Adventurers narrate taking their first leap

Imagine the adrenaline, the nervousness you feel looking out of the window of an airplane. Miles in the air, sometimes the ground can’t even be seen through the clouds.

Though so high in the air, passengers on a plane remain calm and unworried. Now, imagine jumping out of that plane. Scared yet?

One of the most intense sports around, skydiving takes that fear and turns it into a rush of adrenaline that fuels each jump.

When  the time comes to make the decision to sky dive, many wonder about what it will feel like to take that fist leap off the plane.

“When they closed the plane door all I could think about is the next time they’d be opening it,” said Zac Jarman, a third-year BME major.

“I wasn’t scared at all,” said Johnny Nahabedian, a fourth-year BIO major. “Then, they opened the door of the plane.”

“It’s one of those personal things when you realize you’re going to have to act, you’re not going to sit back down on the plane,” said Dan Brady, a first-year PHYS major.

“My dad and I jumped tandem for my 18th birthday. When they opened the door my ears popped as I watched the first couple folks jump out,” Brady said.

First-time skydivers almost always jump tandem, which is a jump in which the skydiver is attached to an instructor. This allows the skydiver to focus on the fun of the experience while the instructor monitors safety and altitude.

“I tell people you worry about having fun, I’ll worry about the skydive,” said Greg Lennartz, a skydiving instructor and fourth-year ISYE major.

“Lots of skydivers have a fear of heights, but when you see the plane fly past you’re just like ‘wow’ and there’s a moment of awe. You forget about being scared,” Brady said.

Then there were some who weren’t as relaxed. “Everything was going to be fine until I was looking 2.7 miles down from an airplane. After about five seconds  though I realized I wasn’t going to die and I relaxed,” Nahabedian said.

“The first three seconds that I was in free fall,  my instantaneous response was to grab onto something, but of course that was impossible. Concepts like gravity, falling, the ground were all abstract and bizarre to me,” Jarman said.

There were others still who felt just right. “There’s no falling sensation. You feel the wind rushing past you like driving in a convertible,” Lennartz said.

“It was like I was in another dimension. By the time I finally touched down I had decided I needed to do this for the rest of my life,” Jarman said.

The thrill of skydiving is unimaginable to those that haven’t tried it. Butterflies in the stomach don’t come close to describing the feeling just before the jump.