This plane ride was a little different then taking the Intel shuttle to visit the Chandler, Arizonacampus last week. There was no free Wi-Fi, no pretzels, and no seatbelts. I was sitting on a bench; attached by my harness and four carabineers to Zack, my tandem instructor. (I didn’t even know Zack or anything about Zack. However, I did know that he has completed 827 jumps. Reassuring, right?). There was no turning back now. Besides, we were ready!
The sun was shining and the skies were bright blue; Oregon weather wasn’t going to ruin this experience. If I wasn’t already nervous, the paperwork really made it clear that jumping out of an airplane is a risk I will be taking. I initialed and signed away any negligent claims that could be made. I couldn’t sue the people who made the parachutes, the people who own the land, and, of course, I couldn’t sue Zack.
Forty Intel interns soon filled the waiting area. Everyone was ready to take flight, even if their stomachs weren’t. We were all required to sit in an instructional course to learn the dos and don’ts of skydiving. Don’t hold on to the plane. Don’t hold on to the instructor. Do hold on to yourself. When asked, “Are you ready to skydive?” you will not leave the plane if you say any of the following; “No,” “Maybe,” or “I am not sure.” These are appropriate answers, “Yes,” “Yes, but I am scared,” or “Hell yes.” Oh, and you only get one shot at this question.
Before I knew it, I was being fitted into my harness, given my goggles, and boarding the plane. Zack reassured me that I was going to be okay, while my cameraman snapped pictures of my nervous grin. Once the plane reached 13,000 feet, which is higher than the top of Mt. Hood, Zack and I (lucky number one) would be exiting the plane. No handrail to hold on to, no sweet stewardess to tell me to have a great day, just a wide open door, and the Oregon landscape below. Zach asked me if I was ready, and I responded with the secret password - a solid, “Yes.”
One drop and we were flying! The wind cradled me in the air, and I was falling at 120 mph. After freefalling, my parachute jolted me upright and we were safely descending. I have seen some beautiful views hiking around Oregon and visiting the coast, but the view was breathtaking! We were gently floating through the air. Zack even let me steer towards our landing.
I could spot the Intel blue in the distance. Everyone was excited to see a safe landing and eager to get their names called for the next group. As I hit the ground, I let out a sigh of relief. This was a summer internship experience I would never forget. Enjoy the snapshots of my time in the air!
You must be a registered user to add a comment. If you've already registered, sign in. Otherwise, register and sign in.