Jumping from a perfectly good plane!

So again, I asked myself ‘why on earth are you jumping out of a perfectly good plane?!’
I would like to thank SayTravel for inviting me to experience this with you all and a massive thank you to Hinton Airfield for accommodating us on the day!

On the 19th of July, I received a very exciting and unexpected call from the SayTravel team inviting me to join them at Hinton Airfield for a Tandem Skydive the next day! My first initial thought and response was ‘hell yeah!’, not really processing what I was letting myself in for. Skydiving has always been something that has been on my bucket list and a goal I have always wanted to achieve. Honestly, although it’s something I have always wanted to do, I never truly believed that I would go ahead with it and even attempt it. I have always been a fan of extreme rollercoasters but I knew that skydiving would be a completely different feeling and height. Believe it or not, my biggest fear is the feeling of falling. So again, I asked myself ‘why on earth are you jumping out of a perfectly good plane?!’

The day of the skydive arrived and surprisingly I was a lot calmer than I ever expected. I met the SayTravel team at their headquarters office in Covent Garden and from there we drove to Brackley, where Hinton Airfield is located. When we arrived things began to feel surreal when watching the professionals skydive into the ‘drop zone’ and this is when reality hit us all! We were greeted by a lovely Jason who escorted us to sign in at reception. We were told to fill out some medical and registration forms, that we all couldn’t have filled out any faster as we were all so excited. The safety briefing was definitely something I paid very close attention to and ensured that everything the instructor said was understood completely. During the briefing, we were all reassured of how safe the tandem skydive was and the extra precautions that are taken to make it the safest experience possible. Something that I learned on the day which definitely relieved my anxiety was that there are two parachutes installed in the backpack of the instructor. One as the main primary parachute and another to use if a failure was to occur with the main parachute. There is also a computerized device installed in the backpack which automatically enables the parachute to open at a certain altitude if in any case the instructor passes out or cannot pull the parachute themselves whilst in mid-air. 

About half an hour after the briefing we were called to get suited up, this was a heavy-duty harness that can be attached to the instructor which can take the total weight of 10 tonnes. You are usually given around 10-15 minutes to have a nice, friendly chat with your instructor to get to know them on a personal level. My instructor whose name was Stuart was a lovely, funny guy who had over 30+ years of experience skydiving. This definitely relieved my nerves when finding out how long he had been skydiving for. The plane arrived and we climbed inside and took a seat. On our way up, Stuart went over the safety briefing again to make sure that I had a good understanding of what I was to expect in mid-air. 

Reaching 13,000 feet, it was time to fasten our buckles, put on our goggles and make our way to the plane door. I still felt extremely confident at this point, believing that I could and would jump without withdrawing myself from the experience. It was until I reached the door and shifted towards the exit of the plane and gazed down when it suddenly dawned on me that I was jumping out of a perfectly good plane at 13,000 feet with only one way to get down … FLY! Honestly, at this point I was beginning to doubt and was almost ready to pull out of one of the best experiences of my life.

Following the safety briefing, I put my head back onto Stuart’s shoulder and took the deepest breath I could as he threw us both out the plane doing a 360’ degree flip when leaving the plane. The fear of falling swarmed my body and all I could physically do was scream. I began to feel more confident and extremely proud of myself after having to tell myself I will be fine about 1,000 times! It was an amazing feeling of awe and a very windy and exhilarating experience. Once the parachute opened, I still had the same rush of adrenaline as when I did when exiting the plane. I was expecting to feel a lot less anxious and more relaxed when it opened with the obvious thought of being safe now it had opened. My instructor Stuart then handed me the responsibility of controlling our flight by holding onto the toggles of the parachute to steer us into the direction we were heading to. His exact words … “welcome to my office”… I couldn’t help but anxiously laugh! Due to me being an absolute adrenaline junkie at this point I asked if we could circulate around in the air to get the full skydiving experience and this we did, of course. It was extremely fun and other than completing a tandem skydive, we exited the plane with a 360’ jump and circulated the air above ground. What else could I have possibly wanted to ask for? Apart from landing softly and safely on the ground of course! The moment we touched the ground a massive sigh of relief rushed through my body although I wished I was still in mid air, it felt great being back on stable ground! In fact, it really made me appreciate gravitational force for a minute! We really do take the little things for granted in this world, the ground and gravity being a couple of them!

My overall experience of my first tandem skydive was extraordinary! As mentioned before, this was an experience I have always wanted to accomplish but never believed in myself enough to go ahead with it. The moral of this story is to believe in yourself, try new things and most importantly, live life to the fullest! I highly recommend it to anyone that is considering doing a tandem skydive. Please do it! I promise you won’t regret it!

I would like to thank SayTravel for inviting me to experience this with you all and a massive thank you to Hinton Airfield for accommodating us on the day!

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