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Would you jump out of an airplane for fun? Saranac Lake resident Alan Swentusky contemplated the notion for many years before deciding to take the plunge. Now grounded he took the time to answer a series of questions about his epic skydive adventure! Enjoy!
Does one have to be slightly crazy to want to jump out of an airplane?
One doesn't have to be crazy to want to jump out of a perfectly good plane, but it may help with your nerves and anxiety.
When did you first think about jumping out of a plane?
I've wanted to skydive ever since talking about it with friends back when I was a teen. It’s something I always thought would be awesome and would trump anything I had done before.
How did you pick a company that offers skydiving? Does their experience play a factor?
For me it wasn't what company, it was where is one. I just happened to be in Spokane, Washington and a buddy of mine knew of a good one about an hour and a half away. After talking with one of the Tandem Masters a little I asked how many jumps he had (almost 700.) I figured he looked in good health and I felt much better about skydiving.
What aspect of the jump were you most nervous about?
By far the most nerve-racking moment was when the balls of my feet were on the edge of the aircraft.
What was it like to be up in the plane, and did your thoughts/feelings change once you were actually in the doorway to jump?
I have always loved being in a plane so going up to altitude wasn't bad, but when they opened the door and I watched the first three guys take flight I was definitely on edge a little (no pun intended.)
What emotions are you feeling as you first leave the plane? And during the whole skydive itself?
I'm not going to lye. I was a little afraid for a split second after leaving the plane. It was kind of like "What the heck was I thinking?" but only for a moment. After that the feeling was something one cannot explain. You just have to experience it your self. Awesome, intense or euphoric just doesn't describe the feeling enough.
What’s it like to go from a free fall to floating with a parachute? How fast do you think you were falling?
With the combined weight of the instructor and myself we hit terminal velocity at about 172-178mph. Once the stabilizing chute was pulled we slowed down to 120mph. All in all the free fall lasted around 45 seconds, but for me it felt like 15 seconds. I guess I just wanted to free-fall longer. The slow decent after the parachute deployed wasn't bad at all, just be ready for the harness to grab a bit. Turning is sweet. You grab the two handles, look at the top corner of where you’re turning, and give the line a tug. The harder you pull the line the sharper you turn and the more G-force you put on your body. After the chute deployed the view was great!
What were you feeling once it was all over? Would you recommend it to a friend?
My adrenaline was coursing threw my body after I landed. It felt great! I rode the high for at least another 45 minutes. Would I recommend it? Absolutely!! Just make sure you’re in good health and weigh 190 lbs. or less. Almost anyone can do it. The Pilot/Owner said they had a 75-year-old lady who skydived 2 or 3 weeks before I jumped, and she loved it! Just saying...
I want to thank Alan for taking the time to answer questions about his skydiving adventure and sharing the accompanying video. I've always felt Adirondackers are some of the most free spirited and adventurous people one could encounter. Of course I am one so I might be a tad biased! If you're an Adirondacker with an adventurous story to tell and you have a video to go along with it, feel free to share! It might just get featured in one of my Borderless North web exclusives. I can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.