Mar 13

Jump 161, Low hop n pop

After a visit to the beach, theres just enough time to get on the last lift of the day for an accuracy practice jump on the way home 🙂

As the plane starts to climb, im told that if the pilot forgets to pass the dropzone at 3500 feet, ill be going to the top, 12,000 feet instead, but, at about 2800 feet the red ‘get ready’ light comes on.

The doors open, we climb to 4000 feet, and the green light comes on and im given the thumbs up. I get a good stable exit, and deploy my canopy within a few seconds, and watch the plane fly away, before having a look around as the suns about to set

I setup for my landing, but once again as theres little wind, i overshoot my target, by around 20M

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Mar 12

Jump 160, Low hop n pop

Another low exit jump, just to get straight back into things, but this time with more than one person watching my exit, and the threat of a beer fine if i go unstable, so, no pressure.

We rapidly get to 3,500 feet, the doors open, and im out, perfectly flat, and stable, and deployed and under a canopy, all in a few seconds. Quick enough that i can still perfectly see heads out of the plane door watching me. I give them 2 thumbs up and turn away before some hard turns to get me down to landing pattern entry altitude, where this time i land ~2M short of my target.

A much better jump this time 🙂

5 (100%) 1 vote[s]

Mar 12

Jump 159, Low hop n pop

This jump is an accuracy practise jump, exiting the plane at 3,500 feet, quickly getting stable, and deploying my canopy. The ride to exit height is over in a few minutes, and im out of the door. As i throw my pilot chute, i go unstable, and tip forward. I then feel something pull my foot. I look down towards my foot (which puts me into more of a head down position, to see my pilot chute wrapped around my foot.

This is where time slowed down

So many thought processes all going on at the same time, not a single one of them was panic induced or thoughts of doom. But, i was aware that if i was pulled vertical, and the pilot chute let go as i was vertical, i could induce a step through in my canopy, if it opened. I lift my head back up, have both hand on my cut away and reserve handles and am kicking my foot, then im pulled upright.

I look up to see the best sight that i could see right now, my main canopy opening, but i keep my hands on my reserve handles untill its fully open. The lines all look fine, grab the toggles and do some control checks, everythings fine.

Its at this point i say to myself ‘phew, that was funky’, and collapse my slider and get down to landing pattern altitude.

Theres not much wind, so i overshoot my target by around 20M

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Mar 05

Jump 158, Solo, Training worked

jumping again, yay 🙂

Approaching 12,000 feet, and again, im first out, so i dive out backwards, track a little away from the plane, and once again try a slight head down position, which i manage to hold for about 15 seconds 🙂 and im at 7000 feet already, wow, that went fast, i locate the markers on the ground, and turn into the wind, before deploying my canopy at 3,500 feet.

Its at this time, as my canopys opening, that i think that im further away from the landing area than i really should be, and, seeing how far away other canopies are opening from me, think that i may have tracked away from the plane a lot further than i thought, especially with the wind behind me

At around 2000 feet, im almost certain that im not going to make it back to the landing area, as the wind is simply stopping me from making any forward ground towards where i need to be. I look at a spot thats clear directly below me, and another one behind me. At the moment, i decide on the spot below me, between the end of the runway, and the road, with the backup plan that if i drift away from it, that at 1000 feet i will abandon this one, and go for the area behind me, on the other side of the road, and a bit further from the runway

At 1000 feet, im still sinking in to my first backup landing area nicely, 800 feet, 600 feet, 500, 400, 300, 200, fook. The dark bit of nice plain ground is actually waterlogged, i come down to it, flare, and am taken sideways / backwards. Dragged through the wet mud as im trying to collapse my canopy, just as it hits the road, before dragging it out of harms way

Not the normal uneventfull landing that i post about, or am used to, but, without panicking, my training about being able to find an ‘out’ if you know youre not going to make it kicked in. I knew i was going to land close to a road, but kept myself away from it, untill i was dragged towards it, but, from that, ill know for if it happens again, to choose the ‘other’ side of the road from the wind, just in case

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Feb 28

Jump 157, Solo

After yesterdays cold clouds, today its a lot nicer, but still cold. Im only here for one late afternoon jump, and to see if i can get a bit more stable in my slight head down tracking position.

We get to 12,500 feet, and im out first, again, to dive straight out and away from the plane, but once again fail to hold the position and fall over. I try a few times, before getting stable, then deploying my pilot chute at 3,500 feet, and having a nice uneventfull landing

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Feb 27

Jump 156, Cold Solo

Its a bit chilly on the ground, but nothing that a few thermal layers cant fix. I know the coldest part will be sat in the plane on the way up, as ill be near the door. On the way up, we go through some broken cloud at around 6000 feet and above it, lovely blue skys, and when youre in the sun, its nice, when youre not, its cold due to the wind.

We approach 12,000 feet, the lights on and the doors open, and ill be first out. I dive out onto my back, watch the plane go, then turn and track away from the plane, into a slight head down position, but, i cant hold it and flip over, so i try again, a few times.

Approaching 700 feet, and hit some cloud, and its instantly freezing cold. My hands freeze, my lungs are cold, my legs are cold, everything is freezing cold, in an instant, painfully cold. Watching the altimeter, 6000, through the cloud now,5500, beeping from the audible altimeter in my helmet 5000, 4500, 4000 feet, more beeping, 3500, wave off and deploy my pilot chute.

My canopy opens, and within a few seconds my helmets visor has completely misted up, so i pop it open, my hands are painfully numb, but, i collapse my slider (which i have only recently started doing) and get some hard turns in to try and get down faster, out of this cold air.

Un uneventfull landing, where everyone said the same thing. Everyone who went through cloud, froze instantly. Everyone who opened under the cloud level, noticed how much colder it was by the time they had landed

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Feb 13

Jump 155 Solo

Diving exit and roll onto back, before flipping back over and going into a steep track, and holding the position for nearly 10 seconds. A few turns and a bit more diving before deploying at 3500 feet and a pretty uneventfull landing

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Jan 30

Skydive, The Expo, the bar queues

Skydive the expo, hundreds of skydivers, thousands of stories, nowhere near enough bar staff.

This was my 2nd expo. We drove up from south wales to nottingham on the friday, booked into the hotel, went for food, then queued at the bar whilst talking to other skydivers. This was a common routine for the whole weekend, but, in amounst all of this, there was speeches from developers, experts, sales people, world champions, bar managers (apologizing), and all sorts of people, it was a brilliant event.

I met Mel, who i knew from the uk skydiver forum, who for a long time i had assumed was a middle aged guy, but who is actually a young woman, who was inspired to skydive after reading this very blog, which makes this whole blog suddenly mean a lot more to me (but its still taken me 6 weeks to get around to typing up this post lol). So, if a guy my age, can inspire a girl mel’s age to start skydiving just from this blog, and youre reading this thinking ‘can i really do this?’ then the answer is ‘OF COURSE YOU CAN!!’

Get out there and give it a go, and if ive inspired you a bit, buy me a beer at the next expo, but, be warned, the queue is horrific

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Jan 16

Jump 154, 3 months later

3 months to the day since my last jump, and im typing this up nearly 7 weeks later, yep, things have been slowwwwwwww.

Back in good old sylvia once again, and hoping to this time get a jump out of her, things are looking good, theres hardly a cloud in the sky, theres NO wind, and im going to be first out. This jumps going to happen. 10,000 feet, and i feel like a student again, the nerves have kicked in, my guts are tight, and i love it. Approaching 12000 feet, the red light goes on and the door is open. I go through my emergency routine for the umpteenth time, thie light goes green, im given the thumbs up, my nerves are gone, this is why im here, and i somersault out of the door, before opening up, into a diving track away from the plane and leveling out. I do a few backflips, just because i can, laughing to myself like a madman, before levelling things out, waving off and throwing my pilot chute to deploy my main canopy at ~ 3500 feet.

My canopy opens as expected (phew), but, there is no ‘into wind’ position to hold. Other canopies start to open, and as theyre smaller, are already overtaking me towards the ground. I enter the landing pattern, trying to fit myself in, but i know ive screwed this up, im too low on my cross wind, even though theres no wind, so i carry out a very slow brake turn after ensuring theres nobody behind me. I come screaming in a lot faster than im used to, so as i flare, i lift my legs, turn sideways and decide im going to skid it off, thats when i saw the puddle/swamp.

There was an 18 foot skid mark in the mud, no injuries, but a lot of washing to do. I somehow even managed to get mud inside my helmet, and rightfully got a telling off for the low turn.

But, it was lush to be in the air again 🙂

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Jan 09

Nearly jumped

Its been nearly 3 months since my last jump, the weather has been bad, really bad, but, the planes fixed, the dropzone is open, and, theres a gap in the weather, so, we are kitted up, manifested, and in the sky 🙂 yay!!

But, as we get to about 8000 feet, theres heavy cloud outside the plane, and we can see rain. We feel the plane level off at around 9000 feet, and then start to descend, 8500, 8200, 8000, yep, the weather has fooked us again. Ahh well, get strapped back in, and wait for the next break. Which this weekend, didnt come :/

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