One of the many “things must do” on my bucket list was skydiving. Earlier this year in May, I joined a group that was supposed to make a jump in Clark Field in Pampanga (read the post here), but after a month of waiting, due to red tape between the airplane charter company and the Philippine Civil Aviation Authority that jump never happened and we were refunded accordingly.
On a trip to Southern California, I decided to pursue my Sky Jumping dream. I searched the internet, booked my jump, and I was all set! I learned that my jump would take place in the city of Perris, CA in Riverside County. I later found out that the Perris Valley Airport is known for sky jumping in Southern California.
View Perris Valley Skydiving School in a larger map
My appointment was for 10:00am, we arrived after a leisurely drive to Perris around 7:30am, so we had breakfast at a local Denny’s and hung out at the local Starbucks. (Free WiFi). After getting slightly lost, we arrived at the airport around 9:44am. Everyone was very helpful.
If falling from the sky isn’t exactly your fancy, they also have this huge indoor skydiving tunnel.
Anyway, since I already paid for the jump online, I sat through two videos… the first was a video on the video/photos they offered and the second video was a boring legal video with the speaker looking like he was from ZZ Top with the big beard. Naturally, I didn’t really pay any attention to the video I just filled up the waiver and signed it.
We hung at at the resto next door as they called my name to get ready for the jump. From the looks of it, they had jumps every 30-45 min or so.
First my instructor, James Perez strapped me in and gave me some quick pointers on what to do when. He also informed me that pulling the ripcord would be my responsibility… waaaah!
Here I am getting interviewed by my videographer/photographer Paul.
We then boarded our plane and we were off. The plane was full, aside from myself, there was another tandem diver, Jason a military guy and a number of students who were doing the jumps on their own.
Goofing around in the plane. I could not say that I was calm… As we approached our jump off height of 12,000 James strapped me tightly to his harness.
And we were off…
What is a Tandem jump?
In case you are wondering why there is someone strapped behind me, for beginners (like myself) who don’t want to go through the long class for the AFF (Accelerated Free Fall) and do the jump alone, a tandem jump is a safe alternative. You get a professional to make sure nothing goes wrong. More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tandem_skydiving
Jumping off the plane.
Woohoooo! The first minute was quite the adrenaline rush!
The one thing which really got to me was the wind deforming the skin on my face.
Oh and yes… the view was spectacular!
About to pull the ripcord now!!!
The moment the chute opened, there was of course a tugging feeling as you slowed down. Once the chute was deployed, we floated around for around 5-8 minutes before landing.
About to land…
Whoah! That was quite a rush!!!
And now… the video. The actual video they provide is much longer. James also has a little camera attached to his wrist and he videoed me from inside the plane to as we were going down. I edited the video to a short 1 min 37 seconds from Paul’s footage.
The jump was indeed quite a rush. To tell you honestly, the first 5 seconds or so as we leaped off the plane was the most heart-pumping moment. Because I booked the whole experience without really dwelling about this, I wasn’t really thinking about it too much.
After the jump, and I took of the harness and the jumpsuit, I realized that my arms and legs were feeling weak probably from the adrenaline rush that just took place. I “got back to normal” after eating lunch. For some strange reason, I was so thirsty after the jump.
This is definitely a must do for anyone looking for a different, but safe thrill. It was so worth it. Of course I won’t argue with the acrophobic, but if you are willing…you won’t regret it.
Perris Valley Skydiving School
2091 Goetz Road
Perris, CA 92570
(costs are on their website, so please don’t ask me)