An online skydiving logbook

September 22, 2007

Indian summer

Monday to Friday, weather was awful. But come weekend, come sunshine. It's a glorious Saturday morning, and I team up with Pascal for the whole day. We're on the first load with a level 3. It's his third attempt, and from his logbook, we can see that he starts of his jumps OK, but can't hold it together till the end of the free fall. And indeed, same this time: rather OK from 13k till 8k, starts wobbling, and at 7k we have to grab him, or he would have been on his back. I can still smell the morning freshness when I'm under canopy. Autumn can be beautiful.

Next is a woman, the girlfriend of a long time friend of mine, a fellow skydiver, whom I first jumped with almost 15 years ago. Everything I tell her, he can tell her too, but he has the good sense to stay out of the way, while we are briefing her, and he doesn't come asking if he can be on the jump. It's her level 2. The jump is not very good (she is too eager, wants to do too much and too quickly), but good enough to pass her to the next level.

Then a young bloke with a face full of piercings. He is about 1.70 meter tall, and weighs 94 kilos. I put on my weight belt, fully loaded, and woohoo do I need it! It is a level 2, and I exit from the inside. By the time my feet leave the plane, my arms are already going well over 100 mph (that's what it feels like anyway). His heels are touching his ass and his knees are lower than his pelvis: we have to work hard to keep the formation stable. Next, under canopy, he's off to la-la land: no reaction at all to our steering, he lands about 2 km away from the designated area, but he is lucky: our landing area is huge, it stretches for about 2.5 km in that direction.

Level three again with the same man from today's first jump. Again, he starts of well, and deteriorates during the jump. Near the end he is steadily turning, almost 360° in 1000 ft. Very strange, most people get better through the jump, they learn. Not him. I believe he thinks too much. Instead of trying to feel the air, he is trying to remember everything that all the instructors he had until now have told him. And in the process, he fixates on too many details at once and gradually looses it.

And to end the day, level three with my friends' girl. She makes a good jump, much more relaxed, much smoother than her previous jump. I love it, flying next to her, and looking on while she makes a great jump. There is no wind at all, I love to land with a bit of speed...

It's only 6 o'clock, but I call it a day. Warm, sun, beer... the simple life :-)

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