Netheravon 25. September 2009

Back here again, desperately trying to find an FS-1 coach to get my FS-1 license done.
Only did one jump today as I developed one very nasty headache and it seems this is one of the rare times I didn’t bring any painkillers along.

Oh, what fun 😉

Beside that the Friday night jumps will commence soon, preparations are under way as I speak (I mean write).
Error: the communication with Picasa Web Albums didn’t go as expected. Here’s what Picasa Web Albums said:

Error 404 (Not Found)!!1

404. That’s an error.

The requested URL /data/feed/api/user/martin.mcdowell/album/Netheravon?kind=photo was not found on this server. That’s all we know.

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Skydiving after 11 months

After waiting for 11 months and practically giving up on the notion of jumping out of a plane for the foreseeable future. The given opportunity came last week, Friday off and a sunny forecast. Great weekend.

Managed 7 jumps the Netheravon DZ. Now all I am left to do is to get my FS1 licence as its needed in the UK for jumping in groups.

Didn’t take any photos, was a bit worried would get nicked as the DZ is situated on an active military base (technically its an airfield camp).


Ooops, or how I ripped my container on a Cessna 206, part 1

My recent visit to the motherland gave me the opportunity for yet another skydiving session, I joined my instructor and mentor Aleš Debeljak from the Paranoia skydiving school.

All went well and on the third jump of the second day just as I exited the Cessna 206 I apparently managed to hook my rig on the side of the door which resulted in a nasty tear in my container on the reserve parachute flap. I am suspecting poor stitching but will have to send the whole thing to Florida to be fixed.

Here are photos of the my sad-looking Aerodyne Icon Sport container:



Skydive London for a day

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.

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Reserve parachute and AAD

Now it seem to be all happening. I received the PD reserve 160 and the Cypres 2 Expert 1-pin AAD last week. I would expect the Cypres to come in a nice packet, which it did, but I didn’t have a clue how the parachute would be packed. Well, it literally came “as is”. I put it in a bag myself so it wouldn’t get stained or damaged – not that a plastic bag is any real protection.

The reserve parachute is made by a company called Performance Designs based in DeLandand, Florida, US and the Cypres AAD by a German company Airtec GmbH based in Bad Wünnenberg in Germany. I hope I never have to use them both actively, but its good to know they are new and hopefully in good working order. Now all I have to wait for is the main parachute from Škofja Loka and I am set to hand everything over to a rigger so he/she can put it all together.

The last piece of equipment is an audible altimeter + a jump data tracker in one. It is made by a Danish compancy Larsen & Brusgaard and the instrument is called ProTrack.