Graham Machin recently took to the skies to take on a skydive, raising money for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance. Having completed his training, the next step was to jump out of the plane! We heard from Graham on ‘jump day’:
“I woke up early to the most amazing sunrise, so I went for a jog around the airfield to stretch out my cramped up legs.
“From nowhere the mist starts to roll in, so begins a frustrating three hour wait of coffees and trips to the toilet. Finally the skies clear and lots of tandem jumpers make their way up.
“We enter the plane with my primary and secondary instructor at my side and the cameraman who is filming the whole thing. There are no seats in a jump plane – you just squat on the floor.
“The plane starts its climb up to 13,500ft and before I know it’s my turn to jump.
“You really don’t have time to be nervous as your mind is totally focused.
“The noise and speed are amazing. Up pops the cameraman in front of me and I manage to give him the thumbs up and check my altimeter. It’s then that I realise I’m already at the pull height of 6,000ft. All of the above took 45 seconds but felt like 20 seconds.
“Next, I pull the cord. I go to the count 1,000 – 2, 000 – 3, 000 – 4,000. I look up – I have twists in my cords. The training kicks in and I pull the harness straps apart and the cords untwist.
“You think your canopy is spinning but it’s actually your body. It is now quiet and really slow, a bit like a balloon ride.
“I grab my steering toggles and look for the airfield below me, but it’s not there because we were last out and there’s been a change in the wind direction.
“I’m way off course and no chance of making the drop zone.
“Great I thought – I’m going to end up in some farmer’s field!
“I can see my instructors below me have landed the other side of the hangers so head towards them and do what I was trained – just find a safe place to land.
“I landed, and now I have my level 1 Free Fall Certificate.
“This is Graham Machin Sky diver signing off.”