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Aunt Jane emailed me the other day to inform me my cousins wanted to skydive this summer when I get home. When she said that herself, my dad, uncle and some cousins wanted to go skydiving this summer during my visit to NY, I didn’t think they were entirely seriously – she is!!! Now here I am taking a course to obtain my certification… they expect me to be able to jump out of a plane on my own. Therefore, last weekend I finally grew some balls and trooped it back down to the airfield to continue my conquest.

I have been down a number of times over the past few months but the crap English weather has prevented me from flying high. Honestly, the weather is more of a scapegoat as I have felt terrified about going back up there. I had even began coming to terms with giving up. But thanks to my loving crazy aunt I got back in the perfectly good plane, flew 3,500 ft in the sky and threw myself out of it. The things people will do for excitement.

Since it had been so long, I was required to receive a briefing to prove I was capable of not dying. Turns out I am! Yay! (Luckily I reminded them of this, as when I first arrived, Dean, an instructor, told me to grab some kit and hop on a plane.) Jerry, one of the training instructors briefed me and took me up. I felt very safe working with him as everything he does is double checked by a qualified instructor and he is very thorough. Some of the more experienced instructors who feel comfortable that I know what I am going have a tendency to bring you up and say “have fun” and just sit there while I force my legs out the side of the airplane. I like to have someone say “LEGS OUT – POSITION – LOOK AT ME – AND GOOOOOO!”

Jerry bossed me around and I jumped. More like fell as I later learned. I am at the stage of learning how to pull my own rip cord. I am required to pull a dummy cord, while still attached to the static line, three times in succession before being deemed competent not to die. This was my first successful dummy rip cord pull (DRP) yet it was far from perfect.

1) I fumbled for the cord. I went for it. I could feel it. But it was behind the stupid flap from my parachute so I couldn’t grasp it as quick as I should have. I did hold a stable position while I fumbled preventing my body from spinning out of control.

2) As I have been told every time I jump, I do not jump out from the plane far enough. You are taught to jump out positioning yourself 90 degrees from the plane. For some reason I do not jump far enough and I usually fall out parallel to the plane as if I was drunk. Luckily my years of dancing and tumbling have left my back in a state of jelly and my ‘overarched’ body position allows the wind to whip me into a stable position. I don’t see what’s wrong with this technique. Up until now I thought I could still be successful like this, but Jerry informed me I need to work on this. I guess it’s easier to practice your body position when you’re attached to the plane at 3,500 ft compared to free falling at 13,000. (You think?)

With those things in mind I am back in the game and anxious to get back in the plane. I was surprisingly not scared. I was prepared to have to be thrown out of the plane screaming. I find that when I don’t go back and jump for a while I get more terrified than I did the previous time. Only when I do a couple jumps in a row am I physically capable of looking down at the ground while sitting on the edge. This time around I was with one other student (rather cute one as well) and a plane full of experienced people who seem to enjoy watching my girly self giggle as I sat in the doorway of the airplane. (men!) This time I looked down, found the airfield myself so I knew what direction to head towards and threw (fell) myself out! It was all good!

So a good jump on Saturday (which followed a good night on Friday) made it a good weekend!

When the sun does actually come out in England, there is no place better to be than the sky!

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