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God loves me – the day my parachute failed to open!

By Creative(54,965) Creative

Posted Thursday, April 03, 2008
View All Blog Posts submitted by Creative


In 1989, my next-door neighbour did a parachute jump. I watched as he nervously paced up and down in his ‘all in ones’ and then went with his group to the small domestic plane that was to take him up.

Things were a tad different in those days to now. People were allowed to jump solo and with the old army style chutes rather than the fancy ones they have now with brakes. No such luxury back then, unless you wanted to pay the extra of course for that ‘extra’ chute assurance!

I was very impressed with my young neighbour when he sailed through the sky and landed safely and confidently on the ground.

I (despite my fear of heights) decided I was going to have a go!

Not only did I arrange for myself to do a solo parachute jump at the ripe old age of 19, but I managed to persuade 9 of my work colleagues to join me! That is a feat in itself!

The build up to the day was fairly exciting. I enjoyed all the discussions and admiration I was getting for this daring feat.

The event was to take place over a weekend, one day of training and one day for the jump!

The training was pretty intense and unexpected.

In large groups we did some fitness work, which involved running up and down and
around a field (not sure why this was important but this is what we did). We also had to jump off a platform, which was 4ft off the ground with a £5 note held firmly between our knees. We were being taught how to land, and apparently most accidents occur due to the knees coming apart, so the money was an incentive to train us to keep them together!

In addition to the practical training we did some theory. We watched some footage of daring rescues and horrifying air disasters, and learned about wind speed, positioning, steering and how to deal with tangled chords and what to do should our main chute not open.

If the main chute does not open after a count of 10 (10,000, 9,000, 8,000 etc) then we were to immediately pull our emergency chute. BUT, we were warned that the emergency chute could not be steered.

So the day of training arrives. Every single bone in my body is aching from the training of the day before. Unlike the others who pace around nervously, I hop around the ground like a ‘bunny’ practicing my ‘knees closed’ posture! The instructor gave me a dead arm for looking ‘daft’.

So, it’s time to get in the plane. I’d never been in a plane before. This was scary stuff! The plane was tiny. It had no seats and we (6 of us) sat on the floor between each other’s legs. There was no door on the plane, just a gaping hole. As we went up into the air, the instructor advised of what the ground looked like from 200ft as this was the height we needed to get into our landing position (or was it 100?)

I am third to jump. I wiggle nervously to the hole in the side of the plane. I sit half in half out. 75mile an hour winds one side, safe cosy plane the other. What was I doing! As I had second thoughts I felt a gentle ‘push’ and heard the word ‘go’. As I went forward, my chute got stuck momentarily in the door, so I bounced ever so slightly into the side of the plane before dropping into the clouds. I wasn’t able to get into my fall position I just fell in a tight ball, round and round. I counted though as I’d been trained to do.

After I finished counting, I expected my chute to open. It did not.

As I was dropped above the trees I was very reluctant to open my emergency chute, as I’d have landed in a tree for sure. So I figured I’d just wait a while and see if my main parachute did open. I waited, I waited and I waited some more. Finally I felt myself soaring upwards into the sky! My chute was open. It is probable I never actually went up at all, merely came to a stand still! But this is how it felt.

Relief washed over me. Had I pulled that emergency chute, I’d be dropping like a stone now. As if one opens and the other opens too, they get tangled and down you go! My refusal to open my emergency chute just saved my life!

Tangled chords, dodgy off target landing, chute dragging me off down the field and a trained man around my groin undoing the harness was all part of the experience. I was safe, uninjured and buzzing like crazy!

What an amazing experience!

You can read more from me on my home page HERE. Two great eBooks to give away for a limited period only!

This Blog Post has been read 159 times.
Posted to ProBlogs.com on Thursday, April 03, 2008
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