Nestled in the mountains of Banning, California I discovered Skydive West Coast while on my hunt to find the perfect drop-zone to learn how to skydive. The moment upon walking through the doors of SWC I was warmly welcomed with a hug from the most educated and experienced skydiving instructors you will find in the world, Tanya and Robbie Spencer. Tanya and Robbie are extremely well known in the skydiving community and together have 50 years of experience and over 30,000 jumps! When these two incredible humans teach the art of skydiving to anyone, they give you their full, undivided attention which in return gives you the best, quality training that you really won’t get anywhere else. Before I could taste the sky, Tanya and Robbie invited me to spend twenty minutes in a wind tunnel where the free-fall portion of skydiving is simulated. After learning how to be completely stable, I learned how to go backwards, forwards, executed turns, and more!

I am finally ready to hit the air.

I come through the doors of Skydive West Coast early in the morning bright eyed and bushy-tailed ready to conquer my AFF Level One. Gearing up in my red jumpsuit, red helmet, and pink altimeter gets me one step closer to the air. My primary instructor, Tanya, pulls me to the side and she has me rehearse the skydive step for step to make sure I know exactly what I am about to do. We walk to the plane, we pile in, and we buckle up our handy-dandy seat-belts. Once the aircraft is at the correct altitude, the door is opened, and you are slapped silly by the cold breathtaking air. This is happening. I am about to jump out of this aircraft and plummet to the Earth at around 120 MPH. I get out onto the strut of the aircraft and I check in with Tanya and three, two, one. I’m out! This feeling cannot be found anywhere else. All I can feel is this amazing sensation of falling towards my planet. All I can hear is the sound of air as I force my way through the atmosphere. All I can see are snow-capped mountains in the distance and our plane getting further and further away as I accelerate faster. When I look at my instructor, I see a big thumbs up which tells me my body position is good and to keep it up! Before I can fully immerse myself in this free-fall moment it is time to pull my parachute. I wave off signaling to others that I am about to pull my parachute and with one fluid motion I grab my pilot chute, pull, and simply let go. One moment it is controlled chaos during free-fall, and in the next it is nothing but serenity while my parachute is over my head. Next thing I hear is Tanya’s voice on my radio asking me to complete a left turn to make sure I can hear her. After I finished my downwind and base leg part of my landing pattern it is time for me to come in for my final approach. At this point the ground is rushing up towards my face closer and closer and Tanya yells out “Flare, Flare, Flare” on the radio signaling me to pull my brake toggles down to my waist to stop the parachute. As soon as my feet touch the ground, I feel this surreal sense of accomplishment.

I just jumped out of an airplane, pulled my parachute, and landed all by myself. You will never find a better pair of AFF instructors than Tanya and Robbie Spencer to make your dream a reality. They will give you quality training that builds a type of confidence that makes you look at yourself in a better light. I am fortunate enough to have found Skydive West Coast and to have met Tanya, Robbie, and their cute puppy Oliver. The future looks to be full of fun and blue skies!