Category Archives: Skydiving
I have never been so scared in my life! That is not an exaggeration for entertainment value.
After we were done flying high, we got on the road to head home. We hopped onto I-4 for a quick stint before hopping off on a back road to take that home. This plan was perfect to me, this plan didn’t involve I-75!! I was happy about that.
We were about 30 minutes from home on the back road and traffic was starting to get backed up. The Doctor decided to hop onto I-75 south bound (it would only be for a few exits). This would have us home in 10 minutes.
Oh joy! I was not looking forward to this, I was enjoying our cruise on this back road. Time to get on the beast, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
I swear people on this interstate were going over 100mph. I merged on and got in the far left lane. The Doctor and I got separated from each other. Normally that is fine, no biggie, but for some reason I panicked a bit. I was going 95 mph (keeping up with traffic). Cars were passing me, AT 95 MPH!!!!!
I have jumped out of a plane, rode a motorcycle up multiple mountains in Costa Rica as well as other crazy things, nothing scared me more than this ride on I-75. Luckily, it was only 10 minutes but it scared me. Words can’t express the happiness that overcame me when I finally got off the exit ramp.
I would be happy never riding a motorcycle on I-75 again. However, over Christmas, The Doctor and I took I-75 to get to my Uncle’s house. That ride, no fear, no issues, no being scared!!! After a bumpy start, I conquered the beast!
Time to fly!!!!
The butterflies were going strong. Not the nervous kind of butterflies, the excited kind of butterflies. We walked in the front door and signed in. There are computers set up off to the side where you sign in and enter your information. Once we were done with that, we walked over to the counter to sign the release forms and hand over our Groupon tickets (seriously, Groupon. If you aren’t familiar with it, check it out).
We had to wait until our scheduled time so they said we could go up in the observation room while we wait. We walked up the stairs , very curious as to what was awaiting us (in the above picture you can see the stairs in the background).
It was a really cool set up. On the side of the glass we were on, you could watch the people in the wind tunnel. On the other side of the glass were the people who were waiting to go into the wind tunnel. We could see them and they could see us. You can see in the picture below the view from the observation room.
When that group completed, they called our group back. There were 10 of us total in the group. The instructor took us back into the staging area to get our suits and go over the safety instructions.
The safety instructions included a video to watch and go over hand instructions that we would need to know since we wouldn’t be able to talk to the instructor while in the wind tunnel. Questions were answered and we all felt safe and ready to go. INDOOR SKYDIVING here we come!
Since there were 10 of us, we would rotate our turns. The usual time is 2 rides of 1 minute per person, The Doctor and I had 4 minutes between the two of us. We did 2 rides of 2 minutes. We don’t mess around!
Watching the groups before us go, it didn’t look easy. Most of the people didn’t “fly” very well. They needed the help of the instructor to keep them in the proper position and up in the air. If you don’t stay in the right position, you will glide to the bottom of the wind tunnel. Some people “got it”, some people didn’t.
It doesn’t matter if you get it or not, its fun either way!!
The Doctor was the first one on deck! He stepped into the wind tunnel and started to fly. The minute he fell into the proper flying position, a huge smile came across his face!! He got it right off the back! His two minutes were up, from here the other people had their minute rides.
I was last in the group, which worked out perfectly. As you finish your turn you come back into the sitting area on the opposite end from where you entered. Since The Doctor was first, he got to sit next to me as we waited for my turn.
I fell into the wind tunnel and was off!!! So amazing!
I discovered if you turned your head in a certain direction, you would start spinning in that direction. I liked this! I would get a good spin going to the right, then the instructor would stop me. So then I would spin to the left for a bit. He would stop me again. Not sure why he kept stopping me, I was having a blast spinning!!
The funniest part is that you are in the 120 mph wind tunnel with the biggest, stupidest grin on your face…laughing. The problem with this is spit comes out of your mouth and since your hands are helping guide you/keep you in position, it makes it very hard to wipe it off. Not to mention, you have people watching you from all angles. This only made me laugh harder and the drool come out more. Quite funny!
