Since I was young (when I was too scared to) to modern times (when I wanted to but my wife said she didn’t want me to), I’ve always wanted to jump out of an airplane. When I was young and independent, I could have gone, but the idea of it was just too great to comprehend, and I inevitably chickened out. Later, my wife asked me not to, as she had a greater fear that I would die and leave her and our children alone. Tells you something about our relationship and how much I’m appreciated when she decided to get me a Groupon for skydiving. I guess it’s okay if I die now.
Anyway, Skydive Windy City Chicago is not too far from home, located about 1 1/2 hours from me in Southwest Indiana. Not only do they have a wide variety of days and times to choose from, they even offer a view of downtown Chicago depending on how clear the skies are. Even if you can’t see downtown, it’s still a jump overlooking Lake Michigan and the small towns of the area. No-lose situation for sure.
They also have some amazing customer service, and allow you to make as many changes as you need to the time and date of your jump. I took advantage of it and, even though I could have jumped earlier in the Summer, it just worked out for me to go this past weekend.
Skydive Windy City Chicago is a nondescript hangar, with parking on the grass, one picnic table, and a coupe sets of cornhole to play (some people call it bags). The hangar continues the no-frill theme, with a small hut built for check-in, picnic tables for passing the time, but with most of the space dedicated to space to pack the chutes.
When it’s your turn, a harness is fitted to you and an instructor assigned. I saw a later group (on my way out) getting training from a single instructor, but my group had our instructors work one on one with us, telling us the plan and what was expected from us, along with some basic hand gestures for use during the flight.
I had pre-jump jitters twice – once while waiting for my turn, and then when we sat on the floor of the plane just before jumping out. The rest of the time I felt calm, excited, and ready to get it done.
Once we were ready, we boarded the plane, taxied, and were soon up in the air. Pretty soon, I was sitting on the edge attached to my instructor, and then we were off. Rather than fear, I felt exhilarated, and the free-fall was definitely my favorite part of the entire day. Under the canopy, we made lazy and then fast circles to get the entire view. Unfortunately, it was too hazy to see the downtown skyline clearly, but the views over the lake and the nearby landscape made for beautiful viewing anyway.
Legs up, butt on the ground, and it was over. It felt like it had taken a long time and no time at all. Walking back to the hangar, it was hard to believe it was over. One of the staff told us about a client coming in who was 2 states away from jumping in all 50 states – what an amazing project! I’m definitely excited to jump again, not sure when it might happen, but pretty sure it won’t take too long.