Todays the last day Skydive Swansea is open untill Feb 1st, and im working, and the weathers brill, but, im also working in swansea 🙂 this can only mean one thing, and, between jobs, i ‘pop’ to the airport, and manage to get a cheeky jump in 😀
Its a little bit on the windy side, but i have my landing planned out in my head, get geared up, and we’re on the plane. I’ll be the 3rd one out of the plane, this means im sat right near the door, and as the plane is full, i have the luxury of a few inches extra legroom. Its a nice clear, but cold, day, and the plan for this jump is to see if i can get from being on my back, to a sitting position, and see what happens when i try.
We get to jumping altitude, and then im out, dive out rolled in a ball, open up on my back, and something is hitting me in the side of the neck, i put my hand to me neck, and this turns me over onto my front, i let go of my neck, ive forgotten to do the zip all the way up on my jumpsuit, and the metal tag on the top of the zip is slapping me in the side of the neck. Im 2 miles high, theres a whole chunk of the beautifull welsh gower racing towards me at 120mph, and theres one thing going through my mind, Scotty Milne, my AFF instructor, telling me in spain ‘make sure everything is done up tight, anything loose slapping you in the neck will leave a bruise like a lovebite, and you try explaining that to your missus when you tell her youve only been skydiving’
Would a normal person be thinking things like that, right now? Would a normal person throw themselfs out of a plan, for fun? So, i continue my skydive, and change my plan slightly. Im now falling with my right hand holding the side of my neck, and my left hand in front of me keeping me stable. I practised this in the wind tunnel, ‘You never know when you may need to turn with only one hand’ and in the tunnel, id managed to get it, so now, im practising doing 360 turns, staying flat and stable, using only one hand. Keeping my eye on my altimeter, as i always do, i notice that it seems to ‘stop’ at just above 5,000 feet, so i tap it against my helmet, where it drops to just under 4,000 feet, i wave off, and pull at ~ 3,500 feet.
The canopy opens fast, it wasnt hard, like some of the fast openings ive experienced, which seem to push you down into the leg straps, but it was open and fully inflated a lot faster than usual. I turn into the wind, and have a look around at the other canopies, and see 2 opening above and behind me, and think theyre quite far out, and will be flying into the wind all the way back. I get myself lined up for my landing approach, but, mess up my cross wind part of it, which put me a bit further away from the landing area then id have liked to be. This was my first attempt at a ‘pre declared landing’ which means i have an area about 30M squared to land in, and i missed by about 20M, but, this is still a MASSIVE improvement on where i was happy to land within 300 yards of the landing area 🙂
On landing, my flare was good, another standing up landing, before gathering up my canopy, and then heading back to work, with a bruise free neck :p