Sep 22

more weather, more learning :)

went along to the dropzone today, in the hope that the clouds werent too low, but, as i got there in the late afternoon, wasnt too hopefull, but, was hoping that if no jumping was going on, to be able to practiceย  packing. turned up, and the car park is nearly empty, not a good sign, gets inside, and all the center staff sat around, ‘hope youve not come to jump’ was the first thing i heard, ahh well, lets practice packing instead ๐Ÿ™‚ get a rig out, drag it all out and shake it up a bit, get 3/4 of the way through packing it back up (which took me about 15 minutes)when im told ‘we are all going down the pub, having a packing challenge first, leave that there’. Last time i saw this, Will, the boss of the place, did it in 5 minutes, this time, they are betting on 3-4 minutes. I see some interesting ‘procedures’ for packing a parachute, that i wasnt shown, and ive been told not to repeat or attempt, but im sure there was some cheating going on, as manuals were referred to afterwards about proper packing procedures, but, a few people packed, there was fights with getting air out of the canopy, fights with broken elastic bungees that hold all the lines together and a fight with a bin in the corner of the room, but all with times from about 4’58 to around 6′ and a bit (from the professionals, i was just spectating), and from here, off to the local for a pint (of shandy)

as well as this, the canopy handling that was cancelled due to the weather last week, will now be in 2 weeks time, on the 4th oct, briefing, hop n pops from around 7’000 feet, then debriefing, and im really looking forward to this, as id love to improve my accuracy on landing, get my jump numbers up, get my B license, and be able to land on the southern PLA, and also booked on another packing course for the 25th oct

Sep 20

Learning to pack parachutes

Today was the packing course, learned how to pack a parachute :), and practiced on a few different ones. By the end of the day, was able to pack from start to finish, all on my own, but, this was using a setup that had just been ‘pulled out’ insteadย  of actually jumped, then gathered up, and dumped, probably all twisted up, and things wrapped over themselfs, so that will be the next thing to learn, how to recognise, and untangle everything, ready for packing, then theres a testย  to check i can actually do it, then theres the big test, where i put on what ive packed, and jump out of a plane wearing it ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ๐Ÿ™‚

Sep 14

2 days of weather

Yesterday was meant to be a canopy training course, but, was cancelled due to wind and rain, which sucks, but, today, the dropzone was open, as there was a break in the rain, but, not in the wind. due to the wind direction, the north runway was in use, which meant the southern landing area was being used, but, the southern landing area, you need to have a B license, and over 50 jumps to be allowed to jump and land on it. after waiting around all day, and helping with the tandem jumpers, and watching a fun jump ‘big way’ where 15 jumpers tried to make a formation, 5PM came, when the airport officially closes, and then the northern landing area is opened up, but, due to the wind speeds, larger canopies, like myself and other student and new jumpers use, were unable to jump ๐Ÿ™

Not a complete waste of a day though, I spoke with Kris, one of the FS coaches, about a few things to try, including a few new exits, and had a few practices in the exit mock up, which is a steel frame, identical to the door of the plane, to practice jumping out of.

Im on a packing course next friday, and its possible the canopy course may follow directly after that, or maybe the week after, but while i didnt get to jump this weekend, i still enjoyed the banter and seeing what everyone else was doing ๐Ÿ™‚

Sep 08

Jump 26, Swansea

After arriving at the Dropzone, they are on the south landing area, so I know i wont be jumping, yet, as theres a 50 jump limit, but, we are told that soon the northern landing area will be opened. Help catch some tandem jumpers, and bring in the gear for an hour, then the few new jumpers and students are called for a wind briefing. Im told that im on the bigger 280 canopy, as students get priority on the club equipment, which is fair. Its explained to us that while its quite windy, its not windy enough to stop jumping, we will be jumping out of the plane further from the dropzone than we usually do, then using the wind to get back to a holding area, before coming in to land. As an added incentive, whoever lands closest to the orange cross, out of us inexperienced jumpers, will get a mystery prize.

The plan for this jump is forward roll exit, practise short sharp leg turns, 90 degrees, 180 degrees etc, open at 3,500′, get to the holding area, then aim for the cross.

Its my turn to exit, I roll out, and straight onto my back, and have a perfect view of the bottom of the plane, I flipped over so quick, I can clearly see Micks head poking out of the door watching me fall ๐Ÿ™‚ I flip over onto my front, and HOLY CRAP!!! whats happened to my face?!?! this is cold. When i did my tandem in february, it was -4 on the ground, but I didnt fell any cold at all, this is freezing, my arms are freezing, my chest is freezing. I do a few turns, and I notice a canopy opening far below (not directly below) me, this is the first time ive seen one opening while being in freefall, so i watch for others, while checking alti every few seconds, and see a few opening.

