Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane through skydiving isn’t usually something that the average person has on their radar. Safe, buckled-up, maybe taking a nap – these are the things we think about when riding a plane. Maybe screaming babies are present if you are particularly unlucky, but a good pair of ear plugs solves that.
Many people dream of flying which translates into feelings of freedom, independence, overcoming obstacles, or escapism according to Dreams.co.uk. Flying is usually out of the question for humans since we don’t have wings. There are a few different experiences that offer that same feeling though – one of them skydiving.
A Spiraling Life
Skydiving had been a dream of mine ever since I felt the first surge of adrenaline when I was young. It became a reality September 2012. My life had taken a major left turn with my divorce at a ripe old age of twenty-one (two kids in tow). I was grasping at straws to feel some sort of control since the life that I had built was spiraling out of control.
My life was falling apart before me – divorcing young and single motherhood with two kids. How was I going to keep going to college full time while working full time without a partner? How will I make ends meet? Why is this happening to me?
Wallowing doesn’t ever help anyone; so, I searched for ways to fully live life. The dangerous mix of a Groupon Special and just getting paid resulted in a ticket to go skydiving on a whim. Looking back, this may have been the absolute first taste of transformative experiences.
Fear & Skydiving
Galeophobia isn’t so much of a fear for me, but I know that it is impossible to outswim a shark in open water. The fear of dying, known as thanatophobia, is also mitigated with the fact that death is the only real guarantee with life.
So acrophobia isn’t a big deal for me with jumping out of an airplane at 13,500 feet. Why? The morbid and true answer – if you hit the ground from that height, you’re going to die. Simple, quick.
Fear has never been something I couldn’t rationalize my way out of. So I walked into the hangar that day with all the confidence and zero regrets. It also helped that I wasn’t in control of the parachute with tandem skydiving.
Is Tandem Skydiving Safe?
Skydiving is an extreme sport that has its own set of risks. The risks are mitigated when you have a trained skydiving instructor strapped to you to ensure that everything goes according to plan. The instructor has to train extensively to have the license to tandem jump. It varies state to state, but is somewhere around 500 jumps or three hours total in freefall.
The instructor jumps with you attached to the front (in tandem). While gliding through the air, they make sure that you are stable and falling the correct way. (Yes, there is a correct way to fall.)The instructor keeps an eye on the altitude meter attached to the parachute to deploy it at just the right time. Then, the parachute glides and is steered safely back to the hangar.
When Can I Skydive Solo?
According to the United States Parachute Association, “based on the training method and the individual’s learning curve, the first solo skydive without an instructor in freefall typically occurs between the fifth and 10th jumps for students learning by tandem or AFF training methods. Static-Line and IAD students jump alone beginning with the first jump and continuing throughout the training. The instructor is in the aircraft to observe the student’s performance then debrief the jump afterward.”
We’re Getting Into That?!
The airplane I had to get into was not one I would be thrilled about. So it made me feel better that I would be jumping out of it soon. The airplane was a small six seater if the seats had been installed with little in the way of aesthetics. My current husband works in aviation as an inspector. He often likes to remind me that I’m flying in a metal tube at ridiculous speeds with only bolts and screws holding it together.
After you board the plane, the climb to 13,500 feet begins which would take about twenty minutes. Being comfortable is pretty much out of the question.)The only place to sit is on the floor shoulder to shoulder with others who are diving that day and in your instructor’s lap or between their legs.
Once you reach altitude, the door will open allowing the experienced skydivers to jump first. Delays will have to occur to ensure that you are not falling or parachuting in the space of the other skydivers. Your turn will come up with the instructor telling you to skootch closer to the opening.
Freefall may be the most intense surge of adrenaline you will ever experience. For 50-60 seconds, the wind will rush past your face at 120 miles per hour as the ground grows closer and closer. Finally, the parachute will deploy at 5,000 feet and carry with it the most serene sense of quiet. I will never forget the peace and joy I felt at this point. My mind and body never wanted to leave the cradle of that precious parachute.
As the ground grows nearer, your legs must get ready for a running landing to make the ending as smooth as possible. The messy hair and tears will be a badge you are proud to wear that day as you daydream of your time in the clouds.
The Transformative Power of Skydiving
Skydiving is one of the most thrilling and exhilarating experiences one can go through. The adrenaline rush that comes with jumping out of a plane thousands of feet up in the air can be addictive. But the benefits of skydiving go beyond the mere thrill of the moment.
For many people (myself included), skydiving can be a transformative experience that can lead to inner growth and self-discovery. It gave me a new perspective on my chaotic life leading to a new path for my children and me. Letting go of fear and taking the leap can be a powerful metaphor for overcoming obstacles in life, learning to trust oneself and others, and gaining a new perspective on the world.
Skydiving can also be used as a form of meditation. It allows individuals to tune out distractions and focus on the present moment, leading to increased mindfulness and self-awareness. Overall, skydiving can be a life-changing experience that challenges individuals to step out of their comfort zones, face their fears, and discover new levels of strength and resilience within themselves.
How to Find a Skydiving Center?
If you’re looking to experience the rush of skydiving, you may be wondering how to find a skydiving center near you. The good news is that there are many great skydiving centers located across the country (and the world!). Finding the right one for you may be easier than you may think. To start your search, you could type in your hometown in the location finder on DropZone.com. You can also just Google ‘skydiving centers near me’ or ‘best skydiving centers in [your area]’.
So when choosing a skydiving center, be sure to read reviews, check their safety record, and ask about their training and certification processes. With a bit of research, you’ll be able to find the perfect skydiving center that will help you experience the transformative rush of freefalling in a safe and unforgettable way!
Would ever consider skydiving? Comment below!