A few years ago I was given a strange but most desired birthday gift. Skydiving lessons to be given at Final Airpark. I attended with great expectations.
The class began at about 9:00 am, with the first hour devoted to classroom training. They explained how the parachute works, the safety and backup systems, the protocol involved etc. It seemed like hours before we got to see a real plane. The instructor, hereafter referred to as the jumpmaster, took us (about ten students in all) out to the parking lot and had us jump out of a pick-up truck to show us how to land, what position our feet needed to be in, and the impact of landing. We were to fall and roll, not fight the chute, or else we risked getting dragged by the chute.
Finally we got to see our ride into the sky. He showed us how to climb out of the plane, step on the landing gear, hold on to the wing struts, and just give a slight hop. The plane would move on leaving one in the air. All this was with the plane safely on the ground. After rehearsing this for what seemed like a thousand times, we were ready to go airborne.
We went through the exercise flawlessly. After we all landed and congratulated each other, the plane landed and he asked who wanted to go again for a small fee. We all agreed. I made five jumps that day from 3,000 to 5,000 feet. On the last one I mounted the landing gear, hung on to the strut and hopped off with a little too much enthusiasm. I started doing back flips until the chute opened. Then they changed to front flips. This continued until it straightened itself out.
When we landed the jumpmaster approached me and laughed. “How did you enjoy your ride?” he asked. Being unable to speak for about an hour, I just smiled and gave him the thumbs up sign.