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From a Charity Tandem Jump to A-Licence Skydiver: A Journey of Adventure and Thrills

19th July 2023


Skydiving, the ultimate adventure sport that promises unparalleled thrills and breathtaking views, had always fascinated me. It all started with a charity tandem jump back in 2008 at Skydive Langar, where I first experienced the adrenaline rush of freefall. Little did I know that this exhilarating leap would spark a lifelong passion for skydiving. After a tandem jump on holiday in New Zealand in 2009, I made a decision to pursue skydiving more seriously, but life's twists and turns delayed my dream until 2022 when I finally took the leap and embarked on the AFF course at Skydive Tilstock.

The Beginnings of a Skydiving Enthusiast

The seed of skydiving was planted during that momentous charity tandem jump in 2008. Strapped to a skilled instructor, I plunged from 15,000 feet above the ground, experiencing a unique mix of terror and euphoria. The adrenaline rush was like nothing I had ever felt before. The mere thought of skydiving solo thrilled me, and it became a goal I couldn't ignore.

Life, however, had other plans, and family responsibilities took center stage after my New Zealand tandem jump. The dream of pursuing the AFF course was shelved for years, but my passion for skydiving never waned. Finally, in 2022, I decided it was time to fulfill my long-awaited skydiving aspirations.

The AFF Course at Skydive Tilstock

The Accelerated Freefall (AFF) course is a rigorous and comprehensive training program designed to equip aspiring skydivers with the skills and knowledge needed to skydive solo. The course began with ground training, where I learned about the equipment, safety protocols, body positioning, and emergency procedures. It was essential to absorb every detail as it would directly translate to my performance in the sky.

My first jumps during the AFF course were a mix of excitement and nervousness. Levels 1-3 involved jumping with two instructors holding onto me, gradually letting go to test my stability in the air, check heading, altitude, and practice touches on the pull toggle. Even on level 1, I had to land completely on my own which I did manage to do and I felt great. On level 4, with only one instructor, I had a hilarious moment when I accidentally fell out of the plane! Luckily, I regained control quickly and passed that level.

On level six, I experienced a challenge when I lost total control of my body position, spinning wildly, and accidentally knocking my instructor's GoPro camera off his head with my foot. Despite my mishap, the instructor handled the situation calmly by deploying the parachute for me. Although this incident set me back two levels, it turned out to be beneficial as I used the opportunity to learn and improve my body position in an indoor skydiving wind tunnel.

Overcoming Adversity and Embracing the Journey

The path to becoming a Licenced skydiver was not without obstacles. An unfortunate shoulder injury sustained during weight training forced me to take a three-month break from jumping. Patience and determination became my allies during this time, and I used the break to study skydiving techniques and theory, ensuring that my knowledge was razor-sharp once I returned to the skies.

The Joy of Achieving the A-Licence

After months of hard work, dedication, and overcoming challenges, I finally completed all 8 levels of the AFF course and passed the 10 consolidation jumps required to obtain my A-Licence. I was now a certified solo skydiver! The feeling of accomplishment and the sheer joy of flying solo cannot be described in words. Skydiving had transformed from a dream into a reality, and it was undoubtedly one of the best decisions I have ever made.

The Call of Adventure

Now armed with an A-Licence, my skydiving journey has only just begun. I have already planned a thrilling trip to Portugal to jump from new heights and experience the thrill in different corners of the world. The allure of seeing the world from above and experiencing the freedom of the skies is irresistible, and I'm determined to make the most of this adventure-filled sport.

Would I recommend Skydiving?

From a life-changing charity tandem jump in 2008 to earning my A-Licence in 2022, skydiving has been an exhilarating journey of adventure and self-discovery. The AFF course at Skydive Tilstock not only tested my courage and determination but also allowed me to conquer my fears and embrace the joys of freefall. Despite the challenges and setbacks, I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world. Skydiving has enriched my life in ways I could never have imagined, and I wholeheartedly recommend this awe-inspiring sport to anyone seeking an unforgettable adventure. So, whether you're an adrenaline junkie or simply looking to push your boundaries, take that leap and let the winds carry you to new heights—there's nothing quite like the thrill of skydiving.

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