Why was I in this stupid airplane? How on earth was I going to jump out of it?
Fear pestered me on the way to altitude.
This jump required a new exit. Instead of crouching in the door between two instructors I'd be hanging out the door with one. The idea of hanging out the door seemed even scarier than falling from it. One of my subconscious rules must be "Don't hang from speeding vehicles."
When the time came I forced myself into position and went through the routine I'd practiced over and over:
Another sad, sloppy exit was underway.
This drives me batty because I know how to arch. Why can't I do it right away like I'm supposed to? Arrgh!
Then things got better. I arched properly, the instructor let me go, and I stayed in place.
I pulled on time and the chute opened normally. No twists!
It's funny. In the relative safety of the plane I feel scared, but when the canopy opens, I feel relieved. This in spite of the fact that I'm dangling from a kite, thousands of feet in the air, with plenty of opportunities to get mangled*
My landing went smoothly...
And that's how I passed level four.
As for level five, well, click here to find out what happened.
*following directions and paying attention minimizes these risks, but I try not to fool myself into thinking "Yay! The 'chute opened. Now I'm safe!"