It’s been over four months since I’ve jumped. It was before I went to Europe even. It’s not like I haven’t been trying, though. For the last couple months I’ve been going to the airport every weekend and wednesday evening, hoping there would be enough people to jump. Most of the time nobody was there. Today, though, it happened. I checked the web camera and saw the plane sitting outside, so I changed and hurried out the door.
When I got there the plane was already loaded and leaving the tarmac. But Larry said I could get on the next load. I got my suit and chute on and practiced reaching for the pilot chute on the bottom of the container a few times just to remind my muscles where it was. The wind was pretty heavy, and there were clouds overhead, so I was a little concerned, but by the time the first load landed and we were ready for the next trip, it was clearer and less windy.
The ride up was uneventful, but pretty. It was sunset, and as we rose the sun didn’t really move because the horizon was changing, so I got the longest sunset I’ve ever seen. At 10500 feet I could see my breath while we were still in the plane. We opened the door and got a blast of cold, waited until we over the right spot, and I dove out headfirst. I definitely need to work on my diving because I ended up doing a bit of a flip, but got control quickly. I touched my pilot chute a couple times just to make sure I could find it, then started practicing my turning. I was having no problem staying stable and making fast and sharp turns, so I then tried a front flip and nailed it. Next was a barrel roll, and that was no problem either. I still had a bit of time, so I worked on tracking across the ground (basically, moving horizontally). I opened my chute at exactly the right altitude and took a couple quick turns to bleed off a bit of altitude. I judged the wind and my descent speed just right and started to set up my landing. I did the textbook landing pattern, and hit the ground just inches away from where I had planned to land before we took off. I even stood my landing; and yes, I put my arms up like a gymnast afterwards.
I couldn’t have had a better jump. I was very happy with it. I brought my chute back in and had to pause a few times while I repacked it to remember the steps, but I got it all right. By the time I left it was dark out. I made the requisite call to mom and left a message that I had jumped, landed, and was uninjured.