“What’s it like to step out of a perfectly good airplane into empty air? Well, before I jumped, I concentrated on making sure my gear was right, and that I knew exactly where the ripcord was and that it wasn’t blocked.
“Even on the plane ride up, I was already mentally planning the jump. When we reached the correct jumping altitude at about 4,000 feet, I was making sure that I didn’t get snagged on anything as I moved to the door and that I had a mental map of any cloud cover. Clouds are cold, wet, and nasty to jump through.
“I step out of the plane, and during the free fall, I’m concentrating on keeping my form right so I don’t tumble out of control. I’m also doing a mental countdown on when to pull the cord. That’s the part that involves the hard work. Now the ‘wow’ factor comes in—when the chute opens and you’re floating down. You still have to be aware as you have to steer the chute and make your landing zone, but you do get a chance to look around.
“That’s also when the rush hits you, but you still have to maintain so you don’t get blown into a lake or tree or whatnot. You also have to keep your head so you don’t hurt yourself on landing. Brake too soon and you have problems; brake too late and you get hurt.”—Charles Kueser, Oracle Database & Banner Application Administrator