Saturday, June 11, 2011


While taking with family over a BBQ my sister J. said that the one thing she was most scared of was skydiving and it was on her bucket list of things to do. Well, that is all it took for me. Pretty soon we were piling into a car after finding the closest place on our phones and we were on out way there.
The first five times you jump it has to be tandem. The person assigned to me was short guy named Alex. I found it funny that here I was in the middle of Utah and the guy assigned to me was British from Milton keys, so he enjoyed me catching him up on some of the British stuff.
We had to jump in two shifts because someone had to watch my sister's baby. So I went first with J. and her husband watching their baby. The rest of the plane was filled with guys that were celebrating that this was one of the people's 9000th group. (Yes, the Internet meme of "over 9000" came to mind.) Since we were in Utah we were jumping from 13000 feet. The 10 people in the group jumped out first and the plane rose fast enough to feel like I was being pressed down. Things seemed to speed up then and I don't remember to much of that because we had already scooted to the edge.
Everyone else up to this point was feeling very nervous for the whole drive to the airport (Even my sister's husband who had jumped before). I was feeling as an outsider for the group since it did not seem like a big deal to me since I knew it was safe. It was a weird sensation wanting to feel nervous. Of course that was all taken care of when I looked over the edge of the plane. The fear hit me when I looked down. Then, without waiting, we jumped.
Basically for the first five seconds my body froze in sensory overload mode. It wasn't fear, joy, or any other emotion I've ever had before. My brain truly didn't know how to process the information it was receiving, and it was receiving it to fast to respond to anything. After five seconds the wind pressure balances with how fast you are falling and stops you from falling any faster (terminal velocity) and you get the same floating sensation as an astronaut. At this point I felt like I was swimming through the wind and the feeling of pure happiness hit me. From that high up you can see quite far and the beauty of the scenery was breathtaking. After falling for what seems like forever to liven it up a bit the instructor started rocking us back and forth to do some tricks.
I've always heard there is whiplash when the ripcord is pulled. In reality it felt very smooth, more like braking in a car. He asked me to stand on his feet and he loosened the straps a little to make it more comfortable. As we glided down I got the lesson on how to steer the parachute and how to land. I had fun pulling the left cord and making lazy swooping circles down to the landing zone. Since there was no wind, we just kicked up our legs and had a butt landing in the gravel. Total time in the air, 14 minute flight, 35 seconds falling and 10 minutes parachuting.
I watched my sister's baby while waiting for them to go through the whole experience. They paid to have a video taken that I opted out of ($90 on top of the $185 for jumping because the camera person has to jump too) The only downside to the entire event was that it took forever for my ears to pop. I felt it was totally worth it and would be willing to do it again.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Mark, thanks for you report on how you felt and thought about the skydiving event. Dad