On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
Skydiving! I’ve got nothing except “Yikes!” and “Wow!” Okay, just one more thing. The views in the 1st and 4th photo are absolutely amazing! ~WaterGirl
After Balloon Juice was kind enough to post my photos from Koko Head, one commenter (Stinger) asked for some skydiving pictures. I’m happy to oblige. My first jump was such an extraordinary experience that I’ve jumped many times since then. On my first trip to Oahu one of the military members I was working with suggested I look into skydiving up on the north shore of Oahu. I was still, technically, in the reserves at the time and they offered a good military discount. So I did it. I paid for a photographer to take pictures (you can pay a little more for a video too!). I hoped, since it was my first time, that I would have a cool record of this “once in a lifetime” experience. It did not disappoint, they give you a USB stick with all the pictures!
The photographer is solo jumping and his job is to get into all the positions that make good photos happen (that’s what you are paying for, right?!). What a cool job! I’m not sure that the smile would have been on my face if he wasn’t there. That was the first jump, I think now I have a grin beginning back while I’m still on the plane. I didn’t realize until much later that the force of the air means that it’s a little hard to “exhale” and it was quite a few seconds before I started breathing after I left the plane, the rush and the view and the acceleration are a bit much to take in the first time.
The NW tip of Oahu. That’s Ka’ena Point State Park in the distance (maybe photos of that hike later). You can see the airport we’ll be landing at in the upper left (Rnwy 26 for any pilots out there). The ‘proper’ North Shore is east of here but you can see there are still some big waves.
All that fun has to start somewhere and here is the moment of truth! The photographer is hanging on to the outside of the plane via that rail on top. I’ll admit as we skootched to the door that my heart rate was way up there and I was semi-wondering why the heck I “wanted” to do this. The enthusiasm from the instructor was VERY helpful. Not leaving the plane was simply not an option. This picture is looking east and that’s Kaiaka Bay Beach Park, Haleʻiwa Aliʻi Beach Park, and Pua`ena Point Beach Park in the distance. I didn’t care too much about that at the time.
I had a great instructor and we left the plane gently and settled into free fall very quickly. No tumbling, spinning or anything too scary. I’m still amazed you are moving well over 100 miles an hour at this point! It’s cold but you are not exactly aware of that. The dive is advertised as either 12,000 or 15,000 feet and I’m not overly concerned which it was. It was AMAZING!
The instructor (on top) releases a “drag chute” which keeps you stable and slows you down enough that the main chute can handle the deceleration from the weight of two people. Notice his hands are behind his back. I’ve since learned how to “turn” (spin) to point in any cardinal direction I would like to. Free fall is hard to describe. The buffeting and noise is absolutely something you notice the first couple times but sort of fades with each subsequent jump. Looking straight down is not something I would advise.
Seriously, that view! The jolt of the opening canopy is something I’m not a big fan of. The first thing after that is the noise drops to almost nothing, just a breeze in your ear and you can talk with the instructor. He let me steer the chute and pointed out a pod of whales!! It was December and it’s the best time for whale sightings off Oahu. I totally understood para-gliding after having this experience. This photo is from the photographer’s POV, who is now having his own fun time making sure to get to the ground first to get pictures of my landing. The runway is bottom right.
I can’t speak for sky diving instructors but it seems to me from my jumps that they really don’t want you to make them look bad during the landing! There are a lot of people watching. I think my knees are in a good position.
The instructor, if everything is going well, might take you for some steep spins as you approach landing and those were very dynamic. Next to the main chute opening shock, this applies the most pressure against those straps near your groin area….
Mission accomplished!! Huge grin, already thinking about going again.
Side note: In the background, just to the left of the rear of the white truck, you can see a gate opening. While you are sitting around waiting to go, or basking in the completion of your first jump, you get to watch other skydivers arrive and some of them are really aggressive. I’ve seen several that “divebombed” that gate and flew through it at ludicrous speed before skimming across the grass to land. Very cool.
