New Zealand first for paraplegic skydiver
A New Zealand girl, Christine Lawn, is the first paraplegic in New Zealand to complete a solo skydive. Christine, 40, from Ashburton, jumped today at the New Zealand Skydiving School, Pudding Hill, Methven. This was her 5th jump but first solo skydive. The previous 4 jumps, also at NZ Skydiving School, were tandems designed to prepare her for the challenges of skydiving and landing without the use of her legs.
NZ Skydiving School Instructors Gary Beyer and Laszlo Csizmadia took her through AFF (Accelerated Freefall) Level 1, which involves comprehensive ground training in preparation for the solo jump from 12,000 feet. Additional training and some equipment adjustments were necessary to accommodate Christine’s specific abilities. Christine was in good hands; NZ Skydiving School is renowned for excellence in skydive training and is the longest-established school in the country. It is also the only school in the world to offer a government-backed Diploma in Commercial Skydiving. Head Coach Gary Beyer is a world champion and NZ national champion skydiver in formation skydiving, with over 18,000 jumps. Laszlo Csizmadia has 10,000 jumps and is a multiple national champion, having represented NZ on the world stage. Freefall camera flyer and videographer, Mark “Woody” Edwards, is world renowned and has been able to document this incredible NZ first.
“Christine did a fantastic job and we are all really impressed,” said Beyer. “Jumping solo for the first time is very challenging, but Christine handled it really well. We are very proud of her and her achievements.”