Category 8 Skydiver
by Anton Piatek
So I went skydiving yesterday, and did my last jump as a student.
I had to do a “1/2 series” jump, which simply means I dive out of the plane, do a backflip, turn left 360 degrees, then same right. All followed by a good track (flying forwards), and then a wave off to show im done.
This was all supposed to be done from 6,000 ft, but for some reason they let me do it from 13,000 so this gave me another 7,000 ft of freefall to hang around in.
The jump went perfectly, and I am now a qualified skydiver. I did another jump and got to use a “throwaway” parachute (This does not mean you throw the whole thing away!). A throwaway canopy has a small pilot chute which you throw out to release your parachute, and is what most skydivers use. Up until now I had a rip-cord parachute, which I just pulled a handle and the pilot chute flies out with a spring. It makes little difference to me, though the throwaway has slightly more risk involved, but it is nice to finally use what real skydivers use.
I also had to buy a knife, which i take with me on every jump. The idea is that, as I am now qualified, I am capable of sorting out more extreme parachute malfunctions. The use of the knife is if my main canopy fails, and I am on my reserve, and find it has a line going over the top (not good!) then I can cut that particular line to make the parachute controllable for landing. The whole thing sounds quite scary, but hopefully I will never need to use the knife!
The new parachute I am using is slightly smaller than the ones up until now, at 235 square ft area. Not only that, but the thing turns like a bastard, and is soo much more fun to fly than the sluggish student ones.
All I have to do now is get a job so I can afford the altimeter that I now require for jumping! (and a parachute of my own would be nice too)