Aug 14, 2003, 10:16 AM
Post #1 of 26
Help with first jump
Hi. I'm new to the forum and to the sport. I went with my boyfriend's sister this weekend for her first jump with intentions that I would never jump in my lifetime. I have always been extremely terrified of heights and not thrilled with taking alot of risks. I recently started indoor climbing to overcome some of those fears and have gotten much better, but getting myself to jump out of the plane is another story. After watching her jump video though everything changed. I have not stopped thinking about it since I watched it. How exhillerating it seemed and so exciting. I've become somewhat obsessed with the idea of jumping. But I just haven't figured out how to reason with myself how to go about taking that step out of the door. I feel that if I get in the plane I am just going to have a panic attack and dissappoint myself. Can anyone tell me how they thought about to keep themselves calm and reasoned on the ride up.
I know everyone's different but it helps to hear about other's first experiences and how they got through to getting out the door the first time.
I would say, go to the DZ, hang around, see other people's reactions and opinions, then ask yourself if you would feel the same, if you are convinced that you can do it, then YOU CAN, don't pressure yourself, don't rush it, do it when you "feel" you are ready, we all go thru that feeling, but after you exit that door and taste the air and adrenaline, you're addicted for life.
Hope that helps a little.
quade (D 22635)
Aug 14, 2003, 10:35 AM
Post #3 of 26
Welcome to the forums! I was really, really scared before my first tandem. I got through it by telling myself it was just fear of the unknown that I was afraid of, and all the "what if's". Then, I told myself that I wasn't going to let fear get the best of me, so I MADE myself get on that plane out of pure stubborness and determination. The good thing that is going for you as a tandem is that you are strapped onto someone else. So, when you get to the edge of the door, you really don't have a chance to back out, you're just along for the ride! I can tell you, if I wasn't strapped onto my TM, I'm not sure I could have done it either. But, as soon as I got down I said, "I want to do that again!"
Hi Michelle, Welcome! I just made my first tandem jump a short time ago, and believe me, it's the fear of the unknown that gets to you.I'm not afraid of heights, but ever since a diving accident where I hit my head on the bottom of a pool, i couldn't dive into or off of anything head first.My Tandem master made everything seem so at ease, and believe it or not, I felt no fear at all, until we actually got in the door, and that was very momentary, but didn't stop me. Go ahead and do a tandem, you WON'T be sorry, you'll love it! I have no doubt, I'm going to get back into it when i have time and more money of course!
Yes, the most important is for you to find out whether you WANT to do it. Then, talking to other people at the DZ, and here at DZ.com will give you a lot of first impressions. Yes I was scared beyond anything I could describe. Yes, we all do at the begining. Hey who wouldn't except a liar I agree that a tandem is the best way to go, in this case. Not only is the safest way to do it, it will also enable you to relax and enjoy the ride, knowing that you have an experienced instructor strapped to you. But as it was said earlier, beware of the bug, it bites us on the first jump, we get addicted and never leave the sport . Keep posting, ask any questions that you may have. There is no such thing as a stupid question except for the ones we never ask.
I'm not sure reason is consistently applicable to skydiving...but I struggled with the same issues you're having. I’m not an expert, just a beginner in this sport, so the following is just a humble suggestion from my own limited personal experience.
I am assuming your first jump will be a tandem. (If it is not, maybe you can get the gist and modify specifics as appropriate.) Ask yourself the following questions, before you commit to the jump, and at least one more time before you go up in the airplane:
Am I prepared to trust the Tandem Master to do this dive and not screw up in a big way?
Am I prepared to trust the fabric and webbing and stitching in this crazy rig to not break and let me fall?
Can I remember and do the (relatively minimal) stuff they tell me to do? Remember, like skymama said, “you're just along for the ride!”
(Consider any other questions of this form that the rational mind may come up with.)
Finally, do I really place a positive value on the experience of jumping out of an airplane, given everything I know or think I know about it?
