the Old Gravel Road
(To the Trailer
Park Training Center)
here's my attempt, along with Beth and few friends to describe
our experience. First, how on earth (pardon the pun) do you
pick a reputable skydiving place that won't take you up in
the air and simply throw you out of the plane? Well, when
you're a young Generation X'er with a limited budget, you
surf the web for the cheapest, closet place you can find.
Hence, Parachutes Are Fun, Inc. in Salisbury, Maryland.
To begin our adventure we all had to get up at 4:30 am to
meet and drive two and a half hours east of Washington, DC
to the airfield. After our long, uneventful trip we bumped
our way up the gravel road to the airstrip. This is where
we got our first glimpse of the old hanger, the tiny plane
and the dilapidated trailers where we would train. This didn't
deter us at all. We had planned this trip for over four months,
it was a breathtakingly gorgeous day and we were going to
the owner of the operation, was hilarious. Every sentence
to one of the young women present was always punctuated with
"Young Lady". "You didn't fill this form out
quite right, young lady." Gordon makes his living shuffling
people 14,000 feet into the air and dropping them off. He's
77 years old, so he doesn't jump quite as often as he used
to. But, he doesn't need to because he has a full time experienced
staff and a pilot.
Next, how exactly do you train for hurtling your body out
of a plane two and a half miles up in the air? You watch a
twenty-minute video, of course. The video was a perfect match
of Gordon and his legal disclaimers; "You need to pay
me $700 if you decide to sue me, so that I can get legal representation."
The other part of the video consisted of a Mr. Rogers/Bob
Villa instructing us on the proper hand and body motions for
jumping and falling.
There was nothing scientific to the order. We jumped according
to who signed the clipboard first when we walked in. As you
can see from the picture, the little Cessna that took us up
didn't hold too many people. Plus, there were only three tandem
instructors available that day. Fortunately, none of us wanted
video of our "fall", because there was only one
photographer working and there were five people ahead of us
who wanted their daring recorded on film.
If you read the narratives you can follow each of our adventures
from ground to sky to ground again (minus the plane on the
way down). The order was as follows: Joe and Darcy went first,
I rode solo on the second flight, followed by Beth and Gwen
on the third flight. I think that you'll find that we each
had our own very unique experience.