Jumping out with Skydive Snohomish
SNOHOMISH - Harvey Field in Snohomish may be a small-town airport, but nestled amidst green farmland and towering mountains it makes for a premiere skydiving destination and a popular activity for the young at heart.
Skydive Snohomish, a company growing 15 to 30 percent each year since 2000, is one of four licensed skydiving locations in the state to make the jump, or as some say, “jump out of a perfectly good airplane.”
Since they started in 2000, Skydive Snohomish has conducted more than 175,000 skydiving operations and average 300 to 400 first-time skydivers per week.
Tyson Harvey, general manager, spends most of his time running the show at Skydive, but he has taken about 2,000 dives himself and still does tandem drops with people.
Tandem diving is the most common way for people new to the sport to enjoy it. A personal instructor coaches the diver to get ready for the jump and goes over all the safety precautions that go along with it, then suits them up before they have time to overthink it.
People who have driven from all over the area stand around the tiny plane about to take them away. Some giggle with each other or make mini-movies with their instructor to commemorate their experience.
Once the skydivers and their instructors are loaded into the plane, it’s a 13,500 foot ride to achieve altitude, and from there the only way to go is down. Instructors begin to make final adjustments to packs and clip themselves to their skydiver with four points of metal connection that can hold up to 5,000 pounds each.
Harvey said skydiving is popular among recent graduates, cancer survivors, or for team-building exercises and reunions.
Once the diver has exited the plane, they will experience up to 60 seconds of free fall, which can only be described as something out of a dream. The parachute automatically inflates and the divers get to experience almost five minutes of “canopy,” or sailing slowly down to the earth.
Skydivers fall at up to 200 miles per hour, depending on height and weight, Harvey said.
Despite the fact that jumping out of an airplane seems like somewhat of a frightening venture, Harvey said that first-time jumpers rarely chicken out in the plane before the jump.
Harvey explained that he and the other instructors spend a lot of time coaching people through the experience.
“The responsibility is pretty high, but the reward is amazing. You get to help people realize they can do something they may not have thought they could do,” Harvey said.
He also said that although skydiving seems dangerous, it’s not nearly as suicidal as some people think.
“I know people think about it as crazy, but it’s more dangerous driving to the drop zone, statistically,” Harvey said.
And the reward for making the jump is phenomenal.
“That was amazing,” said Carlos Ubillus of Renton as he stepped out of his jump suit moments after landing.
His favorite part, he said, was the jump from the airplane: “That was when your adrenaline kicked in; amazing.”