WALLKILL -If you are a free-fall adrenaline junkie as much as Kay Hoiby
is, it helps to own your own fleet of airplanes and a skydiving ranch.
, a native of St. Croix Falls, Wis., met a group of skydivers when she
was waitressing in upstate New York - one of whom became her
boyfriend and eventually her
remembers going to watch him jump on weekends.
"I got tired of looking up all the time," Hoiby
said Wednesday as the guest speaker of a New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce lunch.
first jump she
"It's so quiet up there when you're looking all around," she
said."And there's a social aspect - the people who do it are so much fun."
is one of four owners of the Blue Sky Ranch in Gardiner and part-owner/chief financial officer of Freefall Express
- the aviation component of the ranch.She is also a member of an all-women skydiving demonstration team - the Misty Blues - that has a combined 40,000 jumps between its eight members.
They perform at air shows and are known for jumping with a 1,200-square-foot American flag and their free-fall formations.Hoiby
, 54, has come a long way since her
first jump in 1974 and so has the sport, she
told the chamber audience of about 40 people at Elsie's Place.
The dual resident of Gardiner and Niskayuna, Schenectady County, has about 5,000 jumps under her
parachute, including five malfunctions, where she
relied on a reserve parachute.But that was when the parachutes were "very limited," she
said.They were round and hard to steer.
Today, the gear is high-tech, she
The parachutes are square, she
said, so most people won't end up landing in a tree on their first jump like she
You can correct your mistakes right away," Hoiby
A perk of being by yourself -you get to free fall for 30 seconds longer, from 13,500 feet in the air, for a total of 70 seconds.The airplane airspeed before a jump is about 92 miles per hour.Hoiby
bachelor's degree in finance from the State University of New York at Albany, by becoming the ranch and aviation business' accountant.She
private pilot's license and hopes to earn her
commercial rating so she
can fly planes for other skydivers.She
said it wasn't too difficult to purchase the ranch in 1985.There were more than a dozen partners originally (many have since sold their shares) who pooled their money together and borrowed the rest.
"We did it gradually and we've been pretty successful," she