If the answer is YES to each question, then tell your questioning rational mind to shut up for a little while and go have a good skydive!
Am I prepared to trust the Tandem Master to do this dive and not screw up in a big way?
This is what I remember thinking about to prepare myself to jump (or not). I don't remember being really nervous until I saw the people in front of us exiting the aircraft.
All in all, I look back and remember how confident I was that this guy (Tracy) strapped to my back knew what he was doing and wasn't going to do anything to hurt me. I just looked at it as "going along for the ride." His calm nature about the whole thing induced calmness in me.
Bottom line, don't do anything you REALLY don't want to do...but don't be afraid to test your limits either. The satisfaction of the whole thing is priceless.
Thank you all for your help. I think my boyfriend is planning a suprise trip in September for my first tandem. Hopefully I will be mentally prepared by then. I will definately keep reading all the posts and try to learn as much as I can before going. Thanks again!
Everyone is nervous, even experienced jumpers. You are a fool if you DO NOT respect the gravity of the situation (no pun intended) and are not a wee bit scared. I did a tandem a year ago, and it was simply something I "wanted to do". That alone got me in the plane. I had no idea what to expect, but i CAN tell you what happened was far "less scary" and so much more exciting than I ever dreamed. Sure, you might be weary, but don't scare yourself too much - its so much better than you can imagine at this point, and you will be glad you did it. I am working on my license to jump now, and am have recently got out of AFF training and jump solo on my own. I never planned to jump after my first tandem, but it seems nothing else on the planet compares.
edited for speeling! ;-)
(This post was edited by Fireflyer on Aug 16, 2003, 2:02 PM)
I've just done two tandems, and I'll tell you what I went through.
1. Be prepared to be nervous the whole time. That's pretty much normal.
2. I had to decide "in my head" that everything was going to be fine. I did this by looking at the statistics, and watching people land at the drop zone.
3. Your decision to jump has to be a cognitive one and not an emotional one.
4. Take it a step at a time "literally"... step 1 - drive to the dropzone step 2 - fill out the paperwork step 3 - watch the video they want you to watch step 4 - meet instructors and do your short training step 5 - go put on your jumpsuit step 6 - let your instructor put the harness on step 7 - start walking toward the plane step 8 - step onto the plane step 9 - sit down step 10 - when your instructor tells you, go over to the door and assume position...
That's the last thing you have to do! At that point, you've taken all the steps you have to take. I had to take that approach myself, or it would've been really hard to get through it. All you've got to do is get out of the plane. That's the hardest part. Once you're in freefall, you won't be aware of any anxiety...
One other note... when you get to the door, if you are really scared, then look UP. If you like terror, then look DOWN! I was looking down on exit, and on my video you can see my mouth get huge wide open!!!
As a Tandem Instructer I see things from a different perspective. It is about helping you to feel confident in my skill as a skydiver. To let you know that I have a family that I will be going home to them after our skydive. That my sole purpose during our time together is to return you safely to this earth with one of the greatest experiances of your life.
If you cant stop thinking about it then it will cause anxiety in your life until you do it.
It did for me until 6 1/2 years ago when I made my first skydive.
you CAN do it... who here felt it is normal to get out of a perfectly flying plane the 1st time ??? just abnormal people... my 1st time I didn't want to get close to the door, but what a feeling when we exited...
The great thing about tandems is that once you go out the door, it doesn't really matter how scared you are. There isn't much time to think about it, and everything goes by pretty fast. If your DZ is anything like mine (and im sure it is) the people on the plane, the TM, and everyone else will all be quite enthusiastic. The TMs at my DZ do a lot to make people on thier first ride less nervous, and let them know that everything will work out.
When I went back to do AFF, I would get nervous on the ride up, but I found things to think about that would sorta take my mind off what I was doing, and that made it easier too.
Like everyone else said, if youwant to do it, then do it. Properly directed determination is ussually well rewarded.
Welcome. I know this is a bit late, but better late than never is what my potty training teacher always told me.