At 3,500 feet, I wave off, reach, grab the toggle, and pull. My hand is so cold, it slides right off the toggle, and im stil in freefall!!!!!!!! Thoughts in my head, ‘is it stuck?’, ‘OH SH!T!!!’, ‘reserve procedure, look, locate, reach, grab, peel, punch, pull’ followed by ‘try again, if its stuck, then im paying for a reserve to be repacked’. Reach back again, pull, throw, 1 thousand, 2 thousand, feel the pull, 3 thousand, look up, see the canopy inflating, watch it fully inflate, then grab the steering toggles and go through canopy checks, my ar$e is still biting both leg straps and refuses to let go, im only just under 3,000 feet, so everything that just happened was only 2 or 3 seconds, between my hand slipping, all those thoughts, and trying again

Now safely under the canopy, I see and head towards the holding area, and get there surprisingly quick with the wind behind me, normally im fighting into the wind on my jumps, this is a nice new feeling, looking straight down you see how fast youre travelling across the ground. Get to the holding area, do some turns to lose the height, then at 1,000 feet, start my landing pattern. In my (inexperienced) mind, im at about 900 feet as i pass the orange cross, so if i go to about 500 feet, then turn, then my final turn at 400 feet, ill end up right by the cross, this is easy. So downwind to 500 feet, turn, corsswind to line up with the cross, turn, turn into wind ready to land right by the cross, and this is where i realised that id not thought about the one main thing during my plan, THE WIND! the 400 foot descent with the wind behind me took me about 500 yards downwind from the cross, now im flying into the wind, on a big 280 canopy, and if anything, im still moving away from the cross instead of towards it :-/ Once again, im heading towards the orange box full of equipment half way down the runway, i try a bit of right to avoid it, but the wind keeps pushing me back towards it, so instead, i let the wind take me to the left of it. As i come in to land, i flare a little bit too late, then have a fight to collapse the canopy, thats dragging me sideways, and i want it collapsed before it gets blown into the brambles, which i manage.

I wasnt the closest to the cross, but, i also wasnt the furthest away either, maybe next time ill win the mystery prize ๐Ÿ™‚ but I do know i need to buy some thermals or something if I’ll be jumping through the winter

Sep 07

Bought my helmet, and more learning

After looking around all the facebook pages, ebay, gumtree, forums, etc, for a helmet, I decided to buy a new SkySystems Benny helmet from While some helmets are around the ยฃ300 mark, this one is ยฃ65. This probably completes me buying gear for a while, as the only thing left for me to own is my own rig (parachute kit) and as these start from around ยฃ2k 2nd hand, and as you gain experience, you change the equipment you use, it’ll be a while before i can afford, or think about getting my own.

Next friday, the dropzone is having some form of canopy control briefing, so im deffo getting myself onto that, read back about some of my landings, and youll see why, and the friday after, im learning how to packย  parachutes. While i was in Empuriabrava doing my AFF I was shown many times how to do it, I never actually got to have a go myself, so hopefully, in 2 weeks time, I’ll be posting how ive jumped a rig that I actually packed myself ๐Ÿ™‚

Sep 01

Jump 25, Swansea

Jump 25, this is the 50% mark for jumps towards my B license ๐Ÿ™‚ and, its the last jump of the day again, a fun jump with the staff, and get an extra few hundred feet alti before jumping.

The plan for this jump, is a dive exit from the plane, flip onto my back and enjoy seeing the plane vanish (cos i like that) then back on my front and practise leg turns again, all of this went exactly to plan. Opened at 3,500′, and it seems that no matter what i try, i just cannot get towards where i want to land, im over the dropzone, and the large landing area, but the wind just wont let me get further up the runway. I hold as best as im able to, and see that my landing area will be close to a small tree, so put the brakes on a little bit, flare as i come in to land, and this is when i realise that where im landing is not just grass, but 4 feet tall grass type stuff, covered in millions of white fluffy things, then, i vanish into them. I didnt want to risk damaging the canopy by pulling it, so spent a few minutes gathering everything up, but at the same time im aware that all everyone else would have seen is me vanishing behind a tree, so im shouting that im OK, but, the wind must have drowned this out, as the buggy came round, just as im carrying the canopy above my head out of the bushes. It was at this point I was told that if i was still on a 280 canopy, id have been blown miles off course, if id have been allowed to jump it.

An enjoyable jump though, even if i did look like a snowman coming out of the bushes, and even poor Laura, one of the packers, ended up covered in them too from repacking the canopy ๐Ÿ™‚

Sep 01

Jump 24, Swansea

After the last jump, and landing, I cant wait for this one. As I get to the dropzone, one of the regular jumpers has just done her FS1 skydive, and passed, and I get chatting with one of the coaches. He gives me some ideas to try out, with the way I hold my hands, and turning using my knees. On the plane, im the only fun jumper, the rest of the plane is tandems, and their cameras, so ill be the first out. Ant (one of the camera flyers) says that if i hold on to the door, and just fall away backwards, he will get some pictures for me ๐Ÿ™‚

I hang on to the bar above the door, and fall away from the plane ๐Ÿ™‚ the pictures look like im riding an invisible skateboard away from the plane. I get stable, then try the new hand position, then turning with my knees, and its really simple, and quick, do a few 90 degree turns in different directions, before pulling at 3,500′

just as i finish all my canopy checks, I enter the top of a cloud, and cannot see a thing. I do a few turns, ensuring im looking all around me, but i have absolutley NO idea which way is which, apart from up and down. Then I remember, on my first jump at swansea, Will mentioned having my back to the sun under canopy, so i turn with the sun behind me (this also put the wind behind me). I pop out of the cloud at about 1,800′, and the dropzone is BEHIND me :o. Turn around, and into the wind all the way, but, what looks like itll be my landing spot, is right where theres a small comms tower, windsock, and other equipment. I dont know how to extend the range of the canopy, especially into the wind, so i put on the brakes, this seems to work, and my landing spot seems to now be moving closer, and a bit to the left of all the equipment. Just begin to flare and a nice wind picks me up, great, i hold onto the flare, as i know letting it go is the worst thing i can do right now, and wait for the ground, land and roll it off, then fight to collapse the canopy

But, really enjoyed ๐Ÿ™‚