Colorado Sky Diving Oct. 29, 2015
My wife Barbara is a huge GroupOn fan. A while back, she purchased two tickets to sky dive. At first, I wanted nothing to do with it. So she tried to find a friend to go wiith her, but no one wanted to. So I then decided that I would use the other ticket.
The tickets were for the Royual Gorge Sky Diving company, located at the Fremont Airport, just east of Canon City, Colorado. We toured the Royal Gorge Wednesday afternoon and spent that night at a Super 8 in Florence, CO.
On Thursday morning, I ate a light breakfast for I didn't know what to expect on the sky dive and if I would get sick during the experience. My stomach was already in a knot whenwe arrived at the airport.
I watched a group prepare before us and even went outside to watch them jump. They free fell for about 20 seconds. I figured at this point in my sky diving career, that would be enough.
We watch a movie about what to expect and the narrator said twice, "Sky Diving is dangerous. Equipment malfunction can lead to serious bodily injure and even cause death". He said that twice. But that didn't deter me for I was here and going to jump out of an airplane.
Caleb, my Tandem Instructor, took a lot of time to explain all the equipment and how it worked. He strapped me into a harness and showed me the main parachute. He told me that there is an automatic deploy system on the chute, that if he didn't deploy it by a certain altitude, it would do it all by itself. Once I heard this, I was OK with everything that was about to happen. I trusted Caleb to do what needed to be done to make the jump safe. But what if something happened to Caleb and he became unconscience. THAT one tidbit was scaring me, literally, to death.
Caleb had two GoPro cameras on his left wrist. There was a movie camera, which produced a great video of my adventure, and the other a still camera, that took a picture every 10 seconds, which some are included below. Here we are saying my last words to everyone on the video, just in case I didn't make it. I said "I love you all and make sure someone takes care of our dog".
We took a modified plane up to about 9,500 feet. It was a nice ride, but I was breathing real fast and starting to make myself sick. I told myself "this is stupid...I like riding in airplanes. It's leaving the airplane soon that I should be worried about". I settled down. Relaxed my breathing.
Since the pilot was over my right shoulder, I didn't see much of him. Shouldn't he be watching where we are going?
Caleb was pointing out all kinds of things on the ground. I even saw the Royal Gorge bridge from the airplane.
Just before we jumped, the pilot said the wind had changed direction and he was maneuvering the plane to a new position to make our jump safer.
Barbara jumped first. When we were at 9,500 feet and in the right position, she and her Tandem Instructor moved to the door of the airplane, hung their legs over the edge for a second...
And then they were gone...She was there and then she was gone...
Oh Oh. My turn. I don't know if the look on my face is because my wife just jumped out of the airplane to her potential death or it was my turn now to leave the airplane. Anyway, my face says it all.
The video we watch said I could still back out of the jump and take the plane back top the ground. But I had come this far and the fastest way back down was through the door.
What the hell. I was ready as I ever would be and wasn't going to turn back now. I made my way to the door, hung my legs over the side and...
Away We Went!!!
I had decided early on that I would keep my eyes open all the time, NO MATTER WHAT. These next 2 pictures prove that I did just that.
We tumbled a bit until Caleb released the drogue chute to help stabilize us and to control our speed.
There were a couple of instuctions that Caleb gave me on the ground and we practiced some of them on the way up in the airplane. The most important instruction was that if I PANICED, don't grab him. I didn't realize it but he had his left arm extended over my left shoulder so he could get these fantastic pictures. It would have been easy to grab him. I told him that I wouldn't panic. I was good with the upcoming jump.
The other instructions was what to do with my hands and feet when we left the airplane and when to assume the characteristic sky dive poze. I needed to hold onto my harness initially so that he could deploy the drogue chute and not have it get tangled in my arms (remember we were tumbling once we left the plane). Then he would tap me on the shoulder and I would assume the sky dive poze. We practiced this at least twice in the airplane.
He got the drogue chute released and...
Got the tap on the shoulder and I assumed the sky dive poze, just as we had rehearsed several times.
We fell at about 120 mph. It was about 47 degrees on the ground when we took off. I expected the free fall to be colder but it was not. I was later told that I had so much adrenalin flowing in my body that I didn't notice the cold.
Free falling is AWESOME!!! I have not experienced anything else like this before now. While I just enjoyed the ride, Caleb was doing all the important stuff, like keeping us safe.
I bet you can't tell, but I was having a wonderful time. I felt safe the entire time. At this point, I wasn't worried about much anymore. Literally, it was do or die time...
That is Pikes Peak off in the distance just below my right hand.
Caleb's GoPro was taking wonderful pictures the entire time.
I guess 20 seconds had just passed. The main chute deployed and I was jerked around like a YoYo on a string. This lasted only a second or two.
The chute deployed about 5,000 feet. The view from up here are what eagles see every day. I am glad I got to see it also.
A high five and then...
I got to control the parachute for a while. Caleb put the loops into my hands and I pulled on one side and we went that way. Pulled on the other side and we went that direction. This wa sWAY COOL!!! I tried to do a fiture 8, but I don't think it happened.
I really didn't care for the jump at all and was having an aweful time all the way down...NOT!!! Just kidding...
There is the airport below us that we took off from. I have a concerned look on my face but cannot imagine why. I felt safe under Caleb's parachute.
On the ground. I'm still pretty excited about the whole ordeal. My Tandem Instructor, Caleb was awesome and made the entire jump an exciting and memorable experience.
I even received a certificate of authentication that I did Sky Dive. Click on the image to see a larger version.
So what is next, you might ask. Barbara said if we achive our weight loss goal weights, we will sky dive again. I have 10 pounds to go.
The next time I sky dive, I want my own altimeter. I want to jump from a much higher altitude, maybe 12,500 feet so the free fall lasts longer. AND I want to do a figure 8 with the parachute before landing.