Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane

For Andrew’s birthday, we decided to ✔ another thing off our bucket list…skydiving. I’ve always had the desire to soar through the sky and was excited when Andrew suggested it, but also a bit surprised since he has a fear of heights. He said he wanted to conquer that fear and we made the reservation for the following weekend at Skydive Perris.

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When we showed up for our reservation, we were checked in and asked to sign a waiver, which basically says if you die, they are not responsible. Then we were moved to a room to watch a 15 minute instructional video. After completing the video, we were told to go wait until our names were called (about an hour). We decided to grab a cocktail at the restaurant on premise to help Andrew relax, until we were notified that if we consume any alcohol prior to our jump we would not be allowed to board the plane. We opted for water and nachos instead.

The waiting is the hardest part. After over an hour of sitting, waiting, wishing, our names were finally called.

We walked to the dressing area and met our instructors. We were given jumpsuits to put on over our clothes. After we dressed, we were fitted with a harness and given goggles. Then our instructors gave us a 3 minute skydiving lesson – cross arms, head back, knees up, jump. First tap on shoulder to open arms, second tap to bring them back to chest. Knees bent for landing. Any questions? That was the extent of the lesson.

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We then walked to the boarding area and waited with our instructors. The plane arrived and our group started boarding. On the plane, there were 2 benches facing each other and we all crammed in to the very tight space. In our group there were 8 tandem jumpers with their 8 instructors. The door closed and we were off!

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As we started to ascend, I felt some butterflies in my stomach, but then the instructors started cracking jokes, and the nervousness melted away. I looked over at Andrew and his face was the color of a snowflake. I tried getting his attention, but he was staring straight ahead and deep in thought, I assumed about his last minutes on earth.

At 12,000 ft the door opened and it was action time. One by one, the jumpers and their instructors scooted towards the door, and then they were gone. Finally, it was my turn. My instructor nudged me towards the edge of the door. I followed instructions to cross my arms and put my head back, and then within seconds, we were falling. It was the most amazing feeling. Looking down at the vast openness below and feeling the cool wind on my face, my adrenaline was pumping. After about 60 seconds of free falling at a speed of 200 mph, the parachute opened. After a quick jerk, we started floating peacefully towards earth. My instructor asked if I wanted to do a couple spins and I said absolutely! However, after a spin to the right and a spin to the left, I felt a little queasy and asked that we stop spinning. We floated slowly towards the drop zone I observed the world from a completely different perspective.

After about 7 minutes, it was time to land. I raised my knees and my instructor landed on his feet. He then told me feet down, and that was it. It was a much smoother landing than expected. We gathered our parachute and walked back towards the dressing area. I found Andrew and was relieved to see the huge smile on his face. He loved it!

Skydiving was a feeling of complete freedom and something I will never forget. I would do it again in a heartbeat and encourage everyone to add it to your bucket list.

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