I did it, I did it, I did it (well a few weeks ago, but this is late)!
I am officially a solo certified skydiver. I have a real CSPA license card and everything. And what does that mean? Well basically I am allowed to jump all by myself. LITERALLY only by myself. I’m not allowed to jump with other people unless they have a Coach 1 or 2 rating. But now I manifest myself, get my own rig, get ready and climb into the plane on my own. This birdy has officially been kicked out of the nest (something my instructor said on jump 3 when he was no longer going to help me out of the plane).
The most amazing thing about being solo certified is that euphoric feeling of skydiving is back. This is the feeling I had on my first tandem and its back! While I loved my AFP and everything I learned, there is a much higher level of stress when you feel pressured to pass each level in the progression.
I had a friend ask about what the orange things are on my arms in a previous post, so I thought I would share some fun facts and things I have learned:
- Well those orange things are grippers and they allow people doing relative work to hold on to each other more easily in the air. They are also great for students with instructors helping them.
- There are tons of skydiving disciplines! Free flying, relative work (formation), wingsuit, swooping, accuracy and canopy relative work. I’m sure I am missing a bunch.
- Landing on your feet is actually much more difficult than it looks. If you flare (pull down the breaks) too high, too low or “reach” for the ground, there is a strong likelihood that you will get well acquainted with the ground.
- The door is actually kind of scary. Your mind tells your body that jumping out of an airplane might be a bad idea. This has only lessened in the last few jumps.
- Building on that, it is difficult to get out the door gracefully. A large number of my early jumps involved me flopping out the door and flipping threw the air.
- We don’t pull a ripcord. We throw a pilot chute, which is attached to a bridle that pulls out the main parachute.
- There is also this thing called a burble (dead air behind a skydiver) and throwing your pilot chute into it kind of sucks. It’s a special experience wondering why your parachute is not opening on your fourth skydive.
- This is for my family and friends: there is something called an automatic activation device (AAD). Essentially, if at a preprogrammed height from the ground a skydiver is still going at freefall speed, it will cut the reserve cable and deploy the reserve parachute. This is a great backup if someone were to pass out.
- There are several license levels in Canada. I am now working for my ‘A” cop license. I have to demonstrate several skills in freefall including tracking, barrel rolls, and back and front loops. I also have to learn to pack, have 10 pack jobs signed off, jump my own pack job, go over safety, make 10 accuracy landings and pass a written test with an 80%