My Red Devils skydive
On 26 May 2016, I did a Tandem Skydive with The Red Devils, the British Army’s Parachute Regiment display team.
The Skydive was supposed to be held on the previous day, but when I arrived at the airfield the weather conditions were not looking good and, much to my disappointment there was too much cloud cover and it was cancelled. I was offered the opportunity to jump the next day and, after building myself up, I was feeling really nervous knowing I was going to have to do all this again the following day.
Travelling to Old Sarum Airfield the next day, I received a call from Sam, another jumper, saying 'How far away are you? You’re going up in the first plane'. My stomach flipped - it was too late, now it was real! Arriving at the airfield, I changed into my kit and was paired up with my instructor, Ian. We had received training the day before, shown the kit and the different positions we were required to pull. Ian then checked my kit and made sure we were safe to go up; I was now really excited and ready to go.
At 9.15am, I climbed into the plane and we took off! As we flew higher and higher, I was looking out of the window and everything seemed so tiny. Ian was keeping me really calm and we were in constant conversation. He attached our parachute and it took us about 10 minutes to get up to 13,000ft. My stomach was turning and I could feel the adrenalin building - I couldn’t wait! Then the door of the plane opened... there really was no going back.
We all started shuffling forward and I felt a rush of nerves. We were now sitting on the edge of the plane - I looked out and was absolutely buzzing. I heard Ian shout 3,2,1 and we were out - 50 seconds of freefall and at 120mph, I couldn’t see or hear a thing!
Then the parachute opened, pulling us back up as we glided across the sky. It was so relaxing and calming and I just looked at the scenery below, trying to take it all in. It took about four minutes to get down to the ground and I even got to control my parachute for a bit.
I could see the other jumpers landing below me. As we got closer to the ground, Ian shouted 'legs up, legs up, legs up' - I slid across the grass and it was over, I couldn’t believe the build-up and it was over within five minutes, I was gutted, but happy and had the biggest smile on my face. I wanted to go straight back up and do it all over again.
It was the most amazing experience of my life and I am so pleased and proud that I did it. I recommend it to everyone and I can’t wait to do it again next year. Who’s with me?
If you would like to skydive with The Red Devils for Thames Hospice, call 01753 848946 for more information. We have places available throughout the year.