Ben Mills , UK, AFF Graduate, Freefall University.
I was picked up and taken straight to the Drop Zone (DZ) and into the bar where another student Martina was celebrating graduation of her AFF course in the traditional manner, the video of her skydives was playing and she had bought a crate of beer for everyone to share. I was introduced to my instructor immediately and several other people. Everyone was so nice, friendly and welcoming. Most people seemed to know just how I was feeling….nervous about the whole thing!. I say most as some people seem born to skydive but for the rest of us mere mortals, who have a fascination, an interest or have just decided to step outside their comfort zone….way….way….way out!!! The emotions are powerful, and can swing wildly.
My First Freefall:
I’m actually pretty relaxed at least in part, I feel at one with the sky, like somehow I’m meant to be there, that it was always part of me, it just took me 28 years of life to discover it. I felt free, freer than I ever have before, I was flying.. kinda, it felt incredibly exhilarating and also somehow it just felt right !
It’s all about personality. My Instructor was definitely a perfect instructor for skydiving. He’s doing the right job. I was very lucky to be taught by him. Regardless of the testimony of the other students I’d met and talked to the night before, this became apparent to me very quickly. One to one instruction, all the other students where at different levels throughout the course, really helped me feel confident. No question went unanswered. His calm confident professional and friendly manner helped put me at ease. The other instructors here are all very experienced experts too with thousands of jumps and qualifications to boot not to mention British team members or ex team members, cameramen and even James Bond doubles and film stunt advisors! None of this you find out from them, only through word of mouth by the other students or friends of the instructors. I’d picked the right people to do my AFF with but I’d already worked that out. My Instructors instruction is first rate. The school, the attitudes, the organization is all safety conscious and I soon have complete confidence and trust in my instructor. That’s essential as I will follow his every word and direction throughout my training.
The First Jump:
I feel a great togetherness on the plane, there’s 9 of us on the plane. Just before the first lot exit I am inaugurated into the clan by the skydivers handshakes, the music’s on in the plane (something I now love and always ask for as we ride to altitude) but I don’t really here it now, I focused, I’m going through with it, I’m nervous but I’m ready.
I’d done what I came here to do I had set myself free, free and into what is now a much better world. Personally I now feel I can do anything I put my mind to. “If I can do this I can play to 70,000 people at a festival or Wembley stadium” I told myself before doing the course. Well I don’t know if I’ll get the chance to find out if I can but I know one thing. If I ever get the chance I’ll take it. Skydiving is a bit like gigging. I get nervous before hand, The getting up on stage bit is the Exit but you just have to do it because like skydiving, when you play that first chord or sing the first note and its all going well, that’s what its all about, that’s the rush of the skydiving part, and when you finish, in between songs, that’s the quiet beautiful canopy bit. So gigging is a lot like skydiving, its all Mental, you just have to go for it and Relax. Skydiving has shown me that I can conquer my fears and paranoia and be who I want to be and live my dreams.
A great big thank you to all the staff, students and fellow skydivers that helped make my 10 days so good.
Billy Gibbons, UK, AFF Graduate, Freefall University.
Thanks to the FFU for taking care of one scared student skydiver! The friendliness and helpfulness of the FFU team, the solidarity between students and the spanish coffee from the DZ cafe was spot on (who needs red bull?!).
Special thanks to Brian who really helped to get me in that plane door and get over my fear. Six months ago, after my birthday tandem, if you had told me that I would be jumping solo I wouldnt have believed you. If you had told me that i would be laughing and poking my toungue out at the camera whilst getting video’d on a consolidation jump…i would have called you crazy!
Spot-on instructors, spot-on support , spot-on location, spot-on weather…..I’ll be back…”