Women in Aviation are very committed to their job; they have the inspiration to be one of the best pilots anyone has ever seen. They do not just have a knack for flying airplanes, they have a passion for jumping out of them too! Cheryl Stearns is no exception to that hobby, actually she is a world parachute champion. She finds a great interest in jumping out of airplanes, that after fifty years outside of the service she still has the eyes like a child when she hears the word parachute or airplane. Women in the aviation started at a very early age, well early for people of this day and age. Cheryl jumped of an airplane for her first time at the age of seventeen, and this is what she has to say about it, "I wanted to experience the sensation of falling through the air so I decided to take a lesson. I talked my mother into signing the release form because I wasn't old enough to jump without it. I even borrowed the initial $40 fee from her." This woman is very intriguing and has a very bright and jolly personality. After this first jump, she was hooked. Cheryl's father had given her the finances to start her flight training, which is where she got her unique balance that she found in parachuting and flying. She breezed through all of her ratings and when she became old enough to attend a community college, she became a flight instructor.
In 1974, Cheryl had entered her first national skydiving competition and placed ninth overall. This very good placement on her first national competition gave her the urge to become the best and a champion. She put all the time and effort to be the best by jumping out of an airplane six times a day, seven days a week. To me, that is dedication. After several attempts of jumping out of the airplane, she had become an expert at style and became very accurate in her landings. To perform a stunt in the air to receive points, you are required to perform a series of aerial maneuvers within a 30-second time span and fighting an 80 mph twist and pull once you hit the outside of the plane. February of 1977, is an important day for Cheryl because she became the first woman member of the Golden Knights, the U.S. Army's parachute team. This event was very important to Cheryl and sent a shock wave to other women telling them that anything is possible.
When Cheryl was coming to the end of aviation career, she had logged 8,400 jumps and 8,300 hours of flight time and still remains in the Army's National Guard to this day. She also won a grand total of twenty-five national and international parachuting championships. This woman really meant business when she was at her prime. With the events coming to a close, her most prestigious event that occurred was being selected by the International Parachuting Committee to receive the Leonardo da Vinci Diploma, which is the highest honor the international sport it can receive.