May 2017

What got me into skydiving?

It was a decision that I keep regretting, I always look forward to my next jump
People have always been telling me to go and jump that I finally decided to jump off a plane, 28 times. But then again, I am not too sure whether that's what they actually meant. But anyway, the whole experience of skydiving is surreal; it feels like you are jumping from a plane. Ok, that might not be the best analogy but you get the drift.
Going through that skydiving experience was part of my 30th birthday celebration plans after leaving Outward Bound. It is interesting to pick up a new sport because you start to use parts of your body that you haven't been using before. For those of you who are wondering whether it's a good sport for you if you haven't been using that part of the body that is your brain, you can check out this link.
Other than learning the new skills, you get to be in a totally different environment surrounded by people who chose skydive as a lifestyle. People who wants to be among the birds or how Leonardo Da Vinci put it: "For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return."
To learn skydiving, you will be mentored by a bunch of crazy instructors. They will make you feel that skydiving is so easy and safe. Going through all the safety brief, with the instructors ensuring that they will be there should anything happen, does help make you feel at ease, especially when you ask them about their number of jumps and they reply that jumping with you would be their second jump.
Then you have the pilot. They must be having the saddest job of them all at the drop zone. Drop zones pilot might be the only pilot who take off with a plane full of passengers but lose them all before coming down. It must be hard for them to apply for jobs with that kind of experience up their belt.

To be honest, jumping off that plane was quite daunting. As the tiny Cessna with its four passengers or bigger caravan with its 16 passengers pick up speed on the runway and starts to fly, there is no turning back. By which point, I have gone through my parachute deployment moves and emergency procedures countless times. The next 20minutes or so as the plane climbs up to 14 000ft, I start to spot the landing area and think through my exit, all while squeezing in that tight space in the plane hoping that nobody farts. As the plane door opens and the cold 100 knots wind chills me down, I have only one option: Jump! That's the scariest part as I make my way to the door's opening. While the caravan requires one to jump out, the Cessna requires one to climb out, step on the wheel and hang on the wings' strut before letting go. After that, everything else is magic!
I was flying! Or so I thought I was, when actually I had a hard time doing all the flying maneuvers such as turning, moving forward or backward, back flips and forward flips. From the clip below, you can tell how clumsy I was.

However, things do get better with practice and telling yourself to be more relaxed. I even managed to do some good moves and formation dives. To be honest, I have no idea how many more jumps I will do but I definitely love the feeling of flying and controlling your body! If you are interested to know how to start in this sport, please read on.

What does it take to skydive?

Skydiving can be a cheap sport. If you have your own rig (gear), you can purchase a jump ticket (plane ticket) for as little as $15 for a hop and pop (5000ft) or $40 to jump from 14 000ft. The bulk of the cost will be in the initial training and gear purchase.

For those interested to know my recommendation for getting your 'A' certificate class (that allows you to jump solo at most of the drop zone in the world), continue reading.

Having gone through APF (Australian Parachute Federation), I can only recommend this and cannot comment on the USPA license or equivalent. If you wish to learn in Australia, I would recommend going through Jurien Bay skydive as I had a great experience with them. Plus the view over the ocean is amazing!

They have great staff and instructors (helpful, knowledgeable, funny and friendly) and their AFF(accelerated free fall) package includes 20minutes of tunnel time that really helps you to master flying. (I completed my AFF within 3 days with 7 jumps) Their price is quite cheap (not the cheapest) but they offer free accommodation in their shack (very basic). They also offer jump tickets at good price as well as rig for rental, capped at AUD 100 for a day (not many drop zones offer gear rental)

The advantage for those not driving is that the supermarket is just across the street. Jurien bay skydive also provides free shuttle services from Perth town to the drop zone on Thursdays. There is also the two buses, Transwa and integrity coach that serve the route on specific days at odd hours.

However, the drop zone is seasonal as during the summer, the wind is too strong for students to jump. The drop zone is also quite busy with the tandem jumps that it might take time to get on the next load if there are many fun jumpers. The most I could jump, was 5 in a day with an average of 3 jumps a day during busy days. Their landing area is 15minutes drive from the manifest, which makes the turn around slower.

Other drop zones that I would recommend is Ramblers as they are dedicated for fun jumpers and they also have a Cessna. You can get more jumps in a day but gear rental is more expensive. Getting there would be best if you have you own transport and the atmosphere at night is great. Other than those two, there are other options out there for you to explore. Do drop me a message if you have any questions.
Made on