Lot’s of people have expressed an interest in skydiving as a recreational activity. So I decided to show you what it’s like from the beginning. Well, sort of…
There are certain feelings that even a video cannot convey. The temperature at altitude is about 30-40 degrees (Fahrenheit) colder than it is on the ground. You’re inside a hot, sweaty, cramped box with four other people, (or as many as you can safely pack in, depending on the aircraft), and the only thing you have on your mind is… I’m going to be falling through the air in a few minutes. The smell of airplane fuel filling the inside of the airplane, the temperature, the feeling of concern deep in the pit of your stomach (sometimes transitioning into a phenemom known as bubble-guts…). Your equipment checked and double-checked, you rehearse your actions over and over again, until the jump-master or first jumper through the door looks to the pilot for confirmation on checking the location of where to jump out, and then you hear “Door!” as the door flies open and the glorious wind rushes through the inside of the airplane, you’re almost to your destination… On the homestretch.. The inside temperature drops from 100 degrees, to 50 degrees in a matter of seconds. With the location confirmed, each jumper is responsibble for his or her own actions. It’s time to leave. One by one, friends, acquaintances and perfect strangers begin stepping off into the sky.
The most popular question ever asked in the history of skydiving, “Why would anyone jump out of a perfectly good airplane?” The answer, different for each person, impossible to convey. But my take… Freedom. Freedom of expression, freedom to take the next minute and put yourself in an environment that you are only capable of visiting in one other circumstance. In your dreams. Skydiving is one of the few moments in life where you can take your conscious awareness and unite it with a recurring, persistent dream from childhood.
One person has summed this up far better than I ever could. This quote was copied from the website “Great Aviation Quotes”.
“I watched him strap on his harness and helmet, climb into the cockpit and, minutes later, a black dot falls off the wing two thousand feet above our field. At almost the same instant, a while streak behind him flowered out into the delicate wavering muslin of a parachute — a few gossamer yards grasping onto air and suspending below them, with invisible threads, a human life, and man who by stitches, cloth, and cord, had made himself a god of the sky for those immortal moments.
A day or two later, when I decided that I too must pass through the experience of a parachute jump, life rose to a higher level, to a sort of exhilarated calmness. The thought of crawling out onto the struts and wires hundreds of feet above the earth, and then giving up even that tenuous hold of safety and of substance, left me a feeling of anticipation mixed with dread, of confidence restrained by caution, of courage salted through with fear. How tightly should one hold onto life? How loosely give it rein? What gain was there for such a risk? I would have to pay in money for hurling my body into space. There would be no crowd to watch and applaud my landing. Nor was there any scientific objective to be gained. No, there was deeper reason for wanting to jump, a desire I could not explain.
It was that quality that led me into aviation in the first place — it was a love of the air and sky and flying, the lure of adventure, the appreciation of beauty. It lay beyond the descriptive words of man — where immortality is touched through danger, where life meets death on equal plane; where man is more than man, and existence both supreme and valueless at the same instant.”
— Charles A. Lindbergh, contemplating his first parachute jump, ‘The Spirit of St Louis,’ 1953
Of course, everyone has their own experience. Some are far more poetic and eloquent than others… For those who prefer video…
Here you go.