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My Story of my First Skydive Ever, as a Solo Jump, AFF

 


CaptaindeJong

Apr 19, 2018, 8:50 PM
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My Story of my First Skydive Ever, as a Solo Jump, AFF Can't Post

I feel that telling my story of how I made it to my first jump needs to be written down, I think it can help others who are thinking of jumping on their own rather than a tandem.

I should start way back, when I first even thought about skydiving...

It was sometime around 2014 when a close friend of mine called me to tell me he got a job at a place called iFly, I had never heard of it. I eventually visited him at his work and flew in the indoor skydiving tunnel. Being a beginner in the tunnel is a lesson in humility, everyone is watching you suck and trust me, you'll suck, especially compared to the instructors who are flying head down. I won't make this a story about the tunnel but I want the reader to note that I had roughly 2.5 hours in the tunnel before going skydiving.

When I travel, I don't do guided tours. When I need something fixed, I read about it and fix it myself. And when I skydive, I don't go tandem. This is my personality, some of you may be able to relate.

So after flying in the tunnel and meeting a few of the skydivers, I was set on jumping on my own. But when was I going to do it? I put it off. For a year. Then I'd think how much I should just go do it. I put it off. Another year.

It was early 2016 when I was talking to my friend Max about my desire, Max had never been skydiving either, I told him how I didn't want to go tandem. He said solo (AFF) was the only way he would go. I couldn't believe it, another daredevil like myself! I asked him if I could book two spots of an AFF class for the two of us, he agreed. If it wasn't for Max as a motivational source, I may have never gone.

I booked online that night and I remember vividly the feeling of seeing the confirmation email in my inbox that read, "Congratulations, you're going skydiving!", holy macaroni salad, I'm going skydiving. My heart sank into my nuts.

A couple days later and Max and I were headed to the drop zone. The entire ride up I was in a panic, thinking of hurdling towards my death and how my family would miss me. I thought of all the things I wanted to do in my life like sleep with two chicks at the same time, grow old so I can drive on the wrong side of the road and own a monkey that I treat like a son. All of those dreams would be lost if I just make a small mistake while free falling.

I had to counteract those thoughts of terror with positive thoughts. I had done my research on probability and the statistics of dying while skydiving, I remember reading that driving 10,000 miles in a car in one year has an equivalent risk factor to skydiving 20 times in one year. Those aren't terrible odds if you consider how many people are driving versus how many are skydiving. I had to remember that I had a higher risk of dying just driving to the drop zone than jumping from one of the planes. I buckled my seatbelt.

Max and I sat in class for five hours. I was so nervous, I kept thinking of the flight and the free fall and the canopy flight down. How would I react if my chute didn't open? Would I know how to pull my reserve? Yes. I knew where the handle was. Yes, there it is. Practice touch, practice touch, practice touch. Apparently my confidence overrode my fear because I stepped into that plane.

The ride up was terrifying, my palms were sweaty, I kept thinking of my training and tried to picture the jump. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath but nothing was calming my nerves. Total, full on panic the whole ride up. I'm out of my mind!

Now comes the moment of truth, my instructor asks me if I'm ready to skydive and hesitantly I say yes. We're at the door. Time slows down...

That door represented something to me, it represented the line between fear and bravery. If I stayed in the plane then I had been defeated and if I crossed the line and went out of the door, I had defeated my fear. It was so loud! The wind sounded like it was moving at a thousand miles an hour! One quick moment in my mind digging around for any last thoughts, have I done everything right so far? Do I even have my parachute on?

"OUT, IN, OUT..."

There's no grand, stomach churning sensation when you leave the plane, it's just very windy. My first thought was "No god damn way! I'M SKYDIVING!!!" All my training stayed with me, I remembered everything I was taught in class that morning.

I landed in the field and saw Max 50 yards away, we had done it. I was boiling over with euphoria.

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I could go on for hours about how skydiving has been one of the most incredible, sensational and exhilarating experiences of my life but I'll wait until the next time I get drunk.


JamesBond  (No License)

Apr 21, 2018, 1:04 AM
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Re: [CaptaindeJong] My Story of my First Skydive Ever, as a Solo Jump, AFF [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you Cap!

Early 2016 means you've been skydiving for around two years now. I'm set to start my AFF in about a month. I have done one tandem, and my reaction to going out of that plane sounds very similar to the one you've described here Crazy

Hopefully, I'll be able to focus on the training like you did, and stick to the new skills I'll learn, and be able to have a rewarding experience. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope I will also be successful come my time to fly.



christelsabine  (D 10828)

Apr 21, 2018, 8:34 AM
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Re: [CaptaindeJong] My Story of my First Skydive Ever, as a Solo Jump, AFF [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Quote:
There's no grand, stomach churning sensation when you leave the plane, it's just very windy. My first thought was "No god damn way! I'M SKYDIVING!!!" All my training stayed with me, I remembered everything I was taught in class that morning.

Wow! That's rare ...

And how did that go on, wunderkind ... how many windy jumps w/o stomachache until today? Shocked


CaptaindeJong

Apr 21, 2018, 10:53 AM
Post #4 of 8 (787 views)
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Re: [JamesBond] My Story of my First Skydive Ever, as a Solo Jump, AFF [In reply to] Can't Post

JamesBond wrote:
Thank you Cap!

