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One of the neatest things I've ever done. Sitting at the edge of an open door on a plane at 13,000 feet and then just falling out into the vast expanse below was very surreal. A one minute free fall of 10,000 feet and then 5 minutes with the 'chute open for the last 3,000. Very, very cool. Anyone else ever been?
I did a tandem jump because it was the least expensive option ($175) and didn't require much training. I went to a place in Greensburg (1-800-SKYDIVE, you've probably seen the billboards) and jumped with my gf for her bday. You go in, watch a five minute video telling you what to do on a tandem jump, and sign about a million pages of waiver stuff. Then you go wait for your instructor/tandem partner to call your name, and they hook you up in your harness and go over the info from the video again. After that, the plane pulled up alongside the building, and they start loading you in. I think we had about 6-7 jumpers in the plane, all of whom were jumping tandem, and one cameraman (you can pay $75 to have a video made of your jump).
The plane takes you up to 13,000 ft (just shy of 2½ miles), they open up the clear plastic roll-up door, and you make your way to the edge of it. A quick count to three by your instructor, and you're out the door. The feeling of being safely on the airplane one minute and then being out in the middle of nothing the next, plummeting toward the earth, was just a very surreal experience. As for what you can see, it's just like being on a regular flight on the way up in terms of scenery, except instead of a tiny window to look out of, you can just look all around you.
The freefall lasts for about a minute and covered 10,000 feet. At 3,000 feet, the instructor opened the 'chute and there was a five minute descent after that. I'm sort of afraid of heights, but you're so ridiculously far in the air when you jump that it doesn't make the height a factor until you're down to just a couple hundred feet above the ground. Very awesome, and I would very much like to go again.