Skydiving - not a virgin anymore
So my goal for about 10 years now has been to skydive. I've always wanted to freefall but whenever I try and arrange a bunch of people to go, they jam on me. After working a couple of Wizard camps back to back with two Enlightened Warrior Camps, I made some commitments to my goals for the year. One was about Skydiving, in that I would make 10 jumps this year. So, I just fricken did it man!
On a beautiful Sunday afternoon with a high of 17 degrees Celsius (the best weekend in a few weeks too), I took my all day jump training, then jumped. The first jump is included with the training. My first jump was from 3500 feet. I had decided long before I went that I'd do a second one so I opted for that as soon as I hit the ground. The second jump was from 5000 feet for an extra $20 over the base price of $60. The second jump had a purpose too. It was about awareness. Jump master Aidan Walters said he was going to give me a hand signal after I released and I was to be watching him so that I could tell him what sign he gave me. They build on the training from jump to jump which I like. My next few jumps I plan to do will involve practicing reaching for my own ripcord using a fake one.
View my Skydive Video here (6.2 meg skydive.wmv)
It was not nearly as scary as I thought it might be. We were well trained in the various safety mechanism, and a few safety procedures and exit procedures were drilled into our heads all day. We got to practice on an airplane mock up so that we know how to get out of the plane safely . Here's how that goes: The plane is loaded in reverse order of exit and the heaviest person exits first so that was me. I got in last. When the door opens, the jump master puts his leg out the door and then tells you to "exit the craft". We put our hands on the door, thumbs down. Our right leg goes on the peg just above the tire, our hand then reaches out of the plane for the strut that supports the wing. Then we're reaching all the way out with our right hand for the strut as well. Then our left leg crosses over in front of the right and onto the tire.. We're now out of the plane. We shimmy our hands all the way out along the strut at which point we have to move our feet off the tire and hang in the wind hanging onto the strut. At this point, our jump master has leaned out of the plane and is hanging onto the strut about 1 foot from our face with our pilot chute in his hand. He calls "ready" to which we reply the same. Then we let go, arch and begin a count to 6. By 6, we have to check our chute as it should have opened. Then we have to make a decision on whether or not it's a good controllable chute before we continue. At this point with a good chute, it's a nice slow incredible ride back to the planet (drop zone to be more specific).
What I enjoyed about it was that it was so peacefully and relaxing. What I want is the adrenalin from a free fall. I have committed to doing the Advanced Free Fall (AFF) program next year. Along with two instructors, I fly up to 11,000 feet and then free fall to 3000 before opening. There are 6 levels that have to be completed and with each level there is a specific learning goal. Then it's solo man!
I'm going to go out for at least 5 more jumps before the end of October to make it a total of 7 jumps for the year. If I can manage another weekend, I'll make my goal of 10 jumps for the year with another final 3 or 5 jumps. Hey, if you're there and you're jumping, might as well do 5 right?
For my first jump I had Skydive Video (6.2 meg skydive.wmv) taken both before and at landing. Go ahead, have a look and then post a comment back here. Thanks so much to Wes for making my video digital.
The club is excellent. I was totally impressed. The owner coaches the Canadian military sky dive team, the Skyhawks, while a current member of the team instructs there as well as a former member. The owner has over 11,000 jumps and this last guy, Aidan Walters has over 12,0000 and is a Provincial, National and World level medalist in Skydiving. Visit Eden North Skydiving School for more information about what I'm going to refer to as "My" club. It was kinda cool too, a very social place. It was like golfing except that instead of calling out tee times, they called out plane loads.
Stills and digitization by Wes. Thanks bud.
While I'm at it, Thanks to Monique from Eden North for taking the original video too.