What it’s like to Skydive
Have you ever thought about going skydiving? Regardless of your answer, we’d like to take you on a tandem skydive. Not in the physical sense with an actual airplane, real parachute, and 120 MPH free fall speeds. Instead, we will use words to create this experience. We encourage you to use your imagination as you read along. Are you ready to skydive?
Let’s do it
Awesome. You’ve embraced the idea of flight. You locate a USPA certified drop zone on the internet. You notice the fine print states no refunds. This statement gives you pause. The thought of skydiving makes your stomach feather. But, you’re committed to the idea, and you finalize your booking.
You lie in bed unable to fall asleep the night prior to your skydive. You label this feeling as anxiety. As you dive deeper into this feeling, you flashback to when you were a child. You remember those restless nights filled with anticipation. You recall the way you felt the night before you visited Disneyland for the first time. You realize it’s not anxiety you’re feeling. It’s excitement! You acknowledge this with a smile, close your eyes, and eventually fall asleep.
What was I thinking?
The next morning, you drive to the drop zone. You get out of your car, make your way to the front office, and check in. You’re greeted with a smile and a stack of liability forms. Each form is covered in doubt and fear. But, you’re confident and committed. With each signature, you move closer to your dream of flight.
After you’re finished with the paperwork, you’re lead to the gear room. Your instructor introduces himself, helps you put on a harness, and gives you some basic instruction. He cracks a few jokes to lighten the mood. You laugh to humor him. But, your mind is distracted as you notice your palms starting to sweat.
Your instructor informs you that you will be climbing aboard Blue Caravan 9 when it arrives. He leads you to a staging area. Both of you sit down and wait for the Blue Caravan 9. You ask your instructor, “How many skydives do you have?” He replies, “Three.” You look at him unsure if he is joking. He laughs. Then, all of a sudden, you hear “Blue Caravan 9, you’re on a now call.”
The Cessna Caravan announces it’s arrival with a loud roar from the propeller. Your instructor stands up and leads you towards the airplane. You climb up a small yellow ladder that leads into the belly of the beast. This happens so fast you don’t even have time to question your decision. Once aboard the plane, the pilot looks back with his gold aviators and yells “Are you guys ready to party?!”
The plane takes off and slowly starts to gain altitude. Everyone is smashed into the cabin like sardines. As you look around, you see different characters. The veterans are quiet as they patiently await the proper altitude. First timers try to disguise their fear without success. Then, you notice a random jumper enjoying a yogurt; as if he’s on a picnic.
As you approach 11,000 feet, everyone starts to shuffle. Tandem students start linking up to their instructors and fun jumpers start checking their gear. Your instructor connects his harness to yours and synchs down the straps. You are now wearing your instructor like a backpack. He gives you a pair of goggles, smiles, and gives you a thumbs up. Your life is now in his hands.
It’s time to let go
The pilot throttles back the speed as the airplane reaches 12,500 feet. Everyone starts to high five each other as they wait for the pilots signal. You observe a green light near the door illuminate. The skydiver closest to the door opens it, leans out, and then jumps.
Your instructor edges you closer and closer towards the door as you watch each person in front of you exit the aircraft. An audible “woosh” accompanies each person as they exit. You realize that you’re next as you watch the pair in front of you jump out and disappear from sight.
As your instructor positions you in the door, you immediately feel overwhelmed. Your first emotion is fear. However, before you know it, you are rolling out of the airplane wearing your instructor as a backpack. For a split second, it feels as if you’re just tumbling. Then, all of a sudden you find yourself face down in a belly to earth orientation. That’s when it hits you. I am flying.
You can see the mountains and the ocean on the horizon. The ground and the clouds feel distant to you. The feeling of fear is replaced with the “feeling of awe” as you fall through the sky at 120 MPH.
The wind roars by your face with intense volume. You fall through a cloud layer and briefly lose sight of the horizon. As you emerge out the bottom, you see the dropzone right below you. Your instructor waves his hands to signal he’s about to deploy the main parachute. Then, within seconds, your parachute opens and slows your free fall from 120 MPH down to 20 MPH.
Suddenly, everything becomes calm. The sound of the fierce wind is replaced with pure silence as you float through the sky under your canopy. You are overwhelmed with excitement, relief, and happiness as you glide towards the ground. The parachute ride lasts about five minutes and your instructor makes it as calm or thrilling as you want it to be.
You fly towards a patch of grass as your instructor prepares you for landing. You glide in under your parachute and land softly in the grass. Your instructor disconnects your harness, gives you a high five, and sends you off to talk with the other skydivers. You have just completed a skydive!
I did it
The feelings you gain from the experience will become more powerful over the next few days. As you reflect, you remember bits and pieces of the experience. You will never look up at the sky in the same way again. It is no longer just a place for birds and airplanes. It’s a place for you too. You have just satisfied your childhood dream of flight. Be proud of your accomplishment and share it with those closest to you.
If this post motivates you to go for a skydive, please share your experience with us in the comments below! We’ve provided some resources to help you find a drop zone in the section below.
We recommend booking your jump with a United States Parachute Association certified drop zone. USPA drop zone instructors must adhere to the certification standards set forth by the USPA. Which, in our opinion, is a good thing.
Link: USPA Drop Zone Locator