Wednesday night:

Like this Friday? Okay! Carpe diem! Caren’s words. Agree!

My teammates at work totally understood my “Surprise, I’m out Friday!” the next morning when I explained it was to go jump out of a plane. Super legitimate reason to last minute bail on work, ya?

Friday: Got to Skydive California at noon. We were given some waivers to sign and shown a cult video about the dangers of skydiving.

I kid. That guy is Bill Booth, and he’s done a ton for skydiving. He’s also way less cult creepy in his other videos.

The skydiving center was a bit backed up from earlier in the day, so we went to Starbucks, came back, and watched a few loads drop. It was neat watching people’s landing techniques. I particularly liked how one of the camera guys would come buzzing in at full speed. Just like flying.

Around 3:30, we suited up. They did a quick turnaround load right before us, so we hung out in the prep area and watched our chutes get packed. Fascinating!

At 4, we headed for the plane.

Caren & Me Pre-Jump

That’s Caren’s tandem instructor in the back. I think he likes what he does, ya?

Got on the plane. More accurately, hopped in the prop! My second ever propeller plane. It seemed beefy compared to the Piper I flew in a year ago. I’m glad I had the Piper experience under my belt; one new thing at a time!

Some final instruction before the jump, paraphrased:

“If you can’t breathe, scream! Your lungs will figure it out.”
“If everything goes dark, open your eyes.”

Caren got to go first so my camera guy could capture her jump. “Bye Caren!” I yelled as she approached the door. “Bye!” And off she went!

My turn! I smiled for the camera and off we went! Whoa! Falling feeling! Sky! Ground! Sky! So windy! Ahhhhh!!

The video shows about a minute of freefall with a drogue. I spend most of that time yelling, “OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING THIS IS SO AWESOOMMME!!!” over and over. I noticed how I might find it hard to breathe if I wasn’t yelling at the top of my lungs. But I was, so no bigs.


My instructor gave the videographer a high five, saluted goodbye, then pulled the chute. Instant calm. Then he handed me the controls. Arms up. “This is fast.” Arms bent. “This is half brake.” Arms down. “This is full brake.” Full brake was amazing floatey peace. Then he showed me how to turn. Left arm up, right arm down to turn right. Right arm up, left arm down to turn left. We turned one way, then the other. HARD! It felt like one of those spinning chair swing rides at the carnival except way faster and way higher.

Chute flying, totally different from free-fall. My stomach did not like it at all! I felt nauseated for the next hour. Nauseated and adrenaline shakey all at the same time.

Everyone at Skydive California was super nice and they gave us free repeat jump certificates for the long wait. Would I go back? I think so! Experiencing this for the first time was amazing, but I think doing it again would allow me to experience it differently.

I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time now. Thanks Caren for finally making it happen!

One Comment

  1. YES. You must go a second time. The falling, disorientation etc. won’t be as big a thing and you will definitely experience it a totally different way. I can’t really remember my first, but my second was a completely amazing thing. Never regretted going again.

    I went as a single on a static line (tandem wasn’t a big thing back them, I’m old…) so once I left the plane I was on my own. I can still remember being so awestruck as I floated in the air under canopy and could see 360 degrees around me. No noise, no plane, no anything, just me and blue sky. Until suddenly the walkie talkie on my shoulder started spouting words like “here comes the ground… get ready… FLAREFLAREFLAREFLARE!”

    So glad you had a good experience, and second ride for free? Oh yeah, no question.

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