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Lieutenant governor all smiles in parachute jump

Waving to a couple hundred people gathered on the Minnesota Capitol Mall Tuesday, Minnesota Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon enjoys the final moments of her first parachute ride.1 / 2
All smiles after her first parachute jump. Minnesota Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon takes part in a Tuesday ceremony to provide support for military personnel and their families.2 / 2

ST. PAUL -- Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon smiled all 12,800 feet down from an Army airplane Tuesday, becoming the first state executive to parachute onto the Capitol mall.

"It is a magnificent view," she said after her feet were firmly planted on the ground.

The 66-year-old Duluth woman continued her smiling as she was peppered with questions, saying that she would jump from an airplane again "now that I know what it is like."

Prettner Solon made her first skydive, in tandem with Amy Sgt. First Class Aaron Figel, to draw attention to the Community Covenant, a 5-year-old initiative to show support for military families. She said 2,000 Minnesotan military personnel are overseas, including 600 Minnesota National Guard members.

A couple hundred people gathered on a sunny, warm afternoon to watch the Army Golden Knights put on a parachuting show, highlighted by the Figel-Prettner Solon jump.

The pair fell at 120 miles an hour shortly after jumping from the plane at 12,800 feet, Figel said. They experienced 45 seconds of free fall, followed by about four minutes under the bright yellow Army parachute for the last 600 feet.

In about 700 tandem jumps, in which someone is attached to Figel, he said that Prettner Solon is the first public official he has escorted on such a trip.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.