Imagine boarding an aircraft and exiting midflight. The plane climbs and levels out at 13,000 feet for passengers to embark on a journey.
Twelve Luke Airmen took to the skies Aug. 17 to participate in a tandem skydiving event hosted by Outdoor Recreation’s Single Airman Program at Skydive Arizona in Eloy.
After the Airmen received a briefing from an instructor and donned their gear, the group boarded a plane and ascended to the proper jump altitude. The Airmen and their instructors inched their way to the edge of the open door in the plane to begin the descent to the ground below.
“The scariest part was when the doors opened up for us to jump out,” said Airman 1st Class Jessica Chapman, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron engineering technician. “I wasn’t nervous until the door opened, and I felt the wind as I stood on the edge.”
The Airmen freefell for nearly a minute, reaching speeds of approximately 120 miles per hour, or 200 feet per second, before the parachutes opened.
“Freefalling was great,” Chapman said. “It was an amazing experience. “I loved that the instructor let me open and guide the parachute. It gave me a much better experience as I glided to the ground.”
The group agreed it was an experience they would never forget.
“Skydiving was an unbelievable and almost indescribable experience,” said Airman Jack Taylor, 56th Mission Support Group knowledge operations management journeyman. “I will always remember the view of the ground below as I jumped out of the plane and plummeted down until the parachute was released.”
The Single Airman Program is an Air Force initiative endorsed by the office of the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force and operated through installation’s force support squadrons. The target age group for the program is 18 to 25, but no age group is excluded.
The 56th Force Support Squadron point of contact works with single Airmen to determine needs and interests. The POC uses that information to develop programs and life skills classes based on the priorities of the single Airmen.
Single Airmen events:
- Turf Soaring School Sept. 7 in Peoria where Airmen glide with a certified pilot from an altitude of 5,000 feet
- Grand Canyon camping Sept. 22 hosted by the 56th Fighter Wing Chapel
- Commissary tour and cooking class Sept. 16
- Bowling Boot Camp Sept. 15
- Tandem skydiving Sept. 28 in Eloy