By Sydney Cromwell
When life is feeling stale and you need a break in your routine, the Magic City delivers. From 14,000 feet in the air to hundreds of feet under ground, we found the best adventures in the Birmingham area. This is part three in a six-part series.
Cullman Regional Airport, 231 County Road 1360, Vinemont
Tandem jumps: $149-249
Skydiving is the classic thrill-seeker’s choice, and for good reason. Nothing can quite compare to dangling your feet out of a plane and feeling the excitement – and terror. Feel the cold wind on your face and the rush of adrenaline as your tandem skydiver launches you out the door and into free fall.
Though it seems like the most dangerous activity on this list, experienced skydivers will tell you that jumping out of a plane is safer than the drive to the airport. First-time divers are attached to a tandem instructor, who has made at least 500 successful jumps and taken a certification course. Both divers are connected by heavy-duty clips to main and reserve parachutes, which can be activated by an altitude-sensing computer if the divers are not able to pull the ripcord.
For first-timers, the instructors attached to their backs do most of the work from leaving the plane to landing safely at the airport drop zone. Your only responsibility is to maintain proper body position and enjoy the ride.
Divers exit the plane at 14,000 feet and experience about a minute of freefall. It’s an intense experience that clears your mind of everything except the feeling of your body accelerating to more than 120 miles per hour. At 5,000 feet the instructor pulls the parachute, and you get to gently float for about 10 minutes to reach the ground. You’ll be able to enjoy the landscape below you, including the Tennessee River and the distant skyline of Huntsville, before sliding into the landing.
Seeing the world from the sky can make you both exhilarated and surprisingly calm. So, are you bold enough to willingly jump out of a plane?