|Tandem Skydive. PSST... this is how they do it now - with a babysitter! By Skydiving Parachutisme: Jef132 derivative work: Ximonic (Skydiving Parachutisme) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], Wikimedia Commons|
How I Came To Jump Out Of An Aeroplane
You know how it goes. Your flatmate comes home one night with a great idea and the next thing you know you're jumping out of an aeroplane!
It seemed like a good idea at the time. I mean, who doesn't love a bit of excitement, right? Back then, in the early eighties, it was done as a solo static line jump which means your chute pull is attached to a wire that automatically pulls your chute open as you exit the plane. None of this namby pamby tandem jump stuff where you are strapped to an instructor who does everything for you while talking calming thoughts to you for us.
We were the tough. We were the brave. Well, you can see for yourself just how brave I was....
My First Jump - The Idea. How it came about
It was during my early flat-sharing days. I was co-habiting with two men and a lady in a large house in one of Sydney’s leafy Northern Beaches suburbs. One of the young men, Pete was also a work colleague. I was to discover while sharing the bills with these three that they were into extreme sports and trying out new things.
Pete and Chris were already certified Scuba divers and would flit off from time to time to throw themselves into the deep. They skied and rode horses, they abseiled and grass-skied. One evening, Chris came home from work and suggested we all go take parachuting lessons.
Hold on – run that by me again. Parachute lessons. You know, skydiving. Actually, I preferred it when you called it parachuting. You really can’t avoid the literal when you call it skydiving.
"No, really, it’s easy. We just go into the city a couple of times and practice landing."
First Time Skydiving Tips: Capture Every Amazing Moment!
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First Time Skydiving Tips: Practice Your Landing RollsActually, if you are making a tandem jump you won't need to do this. In fact your jump buddy probably won't thank you if you do attempt to roll on landing with him attached. But back when I made my first jump knowing how to land was essential.
I still don’t know how they convinced me. A few weeks later here we all were, assembled in a small room on the third floor of an office building in the centre of Sydney; a more unlikely place I could not imagine. The instructor took us through the theory first which consisted of statistical information like how fast you plummet, how long it takes for you to reach planet earth, what happens if you hit power lines, stuff like that. Then we donned our suits and chutes so we would know which buckle went where and what handle was for what.
The climax of the evening was climbing up onto desks and jumping into practice rolls. That’s the part where all the gigglling started because you could briefly forget that you were actually in rehearsal to hurl yourself out of an airplane at 2,000 feet all by yourself relying solely on a metal thread to open your single link with life for you. We all looked quite ridiculous.
The session concluded with our date set for our first jump and several alcoholic beverages in a nearby establishment.
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My First Jump - The Jump. The day had arrived!Mil-Tec Commando Goggles Para Smoke
It was a glorious pre-dawn the day we set out to throw ourselves into nothing from a fast-moving object 2,000 feet above the earth.
It was one of those crisp cool autumn mornings. We had an hour’s travel to reach the airfield at a place called Wilton to the south-west of Sydney.
By the time we reached the small shed where we were to assemble there was a heavy dew and an early morning mist as the sun started to brighten the tree tops.
I admit I remember very little of the pre-jump instruction I was given as I was climbing into my jump-suit. I can tell you nothing about packing my chute, putting it on, putting on my helmet or closing and clasping buckles and ties although I must have done all those things. I also admit that I remember nothing about walking out onto the airstrip to climb into the tiny aircraft that would take me on this insane journey. I remember exiting the plane. I remember counting – one thousand, two thousand, three thousand, four thousand, then being yanked upward as I felt the tug of the opening chute. I remember looking around at the incredible sight below me. Tiny little buildings and toy cars. The dots I suppose were people.
Somehow, I managed to do all the right things and make an almost perfect landing.
THAT WAS INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My First Jump - Afterwards: The Epilogue
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LET’S GO AGAIN! LET’S DO IT AGAIN! That wasn’t me, that was Chris.
We knew that if we took our second jump today it would only be an extra $17.
I knew that this is the only time ever I would be enticed to do a second jump. I still had the adrenalin pumping through my body. I was still shaking. My legs were still wobbly even after the 200 metre hike back from where I had landed to the aerodrome shed.
Yes! That was exhilarating! Yes, that was the most incredible thing I had ever done but somehow I already knew that this was not going to become my passion.
My Second JumpThey convinced me to go up again. I think the impressions of my fingers clinging to the open doorway of the plane are probably still there. The instructor ended up having to push me out of the plane.
I forgot to count. I piloted badly. I ended up in the bushes about a kilometre from the shed. It wasn’t pretty. I think during my second jump I found my fear.
I can honestly say that this is the most exhilarating and the most frightening thing I have ever done.
One Time Experience or A New Interest?
For me, once was enough. Exhilirating? Yes! Memorable? Absolutely! Would I take it up as a hobby? No, never. But you may feel completely different. For a small number of people, skydiving won't be simply an experience. It will become a passion. If this is you then at some point you want to get your own Skydiving Rig.