Its friday, the suns out, and i have the afternoon to myself, it can only mean one thing, a lift to 15,000 feet, and make my own way back 🙂
Landing on the southern, smaller landing area, and with very little wind, i choose to take myself off the manifest for the first load, just to see the direction etc they come in to land, as ive only landed there twice before, and that was 6 weeks ago, and with very little wind, i have a habit of overshooting my target landing area, so, while the first load are on their way up, i get a little bit of advise for where i should be and at roughly what height in the landing pattern, then i grab a 230 rig and get kitted up.
In the plane, im the only ‘fun’ jumper, along with 3 tandems and a tandem camera, this means theres loads of legroom (nice) but also means ill be first out, this also means ill be able to get a good bit of tracking in away from the plane after jumping 😀
As the plane levels out at just above 15,000 feet, and the red ‘get ready’ light comes on, i start to feel really light headed, i look around me, and notice that everyones lips (that i can see) are lighter than normal. Realising its the mixture of adrenaline and low oxygen at this altitude, I ignore it, as i know within 30 seconds ill be on my way back to normal oxygen levels, the light goes green, thumbs up are given, and i launch myself out of the door, half rolling and half diving, before opening up stable, and turning away from the back of the plane, and start tracking. After about 10 seconds, i change the track into the ‘superman pose’ for a few seconds, before back to a stable position, while laughing to myself (im easily entertained :p )
I check my altimeter, still at 11,000 feet, so i flip over onto my back, get stable, then, for the first time ever, get myself into a sitting position, and manage to hold it for a few seconds, before wobbling and falling sideways. recover to stable, check alti, do a few 360 turns, then turn into the little wind thats there at 5000 feet, before waving off and pulling my canopy at 4,000 feet.
Just like the last few times ive jumped this canopy, it opened with the left 2 cells collapsed, a few full flares and theyre open, i quickly got my bearings and headed to the holding area. Wasted some time with turns and practice flares for 2000 feet, before starting my approach, at 1000 feet. It was during this time that i realised that while i started where i had discussed with another jumper, that the canopies smaller than the one im jumping actually lose altitude faster, so at the point that i should be at around 700 feet, im still at about 850, but, im now committed to this landing pattern. I put the brakes on for as long as im able to, before turning to be cross wind, by now i should be at around 300-400 feet, but im still at just over 500 feet. Still on brakes, and approaching my final turn, im still at nearly 300 feet. Still on brakes, i pass about 100 feet over the top of my intended landing area, and let the brakes off ready to flare. I land about 100M past my intended landing area, but still well within the landing area, so its all good 🙂