Leap Or Not

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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If there is one thing that interests me, it¡¯s the adventure of having new experiences. This feeling drove me to try something I¡¯ll never forget. Last summer, I saw some information from the ad on a magazine. The poster read: ¡° Airshow and Skydiving Sat. and Sun. Devil Track Airport¡±. Since I rarely miss an airshow, I made plans to go.

At the airport I found out that for $100.00, I could take a tandem skydive with an experienced parachutist. A tandem skydive is when two jumpers are attached by tiny clips on their uncomfortable harness, just before jumping. Only one parachute is used, and it¡¯s worn by the instructor. This jump included a 20 minute crash, (I mean instructional introduction), a ride to 10,000 ft. in a plane, and help getting out the door. After watching a couple of tandem skydivers, I decided I had to go for it.

Being a pilot myself with open cockpit experience, I wondered if it could be that bad, so I thought, ¡°What the hell, where do I sign?¡± After a brief and confusing instructional session, I donned my jump suit and leather helmet, the latter resembling an ancient football helmet. I could have gotten the same protection from a worn out boot sock! So off we went, the pilot, the instructor, myself and two other idiots. The only seat to sit on was my own. Conversation was lively. (For instance, how we are to go down with the plane if anything happens before we reach 1500 ft. altitude.) Above that altitude it¡¯s okay to jump. These were hardly encouraging words at the time, since everyone was wearing a parachute but me. However, I would have gotten the blue ribbon for being the first one to hit the finish line.

Showing no visual signs of fear, I was asked if I was scared. I responded, ¡°Who. Me? Nah.¡° Eventually we reached 10,000 ft. It was show time! I mean anxiety maximums! Suddenly the door was removed and the cold air rushed in. The two solo jumpers got ready to go first. You see, they were past the adventure stage. They were doing this for fun. This made them advanced idiots. Watching them jump and disappear, I turned to the instructor and reluctantly recommended that he push me out the door. That wasn¡¯t a problem since I was in front of him and he had a strong desire to jump. So he did, and he took me along.

When I came to, I found myself free falling face down. At that time I felt motionless; however, the ground was moving upward at approximately 130 miles per hour. Suddenly, a hand appeared from behind my shoulder, reminding me I needed a chute to prevent rapid deceleration caused by the ground. To thumb up means ¡°Get ready.¡± ¡°Poof,¡° the chute opened. For a few seconds the sensation was that of going up, not down. My heart was still not functioning! Even so, I felt relieved to look up and see the beautiful colored canopy overhead.

The view and floating sensation were fantastic. I was overwhelmed with total peace and quiet, like a separate world from that below, but not for long. Soon it was time for re-entry into reality. A couple of 360 degree turns and we were on target. The agreement was: his feet first, then mine. Getting closer, 30 ft., 20 ft., 10 ft., and we touched down.

I must admit that both sets of landing gear failed, but the emergency gear held strong. I had the grass stains on my rear end to prove it. Happy to be alive, I told onlookers how great it was. Overcoming fear in the beginning was worth it in the end. But the instructor said it all when he shook my hand and said, ¡°No one can take it away from you.¡± With satisfaction I thought, ¡°That ¡®s right, they can¡¯t.¡± Will I do it again? Maybe. If you push me! I love to have new experiences!