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Chix in the Air







Beth's Story

(Contacts vs Glasses)

Propellers Chop Off Heads!"Why would you want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane?" This is the most popular response I got when I told friends I was going to try skydiving. Well, now that I've been there/done that, I can tell you that the airplane should not exactly be classified as perfectly good. I typically define an airplane as having a co-pilot, a door, and seats; none of which was found in our plane. . . but I digress. . .

Kristy and I had been talking about skydiving for over three years. It was exactly the type of rebellion that Roadchicks are famous for. So when Kristy said she had a skydiving date set with some friends from work, I couldn't say no.

Our first attempt was in mid-July. The evening at the Manchester, New Hampshire airport wasn't too ominous, but it seems that Hurricane Ohmygod was just south of us and a tornado/hailstorm/gusty crosswinds were going on to the west. I attempted to get out of the airport for 6 hours before Kristy and I decided that it wasn't meant to be and rescheduled for September.

Luckily, the September trip was perfect. Wedged between two overcast weekends, we had our perfect skydiving weather (thanks to our Weather Karma). Clear and sunny and cool enough to require long sleeves but not a jacket, which led to visibility to Delaware and New Jersey (from the sky).

We were greeted at the airstrip/trailer park by seasoned skydivers and timid first-timers alike. We dutifully sat through the 20-minute video (Skydiving for Dummies), left a credit card and signed our lives away in triplicate. Then it was on to get changed. . .

The skydiving suits were frayed, neon, and fit like a glove, an extra-small latex glove, that is. Unless you pissed off your instructor, you were also supplied with gloves, a leather helmet, and goggles (although Saran Wrap probably would have provided better protection). Then we were shuttled in small groups to the plane.

Gwen and I were on the last manifest out of our group so we had the chance to watch everyone on their way down and attempt to learn from their mistakes as well as spend a little extra time with our instructors. My instructor, Bill, was fabulous and for a half hour that day, was my very best friend.

People always ask if I was scared. . . Honestly, I wasn't too nervous. I'm not afraid of flying or anything and had been practicing yoga for quite a while so I just concentrated on my breathing and stayed calm. . . until we were at 13,500 feet, Bill was attaching his harness to my harness, and he was telling me to scoot closer to the door. Closer, closer, closer. . . Yeah, then I felt a little nervous. So he leaned forward and we fell out of the plane. Just like that. . . it was amazing. . . I screamed like a crazy-woman because he told me he'd scream if I did. . . so there we went, screaming through the sky at ~120 mph through a few wispy clouds for about a minute. The sound of the air rushing by my ears was unbelievable. . . that's the only way I could perceive the speed because the ground didn't really seem like it was approaching. . . we were just too far away ("Look, all those cars look like little ants from up here.")

Beth Coming InThen, he opened the 'chute and it was dead silent. . . not a sound!! I could see into two other states plus the ocean. . . it was beautiful. The closest I'll ever get to being a bird. The parachutes are surprisingly maneuverable. Bill let me steer. We could turn with ease and even spin (which rocked for a person who loves vertigo).

My landing was unmemorable. . . suddenly the ground was approaching. . . and I could tell. I tried to remember the video and lift my legs up, but I think I reached for the ground at the last second. I didn't hit hard, but tripped, fell forward, and succeeded in taking down my instructor. All in all, a great experience!!

So what are my tips??
*If you've never been in an airplane, maybe you should overcome that hurdle first.

*Pay attention to your instructors. You can zone out through the video and still make it to the ground in one piece.

*Don't get too close to the propeller. . . remember, propellers chop off heads!!

*Contacts vs. Glasses. . . hmmmmm. There were lots of people who lost their contacts that day. . . they just get sucked out of your eye during the freefall. I wear extended-wear contacts, but I didn't have a problem. Glasses don't seem like the best solution either. . . so just get Lasik surgery. . . or duct tape your glasses to your head.

*Go with friends. You'll share an amazing story and probably get a group discount.

*Enjoy yourself!! Don't close your eyes!! The view is great.

Our Adventures

Photo GalleryFrom the preparation to the soaring to the landing, it's all in here.
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