Skydive Arizona, April 17, 2016, Eloy AZ
1. Have a parachute…
2. Wear pants and long-sleeve T
Although the aircraft is warm enough inside at 13,000 feet while you’re getting ready to jump, once you hit the prop wash outside, it’s like strolling out your front door in January and unexpectedly finding yourself in a Lake Erie blizzard. Fortunately, it’s only a few seconds of buns-chilling cold but enough to drive other thoughts from your mind.
3. Crotch check
Make sure your, ahem, crotch area is not bound up too tightly. It’s not bad, but after a few minutes it can get a bit, ahem uncomfy. I can’t speak for the ladies, but presumably you also have crotches that would enjoy some breathing room.
4. Don’t eat breakfast
Fortunately, I have a pretty strong stomach and having done loops and aileron rolls in a T-34 trainer I think I handle sudden drops pretty well, but I’ve also nearly gotten sick 25 yards from shore in a fishing dinghy so I’ve learned “respect your stomach.”
5. Shut up
More politely, try to keep your mouth closed and breathe. I found myself with the worst case of temporary dry mouth when I landed. It was no problem once I actually swallowed but you kinda forget those things in mid-plumment. Plus, your in-plummet photos look better with your trap mostly shut.
6. Go for Seconds
Although the first-time experience is pretty adrenalin-inducing, you may mentally check out in the excitement and forget to have fun. Once you have the gist of the initial leap out the fuselage doorway, the feel of prop wash, and the sensation of the chute opening out of the way, you can take time to be mindful and actually perform some basic maneuvers and enjoy the scenery.