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Jumping for a cause | Skydiver hopes to break state record to raise funds for local fire department

Doug Hendrix will attempt to make 100 jumps in a day.
Credit: Rhianna Sullivan
Doug Hendrix on board a plane at Connecticut Parachutists Inc.

ELLINGTON, Conn. — A local skydiver will attempt to break the state record for most times jumping out of a plane in one day all to support the fire department on-call for skydivers.

Doug Hendrix will take on the feat on June 15, which he said, is more than just a matter of personal pride. It’s part of a larger raffle event hosted by Connecticut Parachutists Inc to fundraise for the Ellington Fire Department.

“Obviously, skydiving is more of a risky activity than hiking, for example. So, accidents, while rare, could happen, and the Ellington Fire Department really knows how to take care of the situations and treat everyone with the safety and respect that they deserve,” Hendrix told FOX61 News. “As a part of that, I want to give them a financial contribution and donation back to them.”

Raffle tickets are on sale now at Connecticut Parachutists' website, and will be available through June 26, when the drawing takes place at 8 p.m. Prizes include a tandem skydive, an outside video package on the tandem skydive, and two opportunities for observer rides on the plane.

Credit: Doug Hendrix
Three skydivers catch the sunset in Orange, MA, with Doug Hendrix in air behind the camera.

Observer rides are fun, Hendrix said, because of the nosedive the plane does after the jumpers exit.

“It’s quite the rollercoaster ride,” Hendrix said.

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The current unclaimed record in Connecticut is 61 jumps in a day, established six or seven years ago, according to Hendrix. He will be attempting 100 jumps. If successful, Hendrix will join eight others in the U.S. with a record of greater than 100 jumps in a day.

“Over the past year or so, I’ve sort of noticed that I have people and resources around me to accomplish something like this...And I started thinking, is this possible?” Hendrix said.

After running the numbers, Hendrix estimates he can accomplish 100 jumps starting at sunrise - around 5:15 a.m. – and ending around 3 p.m. by allotting about five minutes per jump.

The plane will refuel three times over the course of the day, and the extra hours before sunset are budgeted in, allowing for a break or any issues to be addressed.

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Credit: David Gerstein
A skydiver takes in the sights above Ellington, CT.

Hendrix said he got into skydiving when he attended the University of Connecticut and did his first jump in 2011 at age 18. Since then, he’s been hooked on the sport. He competed with UConn’s skydiving team until completing his graduate program in 2021.

Hendrix says there is something addictive about skydiving.

“I would say one of the coolest things is that when you’re in the act of skydiving, like you’re in freefall, nothing truly matters except for what you’re doing at that moment. So, it’s that sort of being present that’s a really interesting part of skydiving,” he said.

Credit: David Gerstein
A group of skydivers enjoy Hendrix's moment of "being present" during freefall.

Now, Hendrix is an instructor on the weekends, doing tandems, teaching students how to skydive and filming tandems all through Connecticut Parachutists.

His coolest jump, he said, would be one of two experiences: either jumping into the Hartford Yard Goats season opener when the stadium first opened, or jumping into the UConn campus, which was a culmination of years or planning and begging people to make it happen.

His next goal? To compete in the Skydiving World Cup.

Until then, Hendrix can be found soaring above Connecticut Parachutists Inc, potentially 100 times, on June 15.



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