Night skydiving troubles.

On Friday morning, after Marty had gone to work, Carol asked if I wanted to come down to Bella’s school for their assembly, as they were putting on an end-of-term show. I had seen Bella making her costume over the previous days, and thought it would be fun to go and watch.

Without kids of my own I don’t get to see such events very often, and the enthusiasm of the kids certainly put a smile on my face.

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On Saturday morning I headed out once again to Skydive Express at York, for the fourth weekend in a row, which is a bit of a personal record for me. I have done more jumps in the past four weekends than in the previous two years, I think!

With full moon being on the 30th March, Saturday night was going to be the best opportunity for night jumps. I have been building up to this weekend for the past month, getting in the necessary amount of jumps, and practicing my landing accuracy, as there is only a small lit area to land in at night.

The winds were fairly strong and steady all day, and it was a great day for jumping. The last jump of the day was a new one for me, as I managed to borrow a set of “camera wings” – a type of jacket that camera flyers use to be able to adjust their body position in order to capture better angles for videos.

The last load had been delayed, and as we reached 14,000 feet the sun was just setting, and the sky was lit a stunning orange. The view from height was awesome. By the time we jumped and eventually landed it was a half-night-jump already!

The winds dropped a little as darkness fell, but were in the wrong direction to be able to land in front of the main building, where the spot lights are set up. As the day’s jumping came to an end, sixteen of us who had signed up for night jumps waited tensely for the Chief Instructor’s decision.

Unfortunately, with some cloud cover, the direction of the winds on the ground, and the still strong upper winds, the CI eventually decided the conditions were a little too marginal, and informed us over the speaker system that night jumps were cancelled!

There was disappointment all round, followed by a headlong rush to the bar as an alternative evening’s entertainment. Things got a little lively towards the end of the night, and the strip-foozball competition ended predictably!

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I got a pretty late start for jumping on Sunday morning, nursing a bit of a hangover for the first part of the morning.

Once again, a great weekend of skydiving, although I am very disappointed not to have achieved the goal. It really is a pretty hard one to get done, as I have to be in the right place at the right time, when night jumps are being done, and need to have all my gear with me. I really don’t know if I’ll get another opportunity to try this one again before July 4th! Oh dear!

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