Awesome Shit: Falling Out Of An Airplane

One fact about yours truly that you probably have not been exposed to yet is the fact that I’ve successfully fallen out of an airplane. In fact, I’ve done so – successfully, I’d reiterate – five times. Some of you out there may be experiencing ‘WTF Face,’ and that’s okay. You kind of have to be a bit nuts to try that to begin with, we know this already, and I’m cool with it. I’ll add that while this might seem impressive, I’m basically a noob by comparison to some folks.

All that buildup is a bit dramatic. What I’m describing is parachuting, and not even the sexy skydiving variety. For those other than John Erickson (the walking repository of all useless military minutiae), skydiving as you may know it involves hurling yourself from an airplane, observing gravity in action for a period of time, and then manually pulling your rip cord yourself in order to prevent surface penetration of the Earth.

In the military, we prefer to take the guesswork out of it and attach ourselves to the airplane. This umbilical is called a static line, and it’s job is to pull your rip cord for you. Because you might just be too stupid, too distracted, or too terrified to perform this on your own. Maybe all three. The point is, some anal-retentive officer planned this air drop, and by God you being a spaz is not going to fuck it up for everyone else.

Also unlike skydiving, you have plenty of help. After two weeks of being sadistically dropped like a sack of ‘taters from tall things (a.k.a. training), they pack you and 99 of your close, sweaty friends on an aircraft and hit the sky. The Air Force pilots, ever ready to enhance your Army training, simulate dodging missiles and other deadly shit. Inevitably, someone has to be the dickwad who upchucks his breakfast, but onward you go.

Once over the drop zone (a big empty field devoid of trees and big shrubs), you’re given the signal to get ready. You hook your static line to the airplane, and when everything is just right, the Jumpmaster tells the first dude (or or dudette) to jump. After that, it’s one after the other until the airplane’s empty. The Jumpmaster, by the way, is uniformly a very large, very muscular, and very intimidating lifeform. Should you hesitate leaving his aircraft, he will assist you in any way necessary to facilitate your parachuting experience.

After that, you have only two things to do: First, make sure your ‘chute opens. If somehow it doesn’t – as the Sergeant who trained you says – you have the rest of your life to make your reserve work. Second, you have to land. This is the more difficult of the two tasks. Though you’re trained to land in a way that dissipates your downward energy, what actually happens resembles that sack of ‘taters we covered earlier, except harder.

This all might sound scary; it’s not. I’ve done this only five times to qualify on the skill. Some folks have hundreds of jumps. While I wouldn’t want to heap abuse on my joints that is quite that epic, I still think the experience was awesome.


28 Responses to “Awesome Shit: Falling Out Of An Airplane”

  1. This sounds like great, adrenaline-surging fun, just the kind I like. No wonder Bush Sr. celebrates his birthday this way each year. They should do this with the tourists down here over the Gulf instead of that namby-pamby parasailing. Although that’s kinda great fun, too. Proud of u.

  2. I am glad you have successfully fallen out of an airplane.. because if not, then I would find this entire post somewhat creepy..

    And for fun (if I was the pilot) I would go over a tree packed forest and tell you to start jumping! Hee hee!!

    Okay… I’m done now. Have a most titillating day.

  3. I’m sure I would be the dickwad that upchucked her breakfast and would need lots of assistance from the burly muscly dude to get me out of the plane. Nice post, though. I’d cheer you on!

  4. Hurling oneself out of a flying airplane has always sounded pretty awesome to me.

  5. In the words of Mr. B. A. Baracus: “I’m on a plane! A PLANE!” It’s something I’ve always wanted to try, for sure.

  6. I’ve always wanted to do it, but now that I have kids I don’t feel Ike I should. Maybe when I am older

  7. I don’t know why I didn’t think the whole ‘hooking yourself in’ thing had a purpose. I just thought it was to keep everyone in line. Silly me.

  8. I like this, a lot: “you have the rest of your life to make your reserve work.”

  9. Still laughing at your wonderfully descriptive and hysterical post. Rant, you the man.
    Did some ‘noobie’ skydiving in college. I was 16. And officially a moron with a chip their shoulder -brushes remaining crumbs of chip off shirt-.
    First time was great… by the 5th jump (to qualify…apparently as an eeeediot) I had myself scared shitless. In fact I wouldn’t eat for 24 hours prior to a jump just so this wouldn’t happen while in the air.
    Could never do it again.
    Ummmm until 30 years later and I decided (stone cold sober for 5 years) to bungee jump. No, not at one of those carnival thingees.
    It brought back all the fear and terror of my college idiocy. No more heights. I even make the cat change light bulbs on the step-ladder.
    you are my hero.
    -bows to greatness-

  10. So jealous! When I was 13 I wanted to join the military just to earn my HALO patch. 🙂
    I guess the next best thing will have to be skydiving for me.
    Bungee jumping is pretty awesome, such a rush! You might like it… Just find place that boasts a “no-failure rate”.

  11. whiteladyinthehood Says:

    Wow, five times! Pretty impressive. I am scared to death of heights…Jumpmaster dude would have to fight me – kick my ass and then chunk me out…

  12. Jumping out of a plane sounds like such a great adventure when your feet are planted firmly on the ground…when you’re in the plane, I imagine it’s terrifying. I think I like the Army’s way over the tandems offered at the airport. It’s no choice, you’re going.

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