Monday, July 18th, 2011
I have now successfully completed my parachute jump and with the terrific support of Cedar’s Customers and Staff I have raised £412.02 (£550.77 with Gift Aid) for Bournemouth and District Cats Protection.
I had always wanted to do a parachute jump and thought it a fitting way to mark my 50th year. I had to be at the Old Sarum Airfield in Salisbury at 11.00 am to register. After an instructive talk and film, all those parachuting that day were first shown and then had to demonstrate the position we should assume when leaving the aircraft. We then had to wait for conditions to be right for the first party to go up as it was quite a windy day. Finally at about 2.00 pm the conditions improved and the first group’s names were called.
Around forty people were parachuting, so with all their family, friends and supporters, it was quite a busy little airfield. You could feel the air of excitement as the first group boarded the plane and everyone watched as it took off. About fifteen minutes went by and when the plane reached the altitude of 10,000 feet we watched to see the first specks emerge, gradually growing in size, seeing the parachutes deploying and slowly, it seemed to us on the ground, fall to earth.
My turn came at 5.00 pm and donning the special suit, I climbed into a mini bus to be transported to where they were re-packing the parachutes from the previous group. Having been fitted with our harnesses, each of us, that had elected to be filmed, gave a short interview to our personal cameraman. Time then for our short walk to the plane where we loaded up, seated on the floor in two rows, each with our instructor behind us ready for take-off.
To exit the plane we had to shuffle forward on our bottoms, were suspended out of the open doorway and, assuming our exit positions ……. out we went! It was so quick, I didn’t have time to feel nervous - just VERY excited!
The noise of the air rushing passed us was almost deafening and then when the parachute opened and I was jerked back, the silence and beauty of the surroundings were breathtaking. I was given a chance to operate the controls, turning the parachute one way and then the other until finally we saw the spot where we were to land. I was given the instruction to raise my legs and we made an almost perfect landing. It was all over far too soon and I could hardly believe I had done it, but I have the memory and pictures to prove it!
THANK YOU ALL WHO GAVE YOUR SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT!
It really was the experience of a lifetime.
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