This ended up being the last skydive I ever made. I never went through the training school and likely never will. I would, however, be up for another jump if anyone would like to contribute the $200 for it!
A little background before you read the post below from 2007: Lindsay is a girl I met at the drop zone the first time I went skydiving. Over the year in between my first and my third jump, we became really good friends and still are today. Jeff, her boyfriend at the time, is the son of the owner of West Tennessee Skydiving. When they broke up, Lindsay quit skydiving, which is part of the reason I haven’t been back to do another jump. What’s a hobby without a little drama, right?
Jump 3: June 3, 2007 @ 5:00pm
Location: West Tennessee Skydiving at Wings Field
Altitude: 14,500 feet
Freefall: 60 seconds
This was a bittersweet day for me. I had my best jump to date, but it was also the last time I got to see Lindsay before I moved to Orlando. I’m sure this was an incredible day for her, though, because she finished her AFF and became a certified skydiver!
I was supposed to go on my third jump with Lindsay’s boyfriend, Jeff, but at the last minute they changed the manifest and my instructor was switched to another guy named Jeff. Each time I’ve jumped at WTS, I’ve had a different instructor! Jeff was pretty cool. He was one of those guys that is a big stickler to the rules, so I didn’t get to pull the rip cord this time, but I got to do some other cool stuff like jump out barefoot! (I purposely left my tennis shoes at home so that someone would have to choose between not letting me jump at all or letting me go barefoot. Always thinking ahead!)
Jeff made me go through the full training again, even though I’d already jumped tandem twice before. Lindsay and I gave him a hard time. He was a pretty good sport about it, though.
I look pissed off and Jeff looks like a howler monkey!
We loaded up in the plane pretty quick after my training. All three times I’ve jumped out of the King Air, but there is a second, smaller plane at the facility – a Cessna, I think. We sat at the front of the plane so that my toes wouldn’t get crushed, which meant we would be jumping out last. I got to sit next to Mike, the owner and pilot, and watch him fly the plane which was pretty fun. I still haven’t gotten used to that zero gravity thing he does to make us all stand up. Every time it makes me feel like I’m going to fall out of the plane!
We stood at the edge of the plane for a little longer than I ever have before, so I got a good look at the clouds and the ground from the plane for the first time. This time when we jumped out, we got to do back flips! I’d done front flips both of my other times, but never a back flip. I think we did two, but I can’t really remember. The back flips are ten times as fun as the front flips! We also did turns again, which is one of my favorite things to do. What made this my favorite jump, though, is that I had absolutely no trouble breathing at all. I’m not sure if it was because I had gotten used to what freefall feels like, or because we were falling slower since my instructor only weighed about 20 pounds more than me, but I tend to think it was the latter. It almost felt like I was falling alone this time because I couldn’t even feel Jeff behind me. I was able to pay more attention to the clouds and the experience in general because I wasn’t trying to gulp for air the whole time.
I absolutely adored going barefoot skydiving, too. I could feel the sky rushing through my toes! I didn’t have my own altimeter, so I wasn’t able to watch our altitude, but I was able to keep finding the drop zone while we were falling. There was so much cloud cover that it was pretty easy to lose track of where we were in relation to the ground.
After Jeff pulled our parachute, we spent a lot of time under canopy – about 10-15 minutes. My other two jumps we spent about 5-10 minutes under canopy. We were last so we had to wait for everyone else to land and then he had trouble getting us down because we were so light, but I loved just hanging there for so long. There was a big storm coming in and we could actually see it because we were above it. I wish I had taken my camera with me to take pictures of what it looks like to be on top of a thunderstorm. I’ll probably never see anything like it again. Jeff let me guide the parachute until we got ready to land and then he took over.
As soon as we landed, it started to rain pretty hard. Lindsay was upset because she didn’t think she’d get to finish her AFF due to the rain, but luckily by the end of the day it had stopped.
Right before I left, I found out that Jeff is actually from Deland, Florida. Deland is only about 30 minutes from Oviedo where I’ll be living. He told me about a skydiving place there that he used to work at, so I have a feeling I’ll have jump four coming up soon! (Especially if Lindsay visits and wants to make a jump!)