You don’t need a parachute to skydive; just to skydive twice…

Another weekend at a dropzone with Warwick’s amazing Skydiving Club, with great weather and plenty of manifest space on the Cesspits, sorry, the Cessnas. (I don’t like those planes much, but anything with a big door is fine after a few jumps.)

This weekend I’m on DRPs, where you have to demonstrate pulling out a dummy ripcord within a few seconds of leaving the aircraft. (The static line’s still pulling out your actual chute; the point here is that you’re showing you’d be capable of freefalling.) And then do it again. And again. Three in a row gets you to freefall; screwing up the third one puts you back at square one.

In contrast to most DRP students, my pulling-out technique is a little… relaxed. Both ‘good’ jumps, I was right on the five-second limit for a successful pull. I push myself out the door… wheee, this is fun, look at the scenery…. OK, time to start counting…. Two Thousand… Reach around…. There it is… OK, let’s see if it comes out…. wahey! Done! So for the third one, the instructor wanted to see a slightly faster pull.

I, er, screwed up the third one. Forgot to mention above: ‘…while maintaining a stable position’.

There are perhaps occasions where being upside down and rotating rapidly is stable, but falling through void a mile up isn’t one of them.

Yet somehow I’ve had no problem locating and pulling the toggle itself, even with the pack changing shape as the canopy deploys. Maybe it’s an indication of my general attitude towards life, but somehow seeing the ground above my head didn’t faze me. Just reached for the toggle and pulled, forgetting that above me (technically at that point below me) the instructor back on the plane would’ve been shaking his head sadly.

Quote from the debriefing instructor: “You pulled the toggle effectively, if we ignore the fact you were head down and spinning, which we er, won’t….”

Oh well; had a great weekend anyway. Roll on the nationals!

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