The sun glints brightly outside the hard metal plane. The light flicks to red, as a chorus of “door” is yelled out through the plane. I turn away from the excited tandem student beside me and push up the plane door. I peek out and see the dropzone far below like a tiny piece of a lego village. The lake in front of me sparkles like a jewel, as the wind rushes across my face. The light turns green and I take the hand on my left. Our hands swing back and forth; “Ready, set, go” and we tip forward in unison. I smile to myself as we do three front loops before stopping on our bellies.
Wow, it’s kind of awesome just jumping for fun. Does this mean I am actually a skydiver now? It feels weird calling myself that, but I guess I am. I got my ‘A’ cop license and I am probably ¾ of the way to my ‘B’ cop. Crazy right? I guess I have been a skydiver since the beginning, but its starting to feel real now.
What a great community it is. I feel like I can attribute the fact that I got my ‘A’ relatively fast to all the amazing people in the sport. People who took huge amounts of time out of their days to teach me to pack and later review it with me. Over and over again….And the many pieces of advice I got on how to make a maneuver. And when I struggled to complete it, to those that were willing to take me through it on the ground several times. The whole community is simply amazing.
I think I am beginning to understand the draw. It is not just the skydiving, but the awesome people. It’s hanging out all day with people from all walks of life. It’s sitting around the camp fire to great conversation. And sometimes it’s crazy times like flaming soccer. Or great adventures off the dropzone too.
We reach our bellies, face-off and begin our pre-planned pattern. Star, open accordion, open accordion, side-body, orbit to star. It sounds simple, but certainly is not easy. A glance at my left wrist shows that pull time is coming. I turn away and begin tracking — the lego pieces below are looking bigger. I stop my forward motion and with one last glance at my altimeter, I give a final check for any other skydivers, and pull out my pilot chute. I prepare for the familiar upwards jerk and it comes in a whoosh, as the parachute unfolds above me. For a brief second the wind rushes noisily past then I emerge under canopy in the peaceful blue sky with fluffy white clouds above.
My routine continues. Check around me for traffic. Collapse the slider and begin flying to the holding area, while practising turns and stalls. I take off my goggles and enjoy the view. There is nothing like the freedom of the crisp air. Not too long later, I start my final approach. Blades of grass become visible and I watch them speed by. I keep my head up and wait a few seconds longer than I want to, and start the flare. I push the toggles down half way, as I begin to glide. A final punch of the toggles has me landing softly on my feet.
Another awesome skydive is over.