“Not bad for a Wednesday?” Ryan yelled over the noise of the small Cessna 206.
“Hell no!” I answered back.
It was almost sunset, and I’d been jumping since three. My training seems to be coming along nicely, I just need to work on targeting my landings better. But here I was about to get my first real freefall jump.
He flashed the climb-out/get-out signal. Next thing I knew I was hanging on the strut of that little plane, looking back at a big grin and a thumbs up.
“Fuck it.” I remember thinking, then I let go.
There’s no amount of ground training that can prepare you for what it’s like to fall from the sky at 150mph. There’s no video you can watch, or video game simulation to play. A wind tunnel gets close, but only for the physical aspect. You don’t have the falling sensation, or any sense of altitude awareness in a wind tunnel – but I’m sure it’s good practice.
I started on Wednesday still on the static line, doing some practice ripcord pulls. After I made 3 good ones, they gave me a hop n’ pop. After that, I got taken to 5,500ft AGL, and got a 10 second freefall. Not bad Ryan, not bad for a Wednesday.
For those of you not lucky enough to experience this part of life yet, I won’t even make an attempt to describe it. There’s just nothing to compare it to. You’re falling, but you don’t stop falling for a minute or sometimes more. It’s just you – and nothing else, and I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything. (PS. I owe beer)
So far my skydiving journey has been incredible. The folks over at the Minnesota Skydivers Club are absolutely amazing, and phenomenal instructors to boot. I’ve only been at this a week, but I can tell I’ll be doing this for the rest of my unnatural life.
Once on the ground my first question was, “What do you tell people? How do you explain why you do this?”
The general consensus was that you just don’t. Ryan told me that at first he wanted to tell everybody everything about skydiving – but then he realized that people just don’t understand. Afterwards, he says “You just want to talk skydiving with other skydivers, because they get it.”
Adler told me that he just doesn’t bother telling anyone. If they ask, he says “Well, I like it.”
What do you guys tell your friends or family? How do you explain why we love plummeting towards the earth at terminal?
Looks like it’s time to head out to the DZ again, then a nice 10 hour shift at the bar. Awesome.