David White , FFU Ocaña AFF Graduate .

Skydiving seems to come naturally to some people, but not to me. Completing the course was one of the toughest psychological challenges I’ve taken which has made my success much more significant. It took me a few retakes to get there but my instructor was superb and the course built my self-confidence with each step so that my first solo jump was no worry at all. I really grasped the extent of what we were doing one day in the plane while we were climbing through 10,000 feet on the way to a drop. I looked north out of the aircraft window and saw a jet airliner flying lower than us on its approach to Madrid airport and thought of some of the people on it who would be nervous of their forthcoming landing whereas we were still climbing in order to jump out of our plane.

There’s no way to explain the thrill of skydiving – you just have to do it. I love the excitement of the freefall but there’s also the contrast of the (relative) calm of the descent under the canopy. One jump I was hanging there when an eagle soared past – I felt as if I could fly with it.

Like most people there , I travelled on my own and wondered how things would go socially. I needn’t have been concerned as there’s a great spirit amongst the students and the instructors so we were always out together in Aranjuez at night – most of them much later than me! I’ll definitely be back to the Freefall University soon to do more consolidation jumps. I want to go on learning and enjoying the thrill of skydiving now that within myself I have found new limits.

Ian Newlands, FFU Ocaña AFF and FS1 Graduate.

Freefall university is so good I decided to stay for another week! I was a little nervous to start with, but now I’ve done over 50 jumps in two weeks, and all I can think about is when I can next get time off work to come back.

There have been a couple of days when wind and rain have stopped jumping for a few hours, but that’s great compared to the UK. I was made to feel very welcome when I arrived and the atmosphere at the dropzone is very friendly. The nightlife in Arunjuez is very good, and people meet up in the evening for a meal and a couple of drinks. If you’re lucky enough to have Andy as your instructor, be prepared for his strange sense of humour, like when he said “ok, we’re just going to roll out of the plane this time” (I didn’t realise he was joking until we got back onto the ground!).

If you’re thinking about going to freefall University, but you’re not sure about going by yourself, do it! I was apprehensive about going alone, but I’ve made lots of friends since I’ve been here, and I’ve had the most enjoyable holiday I can remember.

I should warn you that you will probably spend more money than you intend to. If you’re anything like me, once you’ve started jumping by yourself, you’ll want to do as many as you can. I also did the introduction to formation skydiving course so that I can jump with other people.

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