Saturday, April 3, 2010

Skydiving for the first time!

Well today was the day that I was going to be able to cross something off my Bucket List, and that was to go Skydiving! It was an early start getting up at 5.45am, to get on the road just after 6am for the 2 hour drive down to Orange, Virginia.

It was a lovely drive down, nice and quiet and I felt completely relaxed and ready for my first jump.

We arrived at the Orange Skydiving center and Airfield about 8.30am and we weren't the only ones there. There were quiet afew other people, alot of seasoned jumpers and some first timers like me. First thing I had to sit and read and sign the biggest waiver I've ever seen, that must have stated about a dozen times, how dangerous Skydiving was and that I could die! After signing my life away and went and paid my fee, (I guess they get that out of the way first incase you don't make it down!).
I was on the 3rd group and so got to hang out in the hanger and watch the first two groups go off for their jumps. The aircraft was a 22 Jumper, aptly named as you can get 22 jumpers in it and I'm not talking the wooly knitted variety!

We sat awestruck watching as the tiny dots leaving the aircraft suddenly burst into color when the parachutes opened and the drifted down to the landing area. Some of the more experienced ones came in pretty fast too.

Then the 25 minute time call was made for my flight. I met my instructor Chuck and got kitted out for the jump. I was given a lovely purple jumpsuit to wear and a equally lovely leather pink helmet and goggles. I got told three key things! The position to get in when we left the aircraft, the position to be in when we were freefalling and what to do with my feet when we came into land. That was it!

We set off towards the plane with the other crazy people and there were only 8 of us onboard for my flight. 4 of them got out at about 6000ft to do low level jumps, and we continued up to 13000 before the others got out. That left me, Chuck and the camera/video guy! (and the pilot).

Chuck and I made our way towards the door of the plane, where the camera man was already hanging out waiting for us. I really had no fear or nerves at all as I stood at the doorway with my toes hanging over the edge. Chuck said after three, one, two, threeeeeeeeeeeeee and we were off!

I had no idea which was we went, but looking at the video after I discovered we went out upside down before ending up the right way around. We freefell for about 60 seconds at 120 mph, which was the most exhilirating thing ever, even better than on a motorbike! The air wooshed past us and the cameraman stayed with us taking shots and filming my crazy experience.

Before I knew it, it was time to delpoy the shoot and all of a sudden it felt like the brakes had gone on. The wooshing sound stopped and the ground slowed befow us and I could focus again! I took off my googles and enjoyed the view. Chuck made some adjustments to the harness while I took the controls and guided us for a few thousand feet.

The view from up there was amazing. I'd seen it before from planes but to be floating underneath and canopy of fabric and take it all in was truely amazing. After about 7 minutes Chuck began to make our descent to the airfield below us. We swerved left and right on the air currents, dropping altitude with every turn aiming for our landing mark. Last instructions to get my feet up and smile for the camera and we landed!

What a rush, I was eurphoric when I landed and just threw my arms around Chuck to give him a grateful hug and a kiss on the cheek for taking me on such an amazing journey! This was the most exciting, amazing, thrilling thing I have ever done......YET!

Now, whats next on my Bucket List?