Monday morning. It was overcast, but skydiveable. Steve and I arrived at the drop zone at 14:00 hours. I was in my GI JOE T-Shirt. You can call me Rip Cord.
While waiting for the sky to clear just a little bit more, we were introduced to our Tandem partners. Alex and Oleg.
On a wooden rig, Oleg showed us how we would be sitting in and exiting the plane. He then had us lie on the ground mats to practice our “arch”, which is a very important element of the exit procedure and proof that my regular Wii Fit Yoga routine is working.
In fact, I’m officially submitting a new stretch to the world of Yoga. I call it the “Tandem Sky Dive Exit Procedure”…or “Reverse Rainbow” for short.
With training over, it was time to get dressed. I was fitted for a blue jump suit and a 1930’s football helmet.
I was thinking that a modern day football helmet might provide more protection, but I guess if something went wrong and I hit the ground hard after falling from 12,000 feet…would any helmet make a difference? Probably not...So, it must just be for style.
The hangar was pretty relaxed until a man entered and yelled out something to the effect of “Autobots! Roll out!” With that, the room became alive with activity and in minutes we were heading to the plane.
The stroll to the plane made me feel like I was in Top Gun…only cooler.
However, inside the plane I felt like I was in…a sardine tin!
Actually, that’s not exactly a fair statement to make because there was plenty of space, but we were all pressed together so tight I felt guilty that I didn’t even know everyone’s name.
For the first few moments, there was a little chatter here and there, but once the plane started it’s take off it got pretty silent…except for the deafening noise of the roaring engine. Even from experienced jumpers there seemed to be a sober realization that in a few minutes…well…anything could happen.
With a cool altitude gauge on my wrist,
I was able to monitor the progress of our ascent and I will admit that during the climb I started to get a little nervous. I’m still not sure what brought on the apprehension. It could have been the realization that I knew this was only a one way ticket and I’d be, in a sense, walking home…or it could have been that the seams of the plane were lined with duct tape.
Then at 11,000 feet (exact measurement), the heart rate increased five-fold (an estimate at best), as everyone else, in an uncanny display of unison, began frantically adjusting their straps, goggles and helmets.
The side door was slid open, everyone began shifting forward. The next few seconds was the most intense moment of my life. It was absolutely wild! One by one people disappeared. Oleg, my tandem partner, began screaming last minute instructions into my ear as we edged closer and closer to the door. I could barely hear him as the engine noise was now being drowned out by the roar of the rushing wind.
There is no way to explain what it feels like to be leaning out of an airplane at 12,500 feet, overlooking clouds. I stumbled. Oleg leaned me back. And then…
Go To SKY DIVE - PART 4: The (2nd) Most Awesome Experience of my Life
Have a good one,
Dare 2 Dream,