For many people, jumping out of a plane from 2,200 feet in the air once would be enough. But Troy Woods had a mission: Break the Kentucky skydiving record of 40 jumps in a day.
In six hours Friday, starting at 6:30 a.m., Woods, 38, surpassed the record that had stood more than 10 years. After his 41st jump, a small crowd of supporters, mostly family and friends, quickly congratulated him before he was back on the plane to jump again.
"It's a very quick pace," he said.
Each complete jump, which included the plane's takeoff, the jump from 2,200 feet and packing up to do it again, took about seven minutes. Earlier this week, Woods said his goal was to take 80 jumps.
"But that might be too challenging," he said. As it turned out, it wasn't — when he finally stopped at almost 9:30 p.m., Woods had jumped 80 times.
Kentucky's record for most jumps in a day had stood for more than a decade only because no one tried to beat it, said previous record-holder Bob Boswell, 66, of Bardstown.
Boswell, Woods' friend, wasn't torn up about someone taking his place.
"It's time for the new guys to have the record," he said after a jump alongside Woods.
Boswell was one of three pilots flying the Cessna 182 from which Woods took his jumps. He said skydiving has become part of his lifestyle.
"You really can't describe the feeling of jumping; it just makes you want to keep doing it," he said.
Boswell said most skydivers jump six or seven times in one day at most.
To keep him going, a team of about 10 co-workers and friends helped Woods with safety checks, packing parachutes and fueling him with food and water.
"At the end of the day, he's going to feel dead; it's just extremely draining after so many times," Boswell said.
After speaking with Boswell and other skydiving veterans about the record, Woods said, he expected to feel worn out.
He said he hit a wall at 45 jumps, but after No. 80, he said he felt great.
Woods had extra incentive to break the record.
When Woods, an electrician, found out that his co-worker's cousin, Jesse Scott, 17, is battling leukemia a second time, he used his record attempt to raise money for Scott's medical expenses by asking volunteers to sponsor him, pledging a given amount for each jump.
"That's really what this is all about," said Woods, who skydives weekly with a group of friends. Woods said he raised about $5,000 by the end of Friday. Donations can be made at any BB&T Bank branch.
Scott's cousin, Marc Hourigan, said he and his family were appreciative. "It worked out really well that Troy could do something that people want to see, and we needed something like that," said Hourigan.
Woods said he expects his performance to inspire more Kentuckians to join him in his passion. He invited the public to watch, and a crowd gathered, enjoying free food, games and live music.
The world record for parachute jumps in a 24-hour period is 640 in 2006, according to Guinness World Records. That reportedly required three planes and a staff of 50, Boswell said. To put that record in perspective, Woods has made about 500 jumps in his six years of skydiving.
Woods, who has jumped in states all over the country, said Kentucky's modest previous record stood because few people in the state have adopted skydiving as a hobby.
"There aren't very many of us here, not more than 20 of us in the state, I'd say," he said.
Credits: Lexington Herald-Leader