Thumbs up, Ready to jump!
My best friend Darla and I had been talking about doing a jump for years. Being young and bulletproof at the time, we tried all sorts of things: scuba, bungy, whitewater, line dancing... er I mean mountain biking! Anyway, we had wanted to go to this place down in Corpus Christi, Texas where they jumped near the beach. We thought that would be pretty cool! Well, we waited around too long and that place shut down. Then one night, I was out at one of my favorite joints and noticed a video playing on the TV. One of the waitresses had gone skydiving and they were playing it one the big screen! They showed it a couple more times during the night. I later recognized the waitress working another area, introduced myself and asked her where she went and how was it? She told me Skydive San Marcos.
Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane!
It was about a half hour drive from my apartment south of Austin. She said she had a blast and would surely do it again! The next afternoon, I called Darla and related the previous nights conversation. We talk it out over dinner a night or two later and decided to do it. Two weeks later we were hangerside looking at the planes go up and land again. Taking a new group of jumpers to their appropriate altitude and watching them bailout. Summoning up our nerves, we went in, asked a few questions, then signed our lives away (literally). We signed up for a jump, photo and video package (hope to get that on site soon!). After picking some music for our videos, we were instructed on procedure, safety and everything else we needed to know. Rather then going up right away, we were slowed down by frequent showers.
There it goes.
After about three hours, we were finally planeside. We took a couple pictures, said our last rights to the video guy and crawled into the plane. They put me in last, explaining that they didn't want to have to drag me from the back of the plane incase I changed my mind! I was eager to jump! I rode up to altitude sitting next to an open door. With no seatbelt! We got up to where we needed to be. My tandem instructor Ron, hooked up the couplings and synches and prepared for our departure. That's the great thing about tandem jumps folks, you're just along for the ride, but you're up front! Ron asked if I wanted to jump straight out or do some sommersaults? I said "Spin the wheel!". Standing on the little step outside the door, wind whipping anything not tethered down, you get an awesome view.
One last sommersault!
It's not like looking out a window. You are THERE! I heard Ron say "We go on three". And I said "Yeah right!" and sure enough on "one" be tumbled out into the great beyond! I never felt "disconnected" while jumping. The pressure of wearing Ron like a backpack gave me a secure feeling. And once we stopped tumbling and went into freefall, I didn't really have the sensation of falling. It was more like being suspended. The force of the air rushing past me was almost solid, like lying on a soft air mattress! The view was amazing! Even as it was mostly brown fields, being summer, you could see green everywhere in little squares, broken up by fences, creeks and roads. I eventually noticed the AV guy falling in front of us. Taking pics and video as we plummeted to earth.
Hey! The change fell out of my pocket!
Though it felt like ages we were falling. It was only a few seconds really. The AV guy moved away a bit and Ron tapped me on the shoulder. This was a sign to tuck up and get ready for shute deployment. I did.... BOOM! I heard the shute snap open and it felt like every once of my being was being pushed to my shoes! The deceleration is crazy! I was watching the AV guy when the shute came open. One second he was there then...poof!, he was hundreds of feet below. I had the odd sensation of being jerked upward, though you're really still falling. Soon we were gliding lazily above the fields of Central Texas. I could now hear Ron, he was telling me to pull in the hand lines on one side to turn either left or right. The harder you pulled the tighter and faster the turn you would make.
I'm not really smiling. The wind is blowing my lips back! (not)
It was simple. And fun as hell! After several turns, I noticed the ground was starting to come up pretty fast. He instructed me on the landing. We turned towards our landing site. A circle painted on the ground. We slowed a little then I pulled both the lines toward my chest at the same time and came to a perfect landing. I equate it to stepping off a curb! Still giddy from my experience, I remembered Darla was up there somewhere. I turned to see her and her instructer coming in. I though I had a soft landing. They touched down like a feather to earth! You couldn't wipe the smiles on our faces for hours. We both loved it. Now I had my own video for my fellow late night club-goers. My advice to you, if you've been talking about it and talking about it... Shut Up And Jump!