(Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images)

If you’re stuck at your desk and pondering the things left on your bucket list, it may be time to finally plan that skydiving trip. Just imagine the looks from coworkers when they ask what you did last weekend and you say, “Oh, nothing much, I just threw myself out of an airplane.” As if the exhilaration and thrill of the experience won’t be enough, the bragging rights afterwards will be priceless.

If you’re a first-time skydiver, you’ll want to sign up for the tandem skydiving, where you jump while attached to an expert instructor. SkyDive Atlanta, located in Thomaston, Georgia offers tandem skydiving experiences where you can be in the air after only about 30 minutes of training. Expect to sign a bunch of legal waivers (which may be the most stressful part of the experience if you are jumping with a friend who is a lawyer) and watch a safety training video. You will then take a short class taught by one of the experienced instructors.

If the term “experienced instructor” causes you to raise a nervous eyebrow, rest assured that to qualify for this title, the teacher must have at least three years of skydiving experience, including at least 500 jumps, and he or she must hold a license in USPA Master Skydiving. So this won’t likely be the same sort of giggly teenager who helps guide you up the rope ladder at a trapeze class.

The class itself is designed to make you familiar with the tandem skydiving process, including a description of what will happen, education in the correct position to use while you’re falling, what to do in case of an emergency and how to exit the aircraft, operate your parachute and, of course, how to land successfully. In the course of over 500 jumps, you know that your partner has seen just about every possible reaction from a beginner, so you can feel comfortable placing yourself in experienced hands.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing cute or sexy about the safety gear you have to wear while skydiving, but the good news is that you’re not expected to have your own kit. Your instructor will hook you up (literally) with your jumpsuit, goggles, altimeter and helmet. Once you are hooked up in the four different spots to your parachute, you’re ready for the eight-minute ride up to 14,000 feet. The jump itself includes about one minute of free fall at speeds of up to 120 mph followed by five to seven minutes of gliding to the ground under the parachute. The weight limit for tandem jumpers is 254 pounds, and you can expect the entire trip to take two to four hours. Be sure to bring a government-issued ID to prove that you are over 18 years of age.

In addition to SkyDive Atlanta, Skydive the Farm located in Rockmart, Georgia also offers tandem skydiving experiences for about $160. With any skydiving trip, it’s best to make a reservation in advance and check the particular organization’s conditions and requirements.

Keely Herrick is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.

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