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Published April 7th 2012
Q. Why would you want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane? A. Because the door was open!
Many people think skydiving is for thrill seeking, crazy, adrenalin junkies. Young and midlife crisis people. There is also a sense of freedom, peacefulness and life accomplishment. I met a 69 year old man who wanted to jump 1,000 times before he died (while his wife stayed home knitting), he chose to 'life a life worth living'.
1. Before You Jump: Excitement and fear, (which isn't real. Yes, the adrenalin pumps through your body, merely because your mind is about to experience something new and unknown, your brain can not comprehend it.
2. Freefall: Once you take that faithful leap out of the door, (because it is open ) your brain stops, you begin to 'feel' a sense of freedom and floating, as there is nothing in your in your mind's eyes that tells you that you are falling.
It places you totally 'in the moment'. Hey, that is like meditating, clearing your mind!
3. Under Canopy: The silence is peaceful. All you can hear is the air flapping through the cells of the parachute and your own breathing. You are experiencing what 'man' over centuries has always dreamed of doing, to 'fly like a bird'.
When you finally land on terra firma, most people want to repeat the whole experience. Some are happy for the one off, others want to learn to jump on their own and for those people this is where to go.
Newcastle Sports Parachute Club Australia's oldest skydiving club, is highly recommended, its name in the skydiving community is second to none.
Owned and operated by its members (who have been jumping for years/decades), they are happy to share their wealth of knowledge and give you a lot of TLC. You get to know the instructors and they get to know and remember you in real club atmosphere; personable, relaxed and fun! They have nurtured many Australian and World skydiving champions.
Skydiving is a highly regulated sport – safety is foremost with training and equipment. They also want you to enjoy the experience with a few jokes thrown in to take your mind off what you are actually doing.
Training: There are nine levels to complete your 'A' licence. AFF – Accelerated Free Fall course, which can take several weekends to complete.
First Day: A full day on the ground learning the what's and how's.
Level One: They take you through every step of the jump several times on the ground, including a mock exit from the plane. With 2 jump masters holding on to each arm and leg until you pull your rip cord. Then you are on your own (just kidding), they guide you through flying your canopy via radio control (in your helmet) or a very large arrow they swing around on the ground.
Level Two – Eight: You perform various skills with the jump masters in the air. Think of them as 'training wheels'.
Level Nine: Your very first solo jump.
Cost: around $2,000 includes training, gear and clothes hire.
If you have to repeat a level, there is an additional cost.
What to wear: Comfortable long pants or shorts and T-shirt or sweatshirt – (depending on the weather), joggers or flexible closed in boots.
From Sydney, it is a 2 hour drive.
Stay in one of the local bed and breakfasts, or pitch a tent on the grounds.
Showers and Amenities: Basic.
Kitchen: Communal - to prepare your meals.
Night Entertainment: Watch some amazing skydiving film footage from their library of DVDs, chat to the members about their experiences or pick their brains for a mind field of information.
Located in the Hunter Valley, you can pick up some wines on your way home.
Phone: (02) 4915 7429 – Bookings and information.
Tip: Ask any skydiver the date of their first jump and listen to how quick their response is! Reason: That is the day they began living.