Skydiver survives plane crash, writes book

Skydiver survives plane crash, writes book

SAN DIEGO - The pictures from April 25, 1992, come from a moment that Dan Brodsky-Chenfield can't remember, but will never forget.

“Everything was just your average day,” Brodsky-Chenfeld said about that day when his skydive team went to take a practice jump.

The plane took off in Perris, Calif. and lost one engine at about 100-150 feet and the pilot didn't respond as accurately and immediately as needed, crashing the plane, Brodsky-Chenfield said.  Sixteen out of the 22 people aboard the plane were killed at the crash.

Brodsky-Chenfeld survived, but spent six weeks in a coma and lost 40 pounds. When he woke up, he had no memory of the crash.

He also had several critical injuries: a fractured skull, broken neck, collapsed lung and other internal damage.

Doctors said he would never skydive again, but Brodsky-Chenfeld had other ideas and dreams, and six months later, he made another jump.

“It felt like I was flying, like I was back home,” he said.

Brodsky-Chenfeld hasn't stopped flying since. He went on to win six world championships in synchronized skydiving. At the age of 49, the Temecula resident said he has logged more than 25,000 jumps as the manager of Skydive Perris.

He has also written a book, “Above All Else” to share his experiences. Included is one of his favorite passages: "Few things have the full power to motivate and inspire us to reach for our full potential the way our dreams do."

Brodsky-Chenfeld wrote about his recovery from the plane crash and continually pursuing his dream, while encouraging others to do the same.

“These are the kind of stories I think everybody has in their lives, so many things that connect us all,” Brodsky-Chenfeld said. “It's not rare, unbelievable stories. It's things people can relate to so they can apply to their own goals and ambitions.”

Brodsky-Chenfeld still skydives regularly and he says having that opportunity is “a dream come true.” He also hopes people remember another phrase from his book:

“Every dreamer is not successful, but every successful person is a dreamer.”