The sensation is like the real thing but totally different. The feeling of weightlessness is the same but having no one strapped to your back and getting to move around on your own was awesome. Also in the wind tunnel, you can guide your self to the bottom by lowering your head. When you raise your head again, you rise higher. You can’t do that jumping out of the plane.
The best part of the whole experience was toward the end of your last ride. With about 45 seconds left, the instructor signals the guy in the wind control room. They increase the speed of the wind as the instructor grabs onto your arm and leg. He proceeds to spin the two of you way up high in the wind tunnel, then back down to the bottom. As soon as you get to the bottom, he spins you back up to the top. He does it one more time before you step out of the tunnel.
That last part was amazing! I was giggling (and drooling) like a silly little girl.
When we had all completed our riding time, we were brought back into the briefing area to change and receive our certificate of completion. The Groupon deal we got also gave us a free video and pictures from the experience.
Check out my Flickr page for more pictures.
The way home back to Tampa this day involved the scariest ride of my life! Check out Ifly Away – Part III – The Scariest Ride of My Life
2011 was quite a year. There were so many fun, adventurous moments. Moments filled with laughter, moments filled with tears. Overall I look back on 2011 with wonderful memories and a sense that I lived it to the fullest.
Looking ahead to 2012, I see the best year ever. So many things that will be taking place, I’ll share those as they come along, can’t give too many spoilers away Here’s to you 2012 and all the amazing times that lie ahead!
2011 in review. There were some first time experiences:
And of course, continuing all the things I already love:
Peace out 2011!
My friend Nikki’s 30th birthday was approaching. Myself and four girlfriends were trying to come up with a special way for her to celebrate it. Nikki had always wanted to go skydiving, so we decided that we were going to kidnap her the day of and surprise her with pushing her out of a plane. As we discussed the plans more and more, we decided it may be best to share our “gift” with her beforehand, just in case.
She was in love with the idea and so were we, well most of us. Nikki and I were excited, the other girls, while enthusiastic, weren’t the same level of excited as we were. Since Nikki was on board, it was time to start making the arrangements! We called and made our reservations.
With the reservations set, there was no backing out. This thing was on! Oh lord, were we really doing this?!
Before we knew it, the day had arrived! We woke up early and made our way to Skydive City in Zephyrhills, FL. Zephyrhills also happens to be my hometown so the thought of getting to see the city from a perspective of 13,500 feet was exciting. My mom wanted to come watch but I told her not to. For some reason I had it in my head that if my mom was there, then something was going to go wrong. I told her that I loved her and I would call her afterward but she could not come down and watch.
As we arrive, I can feel the butterflies in my stomach. They weren’t the scared butterflies, they were the “Hell Yeah, Let’s Do This” kind. We walked into the office and checked in. The woman gave us all the waivers to sign. It was a beautiful day so we decided to take the waivers outside and review them. Anything and everything that you would picture a waiver for skydiving saying, this one said. About one or two paragraphs into reading it, I decided that this was happening no matter what so there really wasn’t a point in reading the entire thing. So we signed our forms and turned them in.
We had a bit of time before our jump time, so we watched the group before us take off, jump and return safely to the ground. We also ran into a guy that works there. He gave us a tour of the “Wing Suit Room”. If you are not familiar with wingsuits, you must check them out. You Tube has some great videos of wingsuits! This is something I would never say I wouldn’t try but not something that I would actually try.
After we were done talking with the wingsuit guy, they called us to meet our instructors. This was the part where they got us suited up and went over all the safety stuff. My instructor was Tom. Tom was a jokster and I liked that about him. He had me laughing so much I don’t think I heard most of what he said. Hopefully I got all the important parts!
The plane was something you see in the movies. The kind that crashes in the jungle and the survivors have to plan their escape and hope to be rescued. Perhaps better stated, You would rather jump out of it, then try to land in it. I’m not trying to be funny here, well maybe just a tad funny, but it is the truth! They use planes like that on purpose, encourage you to jump! I was on to their game!
