I jumped out of a perfectly good plane at 14,000 feet, free falling for 8,000 feet at a speed of 120 mph. Then you just have to trust the parachute opens. Dan and I both jumped. I originally bought a tandem jump for him for Christmas 2007, but he never went being so sick in 2008, so I made him buy me a jump for Christmas 2008 and we’d both go. Never went over the summer and the weekend of November 7, 2009 was perfect weather. Clear, clear clear. We got to the field about 2:30 p.m., and it was busy since it had rained most of the prior month. We watched about 40-50 jumpers before us. The wait was a buzz kill, but once we were on deck, it went really quickly. We ended up being the last jump of the day. We had the sunset jump.
My tandem instructor Mike was really cool. He talked to Dan and I most of the afternoon between his jumps. Dan’s tandem instructor met us at the airfield as we picked him up off his prior jump. We boarded a little Twin Turbine Engine Super Otter. We got to 6,000 feet and we had a few solo divers jump. When we hit 14,000 feet, I saw Dan jump. I seriously thought “Oh my God, What have I done to him?”
Then it was my turn. It’s a blur since it goes by so fast. My videographer was really cool. He had me waving and blowing kisses. It was surreal. It’s like you know it’s happening but you’re thinking how can it be happening? And why hasn’t my chute opened yet?? And the video guy is 5 feet below you on his back and I’m wondering when his chute will open. Then Mike shows me my altimeter that it’s time to open the chute and everything stops. you come to such a slow, calm speed and you just float. I don’t like spins or tricks, so Mike did a nice calm float down. it was so pretty at sunset. Then you just sit down on the ground. The videographer is already on the ground waiting on you.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. I admit I was scared until the parachute opened. The free fall was so quick, but also so long. It’s hard to take in everything that is happening because the videographer is snapping photos and making faces at you and trying to get you to do stupid stuff. You’re thinking, “When the hell is the parachute going to open?” Adrenaline definitely got me through since I don’t like flying. I’m not a big fan of planes or motion. I get motion sick very easy, but the fear and adrenaline overtakes you. I keep watching the video to remember what it was like! Dan enjoyed it so much. We’d definitely go again. It was scary, but not scary enough where I wouldn’t do it again. I have no desire to jump solo. Tandem is OK with me. I think the first thing I asked after the parachute opened was, “Did Dan’s chute open?” Yes, he was on the ground about a minute before me so he saw me land. Relive it with me with the video to the right.
It was really incredible.
Who knew I’d take two somersaults out of a plane at 14,000 feet?