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Old 08-13-2006, 12:34 AM
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El Jefe El Jefe is offline
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Default Skydiving - long!

Just went for my first jump today. Holy crap that was fun! Did a tandem jump out of Longmont. This has been on my list o'things to do for years now. One of the guys I work with jumps and invited a couple of us to go.

After all the paperwork was done, and paid for, we went to the hanger to wait to get suited up. The guy I was flying with, also named Chris, called my name, and we chatted a bit. Young guy, but he has over 5000 jumps, which boosted my confidence a bit. After I was in the suit and harness, we went over what would happen once leaving the airplane (a twin Otter - cool!).

About 30 mins later, and me, Sarah, and Jason are called for the trailer ride to the airplane. Once on board the airplane, it all became real...I'm going to jump from the plane! The ride up was fairly uneventful. About a half dozen guys left the plane at 5000'. That was kinda weird. On the way up, guys are joking around, checking and double checking things. High fives all around. Then you see someone in the door way, then they are gone. The door closed again, and we continued to climb.

The instructor cinched up the harness, went over what was going to happen once again, then we sat as the airplane climbed. Someone broke the tension and let loose a raucous stink at about 8000 feet...the door opened again for a few minutes to clear things up. Nasty!

The door opened again as we got close to 12500 feet. That's the only time I really felt a little nervous...looking at over two miles of air between you and the ground. Luckily, we didn't wait at the door long, and we stepped out of the plane.

The first thing that hit me was the wind. Took my breath away for a second or two. But I did was I was taught, and the free fall stabilized. Cool! Look around a bit, then the instructor tapped my arm, and we started spinning...left about six times, wait a few seconds, then to the right! Wow! I couldn't believe how fast we spun! We did a bit more freefall, then it was time to pop the chute. Arms in, then a jolt a second later. Nothing as dramatic as what I was expecting, it just slows you down fast, and rotates you from face down to feet down. Look up, and the canopy looks good. Funny thing is, I can't remember now what color the chute from while we were flying, but I know it was yellow/blue from seeing it on the ride back to the hangar.

The float down was a lot of fun too. We had a couple of minutes under the canopy. Float a bit, turn, then do some corkscrew things to lose altitude. Those were fun too, but did make me a little queasy. All the time, the instructor was talking to me: "Having fun?" "Nice ride, huh?" "Want to go again?" Once we were getting close to landing, we went over the drill: Feet up, legs out, knees bent, when we touch down, just stand up. Happened just like that.

Once Sarah and Jason were back on the ground, it was hugs and smiles time. We did it! Time for a few pictures, then back to the truck for the ride to the hangar.

After everything was put away, I got my first jump certificate from Chris, and we went to lunch at Chipotle. Adrenalin was still raging. I didn't really settle down for about 90 minutes after we landed.

I was worried before I went that I'd like it too much, and I'd want to take up yet another expensive sport. Might happen! It's tough to explain. I never had the "I could die this morning" feeling, even though it was a possibility. But the absolute rush from stepping out of a perfectly good plane was undeniable. There wasn't really a sensation of falling, or that stomach-in-your-throat feeling...just a lot of wind. You can see the ground getting closer, but that's about it. Just kinda peaceful in a strange way. Jason warned us that after the adrenalin wore off, we'd be tired. I was! I fell asleep after dinner and woke up at 1100...now I'm wired and can't go back to sleep!

We're already talking about going again before it gets too cold. This time, I'll get a video...

Chris

Twin Otter Takeoffs: 1
Twin Otter Landings: 0
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Old 08-13-2006, 12:44 AM
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Dayam!.....I always wondered if I could do it but I know the answer too well....No freaking way! Congrats on not making a smoking hole! Very cool Chris....I think...
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Old 08-13-2006, 07:26 AM
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Congrats! The first jump is the coolest, but it never loses the rush. If you go again let me know I know some of the instructors up there, or just ask for Brandon. He has over 10k jumps and is one of the worlds best BASE jumpers.

UB you should go man.
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Old 08-13-2006, 12:33 PM
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Was there something wrong with the airplane?

Trying to figure why you had to jump out of it
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Old 08-13-2006, 10:28 PM
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I did a tandem jump back in the early 90s. Everyone on the plane was a n00b. The scariest part of the whole experience was when they opened the door, and you're two miles up. I was right next to the opening, and it was like, "Oh CRAP!"

Once you've jumped, the rest is fun. I actually preferred the part after the canopy was open -- it was quiet and beautiful. We floated over Illinois farmland and rivers.

Isn't this the stuff you're supposed to do before you get married, Chris?
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Old 08-13-2006, 11:08 PM
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Congrats!

I highly recommend trying skydiving at least once. I jumped tandem from 12,000 over Christchurch New Zealand. Now that I think about it I know they said 12,000 but that should have been in kilometers. I don't know...but I do know it was amazing!
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Old 08-13-2006, 11:16 PM
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It's been on the list since waaaay before we got married! Luckily, Jackie was cool with it. She said she'll go next time to take pics. Funny thing was that the girl I went with from work was with an instructor who had to cutaway to his reserve the jump before ours! Not really ha ha funny I guess, especially since a lady from TX was killed there a few weeks ago from a double malfunction. But she's a trooper and jumped anyway.

Ian, we are definitely going again...maybe in two weeks if the weather is good. We want to go before it gets too cold.

Ken, the Twin Otter was perfect, though it's painted purple and white, not my favorite color scheme. The first airline I worked for flew Twin Otters. It's just fun getting out of control sometimes! Kinda changes your perspective a bit. Adrenalin is awesome!

Chris
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