BRAD GORMAN—Concluded “Bucket List” at 43!
By Rosemary Grayson
“I have a fear of fear,” said the man. This is from Brad Gorman, sky diving fanatic for nearly twenty years with thousands of terrifying jumps on camera. It forces one to suppress a desire towards total disbelief. Like the most flamboyant of actors, who suffer crippling shyness in real life and mountaineers who only do it “because it’s there,” Joe Public finds the mismatch hard to follow.
Yet Brad Gorman, father of four, jet fighter pilot manqué, from the age of seven, unable to afford to fly the planes flies by himself, just using a parachute.
He hails from Oregon in the USA. He comes from a perfectly normal yet nomadic one-parent family. This thrill chasing charming man’s confessed addiction is jumping out of air as often as possible.
“Its certain death if you don’t do the right thing at the right time”, he said. Driving flat-out at a brick wall without applying the brakes could qualify too. Car driving is many more times dangerous than sky diving, it turns out.
“To sky dive successfully you must manage risk,” said Brad. More people are killed by lightning or bee stings than skydiving according to the U.S.P.A (United States Parachute Association), the sky divers’ governing body.
As a child, Brad loved to construct model aero planes. He had an encyclopedic recall of all the nomenclatures and specs for current planes of his age. “I like to live on the edge. Yet I can only do that if I know I can retreat from the edge safely. The pioneering first man to break the sound barrier, Chuck Yeager and first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong , are my heroes,” he said.
Certainly he is an early adopter of living on the edge. On his first helicopter training trip, as part of the military, yet a young green horn, he sat at the back of the plane with his toes hanging out. The doors of the helicopter are always wide open when flying missions. First time out called to action Mr. Gorman was found asleep. Clearly he had estimated all the risk, apart no doubt from the wrath of his superior officer.
For any suicide candidate sky diving with a closed parachute would seem to be a final and painless solution. “The jump lasts 60 seconds. Your synapses are too slow to react when you hit the ground at 120 mph so the end is painless,” he said.
But for the novice, there is rarely an opportunity on offer.
“You are always either in tandem attached to your trainer or you might be attached to the plane by a line. Another configuration is two instructors holding you to save your life,” he said. Fatalities of any kind are 3.2 per 133,571 or 24 in 3.2 million jumps. Now in the Ferrari class of the sport, Brad is in demand worldwide. He has recently returned from a few weeks training skydivers in Fiji.
And those other bucket list items? He has covered bull riding, downhill skiing, snow-boarding, wake boarding, surfing, rock climbing and top league motor bike street racing. In Fiji, Brad managed to knock off scuba diving with sharks from his list.
Then there is BASE, an acronym for parachute jumping from buildings; antennae (often from cell phone towers) span (bridges) and earth. All of this is squeaky clean legal until you land. Then depending on the location, your whole body can become an IAD (Illegal Aerial Delivery). It turns out Yosemite National Park cracks down hard on such culprits.
“Skydiving is a unique experience for each of us. To those interested in the sport, instead of struggling to explain, I’ve made a Facebook post to tell the story, which includes boarding the small tight packed plane, plus the jump, then the aftermath emotions,” he said.
So the original bucket list is all ticked. Now for a whole new frontier; the major challenge. This is the biggest one, Brad explained—it is success in raising his four children. Brad and his wife Holly, an online teacher moved to Ajijic three years ago from the U.S. to help the family learn Spanish and enjoy integrating with a new culture.
Although officially retired, Brad, a videographer and more than keen photographer enjoys playing with his latest ‘unmanned aero vehicle,’ a state of the art drone it is often deployed to give real estate companies a different perspective on any given property. Since videography is his passion. Brad has the latest equipment to show it off. His top subjects include weddings and legacy videos.