My tandem skydiving experience was a present from my children for my 60th birthday last year. You can imagine my surprised look when I opened the envelope!
I booked the dive early in the year, timing it so that it came soon after my son's wedding so as not to leave me with too much time to dwell on it.
Needless to say, on the day of the jump there was a wait of nearly five hours at the airfield due to a large number of charity jumpers and a plane that wouldn't start. When my turn finally came, up we went to 8,000 feet, dropped out of the aeroplane and somersaulted through the air for about 30 seconds before Jim (my tandem buddy) opened the parachute. The free-fall was terrifying – the ultimate feeling of being out of control – but after the deployment of the parachute, I felt as though I was literally soaring through the air. The only sound was the billowing of the canvas above me. There was no sensation of falling because the ground was so far away and the views over Durham and the North York Moors at dusk were stunning.
Then came the final adrenaline rush when – about a minute before landing – I became aware that I was descending at approximately 100mph and I had to prepare to make contact with the earth! ‘Legs up, feet flexed,’ shouted Jim. Seconds later we landed on our bottoms, skidding across the grass for a few metres.
Exhilarating! Terrifying! Never again, but I'm glad I've done it.
One more ticked off the bucket list!
Pickering and District NWR