Saturday, May 24, 2014


So... I went skydiving today!   Check!!  Another thing off the bucket list =)

I'm writing about this now so I don't forget any of the details.

Since Philip had NO desire to jump, Devin and I decided to go together, since Melissa also had no desire to do it! =)   We would be doing a tandem jump, where you're strapped to the front of an experienced jumper.

The best part was that we were each able to use our military "play pass" (a card that you get when your spouse deploys that has $1000 worth of fun stuff on it).  Skydiving happened to be one of the things it would cover, so we thought, "Why Not, especially when it's FREE!")

Our families both came to watch, which was super fun (it was almost a two hour drive each way, though so it was an all day ordeal!)

When we got there, we signed a Ton of waivers and then watched a video where they went over all the risks and used the words "serious injury, death, significant risks, gross negligence, can't sue"... yay!! =)   After that, the instructor briefed us on what to expect and what to do, and then showed us the plane and how we'd be exiting and jumping.   Then we got suited up and waited for our turn (we were the second pair to go up so we got to see two people come down successfully before us) =)

After a brief (very HOT!) wait in the plane while they worked out a mechanical issue (can we say nervous?) we got going.   It was a Tiny plane with only a seat for the pilot and Devin and I and our jumpers were all crammed in the remaining space.   After we'd been flying for about 8 minutes, (and were High up in the air), one of the guys looked at his altimeter and said 'We're half way up!"   We went TWO MILES up in the air!!!

Then the pilot started a five minute countdown till jump time and we got situated and attached to our jumpers, got goggles on and waited...  Then they unlatched the door and it Flew open and up!   Wow!   Then it got real!   The wind was whipping around and the ground was soooo far down!!  I was first, and at that point everything happened so fast, there was no time for emotions or misgivings or anything.

  I was like a robot, I just did what we had gone over four times, step out, put both feet on the little step over the wheel, grab onto my harness with both hands (do Not hang onto the plane!), put my head back on the guy's left shoulder, and... we were out!   We immediately did a back flip and then plummeted.  My. Stomach. Dropped. Out.   For about the next 12 seconds, I was completely terrified!   We were two miles up, hurdling at the ground at 120 miles an hour!   There's no way to adequately describe what that was like.    After we leveled out a bit and I put my hands out, it was better... I could feel my lips and cheeks flapping in the wind!!  Ha!  

We were free falling for about 30 seconds (and the camera was taking pictures every half second, so there are a lot to sort through!)

When we first jumped out, a tiny shoot, called a drogue shot out behind us (this apparently "slowed us" to 120, otherwise we would have been going 170 miles an hour!)  For a second, when he collapsed the drogue, we fell even faster, until the big shoot deployed and we jerked  a little and then were lifted into an upright, sitting position and everything got really quiet.

After that it was quite calm (other than the fact that we were still thousands off feet above the ground) and I was able to relax and enjoy the amazing view!    He actually had me reach up and grab onto the "steering handles" and I got to make us do some awesome spins!   We were pulling some G's and I could feel my feet tingling from the blood rushing down!

By this time, it was time to come in for our landing, so he steered us over the landing area and then as we approached the ground, we picked up our feet and slid onto the ground and stopped in a sitting position.   Our shoot came billowing down and I was filled with exhilaration and thankfulness that I had Done it... and was still alive! =)

Devin and I both developed headaches and a bit of nausea shortly after landing.   This was probably a mix of descending so far so quickly and the spinning of the parachute.   It lasted for hours.    I would definitely skydive again, but not in the same day!

Here are some stats about skydiving and "How safe is it?"

The sport of skydiving continues to improve its safety record. In 2013, USPA recorded 24 fatal skydiving accidents in the U.S. out of roughly 3.2 million jumps. That’s 0.0075 fatalities per 1,000 jumps—among the lowest rate in the sport’s history! Tandem skydiving has an even better safety record, with less than 0.003 student fatalities per 1,000 tandem jumps over the past decade. According to the National Safety Council, a person is much more likely to be killed getting struck by lightning or stung by a bee.

There Mom, calm down =)

Since it was free, I splurged and got the still pictures and video... they are quite hilarious (and mostly unattractive), but awesome to have.

Here are a few pictures from our camera as well as the ones from the jump company:

 With the kids

 I Love Caleb's shirt a friend passed down to me recently - how perfect!
(I was wearing Jade's shirt, since I couldn't find my Superwoman shirt!)

 While we wait

 Last (hopefully not last) picture with my man =)

 Let's DO this!!

On the way up

 Okay, are we ready...

 We are Outside of the plane!!!

 Get ready...

 ...and we're off!!

 What the Heck is with my arm skin????
 Oh Dang, there goes the plane...

 The true face of skydiving =)  Ha!

 And... there's only sky in the background because we're hurdling headfirst at the ground

 Look at my hair! =)
(Pretty sure I'm screaming here)

 Okay, I got my fingers unclenched from my harness

 Wow, that's a long way down...

He's pointing out the airfield (the arrow is pointing at the hanger where our families were waiting)

 Still free-falling, but happy about it now =)

 The jerk as the shoot deploys

 There's our pretty shoot

 Screaming again

 This is so awesome!!

 One of the slightly more attractive shots =)

 Shot from above

 Then I got to "drive!"

 Those turns were Cuh-razy!  
(I'm actually feeling sick looking at these pictures right now, it's still a little fresh)

 Devin and I in the same shot
(We were several hundred feet apart, but could see each other and could yell back and forth) =)

 Waving as I got closer to my family! =)

Preparing to land...

Getting my feet up

 ...little slide and we're down

 WOOHOO!!   We did it!

 Sooo stoked!!
Thanks, Devin!   It. Was. A. BLAST!!


Becki D. said...

Jeez, Joia. What WOULDN'T you do to have a cool family presentation topic for your new CC group?! hehe just kidding. No but you are crazy. And awesome. Wow Wow Wow.

Soo......would you do it again?!

The Woodfords said...

Totally amazing! So glad you did it! =)
Love, Steph

Rob said...

Totally cool, Joia. Happy Birthday

Stephanie said...

Happy Birthday Joia!!! Hope you had a Fantastic Day!! Looks like you did yesterday! So cool!! :-)

Mom W. said...

I guess since A and B did it on their honeymoon I was a little more prepared for craziness. Doesn't look like something I want to do in the near future!!! ;) Glad you got to though, a little surprised that you weren't too scared... good for you!!!

Mark and Rebekah said...

Oh man, I was slightly disappointed by Mom's reaction! I was hoping for a little more drama. I mean her baby girl went SKYDIVING!!! I had actually been wishing that I could be beside her when she saw the pictures... Oh well...

I've been meaning to comment on this since I saw it. THIS IS CRAZY! Not at all my idea of a good time, but it did make for awesome pictures :) The pictures definitely gave me some giggles, but they're so cool! I'm glad you had such a good time.

The guy was able to hold his arm up the whole time and take pictures? Crazy!

Love you, and I hope you had a GREAT birthday!

Bruce Woodford said...

Totally cool, Joia!

Glad you did it!

Love, Dad