Jump 9 – 11,500
SOLO EXIT, NICE. SLOW TURN (RT [RIGHT]). BACKLOOP (SLT [SLIGHTLY] ON SIDE). TRACKING FLIPPED OVER (BEND AT WAIST), RECOVERED, STABLE, NICE WAVE AND LOOK, PULL 3500′. (DON’T BE SO DRASTIC ON TRACK, MORE DELTA WITH ARMS). GO ON TO LEVEL VII.
I enjoyed this dive. It was the first time I jumped without anyone holding on. We took the Cessna up to 11,500′, but could not go any higher because of heavy cloud cover. When it was time, I climbed out onto the step, hanging onto the strut. I then had to wait there until we could see a hole in the lower cloud bank. That was interesting. However, I am pleased to note that I have gotten over my fear of heights (at least when I’m wearing a parachute). I wasn’t scared at all, even though I was standing on a 14″x4″ (approximately, I didn’t measure it) step in a 70-80 MPH wind, over 2 miles above the ground. Then once the JM thought he saw an opening we could jump through, I jumped. He left the plane right after me. It took me a few seconds to get my body positioned so I wasn’t turning. But, once I did, I was falling straight and steady. Then, I watched the JM do a back roll. That looked really cool. I tried a backroll. I got it right, I was just a little tilted to the side. Then I stabled out nicely. I discovered that we weren’t going to hit the hole in the clouds. We were actually going to fall through a cloud! Up to this point, I had never had anything to compare my speed to. So, I had never really experienced the speed. However, I got to watch the cloud approach very quickly, then, suddenly all I could see was white, then a few seconds later, everything was clear. It was really cool. Then, I found the airport and turned toward it. Once I was facing the airport, I tried to do a head-down track. That’s when you straighten your legs, and bring your hands back toward your waist. That position causes your body to tip down sharply. In that position, you fall much faster, but you also ‘track’ quickly across the sky. When I tried it, I did it too quickly, and tried to do too much. So, when my body tipped down, it was really, really fast, and the pressure caused my waist to bend a little. Once my waist bent, I rolled over on my back. That all happened in less than a second. Now, I was falling, facing the sky. But, I remembered the training, and flipped myself over without any problem at all. I actually rather enjoyed it. It’s nice to know that even when I am completely upside down, I can still return to the proper face-down arch position. Unfortunately, I was already at about 6,300′, so I didn’t have time for any more maneuvers (during the course, you can’t do maneuvers below 6,000′). So, I just enjoyed falling for a little while. Then, I waved off at around 5,000′. I had told my JM that I wanted to wave-off early because I wanted to spend a few seconds trying to adjust my body into a position that would allow me to see my rip cord. I managed to de-arch just enough to see the rip cord. I lowered my left shoulder just a little too far, causing my body go into a slow left turn. However, it was a very slow turn, and I was still in control. So, I ignored it. I pulled the rip cord. The slow turn caused a half twist in the lines, but it spun itself out before I had time to deal with it. The canopy ride was nice. Then, I managed to land really close to the target. I think I was within 15′ of it. All in all, it was a great jump. I really, really enjoyed it. People talk about going to New England to see the fall foliage. I say, you should see it from 13,500 feet! On a clear day, you can see all the way from Pepperell (on the N.H. border) to Cape Cod. The fall colors are extremely impressive and beautiful in that view!