I did my first sky dive today and am very excited to share this with you all. It was an amazing experience and very good. It should be. Don’t you think so, if you jumped off of a plane from 14500 feet (= 2.74621212 miles = 4.4196 kilometers) above the ground and traveled at a speed of 120 miles/hr (193.12128 km/hr) in free fall? Watch the video attached to share my experience.
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During summer 2008, the idea of the jump strike me and stuck in my mind till today. After a long series of unsuccessful planning attempts and research for a good sky dive club to make the jump over the two years, I finally decided to do it at Skydive Milwaukee/Sky Knights adventure club and paid the non-refundable fee yesterday. My friend and I have decided to do it.
We reached the club in East Troy, WI. There is a small airport there nearby and this diving club uses the same airstrip for its plane. We checked in, paid the money. They started off by showing us a video in which a long bearded guy started making statements about how they are not responsible for any of our general mis-expectations of jumping from a plane coming true. It scared us like any thing particularly the bearded (really long) guy. Apparently he invented and his company in Florida manufactures the landing gear (parachute opening kit) that we used for the jump. We had to make a billion initials and a million signatures agreeing to what the video has just explained. My friend told me that if we read the documents, the chances of going to the fall will decrease drastically because it scares. So I just kept the video in mind and signed without going into details. This is the end of the not so fun part.
Going to the fun part, now they took us into a room and our Tandem instructors met us and helped us dressed up. We put a suit and a belt each that actually surrounds the whole body. I assumed this helps the instructors tie us to them. The belt had a danger sign on the back, a big one. A video-grapher came into the room and started shooting some questions and I answered them on the video. They called us out. I think we were all set and ready to go to the plane.
We headed to the plane which is actually parked on a lawn near the airstrip. The plane had a opening to the rear end which had a shutter (just like the one the shops in malls uses). We got onto the plane through this slit. There were two parallel benches and I sat on the left one with my two legs one to the each side of the bench. My instructor sat behind me and the video-grapher in front of me, all facing the tail and the slit of the plane. The plane took off and while we were watching, we left the ground, then the clouds above us, and up. My friend and I were looking at each other and laughing at our craziness. My instructor tied me to himself using the belts while we were sitting and I put my goggles on.
In just 10-15 minutes we reached the altitude of 14500 feet and the shutter flew open. There were some other jumpers in front of us and they jumped. Our instructors asked us who wants to go first and I chose to go first. My video-grapher went out first and she was hanging to the plane waiting for me to jump. It all happened in a split second and there I was at the slit ready to jump.
I could feel the forceful wind blowing outside. It was very chilly. My ears halted functioning for a moment due to sudden air and altitude. I can see the clouds and ground beneath me and they looked very far. I almost forgot how my instructor asked me to hold the hands. I made 2 mix and match combinations and found the right one. Now I felt my ears, held my hands, left my legs free. I left the plane, my feet were outside the plane, and I was still hanging as my instructor didn’t make the jump yet.
The last moment for calling off the jump has also gone now. I was looking downwards and left my mind blank. By the time I realized, I was out in my own wide open craziness and I was flying. For a second I couldn’t settle facing completely down and almost made a half 3-axis turn in the air. Then got into control and started facing downwards. It was so beautiful down there. Clouds, from between them, I could see the ground, a little fall colors, lakes, a freeway, some houses. I was laughing and laughing to the last joule of my energy.
My cheeks also got wings and started fluttering whilst my smiles. My hair was on high. Water trickled down my eyes, courtesy of the cold air pinching me everywhere on my face. To stay settled down, I had to make an arch out of my body. I was going down at a speed limit for which we will go to a jail if it was on a road. My video-grapher was circling around me taking pictures and video. My instructed said to me, “Guess what?! You jumped off a plane”. Now I was nearing the clouds, falling down freely, yet flying smoothly.
We reached the clouds, my instructor pulled the cord, the parachute is up, I came into a standing position with my legs facing downwards. It was like a sudden break for a rocket, the speed reduced drastically, I could see my video-grapher leaving me as she still didn’t open her chute. My instructor checked on me as if I can hear him. I replied “loud and clear”. Actually he was instructing all along and he was asking after half of the journey. I could see a lake right beneath me and it was as if we were headed towards it. Suddenly I spotted some chutes opening and flying down. They were the video-graphers. They went down fast to cover our landing. My instructor steered the chute round and I could see all 360 degrees. He was steering and now we were on top of the freeway. I can see the vehicles down. And we were very near to the ground.
We headed towards our landing zone. My instructor asked me to keep my knees bent so that I can see my foot and to be ready to land. There were several guys and my video-grapher waiting for me. I landed. The guys over there helped my instructor take control of the chute. We headed back to the club. I got a First Jump Certificate and loads of thrill. “I did it”.