In high school, every so often I would hear of friends who went skydiving. Since then, I had always told myself that I would go too. I was so serious, I even listed it in my “Bucket List” board on Pinterest. I mean, how much more serious can you get?
But years passed, I graduated high school, finished a few years of college, and yet I still hadn’t sky dived. I must’ve talked about it enough though, because last Christmas, my mom got my sister and me gift certificates to skydive in Lodi, California.
I don’t know what was more of a shock to me — the fact that my mom was encouraging me to skydive, or the fact that I now had to actually skydive.
I like to think of myself as a pretty fearless person, and for the most part I am. That is, until I think of doing anything that involves heights, possible pain, and spiders. Luckily I was pretty sure spiders would not be involved in skydiving — last I heard, they don’t make microscopic, insect sized parachutes (I could be mistaken though)!
Months passed since Christmas, and my sister and I still hadn’t used our certificates. Finally, we signed up in August. There was no turning back now!
After making the plunge 13,000 ft in the air, I can now truthfully say that skydiving isn’t as scary as you think! Here’s why:
#1 – You have no chance to hesitate
Have you ever jumped off rocks into a lake? If you have, you know of that terrible anxious feeling that overcomes you before you jump. You get so scared and anxious counting down from ten, that by the time you reach zero, you have to start your countdown all over again.
In skydiving, there is no chance for you to build up that anxiety. As soon as your plane reaches jumping height, you jump. You will quickly waddle to the plane door, and once the person in front of you has jumped, you immediately follow. Once you reach the door, you get all of 2 seconds to prepare.
#2 – Your depth perception will be off
Again, if you are jumping from a rock into water, you will easily be able to judge the height and see your destination (the water). You had to climb to the top of the rock, and with each step you were able to judge how far from the ground you were.
In skydiving, you spent the last 10 minutes in an airplane, which does all the “climbing” for you. Once you get to the door and jump, your surroundings will look the same the entire time you are falling. You won’t be able to see your landing spot until the last portion of the jump, and by then you will be relaxing under a deployed parachute.
#3- The person on your back doesn’t want to die either
I kept asking myself, “What if my instructor picks a faulty parachute?”. But then I told myself how silly that is. The instructor wants to survive the jump just as much as I do! So, of course they are going to take every precaution there is to make sure the equipment is safe and functioning.
#4- The parachute deploys no matter what
The instructor has special equipment that tells him or her exactly when the parachute needs to be deployed. Parachute technology is so advanced that there is even a backup parachute. So, on top of the main parachute, there is a reserve, or backup, parachute. If for some reason your instructor forgets to deploy the parachute, for example they pass out, the parachute pack is electronically configured to deploy the parachute if it hasn’t been opened by the time you reach a certain number of feet.
#5- There is a 0.00175% chance you won’t survive the jump
35 out of the 2 million people who skydive annually don’t survive the jump. Keep in mind that many of the accidents happen due to poor judgment and procedure errors. Instructors that take you skydiving will follow the safest and most basic regime, and will not do anything out of the ordinary. Many experienced solo jumpers are the ones who take risks and try new techniques and styles, which can be the cause for these errors. An instructor with someone strapped to their stomach will not be taking these risks or trying new techniques!
If these reasons don’t convince you — my instructor kindly let me know that “We’ve never lost anyone….We always find the body!” followed by at least ten mentions that he was “just kidding”.
Have an adventure you’ve been dying to try but don’t know where to start? Read this article to help you achieve your adventuring goals!
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