Apr 19

Jump 53, Swansea

Not a cloud in the sky, very little wind, and at the dropzone for half past 8 as the first lift will be another 15k jump :). Get manifested, and all kitted up ready to go. My plan for this jump is instead of my usual rolling exit, to be further back in the plane, then burst forward, putting my foot right on the edge of the step, and force myself forward, as though running and jumping from a ledge into the sea, then see how quickly i can get onto my back.

we get to 15,000 feet, and its my turn to leave, i rush forward, get my foot on the edge and launch myself out of the door, turning as i go, and surprisingly, am straight onto my back and falling away from the plane, with a perfect view. I see Will stick his head out and watch me as i fall away, before flipping back over onto my front.

The air is crystal clear, and i can see for miles, so i do a few slow 360 turns, really taking in the views, checking my altitude every few seconds, then a few short sharp 90 degree turns and some more 360 turns. My audible alti warns me that ive just passed 5,500 feet, i check with my hand alti, turn myself into the little wind that there is, wave off at 4,000 feet, and deploy my canopy at 3,500 feet. I head back towards the landing area, making my final turn to approach at about 800 feet, then i turn to face directly into the wind at around 200 feet, and land right in the designated landing area 🙂

On checking my protrack altimeter afterwards, it states that i deployed at 2,900 feet, yet i know that i threw my pilot chute at around 3,500 feet, so i zoom in on the graph it gives, and it works on the vertical speed that im travelling at to work out the deployment height, so this means it takes around 500 feet for the canopy to slow me down enough while opening to register as being deployed

This jump registered as freefalling from 15,100 feet, to 2,900 feet, making it a longer freefall than the one i did yesterday, making my personal record a 12,200 foot freefall 🙂


Apr 18

Jump 52, Swansea, 2 way

This is the last lift of the day, and just as im planning out my jump, im asked who im jumping with by another skydiver. I say im jumping alone and he offers to jump with me if i want to. He asks what ive done with other jumpers, so i say nothing really, so we go through some simple things, exiting together, 90 degree turns and linking back up, and staying level, sounds ideal 🙂

We get to 15,000 feet, and i get out of the door, we exit as planned, but, the exit didnt go as planned, somehow im on my back, we seperate, i flip over, we get level, and link together. we break apart, i turn 90 degrees he links on to my side, lets go, i turn back, and we link up again, then we break, he turns, i link on to his side, break off, and we repeat a couple of times.

Then, im not really sure what happened next,, but, i was on my back, then i was on his back, and the only thing going through my mind was ‘OH SHIT!!! his pilot handle!!!’, then he was gone, a hundred yards in front of me, smiling and laughing. We are still at around 6,500 feet, but i dont try to get over to him, as out agreed break off point was 5000 feet, and thatll be here in a few seconds, then, i hear the beeping in my ear, that means im at 5000 feet, i turn 180 degrees, and track away for about 8 seconds, before levelling out, look at my alti, 3,500 feet, and deploy

I set myself up a nice wide landing pattern from 1000 feet, after once again having to remove a glove to open my helmet visor, even though i spent ages between jumps ensuring i could open it with gloves on, i dont know if its the temperature on the release pin, but, ive asked the local rigger to take a look at it for me and wont be wearing it again untill somethings done with it.

On downloading my pro-track information after this jump, it actually says i deployed at 2,900 feet :O but i know it was before that, unless that was the height that my canopy was fully inflated, but, its registered this jump as my longest freefall, 12,100 feet and 74 seconds in freefall 🙂

Apr 18

Jump 51, Swansea, 7 way

Word is starting to get around that just about every jump of mine is a solo jump, so, what started as me going to do a jump with another skydiver, soon became 7 people. The plane was for one to be hanging on to the outside of the plane, me and 3 others to exit together, and 2 to follow, and everyone link up, then release, turn, link back up, release, turn, link back up, before at 5500 feet, everyone would track away from me, i’d open at 5000 feet  where i am and everyone else would open lower, and away, as im the most inexperienced it means theres less for me to have to concentrate on etc, sounds like a good plan, right?

