My First Skydive March 21, 2009Posted by Dave Of Prescott in extreme sports, Just Stuff.
Yesterday Tracie and I drove to Casa Grande so I could Skydive.
Tracie had given this to me as a birthday present, but because of the GORD event I couldn’t get to it until now. When we got there I had to sign and initial every waiver clause ever written. The instructor then gave me instructions on what I would have to do when we left the plane. Pretty simple really, head back, hands across my chest, arch my back. Then when he tapped me, I was supposed to stick my arms out. He then gave instruction on how to adjust the leg straps once the chute had been deployed. Piece of cake.
He got me into a harness and adjusted it to fit my sized body, and snugged it down tight. Then we headed out to the plane. It was an old Cessna 182 that had been modified by taking out everything except the pilot’s seat and the instrument panel, the right side door had been changed out to a top hinged cargo door. That’s what I was, cargo.
There was another lady jumping on the same flight as me, so all four of us squeezed onto the floor of the 182, and took off into the sky. On the climb up to jumping altitude, I was chatting with Mike, the guy who was about to clip himself to me for the tandem jump. He said the he did 5 to 10 jumps a day like this one. He asked how come I didn’t seem nervous, and I said, “Because I know you know what you are doing, and I am going to be strapped to you, so I am sure I’ll be fine.”
My altimeter watch said 10405′ when Mike told me to put on my goggles and opened up the door of the plane. Put his left leg out, then had me swing firs my left then my right leg out so they were hanging in the air. He pulled my head back against his right shoulder and we just leaned forward and out into freefall! As we fell away headfirst toward the ground, I forgot to wait for him to tap me, and I just put my arms out like I knew what I was doing, then I realized that I had jumped the gun, and brought them back in. Eventually, I put my arms out into the proper position, arching my back as instructed, and we were in a nice controlled freefall skydive.
We were rushing so fast toward the ground that it felt like being in a gale force wind, I could feel my face rippling like those guys on rocket sleds on the Utah salt flats trying to set land speed records. I looked out and all around at the horizon, envious of birds that get this view any time they want it. At one point I found myself looking straight down, and noticing that from that vantage point, it was hard to tell I was falling. For a couple of seconds my thoughts went to those people who chose to jump from the World Trade Center buildings instead of suffocating or burning to death, and I knew why they did it.
Mike had told me that he would tap me again before he pulled the chute, but if he did, I was lost in the moment and didn’t feel it. I felt a brief moment of confusion when my 120 mph fall from heaven was interrupted by a sudden jerk that pulled me from my arch into a feet down position, then when the rushing wind was gone I heard Mike say, “Congratulations you got line twist on your first skydive.”
The canopy slowly untwisted and then we were gliding along in almost total silence. Mike let me take the toggles and steer the canopy through a couple of spirals and turns, and then looking down, I saw the landing zone and Tracie standing by the car looking up at us, so I gave her the thumbs up. He warned me that because there was no wind to glide into, we would be coming in pretty fast and he might just sit us down instead of trying to land on our feet. As we swung in over the cars and came down the last 40 feet, he told me to lift my legs straight out in front of me. He flared the canopy and his feet we sliding along the ground (which meant my long legs were way out in front of us) so when he told me to try and stand up, it was too late, and we slid in for a 27 point landing. A little dusty, but no harm done!
That was how it went. Summary: First tandem skydive – $187, Video of said skydive – $90, Experiencing freefall for 40 seconds – PRICELESS!!
A big thank you to my wonderful wife!
It is too pricey for me to do it often, but I think I could swing 1 or 2 jumps a year….I highly recommend that all of you try this. …..it is truly indescribable.