For Chris’s birthday, I took him down to central Texas for a skydiving class.
Chris, looking dashing in his jump suit. We tried really hard to get him into the neon-green-and-pink one, but he swore it wouldn’t fit.
Me, looking portly in my jumpsuit, and explaining something with lots of gestures. For some reason, Chris found the gestures hilarious.
… because he kept taking picture after picture. I don’t even remember what I was describing.
Heading to the plane. From left, it’s Matt who was just jumping for the fun of it, James the jumpmaster who was going to help make sure I didn’t die, me, and the pilot. The pilot was SMOKING hot, but I couldn’t find a casual shot of him without looking like a creepy old perv, and you don’t want to creep out the guy who’s going to be flying your plane.
Everything went to plan; I did the scheduled drills in free fall, pulled my pilot chute, the main chute opened, and I flew it down to the right field.
Where I landed, on my butt, quite firmly. I understand that the impact was audible across the field. I was uninjured.
Chris flew his with a little better control than I did; he landed upright, but rolled.
I was so focused on landing without breaking anything, that all my pictures came out with my stern, concentrated look… Chris had a little more fun with his ride.
Overall, it was quite a thrill, and I’d definitely do it again. The only real drawback was that there was a LOT of hurry-up-and-wait… we sat around for hours waiting to go up in the plane. The free-fall portion of the ride seemed amazingly brief, and it was hard to really get a sense of what was happening aside from all the air rushing at me. What I really enjoyed most was the slow descent under canopy, floating along peacefully where I could see all the countryside and feel the chute responding to the toggles as I pulled them.
That is so very cool. And happy birthday to Chris!
What a great birthday gift! I’ve always hankered after a try at hang-gliding–maybe the closest a human being can come to feeling like a bird. Maybe, like Geo HW Bush (who parachuted on his 80th b’day), I’ll try hang-gliding on my 80th.
Happy birthday, Chris!
wow, how fun! You didn’t talk about how scary (or not) it was. Love the photo of you after landing, straight-faced. I always wondered if it was a big and painful crash when you land.
You are braver than I am, that’s for sure! Pretty great birthday gift, though.