We all go through the exit in the mock up door, i get my rig stuck in the bar as im too high up, we go through it all again, and it all seems to go to plan. Our group will be first out, and at 15,000 feet, we all take positions in the door, holding on to each other as planned, i watch for my cues off the guy in front of me, we all go out of the door, and, im on my own, looking at everyone below me. I arch as hard as i can to try and get down to them, but they are getting further and further away, so, i just stay flat, doing a few 360 turns, watching as they move around each other, before deploying at 5000 feet as agreed

For this jump, now i have over 50 jumps, im also wearing my new full face helmet, but, within 30 seconds of my conpy being open and checked, the visor of the helmet is starting to mist up, and im slowly going blind. I try to open it by pressing the release button, but, i cant even feel it through my gloves. I rip one glove off, and try stuffing it down my jumpsuit, but its too tight, so i go to put it on my mouth to hold it, D’oh! im wearing a full face helmet, so im now holding in my left hand, both steering toggles, on half brakes, a glove, and trying to pull up the visor on my helmet, while pushing in the button with my other hand, the visor lifts and i can see again. Thats something that deffo needs looking at on the ground, ive tried that button numerous times and its been fine, but now to land.

I keep at the end of the runway, and again as theres very little wind, come in wide, and land within the southern landing area with no problems 🙂

A fun, if not completley to plan, jump, and my first experience of being squashed into the exit with so many people. Seeing the teams do it on youtube make it looks so easy lol

Apr 18

Jump 50, Swansea

Today Swansea started their Fifteen K Fridays, where for fridays only, every jump is from 15,000 feet, but, upon arrival, it looks like the north runway is in use, meaning itll be the southern landing area, which you need over 50 jumps to land on 🙁

With the thought in my mind that i wont be jumping untill after 17:30 when they can switch to the northern landing area, i enquire what needs sorting out for my paperwork as my next jump is my 50th for sending off for my B license. All of the paperwork gets sorted out, then im told to get a breifing for landing on the southern landing area, as after ive jumped, ive done 50 jumps. AWESOME!!!!!

I get my briefing, I get a rig, but all i can find is a 230 rig, and these always seem a jinx for me, then, my hook knife is nowhere to be seen, looks like i left it attached to a rig last week, and its now long gone. I cant jump without one, and the key for the equipment is nowhere as the person with it is elsewhere, and everyones waiting, damn and crap 🙁 i manage to borrow one, and im then all checked out, and on the plane

As its my first (beer fine paid for ‘first’) time landing on the southern PLA, im opening my canopy higher, at 4,500 feet, just to get my bearings. so the plane climbs to the higher than normal 15,000 feet, and im out, my now standard rolling exit, some barrel rolls, backflips, tracking, 360s, and wave off and pull at 4,500 feet

I do all of my canopy checks, look down, and im completley lost, it takes me a good 20 seconds to work out whats where from this new opening area, but once i have it, i then ‘stay to the side of the road’ as i was told, but, i realise that i didnt ask ‘which side?’ the airport side, or the opposite side. I stay on the opposite side, and keep out of everyone elses way while watching their landing patterns, before at 2000 feet moving to the area everyone else was holding in, then at 1000 feet, starting my approach. I do a nice wide turn in, and land within the main landing area with no problems 🙂

Thats jump 50, and on the southern PLA, and on what i think of as a jinxed canopy, all done in one go, and from 15,000 feet, one hell of a good jump 🙂

Apr 13

Jump 49, Swansea

This is the last jump of the day, and if i can land within 30M of the blue flags, will mean ALL of my B license paperwork boxes are ticked, and ill only need one more jump to comeplete everything needed for my B license, which also means i’ll be able to land on Swanseas Southern landing area 🙂

I slightly change my usual rolling exit this time, i dont even know why, but i started the roll out of the door further back in the plane, put my hands on the edge of the step, and launched myself, half upside down and half rolling, out of the door 🙂

After opening stable, did a few 360 turns, followed by a few backflips and some more 360s, before once again facing into the wind before deploying the canopy at 3,500 feet, and once again, found that i had quite a bot of ground to cover. I held into the wind untill i was past the landing area, then at 1000 feet, turned for the wind to take me, before turning back to be dead in line with the flags.

