Outdoor club members Skydive in Ocean City

11/4/2014

By KRISTOPHER PRICE
Staff Writer

The Outdoors Club took on the ultimate outdoor adventure as a group of their members went skydiving in Ocean City this past weekend.

The idea of going on a skydiving excursion has been around since the beginning of the semester; however, it was unclear whether it would come to fruition because of the cost.

Secretary Megan Liechman was able to come up with an affordable option for the group.

“I heard they had Groupons online for skydiving trips, which were accepted by two local airports in Cambridge and Ocean City,” Liechman said. “They looked cheap, so I got the emails of everyone who was interested at one of our meetings.”

Eight members of the club decided to pay $200 each and took the opportunity to jump out of the airplane.

After signing waivers, the group went through a training session. The one thing the instructors emphasized the most was ‘Arch,’ or better known as tandem skydiving. Each person would be strapped to a professional skydiver who would handle the operation of the parachute equipment. What each rider had to do was arch their bodies, heads, shoulders and legs backwards.

The jump was delayed for several hours due to high winds.

“I was frustrated,” Liechman said. “I’d spent all that time organizing this. I didn’t have time to sit around.”

The group took advantage of the Ocean City boardwalk to kill time and grab some pizza while waiting.

As the day passed, everyone was concerned that they might have to reschedule; however, the staff called and said they could jump.

No one in the group had ever been skydiving before.

“I was nervous,” freshman Nicholas Harriau said.

They were in groups of two, and were all taken up 10,000 feet.

“It hadn’t really hit me until I got into that plane,” Leichman said. “I was terrified. I forgot I was afraid of flying.”

The plane cabin was small, barely big enough to hold five people, pilot included. However, there were great views of Ocean City.

After ascending for five minutes, the plane reached 10,000 feet and it was time. The skydiving partners strapped their rider to their harnesses. Then the cabin door opened.

“When the door to the plane’s cabin opened up, I realized just how high up I was,” Harriau said. “It was scary.”

The wind outside was roaring as each rider fell through the air traveling at over a hundred miles per hour.

The tandem skydiving partners were in control during the entire fall.

“It was like a huge rush, with the wind blowing in your face,” Haltoa said.

The freefall gave the riders an unique experience.

“It was surreal,” Leichman. “You felt like you were floating, and you were so high up everything beneath you looked like a photograph. We jumped at sunset which made it even more beautiful.”

But the freefall feeling didn’t last long. After about a minute the parachutes automatically deployed, leaving the riders hanging in the air, slowly drifting to the ground, still several thousand feet up.

All members safely landed without crashing into anything. After this experience, the members of the Outdoors club are considering taking another jump.

“I’d like to jump from 18,000 feet between now and my senior year,” Harriau said.

The others shared similar opinions on taking a higher jump.

“The freefall didn’t last long enough,” Haltoa said.

Leichman is not opposed to organizing a second jump as a club function.

“If I can get people who are interested, we can do it again in the spring,” Leichman said.

The Outdoors club meets on Mondays at 7 p.m. in Henson 113.

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