(13th August, 2018)One of the question that was still unanswered and was lingering in my mind was, how am I supposed to open my parachute and land on my own with absolutely no experience in this field of adventure sport. Hopefully, the six-hour theory session scheduled would put this to rest. Some of the things that I learnt during this session were:• The jump would be from a height of 16000ft• During the free fall, you have to get into a perfectly arched position. One of the ways you can achieve this is by looking at the horizon. • When you cross an altitude of 2500ft, you have to keep your eyes locked in onto the altimeter and get ready to open your shoot• At an altitude of 1500-2000ft, you open your shoot. Once you have successfully opened your shoot, you take the toggles and pull it down to release the breaks. So, it is basically like driving a car. There are three positions that you have be aware of. If you pull the toggles down the parachute breaks, if the toggles are held midway, the parachute glides at a medium speed and if the toggles are held over your head, it accelerates the process of gliding down. • You will always be dropped off the aircraft in the direction of the wind. The reason is when you are 500ft from the ground, you have to get ready to do a circuit and land in the direction opposite to the direction of the wind. • Troubleshoot Options: a. If your main chute fails to open, you have to cut the main chute by pulling the lever located on the right side of your chest and open the reserve chute by pulling the lever on the left sideb. If by any chance, you are physically not in a position to open the main chute, the reserve chute is programmed to open automatically at altitude of 500ft above the ground.Pre-flight checks: • There is a radio in the helmet that you will be provided. You have to make sure that it is working fine. • Check if all the locks on your legs and arms are perfectly strapped that holds the parachute• Check if the gauge that opens the reserve shoot automatically at 500ft above the ground is onAfter a quick check-up by the local doctor, issuing you a certificate that you are in perfect health to do the jump and signing a few waivers, you are not all set to have the dive of your life!The first dive was scheduled the next day. I had finished the course, it was time to put the theory into practice.
(14th August, 2018)The next morning, I headed to the local doctor to get myself checked. It was a formality and went without any glitches. I was fit to do the dive. After signing the waivers, I was all set now. There is no turning back now (I think I must have said this to myself like a thousand times during the entire course).The thing that I had come all the way to do and also the same thing I was procrastinating, was today! I was excited and scared too. The fear of the unknown was settling in as I was gearing up for the dive. After the pre-flight checks, it was finally time to do what I never imagined I would be doing. I would be jumping solo on my first dive!Picture inside the plane – This is me trying to put up a brave face, while I have the balls shrunk up cold in my mouth.All the way up, my instructor kept telling me that I had to do a namaste while I was free falling. I was like what!!! He can’t be serious. I haven’t yet got my head around to the nerves of doing it solo and the self-realization that there is no going back and there is only one way forward i.e to jump.This is what happened after: The first solo Video:
(12th August, 2018)Next morning, we took a train from Paris to Arcachon (included in the cost). I took us about an hour and a half to reach the destination. After having a good meal, we met up with our instructor (Jean Phillipe Audhuy) who had come to pick us up with his nine-year-old daughter called Marie Lou. She was such a sweetheart.