Daz AFF – freefall March 2016

Daz AFF – freefall March 2016

 

Monday 21st March

During the night there was some thunder and lightning and a short rain storm. Daz is just getting up and the rain starts again. It looks as if the water is seeping through to the sleeping compartment. I need to get up and pack away our sleeping bags and sort our other kit so it doesn’t get wet. I hide in the cafe; the rain continues. I see Daz during the morning. He’s doing his ground training with his instructor Roberto. I join him to record his progress.

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The rain stops around 11am and the airfield manage to get a couple of drops completed. By mid afternoon the theory is done and Daz is practising his drills.

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We’re hoping he’ll be able to complete his first jump today, a tandem jump but unfortunately the weather is against him and there’s another thunder storm. Eventually Roberto calls it a day. No jumps today Daz. I spare a thought for the 9 processions due in Seville today. The rain will definitely have stopped a number taking place and there will be some very sad people in Seville today. However 4 of them aren’t due to start until 8pm this evening – fingers crossed the rain is finished for the day! Roberto finishes with Daz by 5pm so we go and hang out in the cafe and then realise they want to close, after all there’s only Daz and me in there. So we’re tucked up in our tent by 9pm.

 

Tuesday 22nd March

We’re awake by 7.30am and head for the shower block before the rush. There’s no hot water – argggghhhh!!! Now we’re up there’s nowhere to go and actually it’s a bit chilly. And there’s a fog rolling in.

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Eventually people start to arrive and at 0845am we’re in the cafe having breakfast and seeing who else is here to jump. Yesterday York University display team were here but they’ve gone now.

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We head to the hangar. No Roberto today, instead there’s Victor. Actually Victor seems more engaged and less of a damp squib! Daz goes through all his drills and then has his briefing for his tandem jump.

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They think the fog will clear and they’ll be jumping soon!!! Exciting huh? Daz looks pretty calm still but I’m feeling sick on his behalf. It’s 10am and Daz is getting dressed to jump. 1030am still waiting – Daz is starting to look worried now and he’s barely talking (another sign of nerves)!

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1045am – they’re getting on and the engine is running. 15000ft here they come. Daz and Victor will be last out! 1105am he’s safely back on the ground – jump 1 complete.

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(Daz – from my perspective. I was pretty chilled as Victor and I settled ourselves in the plane, took off and gained altitude. In the plane Victor and I went through the drills. The small plane was packed with 15 jumpers and it’s a tight fit.. At 15000 ft we gradually move to the open door as people disappear before me. Then we are in the door and I start my drills for real and then we are out… wheeeeeeee. The freefall bit was all a bit of a blur, I remember going through my practice pull drills (I have to do 3 Reach, locate, arch) then just before 6000 ft it’s pull time for real and then check canopy. All is good and I can relax as Victor guides us to the landing zone. Feet up at the last second and then we are on the ground. My next jump will be solo with 2 instructors at my side… bring it on.)

It’s 1215pm and Victor is busy with another tandem jump. Clouds are drifting in and apparently it’s a licensed skydivers with 50 jumps only. Students aren’t allowed because they won’t have a clear view of the DZ because of the cloud. We’re not sure whether this means no more jumps for Daz until the clouds clear.

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Unfortunately the clouds don’t clear and whilst Daz waits in vain for another jump, I squeeze in an afternoon nap. 1830 finds us in the cafe, with Danny looking after us, drinking red wine and planning a visit to Bollollus for dinner and then……..the heavens open and there’s the most tremendous hail storm. We ain’t going anywhere – in fact we’re not sure how the tent will cope with this onslaught.

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Wednesday 23rd March

Fortunately the tent survived the hailstorm although there was some water coming through into the bottom of our sleeping compartment. Luis, the owner, collars us at breakfast.

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He wants his money – 15€ a night. We’ve paid less for properly maintained camping sites with extensive toilet and shower blocks. Nothing like this dump with no facilities. Daz gives him 70€ but he wants another 30€. Today looks like a good day for jumping.

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Daz does his revision and finally he’s on load 3 at 11am and he’s down by 1120am. Another load at 1220pm and he’s done by 1240pm. All told he gets 4 jumps done today.

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Meanwhile I have a spring clean of our tent to make sure everything is nice and dry.

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(Daz… whooo I got to jump out of a plane 4 times today, and totally missed the tent cleaning duties. Admittedly a risky strategy but I got out of the cleaning and that’s what matters! On a serious note, I was a little nervous for jump one, but once in the plane it was all just a drill. The first 3 jumps were with 2 instructors and the 4th with just one, with a variety of tasks for me to perform, including turns and holding headings whilst freefalling. But I really love when the canopy is opened and I can swoop around whilst gently descending to earth. All in all a fab day of jumping in the sun.)

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