Static line skydiving is a little different that your typical tandem sky dive most beginners are accustomed to preforming. The most notable difference is that it is done solo, so the training is a little more intensive and intructional. On each backpack rig, a long rope is attached to the pull pin which is then attached to another rope that is connected to the plane. When you jump out, the rip cord is pulled automatically thus releasing your chute after falling 500 feet.
It was 6 hours of intensive training. They flood you with an overloading amount of information on what to do it hypothetical scenarios, all the while you’re just sitting there itching to get on with the jump.
I was never really nervous, just anxious to get on with the jump. We finished our training around 4:00 but had to wait around till 7:30 to jump due to unsafe wind conditions and the plane malfunctioning, not exactly a comforting thought to bear minutes before you are about to perform a jump for the first time in isolation.
The most nerve recking part was how we were supposed to dismount from the plane. It was your typically light aircraft that could accommodate no more than 5 people. After ascending to 3,500 feet, we intructed to place our feet out the aircraft, one at a time, and climb to the farthest edge of the wing where our bodies were suspended briefly before getting the thumbs up to drop. This was easily the most challenging part and when my adrenaline would shoot through the roof. I could only describe this as “supermaning” behind the plane, holding on with nothing but your arms.
Finally it was our time to go. We loaded up into our gear and then together we made our way over to the airplane. As we slowly ascended, I tracked our height through the altitude meter located on our left forearm. After what I presumed was close to the top, I looked over and noted we were only 500 feet up; only 3,000 more to go. We finally reached our designated altitude and made our way over to a safe dropping point in which the wind could carry us towards the landing zone.
Ian went first. As the doors opened, the wind was howling along with the roar of the propellers. It was over 90 mph. He slowly step out of the plane, meticulously ensuring surefooted steps, and then just like that, he was gone. It was then my turn, I wasn’t nervous really, just more excited than anything. I made my way over and finally he gave the signal. Open the door. The sight was incredible, we were so high up. Then came the next signal, feet out the window. I creped over and immediately was met by a huge impetus of gusting wind. My adrenaline was racing so fast that there wasn’t a chance in hell I was letting go. I slid my way over to the far right wing and was left suspended, performing a superman in mid-air while get dragged behind an airplane; a very surreal experience. I hesitantly let go and the rest happened so fast. After a brief moment of free fall, my parachute released snapping me back in an upright position.
The first thing I did, as you are taught to do, is look up and make sure your parachute is intact. Mine released correctly, but all the cords were heavily intertwined. The only way I could correct it was vigorously kicking my feet around in circles and spinning to correct the straps. I then guided my way down to the land zone, enjoying ever moment of the view. It is very lonely up there, you are left in isolating in a seating view of the vast world around in. It was indescribable.
Slowly, I drifted to the bottom supplemented with instructions from my guide. I reached the bottom and performed a “flair,” skydiving lingo for how to brake for landing. It was somewhat ironic; 10 hours of training and patiently waiting for an experience that lasted no more than 10 minutes. Would I do it again? Absolutely. Finally, I can cross skydiving off of my bucket list.
*This isn’t the plane, but the red ring can give you an idea of where you’re suspended from.*