A moment of silence, as I stepped back and let myself fall. It was a new sensation and almost peaceful.
It was not my first time jumping from a helicopter, but maybe the first time I really appreciated the experience.
For a non-skydiver, falling out of a plane or helicopter might seem like nearly the same experience, but they are actually quiet difference. Many skydivers try a helicopter jump because they are chasing the experience of “dead air.” That moment of silent air, where you actually get the sensation of falling.
In an airplane the forward speed prevents people from feeling as though they are falling when they leave the plane. It’s probably closer to being sucked away from the plane then anything. It also tends to be loud, as the wind rushes past your face. This fast air is what allows skydivers to maneuver and perform in the air.
Dead air is pretty much the opposite. Jumping from the stationary helicopter means you truly feel like your falling – until you speed up to terminal velocity.
For the thrill seeker it is the next experience after skydiving. It gives you a bit of an idea of what BASE jumping might feel like, although I never intend to try that.
It was interesting, after all the anxiety of the flight up, that moment of stepping off and falling back was strangely serene. Time slowed down. It was a few moments in time that I remember vividly and will not forget.