Weekend In Santa Barbara Part 3

There was the hangar, but there was also what appeared to be temporary trailers nearby. Without further directions I headed into the hangar. Small plane, check, skydiving class in session, check. This must be the place. I had to navigate around the plane to reach the area where the class was being held. As it turned out, it was a class, and not where amateur divers like me were supposed to be. After getting directions to one of those trailers things started to make more sense. Well, as much sense as exiting an airplane in mid flight could be.

The very nice girl in the office took care of everything, including upselling a video recording of the experience. It didn’t take much to do that though. What did take a little more was the height when exiting the plane. There was an 8000 foot option which is what I chose. She told me that with that plan, essentially it was out of the plane and the chute opens. No freefall. Not having any idea what floating down with the chute and freefall entailed, she was able to talk me into the 13,000 foot drop. With that, there was a full minute of freefall before the chute opened. Cool. I paid for the package and was directed into an adjoining room to watch a couple of videos. They were essentially if you die, don’t blame us videos. It went right along with numerous no-fault opt outs I had to initial on the contract. Yes, there was a contract. Did you think you could just show up and jump? Well, I did, and basically you can, but there are legal matters that have to be settled first. After watching the videos, the girl had me initial a few more areas of the contract that I had missed. There were many, and without my glasses I wasn’t sure what all of them were. Not the way to sign a contract, but it all worked out. As I was doing this, a young couple walked in. They were jumping as well. Heck of a first date I thought to myself. As it turned out, it wasn’t their first date. It would have been nice to go with my girl…

After that it was back to the hangar. That’s when I noticed the authorized personnel only beyond this point. I guess that’s why the class was looking at me funny when I first arrived. The class was still going on, but the plane was now outside. There were several people milling around what was the waiting area. I wasn’t sure if they were customers or employees. I asked a guy where the bathroom was. He motioned to his left. He didn’t seem friendly at all, but that wasn’t going to ruin my good time. Not getting to the restroom might have though. I went left and opened a door that turned out to be a some kind of utility room. This isn’t it. The restroom was right next to it though. Now…I was as ready as I was going to be. The truth is, there was no being ready for this. It was as exciting as it was scary, but ready really wasn’t the appropriate word.

There was a delay in taking the first group up due to a wind hold. A wind hold? What’s a wind hold? Apparently, If it’s too windy up there, the conditions aren’t conducive to jumping. We would have to wait. In the meantime I went over to to a glass counter and checked out their assortment of skydiving mementos. T-shirts, hats and the like of several different styles. I would get a shirt later. If I made it down in one piece. Of course I would make it. Why think something like that? That no doubt happens to everybody at some point. No matter how positive your attitude is, no matter what you’re doing, now and then a negative thought rears its ugly head. Fortunately, it went as fast as it came. Good thing, because the wind hold had been lifted. The party was about to start.

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