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IHateSprouts tells us they once avoided getting caught up in an IRA bomb attack by missing a train. Tell us how you've dodged the Grim Reaper, or simply avoided a bit of trouble.

(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 12:31)
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Story added to validate post.

A few years ago a couple of my friends who sky dive regularly asked me if I wanted to do a jump for charity. I decided to give it a go, this would be a solo jump rather than one of those things where you're strapped to someone that knows what they're doing.

The weekend of the jump arrived and my friend drives us down to the drop-zone for the weekend. The Saturday is spent being given a presentation on what you're suppose to do and what can go wrong and how your deal with it and the equipment we would be using. This is followed with lots of drills that make you feel very silly. Jumping into a star position, looking at the sky and shouting "one thousand, two thousand, three thousand, one thousand, two thousand, three thousand, check canopy" and pretending to check a parachute that doesn't exist. Repeat this for hours, then do another drill for hours to practice cutting away the main chute and pulling your reserve in case things go badly wrong.

Sunday morning is spent doing drills as the weather isn't good, in the afternoon it clears up and the 12 of us there for our first jump are suited up and get into a very small plane. Our helmets have a headset radio, but we can only receive and it only works when you get closer to the ground. I'm at the back of the plane, due to some kind of ordering system that I don't understand so I'll be the last person out.

The drop zone is interestingly situated, in one direction is the sea, in another a static caravan park, in another a railway line and farm fields and in another a lot of trees. We're told if you're going to miss the drop zones big white land on me cross you can go anywhere but if you land on the caravans it will probably kill you. We get a nice view of all these things on the way up.

The plane starts circling, and one at a time the people on board throw themselves out, shout their chute opens and they check the canopy. All good so far. I'm the last up, I get in position in the door and confirm I'm ready. Adrenaline is pumping in my viens, but I feel oddly calm. I get the go and I throw myself out and into the star position.

"one thousand"
"two thousand"
"three thousand"
"one thousand"
"two thousand"
"three thousand"
"check canopy"

Looking up, instead of a nice open chute. I've got a twisted tangle of chute and ropes. We've been told about this in training though, so I know what to do. I take a few seconds to work out which way round the ropes are rapped and then stick out a leg and fling it about in a form of sky hokey cokey. The idea being this will spin me round and untangle the lines.

Spin round a bit, check altimeter, it's getting close to the end of the green. I have to use the reserve chute, before it hits red. Otherwise, even opening the chute I'll hit the ground to fast.

Spin round a bit more, check the altimeter. That yellow section is running out fast.

Spin round a bit more, my chute finally opens. I check the altimeter, I've got a tiny fraction of yellow left. The red zone was seconds away. I won't be dying today.

Now where am I? I've ended up being in a bit of an odd place. I'm also a lot closer to the ground than I was expecting. I have to do some tight turns to get me back lined up with where I need to land.

I managed to land on the edge of the big white cross. I'm also the 3rd person of the 12 to land. Which means I overtook 9 people when I was falling like a stone.

Also one of the other people who was doing the jump got a bit scared watching me fall passed like a rock with a streamer attached and this caused them to forget to stear their parachute to the landing zone. They landed on the far side of the railway lines and had a bit of a walk back to the drop zone.

So that's how I escaped death and made some money for charity.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 12:35, 11 replies)
I actually feel a bit giddy after reading that
Well done for staying calm and sorting it out.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 14:53, closed)
I was surprised about how calm I was, perhaps it was some kind of suvival mechanism or perhaps the air was thin at the altitude so low oxygen might have kept me calm. I haven't done a jump since then though, as I don't want to push my luck.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 15:39, closed)
Has a first post ever come top of QOTW before?
If not, this could well be the first. It was an excellent read. Glad you are still here to tell the story!
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 15:50, closed)
I'm glad you like it
I've been a lurker for a long time, I enjoy reading qotw but I haven't had a good story to tell based on the topic. Finally, something came up that I thought I could make a decent contribution to. :)
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 16:03, closed)
Makes your guts go a bit wobbly
thinking about it.

Get's my vote.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 16:28, closed)
Ye Gads!
That made me feel a bit poorly. I would love to do a jump, but doubt I would keep my head screwed on if that happened!
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 18:21, closed)
Give it a go
It's rare that what happened to me happens. I've got friends that do it all the time and they seem to never have problems. They do pack their own chutes though.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 9:39, closed)
A good first post...wonders will never cease! Well done that man (woman?) on both the post and not doing your best cowpat impersonation.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 18:29, closed)
I am indeed a man and glad not to have become a cowpat :P
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 9:38, closed)
Well done sir, Just one thing though...
Caravans? I suppose if the bloke inside is a bit of a gripper you might be in trouble but otherwise a nice soft navarac would probably be quite forgiving to land on.

At least you hit the X so didn't have to test the theory!
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 11:37, closed)
It's what the instructor told us.
I believe it went something like this, if you head out to sea they would call the coast guard so they'll be there to pick you up when you land. The train tracks weren't often in use, so you were very unlikely to get hit by a train, but it would be best to avoid them. The caravans were the static type, I'm assuming landing on one would be like hitting a barn.
(, Wed 25 Aug 2010, 16:56, closed)

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