So I can officially scratch this one off the Bucket List. I did it, I actually jumped out of a perfectly good airplane! Actually, that was the airplane’s name, painted right on the side, “Perfectly Good Airplane”.
What a rush! An insane rush, but a rush like I have never had before. I had an absolutely great time this morning at Sky Knights in East Troy, Wisconsin. Everyone there is super nice and very fun people. I was assigned to “Hooche” as my tandem instructor. He is the best!
In addition to just wanting to experience skydiving for the first time, I also wanted to learn how to steer, stall, and generally control the parachute in case I ever needed to bail out of a not-so Perfectly Good Airplane. Hooche said that would not be a problem and he would teach me whatever I wanted to know.
I did not get nervous at all, except right before we jumped. I was on my knees leaning out of the plane, looking down 13,500 feet at Milwaukee below. Only then did something in my brain say “Umm, hello… what the hell are we doing?” That thought only lasted for a second, because I heard Hooche say “1, 2, 3 GO!” Then you are not nervous, no reason to be, you are either going to die in 2 minutes or not 🙂
I had a smile on my face within 10 feet of leaving the plane, as evidenced by the pictures below. What a rush! You don’t actually get the feeling that you are falling, you just feel an incredible amount of wind. The scenery does not change all that fast, so you really don’t get the sensation that you are falling out of the sky like a brick.
The cameraman was only several feet away from us and managed to get some really great pictures. The video will be mailed to me in about 10 days or so, and I cannot wait to see it.
The freefall lasted about a minute, though it did not seem that long. At 5,500 feet Hooche showed me the altimeter on his wrist, which was my queue to pull the ripcord. I waved “bye bye” to the cameraman and pulled the chord, thinking I would soon get a severe jolt.
To my surprise, there was only a slight feeling of slowing down, then slowing down more and more. Finally slowing down rapidly followed by a light jolt as the chute was fully deployed. Then total, I mean total, silence. It was beautiful.
Hooche let me enjoy the moment by not saying anything. Then I said “It’s Quiet” and then he spoke, saying “Now is when you look up to make sure you have a parachute up there”. I did, and we did have a chute, and everything was perfect.
Now is when the lesson began for me. He taught me how to turn left and right, and how to not do it like a girl! My first couple of turns were real shallow but he soon had me making steep turns as we aimed towards a house near the airport. He then let me stall the parachute, as if we were landing, so I feel a lot more comfortable now if I ever needed to use one for real. He then took the controls and landed us safely about 30 feet from where all this started.
I slid in on my butt, real gentle across the ground. Not only did I not get hurt at all on my first skydive, I didn’t even get a grass-stain! It was a beautiful day in Wisconsin, and I am pumped. This was my first skydive, but I can assure you it will not be my last! Sorry family 🙂