Been on my list for a while. I finally decided to register for a Tandem Skydiving experience.
I registered with Skydive Monroe, about an hour away from Atlanta. Their site is very easy to navigate and I registered for a Friday 2pm appointment.
The basic cost to register is $245 and I added the Outside Video and Stills package of $175 for a total of $420
Tandem Skydiving is a way for anyone to experience free fall and parachute deployment with the safety of a Tandem Instructor secured to ones back.
I arrived at the hanger around 1:30pm and waited for them to call us in to the instruction room. There were only 2 others there and there were only 2 instructors and a couple of videographers.
They called us in and we viewed a video. The video was narrated by a man who was instrumental in developing the harness used in Tandem Skydiving. There are other methods to do this but they didn’t go into detail. The video reenforced the risks of skydiving and we had to fill out a double sided paper waver where we initialed each paragraph, signed and witnessed.
My package included a free T-shirt.
When it came time, the instructor went over some safety instructions. Stay calm at all times, I could not jump if I felt unsafe, to keep my arms in at the door, arch my back during free fall, and other simple hand signals to make sure I was ok at all times.
He secured the harness on me and he strategically chose the proper parachute for Tandem. A bigger chute is needed because its more weight.
At this time the videographer did his thing with fancy camera movements and an interview. The finished product is outstanding.
They provided plenty of pictures and 3 very nicely edited videos.
Back to the experience! We walked on the tarmac as I followed the instructor inside the plane and sat facing the tale. There were 2 rows of benches long way. We took off and he gave me the goggles and told me when it was time to scoot back so he could secure himself to me.
We climbed up to 15,000′ and we scooted forward towards the door. The videographer gave me tips to look up and do whatever while he filmed. His gopro was connected to his helmet.
At the door we waited until the light turned green giving us the go ahead to jump. I was a little nervous but excited about what was about to happen. At the door, it was a bit scary because there was nothing between the plane and the ground. Surprisingly, I did not get any scary sensation as your would looking over an edge of a building.
We rocked back and forth and exited the plane doing a small flip. Once facing down the instructor deployed a mini chute. It’s either to keep us level or as an indicator where we were.
We dropped 10,000′ in free fall in almost a minute. All the while the videographer made his way to face me. I stretched out my arms and kept my legs inside my instructors legs and looked up. Occasionally looking down and how small everything looked.
The wind was strong and very happy to have the goggles.
Right about 5,500′ the chute deployed and it was a good deployment. If something had gone wrong the instructor would have cut away the chute and deploy the reserve. The instructor said he’s only had to reply the reserve 6 times solo and 16 times in tandem.
It was a jolt when the chute deployed. Like slamming on the brakes. He told me to stand on his toes to loosen the harness a bit. He guided us down and allowed me to hold onto the handles. Pulling on the left handle made the chute turn left and the right turn right. Both handles, applied the brakes. Amazing how 2 handles were able to control the direction of the parachute.
One of the skydivers that jumped first had to cut away and deploy his reserve so the instructor kept a close watch on him.
We circled and began our decent in a strategic pattern to the landing area. As we approached the ground he instructed me to pick my feet up like in a sitting position. We gently touched down and he unbuckled himself.
The experience was exhilarating. Delfinately would do it again and am seriously considering doing AFF where I would be certified to jump solo. The AFF course is an all day event with 3 jumps. You jump with 2 instructors.