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    The Conversation Has Taken A Sudden Dive

    | Chesapeake, VA, USA |

    (I am answering basic questions for a potential skydiving customer.)

    Customer: “How long is the free-fall part?”

    Me: “About 30-40 seconds.”

    Customer: “30 seconds!? I thought it was like five minutes? That’s how it is in the movies!”

    Me: “But that’s in movies. Actual skydives average about a 30 to 40 second free-fall.”

    Customer: “Why?”

    Me: “Because that’s how long it takes to fall from the highest altitude that you can safely jump from.”

    Customer: “If I’m going to pay $250 to jump, I want to fall for five minutes.”

    Me: “Might I point out that it doesn’t even take objects in space five minutes to fall to earth? You could be in orbit and not get a five minute free-fall.”

    Customer: “So if I call around, no one will be able to give me 5 minutes?”

    Me: “No, ma’am.”

    Customer: “Is there anyway you guys could fly the plane higher so I’d fall for five minutes?”

    Me: “No ma’am, we cannot do that. Besides the fact that it is physically impossible, you would die. If you’re still hung up on this five-minute thing, call NASA and tell it to them.”

    Customer: “Oh, so they do that?”