Those of you that plan on joining me for my marathon jumping / 30th birthday weekend, please read the following.
You do not have to jump to come and party. Everyone is perfectly welcome to come hang out, watch cutes come down and, once the sun has set, do keg stands. Lots of people come down to the drop zone to encourage others and to spectate. The big night for partying is going to be Saturday 1st of August.
If you've ever considered coming to jump with me, though this is the weekend to do it. I invite and encourage everyone who's ever entertained the idea.
There are two ways to go about your first skydive.
1. Tandem: the training takes about half an hour. You get clipped to an experienced jumper and get to spend 60 glorious seconds in freefall. If you know for a fact that you only ever want to go skydiving once, cross it off your bucket list and never do it again, this is the way to go. It costs about $200 plus video if you want it.
2. AFF Level 1: This is the first level of true parachute training. You will go through a six hour ground school that details equipment, safety procedures, dive flow and landing pattern. You wear our own rig and altimeter and run your own skydive. Two instructors accompany you and are physically holding your jumpsuit as you fall. They watch your dive flow, give you instructions, keep you safe in the air and make sure that you deploy on time. You are then talked through your landing by radio. This method costs about $300.
Personally, I recommend that everyone that has even the tiniest inkling of an interest in parachuting spend the extra hundred dollars and do AFF 1 rather than Tandem. Why, because you get so much more out of it. First, AFF is a huge learning experience. You get so much training in so little time; you are smarter for having done it. More importantly, you get a huge sense of accomplishment. When you land from that first skydive, it wasn't just a Six-Flags ride. You accomplished something. You get to look up at the sky and say with pride, "Fuck yeah, I did that!" Finally, if you find that you really loved it, as I certainly did, you are now already over the biggest and most expensive single hurdle towards being a trained skydiver.
Other weekend details:
There are couches to crash on in the airplane hangar for those that want to spend either friday or saturday night there. That's what I'm doing both nights. There are also showers if anyone's going to be there the whole weekend. I'm going to try and arrange to grill out on Saturday. I'm going to get a keg if the DZO will allow me. Like I said, you don't have to jump to come help me celebrate being older than I ever thought I'd be so Come one, come all.
Those of you that do plan on jumping, I know that it's expensive. That's why I'm sending out this invite two months in advance. Trust me; it's worth every penny.
Please Note: If you're going to be doing a first jump, by either method, you must be 100% sober. Do not show up crazy hung over or having imbibed something to calm your nerves. You will be kicked off site and they will not refund your deposit. Part of the reason that skydiving is safer than fishing is that you're not allowed to do it when you're fucked up so, seriously, nothing stronger than coffee.
Unfortunately, you cannot go skydiving if you've ever ruptured a major joint, like a knee or a hip or if you've been SCUBA diving in the last 2-3 days. In both cases, it's an air pressure thing and it's for your own safety.
All Tandem and AFF dives must be scheduled in advance with Skydive Atlanta and require a deposit. I leave it to each of you to call 1-800-276-DIVE (3483) and arrange this.
Anybody who has the balls, I'll see you there.