A word for the hard hearted and the adrenaline junkies. Do I consider myself an adrenaline junkie? Not really. But I did decide to skydive nonetheless. I thought I would share my experience for those who might consider it but are scared of taking the last step… into the air.
My first and most important advice is : Think it through. Because once you are on the plane, backing away is, well… not impossible, but not recommended. Why? Because you will meet back down with the ones who decided to skyfall and you’ll be disappointed you did not have the guts to take the fall.
Do it, do it!
I have only one advice for you : if you know the company is safe and you wonder what it feels like, do it. I fell with SkyDive Dubai ( http://www.skydivedubai.ae ).
Yes, you will fear for your life. On the plane. Once you jump, nothing will go through your mind except oh my god.
To me, this was the most thrilling experience of my life.
The process took a while, I arrived quite early in the day and only jumped at 3 in the afternoon. I had to sign certain things (one mentioning that you may die and it’s not their fault) that made me wonder why on Earth I was even here in the first place, but my mind was set. I was not going to bed without flying 5 kilometers in space. I was doing it. So I signed all the papers, shook a little, avoided my parents crazy eyes and focused on the task at hand. Calming my beating heart.
I was excited, terrified, thrilled, pertified, all of the above. As I waited, I watched a dozen people fall and land on the good old grass. I saw their excited faces and I wanted to be a part of it.
The setting of SkyDive Dubai is great. You get to sit on couches and watch people skydive, people folding their kit, people watching their own movies of their fall, and the adrenaline never leaves the gigantic room. It only builds up as you wait for your turn, and make the almost unwilling, willing. I managed to convince a girl to do it. As all the begginers are put in the same space, you get to talk to everyone and see who is terrified and excited. And then, when it’s over, you get to share the exact same smile.
You get to meet with your savior just before the flight, and they explain what they need you to do, how it is going to work, and what is fundamental to remember. Once they’re ready for you, about 5 other people follow you into a tiny plane with no real seats.
This is it. Your cue to hyperventilate.
I felt like running around, my heart was beating too loudly for my ears, and I was pumped.
I won’t lie to you, the ascent feels horrible. Not because the plane creaks and the experienced skydivers mock you. Nope. It feels horrible because for twenty minutes you get to see the Earth going smaller and smaller, and you cannot help but think “why, why, why would I ever do this, is it too late to change my mind? Shit, they’re watching me, smile, okay, I can do this- no I can’t oh my god this is really high can I even breathe right now?“. And then, the red light becomes green, and someone opens the door to space. You get to wear super awesome clear glasses so you can see what is going on 5 kilometers down.
You get strapped to a guy who does this around 7 times a day (I asked), so don’t feel uncomfortable, it’s all good. The tighter you are strapped to this guy/girl, the less chance you have of dying. Breathe. This person is going to make you live a crazy good experience. And then he motions you to the hole in the plane. And then, you jump. Well, really, he pressured me, but I couldn’t hold to anything. So I fell with him.
The first ten seconds of the fall, you heart stays all the way up. The closest I have ever come to this feeling are in rides when they drop you from a tower. The heart in your throat only lasts a few seconds, though. Soon enough, your heart catches up to your free fall and you get to experience the best 60 seconds of your life. Look around you, smile at the cameraman who looks at you and films everything with a GoPro while taking pictures of your floppy face in the wind. And observe the tiny ground where you could die, but thanks to the invention of the parachute, you get to land on safely.
There is nothing as incredible a jumping off a plane. You see a view you will never get to see again the same way, you wave at your terrified family members waiting for the other shoe to drop 4km down, and you yell it out, because, well, it’s amazing.
Once the fall is over, the parachute opens and you get dragged back up. Then, the fall gets slow and even more beautiful. My skydiver pointed out to me a few things in the city, told me a few facts, and made me control the parachute for a while. I got to hold the strings of my life in my hands. Fancy.
And when you can see the landing strip, it stings a little, because up there, nothing compares. But when you get to land safely on Earth, it feels good, and sad at the same time. Luckily, you remember you could have died, and this is probably the best outcome of your situation.
The main point of this article is, if you want to do it, do it.
Yes, it is expensive. My experience cost me 2000 Dhs which is the equivalent of 400€, or 328£, or 554$. Well, it was my 19th Birthday present. So I was very lucky. I had been talking about doing this for years, and my first try (on my 18th birthday) was cancelled because of the weather. Twice. Clearly they take their customer care very seriously. Which is always nice to know.
You must be over 18 to do the jump, and you cannot weight over 90kg for women and 100kg for men, which is what a normal BMI should look like.
I decided to do the Tandem dive, but SkyDive Dubai also has a school, which allows you to jump on your own after a few jumps (7 or 10 ?).
To sum up my experience, I would say it was all worth it. The team made me feel safe, I never felt threatened for my life, and I got back home with stars in my eyes. The scenery from up there was grand, especially with a city like Dubai to look over.
All in all, I would do it again… once I get my paycheck.