Farm Life

My First Skydiving Experience

When I was cleaning out a folder on my computer last week, I found three documents recording each of the three skydiving jumps I’ve made. Just for fun, I’m going to share them here on the blog this week. Today’s is from my first skydiving experience. (You can find my second and third jumps here.) It’s kind of fun looking back and reading something I wrote over six years ago, but sorry about the quality of the photos. I think these came from one of those cheap disposable cameras!

Jump 1: August 5, 2006 @ 5:30pm
Location: West Tennessee Skydiving at Wings Field
Altitude: 14,500 ft
Freefall: 60 seconds

I’ve wanted to skydive since I held my first parachute in elementary school gym class. It was always a treat when we got to play with the parachute – I loved the way it sounded when we snapped the ends and how it would billow up if everyone worked together in just the right way.

I had plans to go skydiving after graduation when myself and all of my friends turned 18, but an unexpected pregnancy sort of threw a wrench in that plan. (Ha!) Then it kept getting pushed off to the side until this year when I finally got the chance to go for it!

It took a lot of planning and schedule-changing, but eventually we all settled on August 5 for our first tandem jump. (‘We’ meaning me, Cory, my dad, Lisa Marie, and Lisa Marie’s boyfriend, David. My mom and Lexie just came along to watch!) We arrived at Wings Field in Somerville, Tennessee a little after noon. The place was a lot bigger than we expected with a pool, bathrooms with showers, and an extremely large indoor packing and waiting area.

The first thing they made us do was go to a small room on the side of the building to watch a video starring a very old man with an extremely long beard whose name I have already forgotten. (Apparently he is a very famous skydiver who developed the way people jump today.) We also had to sign our consent forms, just in case we died. We paid our money for the jumps and videos and then sat down to wait.

My First Skydiving Experience

My First Skydiving Experience

My First Skydiving Experience

While we were waiting, we would go outside and watch experienced skydivers do special flips in the air and land at the drop zone. It was really exciting and helped everyone’s nerves calm down to see so many successful jumps. After about 4 hours of waiting, they finally called us over to get suited up and run through a short training before our own jump.

My tandem instructor was a guy named Matt. He helped me get suited up and taught me the correct skydiving form and how to jump out of the plane. The instruction lasted a total of maybe three minutes and, of course, I knew I would forget everything he told me the minute we jumped out of the plane. We also got to meet our video guys who would jump out of the plane before us and record us as we fell in freefall.

After standing around in our jumpsuits and harnesses for a good sweaty 15 minutes, we walked out to the plane. We would be flying up to 14,500 feet in Mike Mullins’ Super King Air. This small plane held an amazing number of people: 5 jumpers + 5 instructors + 4 camera guys + the pilot.

My First Skydiving Experience

My First Skydiving Experience

We reached our altitude in about 7 minutes. FYI: This feels like an eternity when you’re sitting on your instructors lap about to jump out of a plane for the first time. Myself and Matt would be the first tandem jumpers out of the plane. (This was exactly the way I wanted it, but I think next time I want to go at least second so that I can watch someone else jump out, too!)

When it was time to jump, we chicken-walked to the door of the airplane and stared down. What a rush! I’m not sure, but maybe we counted to three and just sort of fell out of the airplane. Prior to the jump, I had asked my instructor if he would do a few flips with me in freefall and we did two front flips coming out of the airplane. Then we leveled out and started freefalling face-down, and I was right, I did completely forget what form I was supposed to take during freefall, but Matt forced me into the correct position. (Watching this happen on the video was pretty hilarious!)

During freefall, Steve, my cameraman, was right in front of me. They tell you to keep your face up and look at the video guy, but this was nearly impossible for me. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the ground. I had figured it would look like we were getting closer and closer to the ground as we fell, but it looked and felt more like we were flying straight across the sky instead of falling.

It was pretty hard to breathe because of the thin air that high up and the fact that we were falling at 120 mph. Later on the ground, someone told me that if you force the air out of your lungs in freefall that your lungs will naturally fill right back up, but since I didn’t know this, I actually ended up holding my breath for almost all of the 60 second freefall. I figured if I passed out, I wasn’t the one pulling our cord for the parachute so we’d be fine!

My First Skydiving Experience

After about 60 seconds, Matt opened our parachute and we had a 5 to 10 minute glide down to the drop zone. I had an extremely hard time calming down at this point. This was the part where the ground looked like it kept getting closer and closer. It was really fun to watch everything come into view and see people waiting at the drop zone. My instructor said that most people find the time under canopy to be relaxing, but I was like a kid who just got off their favorite roller coaster. I was ready to do it again!

For the landing part, we were told to force our legs out in front of us and our instructor would handle the landing. The ground felt like it was coming in extremely fast and we sort of slid in. Being the first one to jump, I got to be there to greet everybody else when they got back on the ground. There is a really cool scene on my dad’s video of me running over to hug him as soon as he landed on the ground. :)

My First Skydiving Experience

My First Skydiving Experience

When we got back inside, they gave us our videos to watch in a back room. It was a rush of adrenaline all over again watching what we’d just done. After the videos, they gave us our certificates and we headed back home. It was almost disappointing leaving. I had waited to do this for over a decade, and now it was over. When you wait that long for something, you feel like the experience should last a little longer than an afternoon. The entire jump itself lasted less than 20 minutes. Luckily, I’ll be doing another tandem jump in December with my sister, so I don’t have to wait too long to do it all over again!

