Day 10 – 8/8/09

Kaydee, Steve, and I headed out to Perris, CA at around 8 am this morning.   Our destination was the Perris Airport where Steve and I had reservations to go skydiving.  We were doing a tandem jump meaning that we get strapped to an experienced skydiver and go down together under a single parachute.

We arrived just before 10 am and started signing waivers to promise that if we die, we can’t sue them.  They even went so far as to make us watch a 10 minute video featuring an attorney who explained that essentially, there was no way we could ever hold anyone other than ourselves responsible for doing such a stupid thing as jumping out of an airplane.

With payment and legalities out of the way, we to recstarted our training.  Jim was our instructor and the guy we were going to be jumping with.  He described what to expect and how we should position ourselves as we left the plane, proceeded through freefall, opened the parachute, and finally, how to land.  It really didn’t seem all that complicated.

Since there was only one instructor available, we decided that I would go first and Steve would go second.  I suited up, went through a quick review of the training, and boarded the plane.  The plane was packed full of people – probably about a dozen other skydivers.  As we reached our final altitude of 12,500 feet, people started jumping out.  We were the last ones out.

The hardest part was that initial leap out of the plane.  Once we began our freefall, it was really quite exhilarating.  I’m told that we did about 50 seconds of freefall before Jim yelled out “PULL, PULL” indicating that it was time to pull the rip cord and deploy the parachute.  After a firm deceleration as the canopy opened, all of the wind noise experienced during the freefall stopped and there was utter silence as we floated towards the ground.  Jim handed me the controls and we did a few turns before I gave control back to him for the final approach and a nice soft landing.

What an incredible experience.  There’s really no way you can explain how it feels to jump out of a plane and hurdle towards the ground at 120 mph.  Will I do it again?  Undoubtedly.  It was the most thrilling thing I’ve ever done.

Here are some pictures.

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