Junior Mandy Chambers hopes to get the MIT Skydiving Club off the ground. So far she’s the only one in the club.
A member of MIT’s ROTC Air Force Program, Chambers remembers her first jump two years ago at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. “The plane was going 90 miles an hour, and the instructor tapped me and said, ‘Go!’ I was absolutely terrified.”
She now has jumped 80 times, and no long afraid, she jumps from13,500 feet. After 70 seconds of free fall, hurtling to the ground at 120 miles per hour, she deploys the parachute. “It’s absolutely breathtaking. It’s like floating in a swing. I do it because I feel so alive.”
Before she jumps, she prays. She once convinced her Dad to jump, too, but her mother, she says, still covers her face with her hands.
A licensed pilot, Chambers dreams of one day becoming an astronaut. “I picture the launch; the light, smoke, and noise; and all the people cheering me on.”
The most valuable lesson she has learned from skydiving, she says, is conquering her fears. “I’ve got more confidence in myself than I ever, ever thought I could have. It puts things in perspective. If you can jump out of a plane, you can do anything.”