Last weekend, a couple of friends and I went to an island in the Dutch Wadden Sea to celebrate the bachelor party of a close friend of mine. It was all pretty awesome, I picked up the poor guy around noon last Friday (when he thought he’d have another good 3 hours of meetings that afternoon), so it was a good start. The night, we spent bbqing on the beach (had Jerk pork) and the next day we want to the small airfield on Ameland — Chris still not knowing what would be happening.
The next couple of hours we spent hanging out with the parachuters from Paracentrum Ameland, learnt a bit about safety, how you’d not break your legs, and what happens if you lose your contacts in mid-air. Then we boarded the small plane, one after the other, and climbed up to 3000m above the island, giving a fantastic view over all Dutch Wadden Sea islands. Then I was secured to my tandem master more tightly, put on the safety glasses, and open went the door. At that point, I just stepped out of the airplane onto the small step outside the airplane, stood there for two or three seconds, and jumped. We fell freely for a good 30 seconds until the parachute opened (probably wouldn’t be writing this if it hadn’t ;-)) at ~200km/h, and then spent another 5 to 6 minutes slowly decending onto the airfield again. Landing went smooth, as you can see on the photo.
I must say, that was an awesome experience, it’s a really weird moment when that door opens, but the view, the experience (and certainly the rush of adrenaline) make it absolutely worth it. I wonder if I’ve left behind my slight acrophobia on that flight. As to Chris, I think he still likes me. His face, in terms of Big Smile looked about the same as mine right after the jump.
If you’ve got friends that have you thrown out of a plane in mid-air, you don’t need enemies.