Early 2016 means you've been skydiving for around two years now. I'm set to start my AFF in about a month. I have done one tandem, and my reaction to going out of that plane sounds very similar to the one you've described here Crazy

Hopefully, I'll be able to focus on the training like you did, and stick to the new skills I'll learn, and be able to have a rewarding experience. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope I will also be successful come my time to fly.

My fourth jump was when the fear started to subside. I had jumped three times and every time I pitched my pilot chute, the canopy came out and I didn't die so I had past experiences to tell me that there's a chance I would be okay.

The second major turning point was when I learned to pack my chute. After my first jump on my own unsupervised pack job, I was fearless. I say fearless but I should state that there's always a very small sense of fear on every jump, but in my opinion, a healthy amount.


thebull

Apr 21, 2018, 5:16 PM
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Re: [CaptaindeJong] My Story of my First Skydive Ever, as a Solo Jump, AFF [In reply to] Can't Post

Many people do AFF with out doing a tandem or tunnel first. I did.
2.5 hours of tunnel is the equivalent of 150 jumps free fall. You must have killed the AFF. Must have let you focus on exits and landing.


CaptaindeJong

Apr 21, 2018, 6:57 PM
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Re: [thebull] My Story of my First Skydive Ever, as a Solo Jump, AFF [In reply to] Can't Post

thebull wrote:
Many people do AFF with out doing a tandem or tunnel first. I did.
2.5 hours of tunnel is the equivalent of 150 jumps free fall. You must have killed the AFF. Must have let you focus on exits and landing.

Precisely! I wasn't worried about spinning out of control which probably would have contributed to my fear.


Westerly  (B License)

Apr 21, 2018, 10:37 PM
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Re: [CaptaindeJong] My Story of my First Skydive Ever, as a Solo Jump, AFF [In reply to] Can't Post

CaptaindeJong wrote:
had to remember that I had a higher risk of dying just driving to the drop zone than jumping from one of the planes. I buckled my seatbelt.
Well nice to see you did well in AFF, but that statement is 100% false. You absolutely do not have a higher chance of getting killed driving to the DZ than you do jumping at the DZ, not unless you drove there drunk doing double the speed limit while falling asleep.

I see statements like this and it excessively minimizes the risk of skydiving and gives the impression that it's really not that dangerous of a sport. The USPA also likes to minimize the risk and imply it's a safe sport. That's complete bullcrap. Skydiving is a dangerous sport and people suffer serious injuries all the time. I have literally seen the ambulance drive up to the DZ and pick someone up off the floor, drive to the ER, turn around and come back to the DZ to get someone else who was injured in a different unrelated accident, go back to the ER and then come back YET AGAIN to pick up a 3rd person who was also injured in yet another unrelated skydiving accident. I have landed at the DZ on a normal calm day, looked over my shoulder to pick up my main and see some guy just 20' away from me pound into the deck so hard I saw his leg break apart right before he did two front flips before finally stopping on the ground. These are just stories I have from the last two months. I have other stories too and mind you I am still new to skydiving. Hell, I've been injured twice myself. I injured myself on my AFF1 jump!

Point being, it's a dangerous sport. The USPA and everyone else likes to try to minimize the implied risk but the facts are that people are injured literally all the time. Go up to any instructor and ask them to give you a list of people they know who have spent time in the ER from skydiving. You'll be there all day.

Anyway, congrats on your AFF.


(This post was edited by Westerly on Apr 21, 2018, 10:41 PM)


massis

Apr 22, 2018, 11:32 AM
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Re: [Westerly] My Story of my First Skydive Ever, as a Solo Jump, AFF [In reply to] Can't Post

Westerly wrote:
I have literally seen the ambulance drive up to the DZ and pick someone up off the floor, drive to the ER, turn around and come back to the DZ to get someone else who was injured in a different unrelated accident, go back to the ER and then come back YET AGAIN to pick up a 3rd person who was also injured in yet another unrelated skydiving accident. I have landed at the DZ on a normal calm day, looked over my shoulder to pick up my main and see some guy just 20' away from me pound into the deck so hard I saw his leg break apart right before he did two front flips before finally stopping on the ground. These are just stories I have from the last two months. I have other stories too and mind you I am still new to skydiving. Hell, I've been injured twice myself. I injured myself on my AFF1 jump!

Point being, it's a dangerous sport. The USPA and everyone else likes to try to minimize the implied risk but the facts are that people are injured literally all the time. Go up to any instructor and ask them to give you a list of people they know who have spent time in the ER from skydiving. You'll be there all day.

Anyway, congrats on your AFF.

Not saying you're wrong about risk levels or that it's a super safe sport, but it sounds like you need to find a safer DZ Laugh.

6 injuries in 2 months is a lot, but statistics point out that roughly 1 in 400 skydives results in an "incident" (someone getting injured or requiring a reserve ride) and rougly 1 in 1800 jumps results in an injury requiring medical care.

Statistically, those 6 injuries you've witnessed would require around 11.000k jumps!



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