By Shawn Russell, Staff Reporter 

Maria Noyola jumps with Skydive New England (Photo Courtesy of Shawn Russell)

Maria Noyola jumps with Skydive New England (Photo Courtesy of Shawn Russell)

Recently, over a dozen UMF students drove to Southern Maine, testing their guts and engaging in the experience of a lifetime.  Skydive New England, based out of Lebanon, ME, was the host to UMF students who were ecstatic to try this daredevil activity.

“Skydiving is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done,” said Conor Doherty, a junior ORBA student at UMF. Doherty was a part of a group made up almost entirely of UMF students. “I definitely want to do it again, and I’ll most likely get my license for it at some point in my life,” said Doherty.

To earn a skydiving license, one has to have at least 25 jumps under their belt, along with meeting various areas criteria regarding certification standards.

“I got a little nervous when I got in the plane, but once we were at altitude I was totally fine,” said Doherty.  “You freefall for about 60 seconds going from 14000 feet above sea level down to 5000 feet.  Then the shoot is pulled.”

The skydiving fever started when Maria Noyola, a junior at UMF, brought up the idea at a Farmington Outing Club (FOC)  meeting.  “I went to an FOC meeting and they were naming all these sweet things we should do, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to share the thought of diving out of planes,” said Noyola.

This past jump was Noyola’s second, and also the second with Skydive New England.  “It’s very welcoming,” said Noyola.  “The people are so awesome and friendly.  I highly recommend this experience to anybody and everybody,” she said.

“It was the coolest thing I have ever done, and it gave me a perspective of the world that you can’t get anywhere else,” said Tori Lands, a junior at UMF.  Lands is roommates with Noyola, who recommended that she went. “Maria told me how amazing it is and I decided that I didn’t want to miss out on something like that just because I was a little nervous,” said Lands.

UMF students received a college discount with the company, paying $189 for the jump, and an optional $139 for pictures and video. “Definitely worth the money,” said Doherty.  “The pictures and video were great for my first time. I was excited to look at them afterward,” said Doherty.

The first time the group of UMF students drove down, they were actually unable to jump due to the winds being too strong. This was a little disappointing for many, as it was a two-hour car ride to Lebanon from Farmington, and everyone was very eager to go.

“It made me a little upset since there was such high anticipation, but at the same time it’s a high risk sport and they are the experts who have the final word in the end,” said Doherty.

Many students who went are looking to jump again in the spring, as the company doesn’t do jumps in the winter months.

“Everybody loved it and I am always welcoming people to come,” said Noyola. “I’m going again in April if anyone is interested in going,” said Noyola.