Exit altitude 13.5K
There's a particular apprehensive joy in reaching out of a plane at 13,500 ft with your right foot to find the "camera step," which is a tiny plate with about the same in real estate terms as an apple trackpad, riveted on to the fuselage of a jump plane. You can't see it, so you have to do a bit of feeling about with your toes. The wind speed is about 100 mph, and then there is the prop blast or the wind from the propeller, which is giving the airplane lift. Above the camera step, vertically separated by 4 feet, is a handle, the size you might find on a desk draw for one of your hands. With my right hand on the handle and right foot on the step, I wait for the skydivers to set themselves in the exit. It can take 10 to 15 seconds for everyone to put their heads and hands in just the right place, for when the count comes, it had better be. The dive leader, while holding onto a bar inside the plane above the exit door, starts the count with a whole-body movement in the direction everyone will go in another second. Out (1), In (2), Out (go). There might be a group of eight jumpers. Four people are on the outside with their feet in the doorway, bodies outside, hands gripping a bar that runs on the inside above the exit. One on the camera step, me, and three or more on the inside. Jammed against one another like sardines in a tin. The point is to "exit" the plane together, thereby minimizing separation in the air. It's a little in intoxicating to climb onto the outside of an airplane flying at 13,500 ft at about 100 mph with a group of self-selected commrades of the unusual and testy. Skydivers jump solo, in small groups but sometimes in the hundreds, no kidding, link below.
The count is given and usually, I like to leave a fraction of a second before the group so I can get on my back and look up at the chaotic beauty of humans who like to bend the rules to their advantage.
I'm not going to say that don't feel fear, but the interesting thing is that once I commit and put your energy into the doing, the fear stops and the doing envelopes me.