It’s a Bird; It’s a Plane …
Going skydiving over Slidell
The door opens and the rush of air takes my breath away. The wind is flying by me so quickly it’s almost hard to keep my eyes open, much less follow the directions of the instructor who’s moving me to the outside of the plane – it’s an adrenaline junkie’s happiest moment.
I made my way to Skydive Nawlins and the Slidell Airport early one Saturday morning. Nerves, fear and excitement all took the 40-minute ride with me. Upon arrival I was met by owner Brenda Grafton and resident canine Wilma. Skydive Nawlins is a simple hangar tucked in the back of the airport, but their product and services are larger than life. All of the instructors, parachute packers and pilots are trained and certified and have made the faithful jump more times than I can imagine. Laughter and jokes fill the hangar between jumps and act as the perfect distraction to the nerves that begin to build for most first-time jumpers – like me.
The jump began with my instructor and tandem jumper, Charlie, showing me the ins and outs of the plane and giving instructions for the actual jump itself. It is a small plane with just enough space for four jumpers and the pilot. Once I was informed of the logistics, I was fitted into a jumpsuit. I learned quickly that the attire for skydiving is meant for practicality, not fashion – you’re forewarned. The journey to the jump altitude of 10,000 feet seemed to last forever. The anticipation quickly rises once you’re actually up in the air and faced with the reality that you’ll be leaving the plane while in mid-air.
Once the plane has reached its altitude, you’re ready to soar. Charlie locked us together and scooted me to the edge of the plane door. The wind blew stronger than any hurricane winds I’ve ever felt, and almost without warning, Charlie and I were out of the plane and flying through the air. The trip down to the ground took the blink of an eye, but the view is something I’ll never forget. I was so high up that the individual trees and foliage just merged into a sea of beautiful forest green. A few minutes of free fall swiftly turned into a quick, but smooth glide down to the earth, once the instructor released the parachute. I continued to sail and then was strategically guided left and right over the tree tops until we lined up with our landing zone
Skydiving isn’t an activity for everyone. It is an amazing experience, one that I will suggest to anyone, but one that must be met with courage and the understanding of risks and procedures; they warn that skydiving is a high-risk adventure and there’s danger that must be understood before jumping out of a plane.
Skydive Nawlins, 62512 Airport Road, Slidell (985) 643-7070, SydiveNawlins.com