Sunday, August 9, 2009


So I managed to do it. I jumped out of a plane. 10,000 feet in 6 or so minutes. It was pretty intense. I wanted to write about it right after the fact but I was so ill it took me 48 hours to wrap my brain around what happened and to calm my insides from the worst case of motion sickness I have ever had.

I have lots of picture and video of the landing. This makes me happy.

I am also thrilled to be alive and that it all went down (literally) without incident even though all signs pointed to disaster.

Trish made a playlist to listen to as we drove the hour and twenty minutes to the airport. We sang along to “Follow You Down” and “Another One Bites the Dust.”

We got lost and had to call the airport for directions. The guy on the phone yelled at me for not having printed out the map – I had no idea there was a map. We put the corrected address into Garmin (She had confused Osage Street with Orange Street – silly Trish) and followed its directions until we pulled up to the address in question – a funeral home.

The plane that took us up was a 1952 Cessna 182 (I think that is what the guy said). It was a 4-seater. There were 5 of us. I curled up in a ball with my head practically resting in the crouch of the super cute pilot who just happens to be my neighbor, praying I wouldn’t have a claustrophobic panic attack on the 20 minute assent.

Really, I wasn’t to scared about the jump. This picture of Trish proves that she wasn’t quite so secure. I was feeling pretty good as we tumbled out of the plane and did summersaults through the air. I immediately forced myself into the arc possession that they had shown us in the whole five minutes of training that we had and waited for the man strapped to my back to hit me on the shoulder to let me know I could let go of my harness and let my arms free as we plummeted in freefall to our demise. It never came. I waited and waited for the tap on my shoulder, for fifteen seconds that felt like an eternity. I couldn’t hear anything. I couldn’t feel him behind me and after what felt like the point of know return I determined that something must have gone terribly wrong and that I was going to die. The ground was rising up as the clouds rushed past me dragging my cheeks behind my ears like a Saturday morning cartoon character. I tried to calm down. I was hoping I wouldn’t give myself a heart attack before I slammed into the earth.

And then the parachute deployed and the air become silent and we hovered, no floated, no swished – I am becoming suddenly aware of my decrease vocabulary dissolved after too much reality TV – and the world became still. The man on my back chatted with me, exchanging pleasantries about what I can’t recall, I was too engrossed in the silence. The terror had lasted maybe five seconds, the thrill another 40 and the blissful silence maybe 5 minutes. When we approached the landing strip I told the man on the ground that as soon as we landed, he needed to get the hell off of me because I was going to be sick. “It’s cool,” I assured him. “I am okay with it. It was worth it. I just don’t want you to get caught in the crossfire.”

We glided delicately to the earth, my backside the first thing to hit the ground. It was incredible.

I didn’t get sick. I did lay in the grass for an hour convinced the world was coming to an end but it was so worth it. I don’t know if I will ever do it again but am so glad I did. It was something I will never forget.

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