Nov 23

Jump 32, Swansea

Not a cloud in the sky, and ice on the ground, but having not jumped for 7 weeks, the colds not going to stop me. Ive got new winter gloves to try out, a new (2nd hand) audible altimeter to try out, and most of my B license paperwork is done, I only need ‘Spotting’ and my canopy control sorted, and jump numbers. Im only here for the morning, so have to get at least one jump in. Im manifested for the 2nd lift, the plan for the jump, some somersaults, backflips, turns, and hope the audible doesnt scare the crap out of me when it starts beeping. I now open my canopy at 3,500 feet, so I’ve set it to go off first at 4,500, again at 3,500, and the emergency alarm at 2,500. Get all kitted up, and im going to be one of the last solo jumpers out of the plane, so I wont get my go at Spotting this time round, but theres plenty of time.

In the plane on the climb up, I was a lot more relaxed than I normally am, I dont know if this was the extra thermal layers I was wearing stopping me from getting the shivers that I normally get. We get to 12,500 feet, and the door opens, and a few jump, and im heading for the door, BANG! theres the feeling, I knew it was there somewhere, 5 seconds later, and im pointed out, and dive out of the door, curling into a somersault as i go. After a few spins, somehow manage to turn the front flips into backflips, before stretching out and stabilising. Do a few practice pulls, some 360 turns and a couple more backflips, before pulling at 3,500 feet.

As the canopy opens, and i begin to slow down, i hear my alti beeping in my ear, id forgotten all about it, and didnt hear ANYTHING at 4,500 feet, yet when i tested it before fitting it into my helmet, right behind my ear, it nearly blew the side of my head off. The canopy opened smoothly, so i now try a ‘Rear riser turn as an avoidance manoeuvre’ this is where you grab one of the risers that connect your harness to the canopy, and pull it towards you, causing a fast and hard sideways turn, thats another signature on my paperwork 🙂 I head towards the landing area, and circle around for a bit, before making my final approach. I misjudged it with the wind, and landed about 30M further from the landing area than id hoped to, but, this is still a LOT better than some of my first landings, a few hundered yards off target, as i come to land, i flare just right, and do a perfect ‘step’ onto the ground landing 🙂

Back in the building, i remove my audible alti from my helmet, and turn the screen on, and its logged my exit altitude, opening altitude and other information, so that all works, and, my hands are not numb, so the gloved worked well too 🙂

Another jump, and another signature on my paperwork towards me getting a B license.

Nov 17

More nothing

Got to the dropzone hopefull to get a few jumps in at around lunchtime, but, just like yesterday, cloud stopped play. Learned how the reserve and automatic activation system all works and fits together while a rig was being worked on, but, nothing at all this week to add to my jump numbers 🙁

Nov 17

No jumping, but lots of other stuff.

Got up nice and early this morning, with the aim to get to the dropzone, and slam out a few more jumps towards my B license, but, the weather had other ideas, and by 10:30AM, the days jumping had been binned due to low cloud, which just wasnt going away :(, but, every cloud has a silver lining, and what better opportunity to use the instructors on the dropzone to get some B license briefings done 🙂

Previously, my B license paperwork has only had a lonely ‘packing’ signature on it, but after today, its now also signed for ‘Trained in Spotting Techniques’, ‘Received a full safety brief on, be familiar with and be able to carry out the duties and responsibilities of a Jumpmaster’, ‘Received an Introduction to the Operations Manual’, and ‘Received a full safety brief on, be familiar with and be able to carry out flight line checking on other parachutists of Category 8 and above’.

For this, we were taken to the plane, and shown how to actually ‘spot’ the landing area, and the way the plane is traveling, while looking at reference points on the ground, taught emergency procedures, and the importance of exiting of different group types of skydivers. We were taught how to inspect another skydiver, and their equipment, to make sure they are safe, and part of this test involved us being sent out of the room, while fully kitted up skydivers, had ‘issues’ introduced to their kit, for us to find, and while nearly everybody found every fault that skydivers had with their equipment, a half twist in my chest strap, hidden by my hook knife did go unnoticed while i was being examined (I was told to twist my strap in this way by the examiner for the other person to notice), but, I found everything on the 2 skydivers that was wrong that i examined.

Next, I did the CH2 safety brief, and written exam, which I passed and was also signed off, so hopefully, when i return to the dropzone tomorrow, I will get a chance to actually do the practical ‘Spotting’ and this will gain me my JM1 (Jump Master Grade 1), and if the weather allows, and if i can pull it off, do 5 landings, where i say before getting on the plane ‘I will land within 30M of an intended landing spot’ and a few other canopy control manoeuvres, and that will be all of my B license paperwork completed, and will get me my CH2 (Canopy Handling Grade 2), and then i just need to get to the 50 jumps marker, for my B license. Excited much, oh yesssss 🙂

As the weather was poor today, we also got to play ‘OMG!!! WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE IN A PLANE CRASH!!!!!’ but, its not as bad as it sounds 🙂 After doing the flightline checking, as we were all kitted up, it was seen as an ideal time to take some new photos to show examples of the BRACE! position in case of an aircraft emergency, so, all kitted up, and onto the plane we go, get strapped in, and then, EMERGENCY!!!! BRACE POSITION!!!!!! and hold, and pretend youre about to be involved in a plane crash, but, dont look like your panicing, but, dont smile. After numerous pictures and positions, and screams of ‘ohh feck we all gonna die’ the pictures were done, then there was the really strange thing of actually stepping out of the plane, fully kitted up, onto the ground. Getting into the plane, even though I knew we were’nt going anywhere, my heart was doing the usual thumping. Getting onto the plane for the spotting excercise, while it felt weird, because i didnt have any gear on, there was still a little anticipation there, but, for these photos, wearing everything as though about to actually skydive, walking to the plane, was the usual ‘excited’ feeling, but then getting on the plane, it was facing the wrong way, there was no noise, and there was no wind from the propeller / engine, but, climbing into the plane, fully kitted up, still had the nervousness that ‘im about to jump out of a plane really soon’, and even after the photos, just about to simply ‘step’ out of the plane, fully kitted up, stood at the door, i had that feeling that makes me keep doing this, and i was only 6 feet off the ground, wishing i could somersault out of the door, into a 120mph freefall.

Tomorrow (today now as im typing this as nearly 1:30AM) I’d like to get my 5 CH2 pre declared landings, and 3 manoeuvres done, within 6 jumps, which will then put me just over 10 jumps from getting my B license 🙂

Nov 10

Missed out

After a beautifull clear friday, saturday, and sunday, i finally managed to get to the dropzone for around 3PM on sunday afternoon, and with it being winter, and working outdoors, knew that there was less than 2 hours of daylight left, and as it was the first good weekend in nearly a month, the place was RAMMED!!!

there was 2 more lifts manifested, but, as i jump using hired club gear, there was no gear available for me to jump with, even though slots were available on the plane. So helped out for the last 2 hours of the day, and look forward to next weekend, where i have both saturday and sunday free for jumping, and hope the weather plays nice 🙂