Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sky Diving Duck

I'm not the adventurous type.  I'd never climb a mountains, bungee jump, surf or ride a motorcycle. Skiing frightens me.  Even elevators make menervous.  So why was I about to jump out of an airplane at 10,000 feet?

 Curiosity did it.   Skydiving sounded freaky, yet the more I thought about it, the more I wondered what it was like.  It's as if I have two minds.  One is cautious and terrified, the other one looks for novelty and just has to know what something is like:
Curious Namowal:  Let's try skydiving.
Cautious Namowal: Have you lost your mind!? 
Curious Namowal: C'mon!  It'll be the craziest thing!
Cautious Namowal: You don't like to jump off the high diving board and now you want to jump out of an airplane?  You know that can potentially end very badly.
Curious Namowal:  We'll do the kind we're we're strapped to an instructor.  He'll know what he's doing.  And you know they carry a second parachute in case the first one fails, right.
Cautious Namowal: Yes.  And I know the term "double canopy failure" means chute number two doesn't open.  Spatula City!
Curious Namowal won.
So there I was, strapped to an instructor in a roaring Cessna.  There's something counter-intuitive about swinging your feet over the doorway edge  of a plane that high.  The wheel spoke hung nearby, pointing to the ground below.
"Put your head back," the instructor said.
Good, I thought, because then I won't see what happens next.
We swung back and leaned forward...
Whoooosh!  The "Oh $#!!! you're falling!" sensation kicked in so hard that I screamed. 
What had I gotten myself into?
Then the falling sensation stopped.   The chute hadn't opened yet, but I suppose we'd reached terminal velocity.  Since we weren't gaining speed, the "you're falling" detector in my head decided I wasn't falling and turned off the danger sensation.  Now I was "floating" in a strong wind.    Patches of green and brown farmland spread below.   Clouds hung in the distance.  This was bizarre.  Crazy.  Cool!

Curious Namowal:  Holy Crap!  We did it!
Cautious Namowal: Not so fast, Cannonball.  Let's see how well this parachute works.

Something tugged me upward.  I looked up as the blue and gray chute plopped open.  Now we hung there, floating down as the ground slowly grew closer.  It was a live action session of Google Earth, but more fun. 
It was over too soon.
I could babble on and on about it.  Instead, here's the video.

 Wanna come with me if I do it again?