My girlfriend and I asked our coaches the question about butterflies (in your case, I imagine they are pteradactyls) in the stomach. We wanted to know if it ever goes away, because we still get that uneasy feeling on the ride up. Granted, we only have 15 jumps each, but we just wanted to know if that feeling ever goes away.
Our coaches stated in no uncertain terms that the moment you STOP getting an uneasy feeling on the way up is the day you need to take up bowling, because you are a hazard to yourself and other divers. Apparently, it's quite normal to feel that way...now if they would only agree that it's normal to want to wear Depends...
Fear, in manageable doses is a good thing. As long as it doesn't prevent you from what you REALLY want to do...
I am new to the sport as well. I have 9 jumps now (2 of which were tandems to start with) Then I did the jump course. I was not afraid at all with the tandems but that first jump was horrifying.... the worst part for me was climbing out to hang from the wing strut (on a c-182) The wind is really intimidating for me... still. But I am sooooo glad that I did it! I still hate that rush of air when the door opens but I know what comes after so I bite the bullet so to speak. Once I leave the plane I am fine. I guess all I can say is that I just decided to do it and so I did. Now yesterday I had my first solo freefall... no more IAD security blanket. I was scared half to death on the plane, almost to the point of being sick. But then the door opened, and it was time.... I somehow went into robot mode, and everything was perfect! This time it was ALL me! For me, the fear is part of what makes this sport so enjoyable. It's the feeling I get when I overcome the fear, and realize that I CAN do it! I am completely hooked now and it can only get better from here!
Congrats......What DZ do you owe the case of beer to??.....I'm hoping it's WaterVille Smile..Mmmmmmm beerSmile
Ummmm why yes... it is actually Waterville <G> and I am pickin the beer that I like so pththththth which means either Blue or Corona. And do I know you? Hey, Waterville will have lots of free beers soon as I think that 4 of us did first freefall on Monday... 3 of us being females ;) GIRL POWER yeeehaaaa! hehehe
Savor the first jump, whether its Tandem or AFF...
I did my first jump a little over a month ago. I wasn't scared shitless - that is until I was 2 seconds outside the plane watching it fly away wondering what the hell I was doing there screaming to myself "this aint normal"!
My first jump was the most intense experience ever. I would compare it in terms of life experiences comparable to losing your virginity - My first jump is one I will never, ever, ever forget.
Hell I think I'm misleading you, it was even more intense and more unforgettable than when I lost my virginity.
Now I am hooked. Frankly, now that I "get it" - I'll give you fair warning that you should be more afraid of the addiction than the first jump
I absolutely agree wtih Jeff in all aspects of what he wrote. Be more afraid of the addiction and be prepared for a new perspective....I say this because it sounds like you are one of us that jump once and become instantly hooked!!! Some jump once and thats it. No big deal, but for most of us it only takes once and life is forever changed! Heck, I am still trying to figure out where I am going to get all this money to get through my training, ready to sell all I own just to jump! Lol!!! ...........No REALLY! Good luck to you and blue skies!
It's a natural thing to get freaked out at the thot of jumping of a perfectly good airplane at 10000ft for the 1st time... (I was one of these ppl) hahha! the reason behind it, is becos u will never imagine and believe that u can DO IT???!!! well, 1stly u have to kill those evil "what ifs" thots in ur mind.. believe in ur own capabilities. Think of wat u will do up there and thereafter.... Dun think as "I'm just a student, i'm lost, i dun think i can do it..." dun anticipate wat is going to happen when u haven't even jumped... the more u think about it.. the more u are going to think u cannot do it! When it comes to the time for u to jump outta the airplane, just rehearse ur drills or wat u shud do after u jump out (if u aren't doing tandem), and Look FORWARD to the wonderful feeling of Freefalling!!!!!!!!!!!!! and then... before u reached the ground, u can say "GOODBYE" to ur "What ifs" and i'll say Congrats and Welcome to ur new addiction ===> Skydiving! hee hee hee!