with Friend

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Kevin Gibson and Russell Biber Kevin Gibson and Russell Biber

A central Virginia skydiving instructor reached a soaring milestone Saturday.

Skydive Orange veteran Kevin Gibson made his 10,000th jump Saturday morning and he shared the experience with a first-timer.

Most people think jumping out of a perfectly functional airplane just one time is a little crazy - let alone 10,000. Gibson says it's an accomplishment turned lifelong memory.

"On the way to the drop zone, I get this kind of butterfly feeling if we're going to jump that day. If I'm on the way to the drop zone and I don't have that butterfly feeling, I don't jump," Gibson said.

It was all blue skies and butterflies for 60-year-old Gibson. The instructor at Skydive Orange chose to share the experience with first-timer Russell Biber - a co-worker at his other job with Charlottesville-based CFA Institute.

"I love to take people for the first time.  It's just the best thing to share that experience with them because you only get one first jump," Gibson said.

Biber was excited to fuel his passion for aviation. 

"The first I've been in a plane for many years, but it was just that wonderful feeling taking off and getting up there watching the ground leave," Biber said.

The tandem fell 13,500 feet to get to the ground and free fell for 8,000 feet before pulling the parachute.

"Just to see it from that angle and especially when the chute opened up and you just slow down and just get to see, just the whole area - it's just amazing," Biber said.

Thousands of feet below, Russell's family and friends waited for the tandem to land - just like they were linked to the parachute themselves.

"We've been married 30 years and so him doing something like this, it's like us doing it together and we are doing it together," Biber's wife Sarah said.

Whether it's the first or 10,000th time - the leap and landing of a lifetime feels all the same next to a friend.

Gibson has been skydiving for 37 years - but says he remembers his first jump in 1976 like it was yesterday.