Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Skydiving Pt 5


Hopefully, we can stop this at part 6.

I set my alarm for 6:30, but my kids woke me up before 6 anyway.  I showered, kissed the family and drove to Byron.
It looked so little like I expected I missed it the first time.
On the way in to the airport is this little hangar with those cool giant doors, a couple of parachutes hanging from the ceiling, a 1950s refrigerator, and a door that opens to a ten foot drop.
Maybe they throw you out the doors if you don't sign the waiver.
You have to sign an incredibly detailed waiver.

There are tiny backpacks hung on the walls.  They were so small, it took me a while to realize they were actually parachutes.
I feel sorry for the guy who gets that yellow chute on the left.
Then they take you into the plane.  It’s a small affair with benches instead of seats.  Through the entire day, the plane takes off every thirty minutes.  Commercial airlines could learn something.
They have a little disco ball in the back, too.
You then have six hours of class.  You practice your “climb outs,” which sounded like “climax” when my English instructor said it (“Oh, don’t worry,” I said.  “I’ve practiced THOSE.”).  You practice arching your back and holding your hands just right so you fall in the right position.  You learn the ninety steps you have to go through during the forty five seconds of freefall, although half of them are “see how far you’ve fallen.”
This is actually just one of three sets of procedures.
They hang you from the ceiling and you practice pulling your emergency chute.
The chute pulls you in very uncomfortable places.  On the plus side, I don't need a vasectomy.
They teach you a landing pattern.  They teach you how to right a poorly-deployed chute.  The make you go over everything again while you practice with a little metal door.
Zen airplane.
Then you wait for the weather.  It rains.  The wind kicks up to twenty-five knots (beginners aren’t allowed to jump in anything over eighteen).  Your family arrives.  Skydivers fly overhead in their tiny sport chutes, speeding by like abnormally loud kites.  It rains again.  The wind kicks up to thirty.  You decide to use the bathroom again, as your anxiety has been replaced with boredom.  You get a sunburn.

You go home.

I’m scheduled to go again on Sunday.  So far, I’ve been prevented from jumping by hail and wind.  Now I have a cold.

Perhaps it’s a sign…
There is a rainbow in there if you look hard.  Nature is like an abusive boyfriend, eh?

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