"I Did It! Now I'm Hooked!" - by Scott Myers
I had always wanted to skydive....going back to when I was growing up on a small farm in southcentral Kansas. But I never had the time nor the money....nor the courage to get up in a perfectly good airplane and actually stepping out at 10,500 feet --- that is until the morning of October 9, 1999.
-- 7 a.m.
At my brother's apartment ...woke up after resting for about six hours. On my mind, other than my high school alma mater's unexpected runaway win over their chief rival the night before ... skydiving for the first time.
It all began the previous Wednesday when I called Skydive Texas, located between Denton and Decatur, and got a hold of the dz owner, Dell. She informed me about the particulars, including the cost. I thought, "OK......I'll go and try it."
As I went thru the shower and got dressed, my mind was focused on the jump and trying to visualize what it would be like in the door of the plane at 10,500 feet and feeling very scared! Didn't I mention that I was afraid of heights?
-- 7:45 a.m.
On the road down LBJ Freeway en route to I-35 and it was pouring down
rain! Well, if it's bad there like it is here ... there is always
Wednesday morning. Besides, if its bad I still want to find the dz and
just check it out ... nothing to it.
Still cloudy as I arrive in Denton and exited off at Highway 380, going west now, 15.7 miles from the road leading to the dz ... still waking up.....plus having a total of about 11 hours of rest within a 24-hour period. Was I pumped for the skydive? Well ... yes I was, but trying not to show it. Had on a long-sleeve t-shirt and my blue jeans and comfy shoes.
-- 9:15 a.m.
Arrived at the dz, it was very quiet, clouds had broken away and the sun
was starting to shine ... looks like I'll get to jump. Walked over to the manifest and met with Dell, introducing myself to her -- a very pleasant woman to meet, all businesslike, but very much encouraging. Said I could do the jump today and be up on the second load of the day! (Deep breath ... am I crazy?)
She gave me the papers that basically I had to sign attesting that the dz
wasn't liable to any injury I may suffer on this first jump ... or if I
died. (Honestly, while signing my life away I was VERY scared. Even though I am a born-again Christian, I was VERY scared. I do love my life very much ... yet I told myself that I needed to try just one jump just to experience what it is like to skydive.
|After giving her the paperwork back, she weighed me ... 227 pounds ...22
over the desired weight limit, but at least 8 pounds below the maximum
limit, that meant 22 dollars extra along with the cost of the jump ($145
dollars) and $80 for both video and still shots. Dell then played a video on what to expect in doing a tandem jump for the first time and as I watched the video I started to calm down and figured, "They do stress safety first and foremost. Alright!" Plus the dz is a USPA-licensed dz.
After finishing watching the video, Dell informed me that the first load was going up now and the second load (my jump) was set in a few minutes. I then met Glenn Holdgren (couldn't remember his last name for the life of me) and he went over what to expect on the jump, including what I
should do ... legs up and kicking his butt ... arms folded across my chest ... relaxed and enjoy the jump. OK! I got into a red jumpsuit (preferred blue!), put on a harness that attaches to the tandem master's front and also was given a floppy helmet and goggles large enough to cover my glasses! By this time, I was still nervous, but starting to get psyched up for the jump.
-- 10:55 a.m.
After being videoed on the ground by the videographer (a lady by the name
of Caroline) about my reactions before the jump the three of us wait
for the pilot to come back out from the manifest. His name was Scott as
well! Lucky me! We climb into a Cessna 182 jumpplane with me in
first, Glenn next .... Caroline next ... and a nother jumper going up for
a hop-and-pop from 3,000 feet.
-- 11.00 a.m.
We are airborne ... and as we climb, I look out ... man we are getting
high! Very scared! Yet I stay calm on the inside and I pray to the Lord, "Lord Jesus, keep me calm on the inside." At 3,000 feet the door opens for the jumper exiting at 3,000 feet ... scared me to death JUST for the door to be open! He exits with no problems and we continue to climb ... past 7,000 ... 8,000 ... oh, boy! What did I get myself into? And yet, I stayed calm ... even thru getting hooked up to Glenn....getting my goggles on and fitted tight enough so they won't blow off my face.....and getting the helmet on and fitted snuggly.
||-- 11:20 a.m.|
At 10,500 feet ... Now comes the moment of truth! The door opens and Caroline climbs out onto the wing of the plane in position to start videoing my jump. Glenn gets his left leg out and I carefully get both feet out of the doorway and onto the step.
He says, "You ready?" I nodded.
He said, "OK ... CUT! (The pilot cuts the engine) ... Ready ... set ... GO!"
We are out of the plane! Oh my God! I start to scream! And I almost screwed up the exit. Got my right leg up but didn't get my left leg up and after he deployed the drogue we start to spin but Glenn managed to correct the spin quickly and I remember to get both legs up and kicking his butt.
15 seconds go by ... he taps me on my shoulder ... I extend my arms and
start to arch. I AM FREEFALLING!!! And I see Caroline!! She gives me a
thumbs up and we track toward her slowly. I look down as I am screaming like Homer Simpson, "WHOOOOHOOOOO!!!" And it is the most incredible feeling I have ever experienced in my life! :)
45 seconds go by very fast .... and before I knew it, Glenn pulled the ripcord and up we go under an open parachute! And I keep my eye on Caroline as she falls away until she opens her own chute. Now under an open chute, I scream, "I did it!" Glenn then instructs me to get on his feet so he can loosen the straps between the two of us and I feel very comfortable now. Still hooked to him I ask where are we now, he said, "at 2,500 feet" and the view is JUST TREMENDOUS! I can see the clouds nearby and feel the warmth of the sun! WHAT A RUSH! As we approach landing, Glenn instructs me to lift my legs up, which I did and we do a nice, sliding stop with no problems!
-- 11:27 a.m.
Back on the ground ... and am I on cloud nine! After getting unhooked from Glenn, I give him a hug and say, "Thank you!" I then take off my helmet and goggles and as I'm walking back to the hangar Caroline, who landed about 500 feet from us and much sooner since she was going to video my landing, asked how was it? My reply, "Excellent!
I stay around until I receive my "First Jump Certificate" singed by Glenn and both the roll of film of my jump (developed at a one-hour photo lab that afternoon) and the video (edited with the songs "I Believe I Can Fly" and "Fly Like An Eagle"). And as I left the dz around noontime I am still on cloud nine! And I want to jump again! Just have to figure out the "when" though, since I don't have enough to do at least another tandem jump. But when I do it again, it will be another tandem jump STILL am not
comfortable in doing an AFF jump just quite yet! And, you know something? Despite my busy work schedule working late nights ... I am hooked! :-)
Scott Myers - Mineola, Texas