I jumped out of a plane and lived to tell the tale! That statement’s definitely a little more creepy and a lot less funny after the recent death and injury of a tandem skydiving pair in MS earlier this month. But here’s my story…
My super supportive/super worried parents drove me out to 516-SKYDIVE in East Moriches, NY where we met up with my dearest and bravest friend, KeriAnn, and her fear-monger husband, Pat.
We watched a video in which a weird and long-bearded man explained that one of the risks of skydiving is death. He said the word death at least five times. Undeterred, KeriAnn and I signed our lives away agreeing not to sue in the event of….death.
After that, things moved quickly. We received detailed instructions, “don’t be a hero, land on your butt” and donned our harnesses. We took a few selfies, I met my instructor (“Short-straw Mike”), and we were whisked onto the plane.
The plane was tiny. The fact that I even got in this thing means I get to cross-off overcoming the fear of flying.
In the plane, our instructors tried to distract and entertain us. Between me and KA, I was definitely the less nervous one right up until she disappeared out the side of the plane. Then I got nervous. Like super nervous.
Strapped together real tight, my instructor and I had to crawl to the door of the plane. I had to reach up and grab onto a bar by the open door and place my feet one at a time onto a step outside of the plane. These were the instructions Mike gave me as we were nearing out jump spot 8,000 ft above the earth. When the door was closed and KeriAnn was still next to me, these instructions seemed simple. I could do that. After she slid out of the plane, these directions became very difficult to remember and act on, especially the “let go of the bar” part. The scariest part of the whole experience was getting into position at the door of the plane.
The free-fall was fantastic. Once we tumbled (yep, we flipped!) out of the plane and began falling everything was just so fast. The wind whipping my face was so fast and so loud, I have no idea if I even screamed. I’m betting I didn’t since I’m so tough.
When my instructor tugged the parachute, my whole body jerked up as the wind violently caught the billowing chute and instead of “Thank, God!”, I thought, “Ouch”. The rest of the parachuted-fall felt tediously long and drawn out. I just wanted to my feet back on the ground.
When we came in for our landing, I made sure not to be a hero and slid five hard feet on my ass.
With the adrenalin rush over, I was pale-faced and drained. Finally, my super supportive/super relieved parents returned me to NYC, and that’s the end of my story.
Final note: I would definitely do it again if someone needs a bucket list jump buddy, but next time I want to the be the first one out of the plane!