As lockdown eases and we regain our outdoor lifestyles, what are you going to do in 2021? For most, that means cycling, walking, camping or even climbing. But all these sports take place within 2 meters of the ground. We think that skydiving adds a unique perspective on the beautiful countryside to be found within the UK.
Tandem skydiving doesn’t require days of training and we’ve been doing it for over 25 years at our parachute center located near to York and Leeds. This post marks the start of a new series of interviews highlighting the genuine experiences of first time skydivers as they make their leap into the unknown with one of our tandem instructors.
First up, we have Callum Connor, who is in his early 30’s, a local of Lincoln and has taken a fresh outlook on life since lockdown has affected the UK. His story is typical of a lot of our first time skydivers take their first steps into the unknown with one of our tandem instructors.
1. What made you want to do a tandem skydive?
It’s always something I have wanted to do but never really acted on it. When the coronavirus came to a head, I spent a lot of time watching YouTube and I got into a couple of you tubers called Sam and Colby that have set themselves 25 challenges before they are 25. For some reason really hit home with me.
I ended up saving money to do something big when we were free to go out again, but instead I decided I would concentrate on doing the things I wanted to do instead of saving for a holiday somewhere further afield at some possible point in the future.
Sky diving was the first challenge because its one of those challenges I wanted to do for the longest time, there were opportunities to do it previously which all fell through and doing research I discovered it was possible to do it in my local area therefore limiting the need for travel during the pandemic.
When I discovered it was the highest jump you could do in Europe I thought that if your going to do it go big and that’s I found myself at Hibaldstow. I have plans to do scuba diving, a couple of flight experiences and driving experiences among others.
2. Do you have a history of taking part in extreme sports?
I have never done much in the way of extreme sports, I did rock climbing and abseiling at school and on holidays in the past I have gone parasailing. But beyond that nothing.
3. How did you find your 20 minutes training session? Did it prepare you for the jump?
The 20 minute training session was really informative and put my mind at ease. We also had a really good group of people doing the jump, so I felt a lot more relaxed after the training session. The guys doing the jump were really good at answering any questions that I was unsure on.
My instructor was Chris who was brilliant throughout and the cameraman Ben took some amazing photos and videos from the day. They were both amazing throughout.
4. Describe what it was like when the door opened at 15,000ft for your skydive? Were you nervous?
I was a mixture of excited and terrified, I’m not overly sure how I got to the door and the next thing I know Chris said we were about to leave the plane, at which point we were out and falling! There was a moment once out of the plane when I did question why I was outside of the plane and why the plane was getting further away, then there was some screaming but then it was just amazing. It didn’t feel like falling and the views were astonishing.
5. If you had to describe the sensation of falling at 120mph to someone who has never done it before, what would you say?
The jump was epic, the first thing I noticed was how cold it was up there. I noticed that I was out of the plane and the plane was getting further away, the actual dive didn’t actually feel like falling. There was a sensation of flying or floating with amazing views and I just loved the experience.
I had no idea how fast I was falling and didn’t actually know until I landed. Since the jump, I learned I was actually falling at 120mph! It was breathtaking.
Most people who I have spoken to think I was a little mad and when I have tried to convince them to give it a go, they seemed resistant; but I would certainly recommend the experience to anyone who wants to do something out of the ordinary.
It’s a once in a lifetime experience which can only really be appreciated by doing it though the photos and video did help.
6. Is this going to be a one-off skydive, or could you see yourself doing another skydive one day?
Originally it was supposed to be a once in a lifetime experience, but I am looking forward to do it again in the future. I’m hoping within the next 6 months.
Many thanks to Callum for his insightful point of view; it’s always super interesting to hear our customers first-time experiences of skydiving in the UK. For many of our more determined customers, they decide to take the next step and take a course which opens up a whole new world of adventures.
It’s called Accelerated Freefall and is a lot more involved. Where tandem is only a 20 minute course, the first level of 8 jumps for Accelerated Freefall takes a whole day of lessons and practical exercises. You’ll be jumping out of our airplane at 15,000 feet with your own parachute (which you rent from us) and two instructors there to look after you.
Like tandem skydiving, you get a minute of freefall, but you are responsible for opening your own parachute. You then get around four to five minutes gently floating back to the ground. You’ll be taught how to check your equipment, adopt a stable freefall body position, communicate with your instructors’ hand signals, read your altimeter, open your parachute correctly and navigate back to the dropzone.
So go on take a chance and learn to skydive!