There is something quite irrational about going 3 miles up in an aeroplane and opening the doors, and something quite insane about jumping out and hurtling towards the ground at 125mph…
At least I thought so, but then on Saturday I tried it.
After half an hour of training, which is easily summarised as DO AS YOUR INSTRUCTOR TELLS YOU, we settled down to wait for the weather. Unfortunately Saturday 16th May turned out to be cold, windy, low cloud and scattered driving downpours. Not ideal weather for flying, and not safe for skydiving! Our very loyal support team stuck it out, and finally at about 6pm our scheduled lift was ready to go. We met with our instructors and camera men. Patrick was reassuringly due to be strapped to the very safe and sensible sounding Nick. Clearly they thought I was already slightly bonkers and paired me with the somewhat less reassuring sounding Baldrick, who proceeded to say that he wouldn’t be strapping himself, and therefore not his parachute either, to anyone wearing a lilac jumpsuit, and would I please put on a blue one! It seemed sensible to follow the training plan, and I duly did as instructed. The guys were amazing, they kept us laughing and are clearly having a whale of a time!
I was so excited that I forgot to be nervous.
The plane took us to a little over 12000ft and then they opened the perspex roller door. First out were a formation team of four and their cameraman, They took a little while to assemble themselves in the doorway and then they jumped in formation. How cool is that! Next out was Patrick and Nick. Watching them jump was fab, and then it was our turn…
Kneeling in the doorway of the plane time stood still, I know it was only a matter of seconds, but just hanging there on the edge, far above the world was a feeling I will never forget. Then we jumped.
There was little sense of the approaching earth and very little sense of just how high we were. The only reference for the speed we were travelling was the wind in our faces. There is nothing to which I can compare the feeling of absolute freedom. The wind in your face and the shear joy of freefall is truly amazing. Your senses are heightened and you can hear nothing but the roaring wind. It is awesome. For a short while I simply shut my eyes and fell, it was wicked. I was highly amused when I got the photos back to see that my instructor was doing exactly the same thing!
I wanted to see, to feel everything. For about a minute I was at one with the air. The signal was given and our cameraman fell away, Baldrick opened the parachute and we stopped falling rather abruptly and started a much more gentle descent under canopy. My goodness, these guys do this as a job!
Baldrick then gave me the controls and I got to fly the parachute, all by myself. After a couple of minutes Baldrick took back the handles to steer us away from an oncoming downpour and we started to head for the ground rather rapidly, and came to land in a field. I joined the earth with the immediate request to do it again, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.
I can’t thank the guys at Target enough for an amazing time, the atmosphere at the Drop Zone is electric and I can’t wait to join them and do it all again.
Thank you to all those generous people who sponsored us, what an amazing way to raise a lot of money. Marie Curie will benefit to the tune of almost £1000 and I had the time of my life.