Its been a LONG time since my last jump, since i got my license, this is the longest gap between jumping. My rig is ‘offline’ as the reserve needs to be repacked, so i ask to jump a 210, with the aim of going down to a 190. Im told that as i have done so many jumps on a 220, i can jump a 190, as long as i jump twice on a 210 first, all on the same day as jumping the 190. This means hiring kit, but thats ok, but today wont be that day, as i can only jump once.
I hire a club 210, but, theres also students hiring club kit. As im a B license holder, i get the rig WITHOUT an RSL (a safety feature that auto deploys the reserve canopy if you cut away your main one) as im now an experienced jumper. This throws all of the ‘what ifs’ in my mind, but i try not to think like that, and instead double check everything and practice emergency drills over and over, you know, just in case.
The ride to altitude feels like im back on AFF training, the nervousness has returned, but wierdly, im enjoying it. 11,000 feet and getting ready for exit. 13,000 feet, and out i go. a nice stable dive exit, track away from the plane, and do some slow turns whilst just enjoying the view. its a nice clear day and i can see right up to the brecon beacons, covered in snow, and as quick as it started, the jump is over.
I deploy at just under 4500 feet, but I reach around to pull the pilot chute, but, its stuck. I give it another tug, its not coming. I bring my arms back in front of me, for one last try, if this doesnt work then its emergency procedures. I reach back, grab and yank as hard as i can, with my elbow against the side of the rig for maximum leverage, and out it pops. This is commonly called a ‘hard pull’. The canopy opens nicely, and, unlike my own canopy, is fuly inflated upon opening. and im now at 3500 feet. I turn towards the dropzone, have a few spins under canopy before entering the landing pattern for a nice uneventfull landing 🙂