Waking up at 6:30 in the morning on a Saturday sounds like a start to a terrible day for a college student, but it’s a much sweeter feeling when you wake up from sheer excitement, knowing that today you’ll be jumping out of a perfectly good plane. I had the pleasure of leading this semester’s tandem skydiving trip with SMU Outdoor Adventures, and although I had been skydiving before, I still couldn’t contain my excitement as our van departed from SMU. It’s an hour-long van ride to Skydive Dallas in Whitewright, Texas, and as we approached the site, the group’s nerves increased. We watched as the first divers of the day made their landings, knowing (hoping?) that our landings would go just as smoothly.
Our instructors at Skydive Dallas were fantastic, showing us the ropes through ground school, a training session that teaches you how to perform different maneuvers throughout your dive. Our group was all signed up to tandem dive, so we would be attached to a professional instructor who would take care of a majority of the work while we would be responsible for reaching different positions to help our instructors out with our initial jump and eventual landing.
After ground school, we didn’t have to wait very long before we were taking off in a plane, ready to jump. The tandem professional I was attached to kept feeding me instructions to prepare as we continued to climb, and at around 5,000 feet, a couple solo divers had already made the jump. As the plane leveled out its ascent, my instructor let me know that we were next. We edged toward the end of the plane and stood up. That moment when you look out of the plane at is truly exhilarating. Before I knew it, we were in free fall, hurtling toward the ground from two and a half miles up in the air. The sheer adrenaline rush at this point is just indescribable. After around a minute of free fall, we entered canopy mode, where we sailed through the air taking in the view of the Texas countryside and talking about the dive. We then approached the ground and made an excellent landing!
After everyone was done with their dives, we enjoyed a picnic at Skydive Dallas, eating as we watched divers make their landings. The whole group was so excited and proud of themselves for doing it, and it’s an experience like skydiving with the OA that allowed us to come together and have such a fun time!
-Jackson McMartin, SMU OA Assistant Trip Leader”