As readers of my father's blog probably know by now, I spent Saturday afternoon in Longmont Colorado jumping out of an airplane. That's right folks, I went skydiving. I called up a company that works out of an airport in Denver's northern suburban edges. Then I paid them a heap of money to fly me up into the sky and let me jump out of an airplane.
It was a great day. I got up to the hangar and checked in. I signed six pages of liability release forms before waiting around for my tandem instructor to show me how to do things. Finally, "Dave" showed up. Some readers will laugh when I tell them that "Dave" was very much like Dave Pedersen from NAU. Only this Dave was bigger, louder, and walked with a lot more swagger.
He showed me how we would jump and we got on the truck to take us out to the airplane. We got on some twin engine prop plane with a small door at the airport that took off quickly. The sliding door on the airplane was partly opened as we climbed into the sky. It was at that point I realized how absurd the situation was. I was going to jump out of an airplane strapped to a musclebound adrenaline junky.
When it happened though it was great. Actually falling out of the airplane happened extremely quickly. I was slightly disappointed that the airplane as I fell out of the plane, but I'm not complaining. Floating through wind and space, I watched Long's Peak to the North and the distant, but rapidly approaching suburban landscape of Longmont. The big box stores, controlled access freeways and airport runway slowly swelled with the wind in my face. While the freefall was less than 2 minutes, it really took an eternity.
Then Dave brought me back to reality screaming "PULL! PULL! PULL!..." So I pulled the orange golf ball on the rip cord and released the parachute. The harness groaned as the canopy caught the air. The instructor showed me how to steer for a couple minutes and then told me to hold my feet up as we came down. The landing was far softer than I imagined, but I have a feeling that that was his skill more than a typical experience. Hard to say, but I have a feeling not all landings are created equal.
But people! You absolutely HAVE to do this! This is the greatest rush you could ever imagine! You will never regret doing something like this! I'm definitely going to do this again!