Two big skydiving milestones achieved on Saturday! One I'd been waiting to get for months, the other I'd been less than eager to have
Arrived at the DZ on Saturday morning, lovely blue skies and two aircraft going. Got manifested for a lift, and ended up doing a 4 way with some mates from uni. Nothing serious, in fact quite the opposite. It was a "funky chicken" exit - i.e. in the door of the aircraft, each person grab one or two random grips and ... pile out!!! Wayhay!! Tumble and turn for a bit - an intentional funnel really! Then back together for some fun points before break off.
Jump two of the day was jump number 199. One to go before the big 200!!! And 199 is a jump I won't forget in a hurry!
The freefall all went well - a solo sitflying jump where I practised some transitions (flips). Get to 3500ft and deploy (open) my parachute. And this is where the excitement starts!! The parachute (canopy) opens. Immediately, though, things aren't normal! The canopy begins to turn, so i reach up to grab the steering toggles to even things out. However, I notice that one toggle is loose and I cannot release the other one. I have a brakefire malfunction!!! Basically imagine driving along the motorway and having to make an emergency stop - but only the left hand wheels stop. You end up spinning and not being able to slow down. That's kinda what happens in a brakefire. The turn becomes a very fast spiral, the canopy almost below me - no WAY can i land this thing, or save it! My audible is beeping very loudly, meaning I'm still at a highly dangerous decent speed at just 2500ft, and loosing altitude. There's no time to waste, so let's hope this emergency drills work!!
I look down for my handles, there they are, take hold - pull the cut away handle to release the the canopy, pull the silver reserve handle, arch!
There's a jolt and for a second I'm back in freefall, but the reserve opens fast and soon I'm under a nice, bright red, reserve parachute.
Wayway, I'm alive, the drills work, the reserve is flying nicely!
I am actually whooping which adrenaline!
I have a nice landing, a long walk back, but hey I'm still here.
Dammit though - my canopy is still out there in a random field, along with the freebag and reserve pilot chute! That could be an expensive replacement!
Luckily I kept hold of the handles though. Also, I'm going to have to wait to do my 200th skydive!
I get back to the DZ, and am greeted by lots of "you ok, did you have a mal?!" and some impressed students
One of my mates doesn't realise I've had a mal (I think he saw my red canopy and assumed it was my main - most reserves are white) so I turned round to show him the empty container and popped reserve tray - "check this out!!". He was quite shocked!
Had to have a little sit down and a cup of tea and a lot of chocolate to calm down (I was very shaky and hyper as hell!), then went to report to DZ Control and fill in an incident report. No more jumping for me today
But then, 2 guys come back with my main canopy - hurruh!!!
I had my 200th planned for that evening - a 10way high hop and pop on the sunset load. However I wouldn't be able to make it now, and anyway, the clouds had come in and so now more high lifts were going to happen anyway.
Party that night - fancy dress!!!
The next morning, the rigger re-packs my reserve and helps reconnect my main, and it's ready to jump again!
200 here i come! It is planned as a 5-way freefly jump. I'm to sit fly and do little else (not very experienced!!) and the other 4 to fly round me, take docks and look cool for the camera. However, in the aircraft on the ride up, the clouds have come in again, and it seems as though we're only going to get 6000ft (hoping for 13000ft). Can't do a 5-way freefly from that height, so one guy does a hop n pop, and the other 4 of us do a short tracking dive. Short, but fun!! And no mals this time! 200 jumps!!
I do one more jump at the end of the day, a 2 way coached sit fly jump that goes well. I then fill in a form to apply for a new certificate, as with 200 jumps (as well as other qualifications) i can apply for my C Certificate. That means among other things I can now jump with a camera. ^^
Fab day, I have a lot of beer to owe for people who found my main and repacked my reserve, and some for the rigger who packed my reserve a few months ago that saved my life!