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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Experience skydiving with SkyCats at the UA

    Courtesy of Funair Productions
    Daily Wildcat Arts and Life reporter Casey Aldava skydiving on Dec. 4, 2014. Aldava went on a skydiving trip to Eloy, Arizona, with the UA’s Arizona SkyCats club.

    There are some moments in life that are so unbelievable and sensational that your mind stores the memory of them more vividly so that you can always remember them. Stepping out of a plane at 13,000 feet makes for one of these memories.

    Arizona SkyCats, a relatively new club, is the official skydiving club at the UA. I probably never would have known about it if I hadn’t stopped by its tent at the student involvement fair in September. 

    At the time, the presentation of skydiving seemed like a cool, fun, spur-of-the-moment idea, so I signed up for the newsletter and a few weeks later, I attended a meeting. 

    SkyCats is not only for one-time bucket list divers; you can also get a skydiving license through the club or compete on a team at collegiates and nationals.

    A few months later, in December, I went on a group trip to Eloy, Arizona, where Skydive Arizona is located. 

    Students who are members of SkyCats receive discounted jump prices through the club. The price for student club members is $160 for students with ID, $295 to go once with pictures and a video and $99 more for a same-day second jump. 

    The drive there was about 45 minutes. Then I had to sign what felt like a million documents acknowledging that I might die, but I didn’t because it’s safer than people realize. 

    “[It is] statistically proven you’re safer skydiving than driving … the tandems’ safety rating for Skydive Arizona is top notch with all of their instructors,” said Brek Montoya, founder and president of Arizona SkyCats. 

    Everyone without a skydiving license can only jump tandem, meaning that a professional, licensed skydiver will be strapped to your and do everything for you. All you have to do is relax and enjoy the scenery.

    After I was suited up and my harness was on, we all got on a truck that drove us to the planes. 

    Skydiving planes are very small and inside there are only two wooden benches on each side. We all sat with the people going first closer to the door—tandems always go last, so I sat at the very front near the pilot. Because this plane ride was all about altitude and not about distance, we were tilted at an angle the entire ride. 

    At this moment, I started to get serious butterflies and nervous energy, so I sat there shaking and laughing like crazy. I tried to talk to everyone around me and I can actually say they all jumped out of the plane to get away from me. Watching everyone jump, however, looked like watching the toy army men in “Toy Story” and that was somehow oddly comforting to me.

    After everyone had already jumped, it was my turn. I inched toward the door, strapped to my tandem instructor, and I felt the strong, cold wind hit me hard. 

    My instructor reminded me how I’m supposed to crouch down with my arms crossed over my chest and my legs folded as we swung out. I’m crouched, he’s swinging and before I could take a breath he threw us out. 

    My mind spun and all I could think was that my hands were so cold and I was being video taped, so I wanted to look cool, which I definitely didn’t because my cheeks were flapping in the air and my mouth was pressed shut to prevent bugs’ flying in. I couldn’t breathe at first from all the air pressure and adrenaline. 

    When my instructor pulled the chute, it felt like we flew up and everything went quiet and I could see everything clearly below me. My instructor let me steer the parachute. The next few minutes were scary and amazing and I can remember never wanting to come back down. In that moment, everything in the world was perfect.

    “I’m terrified of heights, but skydiving helps you to see the world in the most amazing way,” Montoya said. “The breathtaking views and experience will last a lifetime and nothing compares to it.”

    The next Arizona SkyCats meeting is Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Gould-Simpson building, Room 206. You can also check out the club on their Facebook page, University of Arizona SkyCats, or contact Montoya at

    Follow Casey Aldava on Twitter.

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