By Margaret Mims
Dangling 14,000 feet out of an airplane is a bizarre feeling. Excitement, anxiety, and pure terror combined as I watched some of my best friends jump out of a perfectly functioning aircraft. Before I knew it, my instructor had moved us to the aircraft door and I was gazing down in a trance. Swift as lightening, we were out; plummeting downward at 250mph. Terminal velocity was realized in a mere 12 seconds.
I remember not being able to take my eyes off of the ground, looming closer and closer. The photographer was laughing at what must have been a look of absolute horror on my face. After an entire minute of freefalling, the instructor attempted to deploy the parachute but was having a problem. I felt repeated and urgent tugging as he attempted to pull the rip cord. I later learned that the reserve chute had to be pulled due to technical difficulties with the main parachute. The rest of my journey to the earth was remarkably peaceful. It was an odd feeling innocently floating through the air after just falling at the fastest speed humanely possible. The wind swept through my hair as we admired the mountains and fields that could be seen for miles.
After 10 minutes of soaring over the earth, we landed gracefully on the artificially manicured grass. My fellow T-birds and I ran towards each other and immediately started jabbering about the incredible experience we had all shared. A major item was just checked off of our bucket lists. The drive home was full of laughter, stories, and amazement in what we had all just done. Skydiving might seem crazy to some, but for us, it was just another normal day as a Thunderbird.