I arrived for my skydive at Flookburgh early on Saturday afternoon of the 23 August 2014 feeling excited but also anxious about the challenge ahead of me. A few friends came with me for encouragement and the weather was looking good on arrival which made for a positive start.
I went to check in and attend a short safety briefing which explained some important facts including, what position to jump out the plane, when to open my arms up, how to hold my legs and the position for landing. These were all things I hadn’t even thought about and thinking about them at this point really made the nerves kick in! I remember standing thinking, ‘what if’?
However, the person giving the briefing seemed all too aware of the nerves people suddenly feel at this point and preceded to inform all of us first-time jumpers that it was perfectly safe and the instructors jumping with us would have everything in hand. By the end of the briefing I was feeling a little better and the mood was lightened by is all being jokingly warned that if we forgot to put our legs up for landing we would only get half a certificate!
After the safety briefing the heavens opened and we all went inside until the weather cleared. Luckily after an hour we were given the green light and I began to prepare for my jump that was now due to take place late afternoon.
When it was my turn to get “kitted up” I met with my instructor, who was also very nice, but did make a few jokes such as telling me that, ‘he only started jumping 3 weeks ago’, something I really didn’t want to hear at that particular moment in time!). However, he was forgiven as he later informed me that he had in fact been jumping for 35 years, this reassured me a bit. Reality really hit home as I put my kit on, consisting of a boiler suit, helmet, goggles and harness – it was at this moment it struck me that this was really happening!
My name was then called out on the tannoy announcing that it was my turn to jump. My instructor walked me to the plane where, along with the other jumpers, I climbed in and sat on a little bench inside waiting to throw myself out! The nerves were now back with vengeance…
The plane was tiny and had a sliding door, as it took off and climbed three miles in to the air, I suddenly felt very sick at the thought of having to jump out. When we arrived at our three mile high destination, my instructor informed me that we were to be the third pair to jump. It was now that I had a change of heart and decided that didn’t want to do it anymore. My instructors’ response to this was “no means go!”. I knew I had to do it! “Man up” I thought. With my mind back in the game (kind of), my instructor asked me whether I wanted to jump straight down or backflip out of the plane. I had no idea so asked him which was the least scary, but he said it was down to personal preference. After watching the first jumper go out backwards, I decided I definitely didn’t want to do that – so a straight jump was my way down.
The moment then arrived, time for my jump. We edged towards the sliding door and the next thing I knew I was dangling over the edge of the plane screaming “OH MY GOD!”, and after a quick “3, 2, 1” countdown we jumped…
The freefall lasted about 45 seconds, in this time we reached 120mph and did two backflips which I had said not to do, I didn’t mind though because it was pretty awesome! It was such a breath taking and exhilarating experience.
After the freefall our parachute opened and with a sharp jolt we shot up again. We were then cruising along, taking in the stunning views such as Blackpool Tower and Lake Windermere. It was amazing! With a final few rotations in the sky made our way back ready for landing.
Our landing was pretty straight forward as the instructor took care of it, I just had to remember to pull my legs up (which I did) and as I landed there were big cheers from my friends! It was such an amazing experience and I would definitely recommend it to anyone if they got the chance.
My skydive was in aid of the Odyssey Foundation and I managed to raise my target amount of £500, so a big thank you to everyone who sponsored me.
The Odyssey Foundation is a local charity set up to provide support for anyone affected by cancer, for more information please visit www.odysseyfoundationcumbria.co.uk.