Why would anyone throw themselves out of a perfectly good airplane!?! Oh, I now know -- It's amazing!!!
I went with a friend this last weekend. And I'm telling you what - it's worth every penny. In addition to the mid-plunge pictures, I also have a video. It's so much fun to watch. The free fall lasts about a minute and then you float to earth. It was probably 7-8 minutes total. The whole time I was thinking and probably screaming WOO HOO!
I expected it to be like the best roller coaster ever but it was nothing like that. I didn't loose my stomach or feel queasy when it was over. A little light headed - but that was cause you free fall so fast.
I thought for sure SkyDive Dallas, the where we jumped would require hours of training, review every emergency scenario and tell us the do's and don'ts of the craft. Not so much. 30 minute video, quick chat with the person jumping tandem with you and you are set. The man I was strapped to has jumped more than 2,800 times so I wasn't too worried. And thankfully there was no need for him to consult his in air emergency guide or pull the back up parachute. He seemed confident and I had already paid the money so there was no backing out -- not that I wanted to. He let me pull the chord which was high on my list of great moments. We did these great spins while in the free fall and then again once the chute was open. It all happens so fast!
Assumptions that proved true:
I'm sure it's not true across the board... but I envisioned die hard skydivers to be an edgy group of over aged men and women that operate on only half the brain cells they were dealt. I expected them to be sitting around a hanger talking weird lingo and listening to Lynard Skynard and kicking a hacky sack in their specialty made colorful pants waiting for their turn to go again. Kind of a surfer type guy that's past his prime and looking for a rush. Well, I wasn't so far off. Don't get me wrong... there were straight laced folks, cpas, doctors, computer programmers. But the ones that really live for the sport were easy to spot. Most of them had hair past their shoulders - business in the front, party in the back - and were dressed in jams from the 80's. They were great.
Another expectation fulfilled - quite a few military dudes looking for a rush. Even some of the camera guys were former Rangers. I didn't feel any safer - not that drop zones are targeted... or at least not that I know of. I just liked knowing they are around and figured they get their kicks doing death defying stunts.
All in all - a great day, a great experience and a great memory to tell the grand kids some day. So, if you have ever thought about skydiving or listed it as one of the things you would like to do before you die... stop waiting - just do it!