By: Robert H. Van Aman, Pilot
I often get asked what my job is like. My short answer is, “exciting”. However that doesn’t seem to do it justice. First a little about myself, I’ve been a pilot for 14 years. I have had the privilege to fly planes as small as a two seater, to as large as a 50 passenger regional jet. This by far in the most exciting job I’ve ever had. The people I work with are great and getting to fly everyday is never a bad thing. The best part about this job is the people I get to meet.
These people come for various reasons, excitement, adventure, to cross something off their bucket list, or to conquer a fear. I have even seen some people come as a way of saying good bye to loved ones or to propose to their sweetheart. Whatever their reasons I get to be a big part of their lives. To skydive is to burn into one’s mind a memory that will last forever. It is a declaration to live life and not just exist. There is always a wide range of emotions before a jump. I get to see people as they really are, when facing the unknown. I will say that all these people have courage. It takes real courage to live and they come here, sometimes by themselves to jump.
In the plane on their way up they are looking around and smiling and enjoying the ride. Some are nervous but that is to be expected. It amazes me how many people have never ridden in an airplane before.
Then the moment comes when the door comes open and it’s time to get out. The entire time before this has just been a thought. Now they are faced with the reality of the situation. It is an overwhelming feeling as they put their feet on the step and hold onto their harness. Then within a heartbeat, they are gone, riding the air currents and getting a view that most people don’t ever get to see.
I follow down quickly behind them, usually landing a few minutes after they land. After their jump I get to ask them what was they’re experience like. Most are overjoyed; others have compared it to a religious experience. Some want to get back into the plane and go immediately back up, but all are happy. People are always saying things like, “Thank you for the best time ever. Would you please take a picture with us?” But no matter what they ask or say it is the look in their eyes. They are forever changed. The great Leonardo da Vinci once said “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
I find this statement to be very true. So you know my view on skydiving. Now it’s your turn. It is time to see with your own eyes and experience what truly cannot be put into words. Come with me and let me show you a world like you’ve never seen before.