18 Dec 2013

I have always wanted to do a skydive, but never thought it would actually happen. It was on my "bucket list", along with other adrenaline filled sports such as bungee jumping. As my 18th birthday was approaching, I wanted to do something that I would never forget. This was the perfect time for my skydive!

It was booked to take place on my 18th Birthday, but due to bad weather it was postponed to the Friday, which was forecasted to be clear and sunny! After being excited all week, it was finally the day. I arrived at Brackley Skydiving Centre about half an hour before my jump, and met my tandem instructor, Dave Luke. I then proceeded into the foyer to “sign my life away” as Dave put it! Which didn't fill me with confidence!

After all the documents were signed, I then went to get kitted out. The equipment consisted of a jump suit to go over my clothes, (basically a onesie!) a pair of gloves, goggles, and a very unfashionable hat. Next was the harness. I stepped into it, and Dave pulled it up over my shoulders, and tightened all the straps to make it nice and secure. Me and the other jumpers then got shown what position to free fall in. We lay on the floor, bent our legs at the knee and lifted them about 6 inches in the air. We also had to bend our arms at the elbow, and raise them, again about 6 inches, this meant we were balancing on our stomachs, which we couldn't do for long. This briefing lasted about 15-20 minutes, then Dave strapped his parachute on and we were ready to go skydiving!

The slow walk over to the plane built the tension, and I started to find my self getting nervous for the first time since I arrived. Me and Dave were the last tandem pair to enter the plane, and we shuffled along and sat on the benches in front of the other jumpers, with my cameraman following me in. After everyone had entered the plane, we were ready to go!

Dave attached our harnesses together and tightened all the straps and made sure it was all safe and secure. During the assent, everyone seemed calm and relaxed, and we were all chatting and wishing each other the best. It took about 15 minutes to climb to the jumping height of 13,000ft and we only cleared the clouds at 9,000ft. Then it was time to jump. The hat went on over the goggles, and the hatch opened. A sudden sense of realisation hit me at what I was about to do. Jump out of a plane. From 13,000ft. What was I doing? I watched the solo jumpers fall out, and disappear under the plane, next was me. Dave shuffled us over to the edge of the plane, with our legs dangling out. You don't have much time to think about anything before you jump, so I didn’t really feel nervous or scared, which surprised me. He moved my head to the side to face my cameraman who was hanging off the plane, counted down, 3...2...1... we jumped! The force of the wind hit me immediately and I went straight into the position we got taught in the training. As I was in free fall my mouth was open, so Dave had to reach down and close it! While in free fall the rush you get is something unique. Unexplainable. It was a cold day, and even colder while falling at over 100mph from 13,000ft, it was freezing! The free fall lasted about 45 seconds and went so quickly. When it was time to pull the chute at 5,000ft, I moved my arms across my chest, as I was told to, and waited for Dave to do his thing. As he opened the chute, we got pulled into a vertical position. I thought it would be a bigger force than it actually was.

It was time to glide down under canopy. He let me take control of the chute, and at this point you can talk to one another with raised voices. He pointed out to me where the centre was, and other landmarks that we could see. “This is the best job in the world isn't it” he said, I replied with “Definately!” Still a bit in shock at what I had just done. It took about 4 or 5 minutes to glide down, and then it was time to land. I raised my legs up, so I didn’t get injured while landing. We didn't have the best landing, but no one was hurt so that was good enough for me! Dave unstrapped us, shook my hand, and I walked over to my mum who was watching from the ground. I was still buzzing for hours after, it was an experience I will never forget.

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