I jumped out of a more or less perfectly good airplane!! And I loved it! I'm seriously thinking about options of where I might head with it.
Discovered a really awesome Dropzone within easy drive, set in beautiful countryside,
Adrenalin Skydive Goulburn They have skilled, friendly staff who know their business, well maintained modern gear, spectacular views to enjoy on the way down, a purpose built facility with the only twin turboprop aircraft used for skydiving in this country. I jumped out of their shiny Embraer Bandeirante, its stripped of the usual passenger seating, and remodelled for skydiving with bench seating. Its affectionate name is the bandit, and I have a huge soft spot for this aircraft, because I used to fly in one quite often when I was younger. It was comfortingly familiar. They have smaller Cessnas too. What more could you possibly ask for ask for? A cuppa? Maybe some Icecream? Yep, they have that too.
When I decided I should go skydiving for deeply personal reasons, in conjunction with an upcoming birthday, I invited a bunch of my friends along. What resulted was a VERY good time! Images are from Adrenalin Skydive Goulburn in a package I purchased.
(We were missing one of our friends in the above photo. She did jump though.)
Check out his fingers!!!!
Exit was interesting, my instructor manoeuvred me till I was completely hanging in the harness against the OUTSIDE of the aircraft (I know, right??) for no more than a couple of seconds, whilst he positioned himself holding onto the aircraft behind me. He checked my body position for exit whilst I got my first taste of -5C rapidly moving air in the face…which you see in the photo with my mouth open! Not more than a few seconds from when the instructor dangled me out the aircraft, with no messing around, he pushed off and we were gone! Head first, feet to the sky, falling. Ooooh yeah!!
I wasn't frightened in the least about hanging out the door. You know that's going to happen because they tell you in the briefing. Not all aircraft or centres exit tandems the same way though. I''d really looked forward to this so much. Sharing it with friends was just wonderful.
I'm still there… just tucked out of sight under my new best buddy.
After a few seconds, when we'd cleared the aircraft, my cool-as-a-cucumber instructor tapped me on the arm to tell me to open my arms out. It feels like flying. Its the most incredible, confronting, amazing experience. You cannot come close to even imagine what it is like, until you experience it for yourself.
I'm sorry, but there it is. I don't have the words to properly describe it.I've been asked by lots of people to try to describe how it feels. Its hard to do that partly because the memories I have of some of my first freefall are a little patchy. I felt the world flipped then it was both blurred and rotating. I had some tunnel vision, felt some unfamiliar sensations and extremely loud sound of air moving over my body. I was completely overwhelmed and disoriented for a few seconds. That felt brutal. But I am told this sensory overload disappears quickly with subsequent jumps as the body adjusts. Its different for everyone. Some of my friends had none whatsoever.
Freefall was intense. Freefall is FAST. And it is LOUD. Pervasively so. Far, far louder than anything I've ever been exposed to until then. As you start to fall, you accelerate rapidly, and within around 12 seconds you reach about 200km/ hr in a belly to earth position. I think that's amazing. You'd go faster still again if you fall head to earth.
When I looked out as I exited the plane, I saw green where there is usually blue, and blue where there is usually green. There is nothing around you except a whole lot of air, your trusty instructor, and the system you're in. Its total freedom. I have never felt a closer connection to the earth than when I was so far above it, without an aircraft around me.
It did not feel so much like falling through the air, but like a lot of air movement around the body, like floating or balancing on air. You work up there, to keep your body arched in a good position. Muscles get a stretch. Jumping tandem is not a passive thing. You'll work, but your instructor will be working harder. I have huge respect for them.
You feel the air mushing your face around. Pushing against your body. You feel pressure changes in your ears. Air going right up into your sinus. Air up the nose to that extent feels…odd. I saw LOTS of blue, in all its glorious colours, and an incredibly beautiful pale horizon. That green stuff way below? That stuff gets bigger with every second.
My instructor was as cool as a cucumber, a really nice guy, and from the video, it was obvious he was loving every second of it from the huge grin on his face. He has well over 5,500 jumps in his log book, knows his business, has been at it a while.
Just under a minute after leaving the plane, I get another firm tap on the arm to let me know he's about to release the canopy. Its a big canopy for two people, rectangular in shape, with cells that inflate. It takes a few seconds to open, and mine was a nice soft opening.
Skydiving was 14,000 feet of AMAZING! We had almost a full minute in free fall. And then 5 or maybe 7 minutes under canopy, an astonishing contrast of quiet after the noise level of freefall. Its the most incredible experience. Wish we had stayed up there longer than we did. The level of joy, peace and magic I felt under canopy - there are truly no words for that. It's fun on an epic scale.
Its cool being able to pull the toggles, get a taste of what its like to turn and fly the canopy. I really enjoyed that for quite a while.
When we came in to land, at Goulburn they slide you in to land on your butt, with your knees and legs well up. You're not going to trip or fall. They supply pants with a reinforced seat that you slide in on, so your clothes don't get trashed. If you're anything like me, you'll be squealing in delight and laughing your head off, feeling awesome! There's definitely going to be more of this in my future.
My face best describes how I feel about skydiving.
If you think you'd like to skydive, do your due diligence - research your Dropzone options, find out as much as you can about them, their background and history, the background of the instructors, ask around about them, ask whatever questions of them that you need to feel comfortable. You don't want any reservations about their professionalism or competency when you're about to exit the plane. Adrenalin Skydive Goulburn rocked. All of my friends had a great experience and most of us are itching to jump again.
The Australian Parachute Federation has links to affiliated drop zones around the country, and some resources and interesting things to see on their site. Check them out too.
Back on the ground, on the sewing front my current project is refashioning a Victorian styled silk skirt into a distressed silk Steampunk style skirt. For a costumed party next weekend. Have a little more to do on that before its finished, but I think its going to work really rather well. Photos to come.
Most of my sewing in past weeks has been of this nature, refashioning interesting finds and improving the shape of them for events with a costumed theme. Along with more laundry bags for a good cause, and in the past few months, a couple of bed quilts for others too.
Next weekend I'm at Addicted to Fabric teaching Freemotion Machine Quilting. Its a delight delivering my favourite workshop and seeing the excitement on the faces of Quilters discovering it.