Time to take off!! Once we were in the plane, our instructors attached themselves to each of us. Not tightly attached, just attached. I kept asking if we were attached all the way. He kept giving me the same answer, “you will know when we are”. He was not joking there, when he full on attached I could barely breathe. For the next 10 minutes, Tom was my new best friend!
There was a group of us doing tandem and there was a group that was doing jumps with no free falls. We reached somewhere around 9,000 or 10,000 feet and dropped off the group before us. After they jumped, we continued out climb to 13,500 feet.
During the ascent to our jumping altitude, the instructors were having a grand time with us. Nothing like having the guy strapped to your back telling you he forgot one of the safely straps!! Just for the record, I wasn’t buying it at first. Him and the other instructors kept playing it up. I told him to quit bleeping messing with me. He said that he wasn’t. The look in his eyes when he made that comment, I broke down and asked if he was serious. He started laughing! He got me, but it took a while!
Before we knew it the moment of truth had arrived, time to jump! My instructor and I were last of the bunch to go. By the time it was our turn we had missed the jump window. So we had to wait while they turned the plane around. Once the plane was back in the jump zone, it was go time! We shuffled our way to the door on our knees and peeked out heads out the door. I did a happy wave at the camera guy then looked down at the earth below us. I will be honest, this was the one moment that I had the thought, “what the f&^% am I doing”. I remember my handing reaching back toward the plane but before it could get there, we were out the door!!!
This was the ride of a lifetime!! 60 seconds of free fall felt like an eternity and the fastest minute of my life. How could it be the fasted and slowest moment of my life, have no idea!! If you have been skydiving before, you know the feeling.
People always ask me, did you have the feeling you get when you ride a roller coaster and your stomach gets that feeling in it, you know the one, where your stomach flies up to your heart. Didn’t have that sensation once. It was a gliding feeling. Truly amazing!
You are flying through the air at 120 mph. The wind in your face, your thoughts running wild and a camera guy capturing it all on film (always get the video, its worth the extra money). During the free fall you can’t hear anything, so in the training session they go over hand signals so you can communicate to one another during that time frame.
I found myself wondering when are we pulling the parachute, is it time yet? Then I saw the camera guy pull his and I knew that we would be right behind him. All of a sudden, Tom pulled the chute and there was a big jerk! Success, chute opened (BIG sigh of relief, whew) and we begin to fall back to earth. First thing he says to me, “Welcome to my Office”. Have to say, that was by far the coolest thing he could have said in that moment.
Now here is where my story takes a turn from the “ideal jump”. And don’t worry, Ill tell you the end now, I make it! So as we are enjoying of glide back down to the ground, he starts to spin us in circles. Started out great but my stomach had other thoughts. Mainly, stop doing it or I’m going to make you stop. So I let my instructor know that I felt like I was going to be sick. He promptly stopped spinning us, ahh, relief.
That was short-lived, unfortunately. My legs and arms started to tingle all while I was starting to get tunnel vision. Anyone who has ever passed out before knows what was about to happen next wasn’t a good thing, especially as we weren’t on the ground yet. Since I knew that in the next few seconds I would be, as you would refer to as passed out, I warned my instructor. It went something like this:
Me: Hey I’m not going to get sick anymore
Him: That’s great!
Me: Not really because I’m going to pass out
Him: NO, we will be on the ground in 30 seconds
Yep, with only 30 seconds from touching down I passed out. All my friends were already on the ground and were able to watch me stone cold out as we landed! Special thanks to my instructor as he kicked my legs out as we landed so I didn’t break them.
I am sure you are wondering, “How did you pass out?” I wish I could tell you or have a really cool explanation as to why that happened but I have no idea. There was a lot of talk once we got on the ground as to what happened. Nobody really knows though. What I do know is when he pulled the chute, he wanted to loosen my legs straps and I told him I was good and not to do it. This is the only thing I can think of that would cause it. Note to anyone who wants to try skydiving, let the guy loosen your leg straps.
So there you have it, my first skydiving experience! Definitely one for the books, or dare I say blog.