Some experiences are so expansive, so sweeping, they defy the constraints of language. Describing what skydiving feels like falls a bit into this category. It’s a bit tough to express a feeling that borders on transcendence. So, to help paint the picture of what it feels like to skydive, we are going to use a logical operation called definition by negation. (Sounds spiffy right?) Basically, we are going to elucidate what skydiving feels like by stating what it does not feel like.
It would seem the two experiences would be commensurate right? Well, they aren’t! On a rollercoaster, you go from a near standstill to swift fifty to sixty miles per hour. The drop from the top of the first hill and the subsequent momentum gained is what sends you reeling. When you skydive, your ride to altitude in the aircraft establishes momentum gradually. In the airplane, you are already traveling at a high speed, and when you jump, all that is changed is the direction of your momentum! Rather than flying horizontally, you are now flying vertically.
If you’ve made it this far, you may think, “okay, skydiving does not feel like a roller coaster, but I bet you feel that drop.” Well, you may be surprised to find out, you don’t! Skydiving does not feel like falling. When you are up in the air around 13,500 feet (the altitude you reach when you make a skydive with Skydive San Marcos), your brain can’t quite take it all in. Literally, your mind does not have a way to conceptualize the height you are exiting the aircraft from, and as a result, you never get a falling feeling. Rather, as you reach terminal velocity, you begin to feel as if you are floating! In a way, this is true because by definition terminal velocity is the constant speed you reach when the resistance of the medium (here air) you are falling through prevents further acceleration. Basically, you’ve reached a bit of equilibrium!
“HOLD ON JUST ONE MINUTE” (We are guessing this is what you are probably thinking or yelling at the computer screen right now.)
Yes, you read that correctly: skydiving can feel like an outer body experience. We get that up until this point things have been pretty straight laced, and this seems like it’s coming out of left field. But, it is true, and it is all thanks to a neat trick that happens when the body experiences the “fight or flight response”. Remember “fight or flight”? If you don’t, here’s a quick briefing: when you undergo an experience your brain deems dangerous, the hypothalamus activates the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal-cortical system. These systems tell your glands to get working and release epinephrine (adrenaline). The “fight or flight response” your body experiences when you skydive basically causes a fireworks display of synapses lighting in the brain, and the other effect is that you are now awash in a deluge of endorphins and dopamine. These little guys are the neurochemicals that create feelings of euphoria, and you are practically flooded with them! The result? You feel a little like you are outside yourself—crazy, huh? See why we couldn’t just explain what a skydive feels like?
It’s easier to show than to tell, so make your reservation today and complete a tandem skydive with Skydive San Marcos. We’d love to see you to try to explain what it feels like afterward!