Yup, I jumped into skydiving on Saturday. Awesome doesn't even begin to describe it. There's nothing like opening the door and seeing nothing but cloud and 10,000 feet of air beneath you.
The only thing that wasn't too much fun was waiting around for 3 hours to jump, but some of that was just bad planning on our part. Normally they have a larger airplane than the Bonanza we they were using, too.
I went with Harold, a friend of mine from high school, his brother Rob (who now lives in Austin), and Kris, a friend of his brothers. After the long wait, It was finally my turn to get suited up. Kris jumped at the same time I did; Harold and Rob went in the previous plane.
Since this was Rob's second jump, he did his first training jump. Had I looked into it, I probably would have skipped over the orientation jump and started off with training jumps, but I think I'm glad I didn't. It's good to jump at least once with basically nothing to worry about before you start learning the more advanced stuff. I did watch the ground instruction Rob went through though, which was interesting. Your first training jump just deals with actually getting you to pull the chute. Sounds simple, but it's amazing how fast things happen in free-fall.
Anyway, the ride up to altitude was un-eventful, though it was cool that the pilot did a 'viking one' on takeoff (ground effect to the end of the runway then pull up hard). After 10 minutes or so Doug, my instructor/tandem diver, and I got into position in the door. Being 6'4" in a Bonanza makes this very un-fun. This was also the only point I was nervous, since the only thing keeping me inside the aircraft was a thin plastic door. I was much happier once Doug was hooked on.
After much effort, he managed to hook on and we got in the door. Like I said, it's impossible to describe what it's like looking down to nothing but clouds and ground and realizing you're about to jump.
The exit was accomplished as a forward summersault, then into a stable free-fall position with back arched and arms and legs trailing above you.
Some weather had moved in while we were climbing, so we actually jumped through a cloud. We fell for about 5 seconds before entering it, then everything slowly got white and a bit damp. We were in the cloud for a second or two. It was amazing how dark it had gotten on the ground when we broke through.
The instructor deployed the chute right after we cleared the clouds. It was a bit uncomfortable as we decellerated, but no big deal. After the canopy was properly deployed I got to fly it a bit. We did several turns, which were quite a bit of fun. I don't know if I'll end up enjoying free-fall more or time under canopy more.
The landing was pretty un-eventful and Doug put us right in the middle of the target.
I'm definately going back. In fact, I took advantage of $30 off by paying for my next jump while I was there (the joys of 0% credit until August). I'm not sure when I'm going next, but I suspect if I don't start mustering some self-control it will be some time this week!
At this point it looks like about the only form of flight I won't get into is ballooning. Gliders and fixed-wing powered are a definate, and hopefully helicopters will be in my future as well.