Skydive ExperiencePosted By: Hayley Thursday 19th November 2015
On the 31st of October I completed one of the most challenging experiences of my life, jumping out of a perfectly good aeroplane at 10,000ft!
Writing this blog is going to challenging my writing abilities as I have already described the feeling to various people as indescribable, so how do you describe the indescribable?
Firstly, I would like to start by saying if anyone wants to do an event like this, then I would highly suggest raising money for a chosen charity. Many reasons surround this statement; the more important ones would be ultimately you are helping an organisation that relies on charitable donations and giving something back for them organising the event for you. Another reason (as mentioned at the close of the last sentence) is that they organise the event for you, meaning you can just following the instructions on the letter and turn up on the day. For me both of these reasons were enough to convince me to organise the skydive through the Butterwick Hopsice, which are not only the LaneSystems chosen charity that we continue to support, but after seeing the care provided by the Butterwick. It was clear that this service needs to continue. With the support and good nature of the people of Teesside this will be possible!
On the day I arrived at around 7:30am to try and beat the cloud that was forecast at 10:00am, unfortunately as usual the weather forecast was not entirely accurate and the cloud had beaten me to Durham Tees Valley Airport which meant we had to wait for it to clear. Due to safety, the instructors are unauthorised to jump in anything less than perfect conditions; with winds being under 20 knots and having clear vision of the landing site from 10,000ft. Knowing this and knowing English weather, this definitely limits you to when you can actually jump. Fortunately, the team of instructors are used to this and have many activities and games to pass time.
So after losing 3 consistent games of table tennis to 3 different instructors (which I might add could possibly be scouted for Team GB’s table tennis team as they have a lot of time to practice and are very skilled in the sport), then playing numerous amounts dominos with my family, there was finally a break in the clouds and the wind had died down so it was time to get suited up.
At this point, it was around 2pm so I was still very calm as the excitement hadn’t hit me yet, I think this was because of the amount of time I had been sat around waiting to get to this point. Even walking to the plane didn’t excite me a great deal, it wasn’t until we were in the air and began talking to my instructor when it all seem to manifest into reality what I was about to do.
My instructor was a great guy, pardon the pun but he was very down to earth for a full-time skydive instructor. I had a great talk with him about how he got into this somewhat crazy hobby/profession, his response was that he did something very similar to me and that once he did it he was hooked, so he began his training to gain his license then from that point trained to be an instructor and hasn’t looked back since.
“Two minutes!” were the next words I remember hearing from the pilot. At this point you get secured to your instructor firmly and put your goggles over your eyes then the man closest to the door opens it. This is when the excitement really hit me. Looking out of the door and seeing the group so many feet below, really put things into perspective. I was second in line to jump, so the instructor in front of me moved towards the door with his candidate then jumped.
This is when the excitement and adrenaline really kicked in. I just watched someone jump out of plane 10,000ft up in the air and I was next. Watching that happen brings on some bizarre feelings, you at first worry for this person (understandably as they have just jumped out a plane and you hope they are ok) and then you are excited for them as they have just accomplished what they set out to do.
Me and my instructor shuffled over to the open door and on the plane and got ourselves into position. This position consists of the instructor sat on the edge of the plane and me hanging out of the side of it. The noise at this point is very loud as the wind rushes past you. I remember looking down and seeing how far away the ground was and thinking ‘this is awesome’.
Then we jumped.
There is no sensation of falling, more of a floating and weightlessness sensation like being underwater in a swimming pool but having lots of air rushing past you instead of holding your breath.
We than began spinning and doing a few flips as my instructor was getting bored with just freefalling (typical skydiver).
After a very fast 30 seconds and falling 7,000ft, the instructor deployed that main canopy which deployed with no problems; except it seems to jolt you upwards very quickly which makes your harness pull up very sharply which is quite uncomfortable on the inside of your legs.
Gliding gently back down to the landing site once the parachute is open is such a serene experience. It is deadly silent and all you can hear is the canopy flapping slightly. It is over-exaggerated more by the deafening sound of the wind rushing passed you on the freefall to the go to absolute silence; nonetheless it is still very peaceful.
My instructor then asked how was that to which my response was just ‘wow’ as I was slightly lost for words and taken aback by the whole experience.
Coming into land we adopted the landing position, which in essence is an abdominal crunch to raise your legs off the floor to prevent any injuries. With a sudden but gentle bump we hit the ground and had landed very safely.
Looking back as I write it, reminds me of the challenges, emotions and sensations that happen during the skydive itself and the build up to it.
I would like to thank everyone who donated towards the Butterwick Hospice to make this possible and raising a fantastic £718.19 for the Hospice and to everyone who supported me from start to end, with a big thank you to the team at Skydive St George for being informative and good at table tennis.