Skydiving: The thrill of a lifetime
By Matthew Brittain
It’s a beautiful sunny day in the middle of summer. The temperature is in the 80s and there is a nice swift breeze. Why not jump out of a plane?
In the 1700s Bill Booth invented a three-ring release safety device, which allows a skydiver to cut away from a malfunctioning parachute and be able to deploy the backup parachute faster. He also invented the throw-out pilot chute. The pilot chute allows the jumper to throw his parachute directly into the air stream, rather than depending on a rip chord. These inventions greatly enhanced the safety of skydiving.
Well, why not jump out of a plane? That is exactly what my friends and I thought. We wanted something exciting to do over the summer so we all decided to go skydiving. It was a scary thought at first, but we did it.
The day came to go skydiving. My friends and I were nervous and excited at the same time. When we first got there we had to watch a training video, so we knew what we were doing. We then all signed waivers and waited until it was our turn to skydive.
The instructors asked us why we would want to jump out of a plane. He told a little bit about skydiving. When skydiving, a person free-falls at 120-130 miles per hour at 13,000 to 15,000 feet above the ground for about 60 seconds and then parachutes to the ground for about three to four minutes.
My friends and I were all excited. Our time had come. I got strapped into a harness and was put with a skydiving instructor to jump with. I was getting more nervous and excited. I didn’t know how to feel.
“My wife just left me, she took the house and kids,” an instructor said. “Who wants to jump with me?”
The skydiving instructors like to make jokes to mess with first time jumpers. When we were in the room getting on harnesses.
We were then sitting in the plane watching the ground get smaller and smaller. There was no turning back. We were all strapped to our instructors and suddenly the door opened. It got really loud in the plane and the wind was very strong.
“I’m about to jump out of a plane,” my friends and I all said at that time.
Once you are in the plane with an instructor, there is no turning back. One of my friends, who was in the plane, got to the door and decided she didn’t want to make the jump anymore. She wanted to go back in the plane. The instructor said okay and they started turning around. Out of nowhere the instructor leaned back and did a back flip out of the plane, bringing her with him.
My instructor and I started walking to the open door. My adrenaline was pumping like it has never pumped before. When we got to the door I looked around and then down. My emotions changed immediately, I became ecstatic.
We stood at the door watching the people who went before me falling from the plane, getting smaller and smaller.
“On three,” my instructor yelled into my ear. “One, two, three.”
I just jumped out of a plane. I was officially free falling at 120 miles per hour. I couldn’t stop yelling in a good way and I couldn’t stop smiling. I had a camera guy jump with me to record my first jump. We were spinning, enjoying the view and anything else we could think to do.
The parachute was deployed at 5,000 feet.
“Do you want to just casually float down or do you want to do some spins?” my instructor asked me when we were under the canopy. I said spins, so the instructor taught me how to fly the parachute so we could do spins. My instructor also pointed out all the big landmarks that could be seen from the sky.
As the ground approached, we slowed down and came in for a smooth landing. He unstrapped me and let me go. I still couldn’t stop smiling. I just jumped out of a plane and was now standing back on the ground. It was the greatest experience of my life.
The instructor asked me right after if I would do it again and I said of course. He then asked me where. My adrenaline was still pumping, I was still smiling and overly ecstatic about what I had done that all I could say was, “here!” There was so much going through my head that I forgot the name of the airport I was at.
Many people have told me they don’t want to skydive because they are afraid of heights. I am not a fan of heights either. The part of skydiving when I was most nervous was watching the ground get smaller and smaller from the plane, but once those doors opened I was ready to go and couldn’t wait to jump. There is too much adrenaline to be afraid of the height.
Skydiving can be dangerous if people are not careful. If everyone is careful and does everything correctly, then skydiving is a safe action sport that can be enjoyed as a first time jumper. When I went skydiving, I asked my instructor how he had gotten into it. He told me he started with a tandem jump just like I had.
“I figured skydiving was dangerous when I had to sign a bunch of waivers,” said another guy. “And then my suspicions were confirmed when I had to pay in advance before I jumped.”
Some people say they don’t want to skydive because they don’t like that feeling of their stomach dropping. When skydiving, you feel as if you are hovering or floating. You do not get the feeling of your stomach dropping. According to United States Parachute Association, there is no stomach-dropping feeling because when falling as fast as skydivers do the air acts more like a cushion, which gives a floating feeling. It is difficult to explain the feeling of skydiving to someone who hasn’t done it. It is something one has to do to find out.
My first time skydiving is something I will never forget. I have a video and pictures from it and it was probably one of the best experiences of my life. Since then, I have gone skydiving again. There is nothing else that I can find to be more exciting than skydiving.
One day, when you are bored on a nice summer day, gather up some friends and go for it. Jump out of a plane. It will be the experience of a lifetime.