The entire space was occupied by 5 people. 1 pilot and 4 divers. All we hear is the buzzing of the little plane's engine which at about 5000 feet is already sounding strained. This is a cause for concern as we still have another 7000 feet to climb. There is literally no space to move. I'm semi-sitting in an awkward position looking out through the windscreen. I turn to look at the pilot who winks at me and grins. I return what I hope is a brave smile. I'm pretty certain it looked like I was nauseous. I turned back to see my diving instructor grinning widely, my cousin sister looking like she was about to cry and her instructor just staring out of the window. I check the altimeter-5700 feet and counting. There's still a few minutes of contemplation to do. I spend it wondering why I decided to commit suicide.
In the meantime the ground seems to getting farther away every second and the clouds appear to be getting closer. The engine it seems to me is really struggling to cope up with the altitude. It's not a fancy airplane, it's nothing more than a crop duster! It probably makes sense to jump out before the damn thing explodes.
"All right Shomik! We're going out first!" yells Arnell. Since there isn't much space to move I just give a thumbs up and start praying. I hear a couple of clicks as Arnell attached the harness to my back. I pulled the visor on and sighed.
There's a hiss as the door pops open! Now comes the hard part. I have to turn around and find my way to the door and get my feet up on the little plate before making the jump. I check the altimeter-12002 feet. Time to rock and roll.
I slowly turn around and try to find my way out to the foot plate. Since I can't see anything my right foot misses the plate and it goes through thin air. You know that mini heart attack you get when you think you've lost your phone? Multiply that by a million and that is what I felt! Anyway finally I manage to settle my feet onto the plate. That's when I look at down at the earth. All I see are huge swatches of farms and really really tiny ant like cars. That's when the realisation kicks in that I'm going to jump. Fortunately Arnell doesn't wait for fear to come in. He pushes me out.
FREEFALL. Just so you know, you're free falling at about 140 miles an hour(210 Kilometers an hour roughly) Oddly the brain does not panic. The earth seems to be coming close alarmingly fast. "So this is how I'm going to die" the brain ponders. There is no panic, just the understanding. 2 minutes of free falling seems like an eternity. Without warning, I am tugged backwards violently! The parachute is deployed and it takes a few seconds to get your bearings right.
It's a 7 minute descent. It is in these 7 minutes that I flew. I was flying down gently. As far as the eye could see I saw. Those 7 minutes are probably some of the most memorable moments of my life. I was weightless. I stretched my hands out as wings. It was something we did when we were kids-to stretch our hands out as wings and run around and pretend to fly. Here I was, actually flying with my hands stretched out.
As I landed on the ground and released myself from the parachute, life had changed. 34 minutes to get to 12000 feet, 7 minutes to come down. As I stood there and looked around I saw the airplane which I had no faith in land on the airstrip. The pilot waved at me, I waved back. Arnell hugged me and congratulated me on my first jump. It was an out of body experience.
I jumped out of an airplane in June 2014. I dreamt about the jump that night. More than 2 years later I still dream about it...
If you've ever done it, you know what I'm talking about here. If you haven't I hope this post inspires you to fly out of an airplane.
Here's a link to the video if you want to see that actually happened!