A few days ago I completed a tandem skydive for Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity. A link to the video is above, and the story of the day is below.
‘Over eight thousand parachute jumps, I’ve only ever had one malfunction.’ He leaves the statement hanging there. No-one queries it. He’s still alive and sitting in front of us in one piece, so whatever malfunctioned, it hadn’t been fatal.
It’s 9 a.m. on a bright, clear Sunday morning at Fife Airport. Rab is taking a group of us through our basic training for a tandem skydive. A tandem skydive, for those that are unfamiliar with the activity, is where an experienced skydiver and parachutist straps a complete novice to their chest and together they jump out of an aeroplane, freefalling through the air at 120 miles per hour before deploying a large parachute and gently falling to earth.
For most of us this training is a refresher. Thanks to the typically unhelpful Scottish weather, we’ve all been through this before. For me, it’s the second attempt. A month earlier I made the early morning drive through from Glasgow on a clear, sunny day and sat through the basic training with high hopes – only for unseasonal gusting winds to postpone any jumping. From the body language and resigned faces of the instructors that day, this is not an uncommon occurrence.
Today, the atmosphere is different. The first two jumpers have already had a separate training session and are suited up and ready to go. The small Cessna plane sits on the runway. Being a Sunday they can’t fly before 9.30 a.m. At 9.31, the propeller is turning and the first passengers are boarding. It’s all efficient business, without being hurried or rushed. Continue reading “FALLING WITH STYLE”