I last left off saying I signed papers…waivers and release forms OK-ing me being there. So…I signed…
The next part is Training.
Training started off with a video from the lawyer who drew up the forms. Pretty much saying that we give up our rights for anything should anything happen to us. No lawsuits, no nothing…and if a lawsuit was still pursued, we’d still have to pay the lawyer fees for the organization. I think that was one of the scariest things I ever watched. All that kept running through my head were my girls…my hubby…my family…my parents, siblings, etc…I shook it off and came to terms…if it’s your time, it’s your time. Morbid? Yes. Reality? Yes.
Our instructor tried to break the ice and joked by saying one of his friends refuses to sky dive and thinks he’s crazy and it’s so dangerous (all true), but she’s the one in the hospital from a bicycle accident. touche
The rest of training consisted of learning about your first Static Line Jump – videos, learning parts of the parachute, how to look out for malfunctions…how to cut away main parachute and use reserve (if necessary w/malfunctions). How to “PLF” (parachute landing fall). How to maneuver your parachute (left, right, flare). How to sit on the plane (you face the rear), where to sit on the plane, how to step off the plane…how to grab the strut of the wing of the plane. The need to ARCH when letting go of the plane, etc. All of this was covered in about 3 hours or so with a test at the end.
What made me most nervous (besides all the possible malfunctions and remembering what to do, of course) was the stepping off the plane part. Remember, this is not a tandem jump where you jump off a plane strapped onto your Jump Master. This is a Static Line Jump.,..BY YOURSELF. Static Line Jump basically (best case scenario) means that your parachute will be clipped onto the plane and once the line is pulled taught, your chute will open for you automatically after a few seconds. Because you don’t just jump off the plane and open up your chute, you kind of have to move slowly at first, once that plane door opens. You need to get the go ahead from your Jump Master to A) put your feet out onto the step and hold onto the strut with your left hand (strut = bar underneath the wing – and no, not that kind of bar…though maybe a drink would have calmed my nerves). Then, B) you need to turn your body to the strut (remember you sit on the plane facing the rear so now you have to turn and face the strut/front) and get your whole body out now placing BOTH arms onto the strut and move up the wing as far as possible away from the step. Sounds easy right?
Well, not when that is the area of the plane that has the most wind and not when you’re short. Being that you have to work your way up to the far part of the strut, there comes a point when your (shortish) legs leave the step and you are now moving your whole body, against 80 mile an hour winds (that feel like 300 hundred mile an hour winds) up the strut by just using your upperbody (hand/arms) until you get to the marked spots. Then, you need to turn and look at your Jump Master again to give you the GO signal to let go.
Please see Exhibit A (the angle of the pic is off and I’m sure I don’t have the orange markers exact, but hopefully, you’ll be able to get the jist):
Why move up the strut/wing, etc.? Well, basically so you don’t hit your left arm / body on the step and have enough clearance from the plane. Why not just jump off? I don’t know, but I kind of wish that were the case and I wish I asked. I think once you are at a higher altitude and get more jumps under your belt, then you probably can.
to be continued…