How to skydive – Shazhou Liu ’12 shares secrets for the perfect skydiving experience

liuWhen should you go skydiving?

Skydiving when the weather is perfect only guarantees one thing: that you will have a boring experience. Instead, pick the worst possible weather conditions for skydiving. When I went skydiving, the weather was so bad that the instructors begged me to wait until the winds calmed down. You have no idea how exhilarating it is to go jump off a plane and wonder whether you will land at the designated landing zone or if the wind will blow you off to an exotic location.  Did I mention that the plane was the shabbiest plane I have ever flown?

How did you mentally prepare for the experience?

The best way to prepare is to obsess compulsively over it. In the weeks leading up, I thought about skydiving all the time. This ensures that you have gone over every possible disaster in your mind. I did a lot of research beforehand to make sure that the disasters I was imagining were actually possible. Because I had already done this mental preparation, I did not need to waste any time reading the disclaimers in the indemnity contract they made me sign before I went on the plane.

Do you have any tips on how to guarantee that you land safely?

Make sure you jump off the plane with an instructor that has a malfunctioning parachute. I was fortunate enough to have this happen to me. Even though I was 10,000 ft in the sky and falling at the speed of 120 miles/hour, I was only slightly concerned when my parachute, instead of help me float, began to drag me to the ground. I began to fall in sideways, in a horizontal position instead of the boring and conventional upright, vertical position. My friends who were watching from the ground actually thought I was free falling, detached from the instructor and the parachute. It was an amazing experience. Incredible. Unfortunately, it was tarnished when the instructor cut away the parachute because apparently it was spinning us around violently and successfully deployed the reserve parachute.

Would you recommend skydiving?

Yes, in a heartbeat. In my experience, skydiving is less scary than bungee jumping.

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