Jumping Out of a Perfectly Good Airplane…

This article authored by: Rob Hallberg

6 Gliding to a LandingThis past weekend I took my first parachute jump at SkyDive Arizona, in Eloy Arizona.  The reactions I have gotten when they learn about my jump fall into three categories.

  • “Why would you jump out of a perfectly good airplane (Are you crazy)?” About 75% of the comments.
  • “I jumped last year when my (Husband, Wife, Girl/Boy Friend) gave it to me as a gift.” Maybe 5% of the people.
  • “That’s on my (Bucket, To-Do, etc.) list.” The remaining 20%.

I was not prepared for the size of the facilities at SkyDive Arizona. I expected a small operation but learned instead that SkyDive Arizona has one of the largest Aircraft Fleets and the largest Drop Zone in the World. SkyDivers from all over the world dive and train here for the facilities and great weather. Eloy is located about one hour North of Tucson, AZ off of Interstate 10.

I checked in at 11:00am and waited. About an hour later we were taken to a room to see a short video and sign papers that make nobody, nowhere liable for any injuries you may obtain in the process.

It was another hour before my Instructor found me. He fitted me with the harness and gave me some basic instructions: “Bring your knees up to your chest and hang on to them until we clear the plane.  Then arch your back, neck and legs for the Free-Fall”.

Shortly after we took a tram ride to the Airplane and boarded. They put the all of the Tandem Divers in the front of 5 On the Busthe plane so they would jump last. There were two other Tandem jumpers when I went along with about 17 single jumpers. It was a full plane.

The ride up to the Drop Elevation of 13,000 feet takes about 15 minutes. 13,000 feet is the highest you can Dive without requiring an oxygen tank.

Was I anxious before the jump? Not too much. My Instructor had completed over 16,000 jumps and I liked those odds.

You Free Fall for about 50 seconds.  My first reaction was, “those tiny objects on the ground look just like I have seen out of an airplane”. My next thought, “Hmm. But there is no plane and the ground is getting closer”.

I was surprised at how noisy it was and the power of the wind on your face. Free Fall speed is about 120mph, so it would be like sticking your head out a car window at that speed.

I was so absorbed in the free fall that I forgot about opening the chute.  Suddenly I was lifted straight up and I thought something was wrong, until I realized that you are always pulled up when the chute opens, from watching TV.

7 LandedThe rest of the jump was about 4 minutes and it was quiet, like sailing.  We maneuvered back and forth at some angles to align with the landing field which was like banking in a helicopter.

Landing wasn’t that fast and we could have done it standing but the risk of an accident is too great so we landed on our butts.

Would I do it again? I wouldn’t make a special trip. Catherine plans to do it next year so I may consider a 2nd time.

I did get the T-Shirt (it was free with the jump).

Rob and Catherine Hallberg are Associate Brokers with Long Realty, a Berkshire-Hathaway Affiliate and Southern Arizona’s largest Brokerage. Since 2008, they have been ranked in the top 5% to 8% of all U.S. REALTORS®. Send Rob and Catherine an email for a fast response to your questions; for an even faster response, Call (520) 407-8667.

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