Skydiving at Skydive Orange in Orange, VA - September 6, 2003

skydive_q_tn.jpg 4.1K skydive_g_tn.jpg 3.3K Never in my life did I think I'd ever go skydiving. Never had the desire to go and I certainly didn't think I'd have the guts to do it! But for some reason lately I've been thinking about it since I read an article in the Washington Post. I had hinted around to a few people about going, but all said "no way!" and I don't blame them. So when the weather forecast for Saturday September 6 looked perfect I scheduled an appointment at Skydive Orange. I didn't tell anyone I was going because if I chickened out I didn't need to worry about anybody giving me any crap. I arrived about 1/2 hour early at 9:30am Saturday morning. By 10am I was watching a short video and signing all kinds of liability release forms that basically said "you might die and you can't sue us." I did a tandem jump, which means you don't have much training to do because you are attached to someone who knows what they are doing.

Around noon we boarded the small plane full of about 20 anxious skydivers and embarked on our journey. I couldn't believe I was sitting in that plane watching my altimeter go from 0 to 13,000 feet. But sure enough, in about 10 minutes or so it was time to jump. There was no way I was going to chicken out at this point. I was near the back of the plane, so I had to nervously watch all but one tandem couple jump out. I would nearly be last. One of the hardest things I've ever done is step up to that plane door (I'm afraid of heights) and stare down 13,000 feet (2.6 miles) and anxiously wait for the count to go to zero! I even have a hard time watching the video. I think I closed my eyes briefly (as you can see in the pic below), but I opened them back up soon after jumping. At 13,000 feet there really is not much of a concept of height, but it still looked pretty damn scarey!

You only really feel the initial "stomach in the throat" sensation of jumping for a few seconds. Then it's just like you're floating down with a 120 mph wind blowing at you. The freefall lasted about one minute. At about 5,000 feet my instructor pulled the ripcord and of course we got jerked around pretty well. That was probably the second scariest part. After that it's just a matter of floating down and enjoying the view. We did a few "roller coaster" moves, but I wasn't bothered about getting too crazy (guess it was too late for that). It was truly an unparalleled and awesome experience and I definitely plan on returning!

I paid a little extra to have another skydiver from Skydive Orange go along and take the pictures below as well as a video. I also have some additional pictures that I took with my camera on the ground.

New - I now have uploaded the video!

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I ran into Stacey and Maury (left of me). The guy on the right is Jason, my instructor and the guy who would hold my life in his hands during our tandem jump.

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Getting all my gear on. Now I'm getting a little nervous.

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Heading out to the plane. I'm thinking about how the hell did I get myself into this mess?

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Getting on the plane with about 20 other skydivers

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I'm trying not to look nervous here.

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It's too late to turn back now. I had to stand at the door for several seconds before we jumped. That was probably the worst part.

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Here goes nothing...

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Freefall at last! Notice how far we are above the Orange County countryside!

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Freefall at last!

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Yes, I definitely had the deathgrip on my gear.

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If you were falling at 120 mph, your face would be distorted too. Jason is tapping me on the back to remind me it's time to hold my hands out.

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Okay, I finally got my hands out...proudly displaying my Jim Morris t-shirt.

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I've finally got a smile and am starting to relax and enjoy the spectacular view...still in freefall.

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Still in freefall and floating along and enjoying the ride.

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I finally realized the camera dude was right in front of me.

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Freefalling...still can't believe I'm here.

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After about a minute of freefall from 13,000 feet, Jason pulled the ripcord at about 5,000 feet.

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Our parachute is now open and we're floating alone. We do a few "roller coaster" maneuvers, etc.

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The Orange County Airport and SkyDive Orange facilities are located below.

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Coming in for a landing...

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I'm about to hit solid ground again.

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My legs were a little shaky, but it was an awesome experience! I'm just glad I've done it at this point, but I'm ready to go again!