Nice pic’s and a really great place to do it. I remember my first and only jump. Back then, you trained for half a day and jumped out by yourself (but used a static line to open the chute.) I was amazed by the utter silence once I confirmed my chute was open
And good morning everyone
The kid has done this a few times, I think she’s bat crap cray-cray.
My heart rate leapt just looking at a couple of those shots.
I was getting an adrenaline rush just from these pictures! And yeah, what a job to be the photographer for jumps like this!
Wow, great to have a photographer!
One of the top items on my bucket list, but can’t. Maybe in my next life. What gorgeous views. Thanks for sharing; it looks like a blast.
A friend became obsessed with skydiving about 15 years ago and was going up as often as 3 times a week.
He recovered and started buying horses, an entirely different form of madness..
Ha! I’m getting a skydiving ad on my phone!
I always love pictures from my birth islands. It really irritates me that I got cheated out of a job there. Stupid hiring freeze came down right as I was in the final hiring phase.
Whoah! I enjoyed sharing your jump. Beautiful views for sure! And great that the jump instruction crew documents that first jump so well.
Pretty sweet, but somehow I’m still not tempted!
Great pictures ?
Mike in DC
OT: Alexei Navalny has been poisoned (again), and is on a ventilator fighting for his life right now. I assume Adam will say something about this later today. It’s very bad.
Gin & Tonic
@Mike in DC: Yeah, Adam stays up much later than I do, and e-mailed me about that during the night, and I’ve obviously seen a bunch of reports since waking up. The medical staff is releasing no information, and the hospital is now crawling with cops of various kinds.
Gin & Tonic
@Mike in DC: Russia, of course, is now saying it couldn’t have been them that poisoned him, because it makes them look bad, so it had to have been the Americans or the British.
Those are wonderful photos! I did this two years ago (one of our FPs kindly put up a thread with a few photos of my jump) and your experience was much like mine — except my jump was in west Georgia, so there was a dearth of whale pods.
Congratulations on a successful leap. Did they teach you the secret handshake?
My husband did several jumps a long time ago; he said it was the most fun he’s ever had with his pants on! My stepson did that same jump on Oahu last year; he said it was a blast. He was supposed to go back to do it again in October, but I’m not sure he’ll be able to with the pandemic and all.
Wow! Amazing photos. And I … I think I might want to skydive now?
That looks amazing! Never thought jumping out of a perfectly good airplane could look so great. Must be that Hawaiian air?
Back when I was a low time commercial pilot I gave jumpers rides to altitude on weekends as a time builder. I always enjoyed watching them turn into tiny dots after they exited the a/c, but for what it’s worth, I NEVER entertained taking the leap myself. That said, the jumpers I encountered absolutely lived for that next adrenaline rush! Nice photo series, btw!
I thought that phrase was so great that i added it as one of our snark categories that can be assigned to a post. In my opinion that belongs on every Florida man/woman/child post.
Oh my. feloniusferb, I’m a little dizzy just looking at the pics! I always thought the newbie was on top, putting the instructor between you and the ground — this puts a whole new perspective on things. And not exactly an enticing one!
What else is there to do??
Seriously, this is a great photo series and really gives some sense of the experience. Thanks!!
WOW! That looks amazing. I’m also more comfortable with the angle, ‘why would you jump out of a perfectly good plane?’ LOL
I have a friend who Had A Year, after which he decided he was going to do all the things on his bucket list. This included sky diving and running with the bulls in Pamplona. Afterwards, he said that the bulls and the crowds were absolutely terrifying. He was glad he’d done it, but once was enough. Astonishingly, to me, he couldn’t wait to jump out of a plane again.
Oh, holy crap, that looks amazing. Never been remotely tempted before to jump out of a plane, you manage to make the prospect look enticing!
Now I’m gonna go lie down till that feeling goes away…