Last weekend I did what I wanted to do for a long while – to actually skydive in the UK. I’ve been putting it off for a long time, lately mostly due to the weather we have been having. Last weekend the weather was OK, no flu lingering in the background and no lameness in any of the legs 🙂
The Skydive London dropzone is situated about 3 hours drive away from Haverfordwest, adjacent to the town of Swindon. Being used to relatively small dropzones in Slovenia I was surprised that the DZ which bares the name of the nation’s capital is smaller than most of the DZs in Slovenia. But that is not relatively a bad thing. The environment is very friendly, everybody knows each other by their first name and there is no large scale manifests to have to battle with. The only real drawback for me, as a skydiver, is the focus on tandems which means you probably have to wait a while to get a seat on the next lift.
I heard from some skydivers, that the DZ only has an Airvan and that it takes about 20 minutes to get to 12,000 feet – I must be pretty unspoilt as I though the flight was relatively fast and comfortable. My last high altitude jump was in the Antonov-2 which needs about 30 minutes to get to 3,000 metres and you usually have the opportunity to enjoy diesel fumes and turbulance (with all due respect to our lovely Fata). In fact the Airvan very much reminded me of the Canguro airplane although the two planes are quite different from each other.
I made two jumps and unfortunately the second did not end with a very great landing. Just metres from starting the second stage flare I dropped what felt like about half a meter which resulted in me landing on my knees and not my feet. Ouch! I still have a lot to learn about landing in zero-wind conditions 🙁
It definitely is my fault as the parachute is quite stable and forgiving to my mistakes so you should deduct from this that it is NOT “idiot proof”. The good thing I found about the parachute is that I am slowly getting the hang on the packing. Not long ago, in Prečna, the packing was a nightmare and the only respite came from the last pack of the day, when the increased evening humidity helped with wrangling with the still relatively new parachute material of my Atair Dragon 170.