Share this post:

  • rorybore
    December 6, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    You are my new hero!
    I don’t think I could ever jump out of a perfectly good airplane. And I am not afraid of heights or anything…I am just such a known clutz, I’d be that one in a million fluke accident where I landed in electrical wires, or on top of a volcano..or something equally dangerous and improbable. :)

    off to read the other 2…because You — you did it again!! crazy girl. :)

  • Mrs. Match
    November 18, 2012 at 4:57 AM

    Wow, go you, dare devil! No way I could do that. I know this is a post about your sky diving, but 4 yr old lexie steals the spotlight. She is so stinking cute!!

  • Emmymom
    November 16, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Oh I totally would forget everything too I have no doubt! What a rush that would be!

    And look at sweet Lexie!

  • Drama Queens Mum (Kimberly)
    November 16, 2012 at 8:04 AM

    So exciting. I’m so scared of heights.

  • Ashlee - I'll Love You Forever
    November 16, 2012 at 5:14 AM

    WOOOO!!!! SO awesome! Sounds like such an amazing time and adventure. Yes, laughing at Cory’s jumpsuit, lol.

  • Jodie
    November 15, 2012 at 4:01 AM

    What a rush!!!!! I think I’ve told you before but I have to skydive on my bucket list!! This makes me want to do it now!!!! So fun!! Loved Cory’s jumpsuit!! haha!!

  • Janette Johanson
    November 14, 2012 at 4:46 AM

    All I can say is HELL TO THE NO! I have NO desire EVER to jump from anything higher than my bed. I would die during free fall from sheer fear. You are a brave lil’ cookie! Look at lil’ Lexie!! So cute!

  • Caroline
    November 14, 2012 at 4:01 AM

    How brave of you!

  • Connie Weiss
    November 14, 2012 at 2:43 AM

    How exciting!

    My Dad is a private pilot and I spent lots of time at air shows as a kid. I wanted to skydive so badly…but I never have.

    Now…I’m too old and fat!

  • Kerry
    November 13, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    You are so much more braver than me!!! I would never ever consider sky-diving, no way lol
    You looked so excited and happy and not once mentioned being nervous, I would need pushed out of that plane!!
    And look at how cute 4 year old Lexie is!!

  • Deidre
    November 13, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Wow, sounds like you really enjoyed it! It’s not on my life list at all to jump out of a plane!

  • Crack You Whip
    November 13, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    This is something I have been wanting to do for a long time, but have no one brave enough to do it with me. Looks like you had a blast!

  • Mary Davis
    November 13, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Oh my goodness! I have always wanted to do this and I am so envious! Thanks for the insight! Now I am even more excited!

  • Autumn @ The Spirited Violet
    November 13, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    There is no way I would EVERRR do that. I’m glad you were able to cross off something you had on your bucket list for such a long time though!

  • Shaylynn
    November 13, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Oh laws.

    I’m so glad you lived. I’m so glad you blogged about it so I could hear about the 60 seconds of not breathing.. to remind me why I never.. ever.. in a million years will ever do this.

    granted. I probably actually will.

    never say never, right?

  • Marie
    November 13, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Who knew? What a brave girl you are. I can barely get on an airplane so you are my hero. I can tell by the look on your face it was thrilling, Way to go!

  • stephanie
    November 13, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    whoa that’s amazing!! I am super impressed!! I’ve always wanted to go but never had the opportunity.

  • Amber - Binkertation
    November 13, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    wow, that’s amazing- you’ve got gusto, girl. That is on the list of things I will never ever ever ever try (the list is quite long) ;)

  • Stefani
    November 13, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Oh my gosh. That is SO COOL. I wish I were that brave. Way to go, Sarah Kate!

  • Lindsay
    November 13, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    I’m so jealous! Skydiving is on my bucket list!

  • Nicole
    November 13, 2012 at 8:05 AM

    First of all, look at your little Lexie-Bug! Cute as ever!!! I would love to see more of her younger pictures :)

    And second, ohhhh boy! You’re crazy!

  • Macey
    November 13, 2012 at 7:23 AM

    You. Are. Nuts.

  • Diana Bockus
    November 13, 2012 at 6:46 AM

    Ah! There is no way that I could ever do that. One of my friend’s went skydiving and I got to go up in the plane to watch her jump. I was good staying in the plane, haha!

  • Jen Mc
    November 13, 2012 at 6:11 AM

    Woo hoo! Go you!!!!

  • Jen
    November 13, 2012 at 5:17 AM

    This must be the biggest adrenaline rush ever, I can’t even imagine.

    And I’m dying over mini-Lexi. tooooooo cute. and I can tell how happy you were, you have such a beautiful smile!

  • Kindra
    November 13, 2012 at 4:40 AM

    That’s awesome! I want to go skydiving eventually…it’s on my bucket list! :)

  • Jo
    November 13, 2012 at 4:24 AM

    I’m so jealous! I’m dying to do it. I don’t have a bucket list but if I had one it would be in my top 10 things to do

  • Stacie Stamper
    November 13, 2012 at 4:22 AM

    Well, you have got me in the bravery department for sure! Looks like fun even if I am a scaredy cat!

  • Stephanie
    November 13, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    Wow! You are so brave! I don’t know if I would ever be able to jump from a plane. Good for you and have fun on your next jump with your sister :)