Marcia Flanders

Adventuress & First-time Skydiver!

How to survive your first time sky-diving”

1. What made you decide to go skydiving?

  Two of my biggest fears are heights and claustrophobia, so when the company I work for gave us the opportunity to go skydiving at a reduced group rate, I figured what better way to overcome my fears than to cram into a tiny plane strapped to another person and jump out at 13,000 feet in the sky! I decided this would be the perfect time to "Just Do It".  The fact I would be doing it with 19 of my fellow co-workers and friends made the experience less scary and the camaraderie and support of family and friends who came to watch definitely made it easier!

2. What was going through your head the day before the jump?

The apprehension had been building and while it sounded like a great idea when I signed up months before, now that it was the night before I was starting to get nervous at the thought of hurling myself out of an airplane. I couldn't sleep and had been channel surfing when I came across a show called "20 Scariest Moments" and number One moment was….you guessed it, a skydive gone bad! The poor guy's chute malfunctioned and did not open, and it was his first solo jump. He was spinning out of control and in his panic, he couldn't find the reserve chute cord. The whole experience was caught on video tape, and as I was watching it, I couldn't help but wonder if it was an omen. The guy on TV managed to pull the cord with moments to spare and made a safe if terrifying landing narrowly avoiding power lines. I spent a sleepless night envisioning all the things that could go wrong but I was determined to do this, and ended up pushing these thoughts out of my head and reassured myself everything would be fine. I reminded myself I had greater odds of being killed in a car crash on the way to the skydive place than having something go wrong with the dive!

3. Describe the plane ride. What were you anxious?

  When I think of the plane ride, the word that comes to mind is 'surreal'. It all felt like a dream. The plane was really noisy and there wasn't much talking. A calmness came over me and I remember thinking whatever is going to happen is going to happen, it's out of my control so just trust in God and go with it. I wanted to put aside the "what-if" thoughts and enjoy every moment of this experience. The butterflies in my stomach (felt more like birds than butterflies!) had vanished. I looked at my friend who was about to jump, and I saw the color literally drain from her face. I've never seen anything like it. But then I saw her expression change, the fear replaced by a brave and determined look in her eyes, the color returned to her face. Out the door she went, it all happened so fast. And then it was my turn, and my instructor John and I scooted to the edge of the plane. My legs were dangling over the edge and I remember looking down and thinking, "THIS IS IT! HERE WE GO" as he counted to 3 and we sailed headfirst out of the plane, falling, falling. falling!

  4. What were your thoughts as you were jumping out of the

I thought of my husband & kids & parents, and said a prayer to God to deliver us safely to the ground. Please…please….let…the…chute…open!  

5. How was the freefall?

   It was terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time! The free fall lasted about 60 seconds but it was the longest 60 seconds of my life! You have a sensation of falling and flying simultaneously, what a RUSH!! I put my arms out in front, kept my eyes open so I could take everything in and wanted to enjoy every one of those 60 seconds although I'd be lying if I didn't admit I was thinking (worrying!) about whether the chute would open.  

6. Were you relieved when the parachute opened?

VERY!! Once John pulled the cord, we immediately slowed down and you jerk from horizontal to vertical, which is a very strange sensation because you 'slip' down in the harness as you pull up. Needless to say I was extremely relieved when  that chute opened! I said a prayer of thanks and the rest of the ride down was absolutely fantastic and amazing. It goes from being very noisy when you are freefalling, to being very peaceful and quiet when you are floating down. I just relaxed and enjoyed the ride down. Wish that part would have lasted longer!

7. How was the landing?

    The landing was not nearly as scary as I thought it would be. Thanks to the expert maneuvering of my instructor, we had a very controlled soft landing. I just held my legs up until his feet hit the ground, and then we both 'sat' down on the ground and it was all over!

8. What was the scariest part of the experience?

The scariest part was perching on the edge of the plane door, looking out and contemplating jumping out into that wild blue yonder. That and the free fall!

9. What was the best part of sky-diving and would you do it

    The best part was the ride down after the chute opened. I would definitely do it again. It was such an awesome experience: thrilling, terrifying, exciting, breath taking, beautiful.  

10. Would you recommend it to a friend?

Yes! I would highly recommend it, it's the biggest adrenaline rush ever and something every adventure woman should do at least once in a lifetime!