The most amazing aspect of the world of free fall is that you can never predict the next experience waiting for you around the corner.
It sounds kind of simple to take off with a plane, rise to 12,000 feet (4.5 km) above ground, open the door of the plane and … jump! But you cannot break off the phenomenal experience of falling fast, controlling your body, dealing with the tremendous risk and excitement of the adrenalin that flows through your body every time. This is how it’s been for me every time, for many years and over 14,000 jumps.
I had been waiting to experience jumping from a balloon for many years. I was already deeply involved in the world of parachute jumps – I participated in local and world championships, parachuting trips all over the world, parachutes all over Israel, and even base jumps (jumping from a cliff with a parachute) in several locations around the world.
Then I got a phone call from Amir, a trainee whom I had the pleasure of teaching a skydive course. He said that he specialized in the field of hot-air balloons and established a company called SKYTRECK that conducts experience flights in balloons.
He said that on one of his flights in the US, he had dropped paratroopers from the hot air balloon and as a pilot, this was one of the flights which had excited him the most !!!
Now he wanted to do the same thing in the company that he had set up. he asked rhetorically- “Do you want to get some of your friends on board for such a jump?”
“Of course,” I replied, feeling the excitement pulsing through my heartbeat and spreading all over my body … “Just say where and when!”
Of course, that night I fell asleep with the mental images of the “exit”, felt my heart bursting with adrenalin, the fall into the new landscape, and the opening of the parachute, when I release a scream of happiness (only in my imagination of course – I did not want to wake my wife … :-))
I didn’t even have to ask, but only to offer the opportunity to my friends who have shared the parachuting experience with me for years. Seven paratroopers were going to join.
The night before we spent around a bonfire with good food and drinks.
We woke up before sunrise, not trying to hide the excitement of the experience that comes with an amazing sunrise.
We climbed into the basket of the balloon, a few strokes of the burner and the balloon began to rise, and with it our heartbeat, the approaching experience as well as the amazing scenery that opened up beneath us, and the wonderful quietness of the flight.
Then Amir said: “We’re ready, you can jump.”
We were surprised by the arrival of the moment, but quickly recovered and found ourselves hanging outside the balloon, the only thing going through our minds and bodies was one big Wooow! You only hold onto a rope tied to the balloon, and there is nothing separating you from the endless landscape. Perfect silence and a pleasant, caressing spirit and only the quiet fire of the balloon burner reminded us that we were 5000 feet above the ground. “Ready, set, go!” and I fall into the view I like so much, but that’s so different from the skydiving experience I’ve been accustomed to for years.
The fall from the balloon is quiet, as opposed to the noise of the airplane engine which I am used to. There is no wind hold for about 10 seconds of acceleration, and the right thing is to keep the body stable. The first few seconds can be compared to a bungee jump that extends and extends until the body accumulates the air resistance. I am filled with pure happiness, I see strong, bright colors of natural landscapes and fields surrounding small agricultural settlements. Before the opening of the parachute we signal each other about distancing, I open the parachute – and here comes a pure scream of happiness and freedom of release and pleasure, there is no single word that can describe the sensations that pass through my body. In the next three minutes, I float with the canopy over breathtaking views. From time to time I look upward and see the balloon still hovering above me, I smile and can’t believe that until a few minutes ago I was still in its basket. I see my friends steering their canopy to a pre-arranged spot where a van was waiting to pick us up. It’s an amazing feeling that there is enough space and that you can land anywhere you want. Skydiving is the embodiment of infinite freedom.
After the landing we gather together, hugging and smiling from ear to ear !!!