Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tandem Skydiving


A couple posts ago I told about my excursion to IFly in Union City for indoor skydiving. But about seven years ago I did do actual skydiving, although in a tandem. Here is my recollection of that experience and then a discussion as to which I preferred.

First of all, I'm afraid of heights. So I had the idea that maybe going skydiving would help with this fear. Then the opportunity arose to do it.

Below is a picture of Cindy, Dawn, and myself. Dawn, at the time, was supervising a unit at work where she had issued a challenge. If they met a quota then she would take "a flying leap". It was agreed upon that anyone else that joined her, the quota would be increased. Since I wanted to do a skydive sometime it seemed like this was the perfect opportunity.


We headed to the Lodi airport where there is a large skydiving group. It costs $100 for a tandem jump. I paid extra to get the DVD and photos. You can see my skydiving video on You Tube HERE.

I will admit that I had an out-of-body experience from the time they opened the plane door at 13,000 feet til the instance I felt my stomach drop after we left the plane. Very wierd. I think it was because I had no control, my tandem diver did. Certainly there was no way I would have willingly walked up to the door and jumped on my own!

The fall wasn't that bad after the stomach drop. What I remember most was trying to smile for the camera. Bad idea. The wind wipes out any bit of moisture in your mouth and you've got the worst cotton mouth imaginable. Keep your mouth closed! The fall is about 30 seconds and then the chute is pulled. The floating down on the shoot was actually worse for me than the fall. I get motion sick and so the floating side to side and turning made me queasy.

Upon landing everyone has the biggest grin possible. You are so happy to be on land! Last summer my dad wanted to do it at the age of 75. He went with Dean since I had no desire to go again.



My overall impression of skydiving was to compare it to childbirth. Think about it. Giving birth naturally is a stressful, painful experience. So much so that, at the time, the woman swears she'll never do it again. After several months or years, the bad memories fade to such an extent that she's willing to go through it again for another child.

That's how I feel about skydiving. I figured it would take several years for me forget the scariness of it to be willing to do it again. I wasn't ready to go with dad last summer, but perhaps I'll be ready to do it again in the future - with the right person(s) or in a really cool location.

So...comparing the indoor versus the real skydiving? I liked the indoor better and not just because you are still on land and in no danger of dying. I liked the freedom of it better. During a tandem skydive you are strapped to an instructor and just fall and float. For the indoor skydiving you have NOTHING attached to you and so you really are floating freely. You can also learn to do tricks in the wind tunnel. Sure you can do tricks with real skydiving, but that requires you to go through the entire skydive training program to get certified (or whatever). Since I have no desire to jump from planes on a regular basis, the indoor version suits me much better.


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