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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Taking the Jump from 13,500 Feet

    Junior Rebecca Delbridge takes her first plunge from 13,500 feet in a tandem skydive with an instructor from Calverton, N.Y.'s SkyDive Long Island. (Photo Credit: Rebecca Delbridge)

    Rebecca Delbridge, a junior at Stony Brook University, sat in a plane 13,500 feet up in the air on a hot, June afternoon, strapped to a skydiving instructor. When it was their turn to jump out of the plane, they stood up and made their way to the door. Her instructor rocked back and forth three times and then jumped out. The wind was so strong that it caused her cheeks to flap.

    “It’s so fast that you feel like you can’t breathe,” she said.

    She looked out into the distance and saw a breathtaking view of the Hudson River. The instructor released the parachute, causing the two of them to spin around in the air. Rebecca’s eyes lit up in excitement and an enormous smile was on her face. They flew through the air for five minutes until they reached the landing area. Her feet finally touched the ground, bringing her skydiving adventure to an end.

    “The adrenaline lasted for like 10 minutes, I was shaking,” she said.

    With the summer approaching, the possibility of going skydiving looms in many thrill seekers’ minds. The curiosity of what it feels like to fall from thousands of feet in the air causes many of them to take a trip over to SkyDive Long Island in Calverton, N.Y.

    SkyDive Long Island dates back to 1986, when Ray Maynard and his group of skydivers were searching for a better place to jump. They had their eyes set on Area 51. It seemed like an impossible dream for them to be able to skydive on the United States government’s untouchable airfield, but to their surprise, on Sept. 20, 2000, they were granted permission to use the area.

    They started off as a single plane operation, but over the years, they got two full-time turbine aircrafts able to hold up to 19 passengers. After 24 years in business, they have earned a reputation as the leading skydiving center on Long Island and in the Northeast.

    The first jump that any skydiver goes on is called a tandem skydive.

    “Your first jump is going along with the ride and getting familiar with what is going on,” said Maynard, the owner of SkyDive Long Island. People call ahead to make reservations, fill out paperwork, watch a short tandem training video, get geared up and attached to their instructors and then jump out of the plane. If anyone decides that they want to continue with the sport, they will have to take a class and go through much more training.

    SkyDive Long Island has been giving Long Islanders the opportunity to skydive for 24 years. (Photo Credit: Rebecca Delbridge)

    Falling 13,500 feet in the air can make anyone’s heart race.

    “Anyone that says they’re not scared, they’re lying,” Maynard said. “Once you get closer to that door, your heart is going to start going faster and faster.”

    The risk of complications happening during the jump is on the minds of almost every skydiver. But it comforts them to know that SkyDive Long Island uses the safest and most up-to-date equipment and the most advanced training methods available.

    Maynard said he always receives good feedback from people after their first time skydiving.

    “I want to go sky diving again because I had so much fun,” said sophomore Ryan Audley. “I’m hoping to go this summer with some friends.”

    Skydiving gives people a once in a lifetime experience that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.

    “Once you go out the door, it doesn’t matter what problems you have in life, they’re going to go away,” Maynard said. “You’re going to smile and enjoy the beautiful eastern Long Island shoreline.”

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