People handle the plane ride to altitude differently. Some are chatter boxes. Some are as silent as a stone. But regardless of their demeanor on the trip, most admit that there is one moment in particular that really flips the script.
It’s easy to keep your cool, staying focused on your breathing, maybe even throwing out a joke coupled with a well-timed chuckle, until the red-light glows, and you hear someone in the plane holler, “DOOR!” Quickly and efficiently, those sitting closest grip the door of the aircraft and slide it open. Whoosh: a rush of air swiftly fills the cabin. You can’t remember why you thought this was a good idea, or what you discussed on the ground: “wait what do I do once we’re outside?” Beneath the chest strap of your harness, you’re sure you can see your heart pumping, thumping, pounding like it’s trying to get out. This is a true fight or flight feeling. The green light illuminates, and it is time to exit. The door that seemed so innocent before is now downright menacing.
But why? It’s just a door, and you manage doors quite regularly in your everyday life. Open. Close. You get the gist. Usually, doors cause you no issue. So, what makes the airplane door different?
Skydivers of all experience levels are familiar with door fear. Even stone-cold pros, at one point in their skydiving career, completely froze when they got to the door. Thankfully, the situation isn’t hopeless. Knowledge is power, and with the tips below, you’ll know just how to face your door fear and make the most of every skydive.
Speaking literally, the door of the aircraft separates you from the big blue sky outside. But, for all intents and purposes, what it does metaphorically is far more interesting. The door of the aircraft is the last obstacle you have to conquer to find freedom. Just past the door of the aircraft there is a place to grow, expand, and explore. The door is just your portal to adventure.
People experience a great deal more anxiety on the plane ride to altitude if they don’t know what to expect. We’ve given many people a fright when the door of the plane opens shortly after take-off. An open door doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to go. On particularly stuffy, summer days, after we reach about 1,500 feet, we will open up the door to let in a bit of fresh air. Before we open the door, we will scan the plane to make sure all seatbelts are off. Once we’re sure it is safe to do so, we will open the door. Don’t panic: sit back, breathe deep, and enjoy the nice cool breeze.
Skydiving has a steep learning curve because it’s unlike anything you’ve ever done. Many novice skydivers express concern over the possibility of a less than model exit. While it would be great to have a perfect count and a clean exit every time, it simply isn’t realistic. You are bound to flub an exit at some point in your skydiving career. It’s okay. Perfect practice makes perfect, and with time and instruction, you’ll see your exits straighten out and your door fear begin to fade.
Every skydiver you come into contact with has experienced door fear. Even professional skydivers can feel the pressure when it’s time to exit for a large formation skydive or a competition jump, but with a little help from our amazing community, we get past it. Trust us, facing down door fear is all part of the process.
If door fear is holding you back on your skydiving progression, let us know. We will take plenty of time to prep on the ground and practice on the mockup before your skydive. After each jump, our qualified staff is happy to watch videos and provide thorough exit debriefs. With our help, you can finally say sayonara to door fear!