Saturday, November 14, 2009

Skydiving

I've tandem-jumped twice, in 2003 and 2007. Both jumps were part of 21st birthday celebration weekends for our daughters Emilie and Katie, and both jumps were in Las Vegas.

The first jump was exhilarating. We jumped from a converted cargo plane that held eight pairs of jumpers. I was the last to go, after my daughters Sara and Emilie and my nephew Chad. The view was fabulous -- we could see the Strip, Lake Mead, and Hoover dam on the way down. I remember standing in front of the door, waiting to go, and looking down 10,000 feet to the desert below. What a rush!

The second jump was terrifying. We jumped from a converted four passenger Cessna that had all the seats removed except for the pilot. We sat on the floor, and when it was time to go, we had to clamber out onto a narrow strut under the wing and stand outside the plane without hanging on to anything until the jump master was ready. My guy was a daredevil, and he executed a barrel roll out of the plane without telling me first. I nearly lost my goggles and glasses, and spent the time in free fall frantically trying to get them back into position. The view was pretty lame, just desert and more desert, as we jumped with a different company from a different airstrip.

I will jump again when my niece Amanda turns 21 in about six years because her dad is afraid of heights and won't go with her. Probably not before then, since it's a rather expensive hobby and because I don't want to tempt fate too often...

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