JCC’s Kaye Beddard fulfills a childhood dream.
Kaye Beddard, sign language instructor at Johnston Community College, now knows what it feels like to freefall at 120 miles per hour.
Beddard recently fulfilled a childhood dream when she got the chance to tandem skydive with the Army Golden Knights.
“It was so much more than I ever expected,” Beddard said about the experience. “I’d always wanted to parachute. Ever since I was a child I wanted to do it. It totally exceeded my perceived imagination.”
Beddard was one of eight educators from across North Carolina who participated in the experience on Aug. 3 in Laurinburg, home of the Golden Knights air field and training base in North Carolina.
The Golden Knights are one of only three Department of Defense-sanctioned aerial demonstration teams, along with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. The team is composed of approximately 95 men and women, which includes four parachute units, an aviation unit and a headquarters. The demonstration teams, which use five dedicated aircraft, perform at more than 100 events per year. The tandem section is known for taking Soldiers, celebrities and heads of state on jumps, and the competition section focuses on winning national and international skydiving events.
Beddard admitted she was a little nervous just before jumping out of the plane. “When we approached the door and I saw the hole in the plane at 13,500 feet I did panic a little,” she said laughing.
But within seconds, Beddard’s fear turned to exhilaration as she and her Knight team member Special First Class Sgt. Joe Jones were falling through the air.
“I did not expect to see the horizon all the way around me,” she said. “It was amazing. We were falling at 120 miles per hour and I was trying to sign JCC and the wind was blowing my hands everywhere.”
Beddard was in the air for about four to five minutes and those minutes, she said, were the thrill of a lifetime.
“I was just so amazed at this experience,” she said. “These men and women who jump out of these planes and do these stunts are just incredible people. It was awesome.”
Cut line: JCC sign language instructor Kaye Beddard tandem skydives with Special First Class Sgt. Joe Jones of the Golden Knights.