Looking at my ground speed, im not going to make the flags, so i pull down on my front risers, this gives me more forward penetration, but at the cost of height, so i leave them go after a few seconds, before working out my landing spot, then pull them down slightly again. Im now at around 300 feet, and unless i do something drastic, this looks like its going to be a good landing, bang on target. I give a little more pull on the front risers before at around 150 feet, see that im going to land right between the flags. I give it a little break, which pulls me backwards slightly, but, as i come in to land, and flare, im right between the 2 flags, which are only about 10M apart, YESSSSS!!!

Only one more jump now stands between me and my B licence, and landing on Swanseas southern landing area, hoping for good weather next weekend 🙂

Apr 13

Jump 48, Swansea

After the last jump, manifested straight away, and pre-declared the landing (and said that EVERY jump i do today is a pre declared landing) and now i know how strong the wind is, and to get myself into the wind ASAP when safe to do so, im sure i can get it this time, the plan for the freefall is just to have fun, but this jumps about the canopy landing mainly. Im going to be first out, so i also get to once again have another go at spotting, then the all clear is given, and just as im about to roll out of the door, i get a helping hand for a bit of extra spin :). I hold the roll for a good 5 seconds, and open up, still loads of altitude, do a couple of backflips, and once again, the first one goes sideways, followed by a bit of tracking, a few more backflips, a bit more tracking, some 360s and then set myself facing into the wind, and deploy at 3,500 feet

Once again im into wind and the landing area is in front of me, so i stay pointing in the same direction for the whole descent, not turning once, riding into the wind all the way, untill im eventually past the landing area, at around 800 feet. I look back to the landing area, only slightly behind me, and make a turn, the wind catches me, and i turn nearly instantly back into the wind, with the landing area now below me, and hold into the wind, slowly dropping, this is going to be close to the pre declared landing area. I land, and turn and collapse the canopy, this is also a 230 compared to the 240 i jumped last time, so it took me a little firther forward than i expected, but, i get given the thumbs up, it was a successfull pre declared landing, YESSSS, only one more to go, but, i need 2 more jumps to get to 50, and im only able to get on one more jump today, and itll be the last lift…..

Apr 13

Jump 47, Swansea

As i only need another 2 sucessfull pre declared landings, ive declared this one right from the start, even though its my first jump of the day, and looking at the canopies that were landing while im waiting to be manifested, it looks like the wind is quite constant.

Get eared up and ready to go, and make mental notes of the wind direction in relation to the sun, then we’re in the plane, and up in the air. I do my now normal rolling exit, and open stable after a single roll, i then flip over onto my back and keep that stable for a few seconds before flipping back over onto my front. A few backflips, even though the first one went very sideways, just for fun, followed by a few 360 turns, before deploying my canopy at 3,500 feet.

The canopy opens, but the slider is stuck over half way up the lines, and the end cells are closed, so i grab the steering toggles, and give a few good hard pulls, the end cells open, but the slider remains stuck where it is, and no amount of pumping the toggles is releasing it. The next thing through my mind is that im experiencing my first malfunction, so i let go of the steering toggles and check my altitude, im still above 3,000 feet, so have time and height to make a decision if im going to cut the canopy away or not, but as a last resort, i grab hold of the risers, and shake the life out of them and pull them about, and it works, the slider comes down the lines and they expand fully, but, during all of this, the wind has been behind me, and im now quite a distance from the landing area, at 2,800 feet, i turn towards the landing area, and ride into the wind all the way. I make it back to the landing area, but im around 50M short of the pre declared landing zone

Afterwards, while speaking to Tom who was on the ground watching, he said that if i had turned into the wind before trying to sort out the slider, i wouldnt have had as much ground to make up and would have landed within the declared zone, but, at the time, in my mind, sorting out the problem with the canopy had the top priority, even though i would have been able to turn, and then sort it out, but, this is another lesson learned so it was a successfull learning jump, even if it wasnt a successfull pre declared landing jump