May 2014

This was a Birthday present from Maggie! Apparently my Life insurance was upto date....

The day was warm, sunny and partly cloudy and on arrival having signed in you have the opportunity to sit and have a coffee and watch your fellow jumpers. Some look extremely nervous, others looked hyped-up and the rest are trying to look nonchalant!

Before jumping you are subject to a 30 minute briefing and there is much banter and it is clear to see that some are, indeed, pretty nervous! Once over you are free to watch the rest of the activities at the airfield; light aircraft, helicopters, microlights coming and going, whilst waiting for your name to be called.

Eventually, you are summoned to the briefing centre and kitted out with jump suit, goggles, hat and gloves and a pretty sight it does not make!

Then the time comes and you head out to the plane with your instructor. My instructor is Chris Lynch (who has some 15,000 jumps to his name as well as national and world titles in skydiving and an array of coaching qualifications!) The plane has been adapted for parachuting as there is a perspex roller door and there are no seats as you all sit on the floor. Each 'victim' sits in front of the instructor and you are then attached very snugly by two harnesses at the shoulders and another two at the waist. The flight takes approximately 15 minutes of continual circling over the airfield to reach it's approximate height of 12,000ft (approx. 2.25 miles!), during which time we get great views over the Thames Estuary to the North and the French coast to the South.

I'm last to go. So we both shuffle towards the exit on our knees and there I am kneeling on the edge admiring the view and feeling calm, yet excited. The next thing I know we are hurtling towards Terra Firma at approx. 120mph and yet there is no sensation of speed as there is, literally, nothing around from which to gauge your speed. The only thing I notice is the flapping of my suit and the extra pressure of the goggles on my face. We freefall for about 45 seconds before the instructor pulls the ripcord and then for me the worst bit is the sudden deceleration which causes the harness straps to really dig in to your inner thighs! I was then given control of the 'chute and I'm amazed at how sensitive they are once you start pulling on the 'guides'. Hold on for too long in one direction and you're into a pretty fast 'corkscrew'. Sadly, and all too quickly, we are back on the ground. I can see how people get addicted to this!

Anyway a great day out and another 'tick' on the Bucket List!

Other Activities