08/26/05 — Bride decided to take the plunge ... literally

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Bride decided to take the plunge ... literally

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 26, 2005 1:48 PM

One might say that Melissa Kearney has taken the adage about falling head over heels a little too literally.

The bride-to-be even took others on a "flying leap" recently after deciding to go skydiving for her bachelorette party.

It was Melissa's fourth time jumping from a plane and her enjoyment for the sport prompted her to make it a group activity. Admittedly, it took her attendants longer to answer than when she initially asked them be in her wedding.

"Everybody was kind of shocked," she said. "They had to think about it a couple of days.

"It was kind of like peer pressure, but everybody loved it and enjoyed it. Some said it was great that we went. They had wanted to do it but never had the initiative to go before."

The arrangements were made and the group went to Carolina Sky Sports in Louisburg on Friday, Aug. 12. Their appointment was for 2 p.m. and finished up nearly four hours later.

"We had to go up in three separate groups," Melissa explained. The plane was taken to an elevation of 14,000 feet, with each jumper free-falling at about 120 miles per hour. The parachute is activated at 6,000 feet, she said, then the skydiver takes about three or four minutes to reach the ground.

For novices, the first four jumps are "tandem jumps," she said. An experienced skydiver accompanies the person, giving instructions throughout the descent.

"It's an adrenaline rush," the bride-to-be said. "It's actually addicting, but expensive."

Her mother, Lori Kearney of Pikeville, had also gone skydiving twice before, despite being afraid of heights.

"The first time she went for me and to prove to herself she could do it," Melissa said. "The second time was for my birthday, and this time was her idea."

She said on the first jump, her mother "fell through a cloud," an experience that's difficult to describe.

""You're above the clouds and you can look down and see clouds below you," she said. "Going through a cloud, you go through it so fast, but it's just like cold air; you get a little chill."

She said since sharing the experience with a group, they have had occasion to discuss their reactions .

"We all have said that you definitely sit on the ground now and look up and have a whole new perspective," she said. "I recommend it to everybody to do it."

Billie Faye Sasser, mother of groom-to-be Sam Sasser, said she had never attempted skydiving but went along with the plan.

"I loved it," she said. "It was the most exhilarating, tranquil thing I have ever done.

"If they'd have let me go up again for nothing, I would have gone up again; it's something I've always wanted to do."

The 63-year-old real estate agent said she hopes to be able to go skydiving at least one more time in the future.

The future Mrs. Sasser said she will also undoubtedly repeat the experience and believes those who accompanied her are likewise more open to the idea. As for the group's male counterparts, most seemed happier staying grounded.

"The husbands were nervous," Melissa said. "Everybody had to call them when they got on the ground."

Even fiancé, Sam, whom she plans to wed May 6 at Whitley Pentecostal Holiness Church, seemed content to be the wind beneath her wings."He has not done it and won't go," she said. "Sam was all for us going but not for him going."

Undecided on whether to try to top this experience as she plans her wedding festivities, Melissa said she is content balancing her job at Chiropractic Advantage while completing coursework at Wayne Community College to be a medical transcriptionist.