It’s the old question: “Why would anybody jump out of a perfectly good airplane?” Well, I have an answer now: “It is exhilarating!”
I came to this piece of wisdom yesterday, November 24, when, after several weather-related re-schedules, my day had come and I went up in an airplane, jumped out and landed a few minutes later. Mind you, it was a tandem jump. I was perfectly secured and strapped onto an experienced instructor and had nothing else to do but to enjoy the ride. But enjoy the ride I did.
When my assigned time came, I was first strapped into a tight harness over a jumpsuit (that’s where that word comes from), talked with the instructor for just a few basic instructions, and then into the airplane we loaded. The first time ever that I went into the backdoor of what looked like a cargo hold. We sat like sardines on the benches along the side with additional jumpers squeezed in the middle.
When it was time to prepare, Greg repeated the instructions and then attached my harness to his. Once I was secured, the backdoor opened again, and reality hit: that was my way out. At an altitude of 13,500 feet (that’s over 4,100 meters for the rest of us), the individual jumpers just left, and I was the first of the tandem jumpers. Before I even had time to wonder whether I was afraid or not, I was already out the door.
The sensation is difficult to describe. I did not even have the sense of falling. Rather shortly after the exit, I found myself in the proper position with arms and feet out as if face down. It must have been Greg’s doing because I would not have known how to get there. He got us into a spin at which time I was glad to have chosen a light lunch. Next thing I know, Jeff, the videographer, came flying toward us. Eventually, we locked hands and did a few circles. It must have been awfully cold up there but I didn’t notice any of it.
After about a minute (as I was told afterwards) of free-fall, Greg deployed the parachute, and all of a sudden it got very quiet. It’s amazing how these big chutes can be controlled in terms of speed and direction.
Landing was as easy as the rest of it because I only needed to do as I was told, and that is: “Keep your feet up until your butt has come to a complete stop.”
I now have memories of an amazing experience. I also got a certificate of the jump which I will keep with my ‘important’ papers. And I have a video which will give me a chance to relive the moment. And if you are interested to see it as well, here is the link: