Jumping out of a plane – My first ever Skydive
Today was perfect from start to finish. We hit the skydive jackpot with the weather. Clear blue skies, warm sunshine and very little breeze all day. Laura and I arrived at Cark Airfield in Flookburgh a little earlier than necessary at 1.45pm. We registered with Skydive Northwest then went to get a coffee with Laura’s mum and dad while we waited to be called.
Before we knew it our names were called out and it was time for our safety briefing with a lively scouser called Dennis. He kept us laughing and relaxed through an entertaining but informative fifteen minute briefing in what to do in the air and most importantly when we land. His joke repertoire was excellent and delivered naturally and in a way that made sure we remembered the key safety points.
After the briefing we went to sit down on the benches outside the café. We got ourselves another coffee as we waited for our names to be called. It took until about 4pm before we were called up but I cannot overemphasis how pleasant the couple of hours were sat in the sun. The atmosphere the team at Skydive Northwest have created and the friendly, family like skydiving community was a pleasure to behold.
We were introduced to our jump-buddies and in my case cameraman. My life was in the hands of Steve and Laura was relying on John to navigate her to safety. A young lad called Blake was filming the day for us. They were all friendly, helpful and made us feel at ease throughout.
We got changed into our jumpsuits and harnesses and made our way to the plane. As it came in to land the nerves started to appear, but the staff did a great job in keeping them in check. The aircraft was a funky yellow plane with face on the front. We made our way on one by one and shuffled along the two benches backing our asses up until we were sat intimately close to each other. When everyone was on we were squashed in tightly like skydiving sardines in a little yellow can.
The plane journey itself was exciting and as we ascended over the Morecambe estuary Steve pointed out various landmarks including Windermere (a mere not a lake), Coniston, Blackpool tower and Heysham Power Station. Our jump-buddies attached us and from that point forward Steve and I had a special bond that I could only hope wouldn’t be broken – at least until we landed.
We soon hit 8,000 feet and a few jumpers decided that was enough for them. The plane slowed and steadied. They opened the door and hopped off as though we had just reached their stop on the 125 bus from Chorley to Preston. Seeing them fall made it really hit home what we were about to do, but for some reason neither Laura nor I felt scared.
We continued to climb until we reached our jumping altitude. The doors were opened and the first few jumpers went. Blake made his way out of the aircraft so he could film mine and Laura’s big moment. Laura was up and she made it look easy.
As I watched her fall at an astonishing speed I shuffled to the door and smiled at the camera. I looked out as we flew 14,000 feet above ground. Arms across chest. Head back. Legs tucked under plane. Blake jumped with the cameras. Then without warning Steve lent forward and we were falling and spinning. I shouted “GERONIMO-O-O,” and we straightened up. It was incredible. The speed, the feeling of fearlessness, adrenaline, excitement, velocity, g-force, exhilaration. For about forty unbelievable and indescribable seconds we were hurtling towards the ground and loving every bit of it.
Steve signalled to Blake. He pulled the cord and everything tightened. We jerked to a slower speed and my harness tried to push my balls into my throat. As we floated down Steve asked what I thought. I said it was amazing. I just began to think this is going to be a painful ride to the floor when he told me he was going to slightly loosen the harness. Thank God!
As we floated down I could not help but to notice the tranquillity and calmness of parachuting. We serenely drifted down looking out to the Lake District and it felt there wasn’t a worry in the world. We swooped in close to Laura and John and even close enough to exchange a few words. This was a nice touch from the Skydive team and really appreciated. We could both see the enjoyment on each other’s faces.
We split away from each other. Steve pointed out Laura spiralling her parachute and asked if I wanted to do the same. “Yeah definitely.” He pulled the right cable and we started to spiral quickly to the right. It was a weird feeling and it felt like we were corkscrewing a lot quicker than it looked from the ground. It felt similar to be on a fast spinning ride at the fairground. He pulled on the left cord and we twisted the other direction.
Then he let me have a go steering. I took control of the cords and kept us straight. Then he said pull it down hard to the right to spiral again. I did and we spun quickly to the right. It was great. It did surprise me how much force it took to pull the cord though. I then made a couple of turns before Steve took control back for the landing. It seemed a fair letting him steer us in to land, what with him being an expert and all.
When we first started floating it seemed like it would take an eternity to reach the floor. But in reality we were approaching the landing area in no time. Steve guided us in and shouted “legs up.” I lifted my legs straight out in front of me and we slid into the floor with a soft landing.
I thanked Steve and Blake and Laura came floating down shortly after me.
I cannot really do justice to how good this experience was. Doing it with Laura made it extra special. We were lucky to have such a nice day. The team at Skydive Northwest could not have impressed us more with their friendly nature. The facilities were ideal. The jump itself, well my words can’t really do justice to how it feels. If you really want to know, all I can say is give it a go!
A bit of a saying that was repeated a couple of times whilst we were there went along the lines of…. “the two biggest dangers of skydiving are 1. getting divorced, and 2. becoming bankrupt.” I can completely see what they were referring to. It would be easy to become addicted to doing this week in week out, especially with such a nice community of skydivers.
If you want more then watch the video is below.
Tags: Adrenaline, experience, fitness, parachute, skydive, skydiving, tandem skydive, Thrill seeking
“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.”