First Time Jumpers
Your First Jump at Grand Bend Sport Parachuting Center... After years of telling yourself and others that you've "always wanted to try that", the time has come! You've signed up for a First-Jump Course, paid your money and now you're going to "take your chances"!? What will it be like? At the Grand Bend Sport Parachuting Center it goes something like this:
Classroom Instruction : You and your classmates will meet your instructor who will show you videos illustrating all aspects of the first-jump procedures. The videos were produced at GBSPC and clearly show everything you'll be doing. They cover topics such as equipment, aircraft exit, freefall, steering and landing the parachute. There's also a segment on "unusual situations" which covers what you must do in the event that something doesn't go according to plan!
Practical Training : You'll practise all the phases of the jump, including how to exit the aircraft, proper freefall body position and reactions to instructors' signals, steering the parachute and landing. You'll also practise some emergency procedures: we'll suspend you in a real harness and play videos on a TV in the ceiling to simulate various parachute "malfunctions" so you can practise your reactions as realistically as possible.
Chute Up!: When it's your turn, you'll don a jumpsuit, goggles, helmet, radio and your modern parachute system. Everything will be adjusted and checked by your instructors. Then it's time for a final walk-through at the airplane before the flight.
The photo above shows a first-jump student practising with two instructors before going up in our trusty Cessna 206. This aircraft is outfitted with a newer, more powerful engine, STOL kit, Vortex Generators and extended wingtips, so it's one of the best- performing C206s around. We take up to six jumpers per flight, so there's room for one first- timer, two instructors, a camera flyer and two other experienced skydivers.
The Airplane Ride: As we climb to the 8000 foot jump altitude, you'll be able to orient yourself to the "drop zone" at Grand Bend Airport and also do a little sightseeing... the view of Lake Huron is spectacular! Your instructors will ask you to verbally review the jump sequence just to be sure you remember all the details. In about 15 minutes we'll be at jump altitude. You and your instructors will get into position ready for exit. Both instructors will have firm grips on your harness. You'll signal that you're ready, then step away from the aircraft with the instructors still holding you securely on both sides.
Skydive! It's hard to describe freefall... you just have to feel it to understand! Some have said it feels like floating on a vertical wind. Others say it must be what flying feels like. Rarely does anyone report any kind of "falling sensation" and no, it doesn't feel like a roller coaster or bungee jump. During the freefall, you should maintain an "arched" body position for stability. You'll react to any signals from your instructors and probably "geek" the cameraflyer who swoops down to video your freefall. He or she will appear to "fly" down in front of you with a helmet- mounted digital video camera.
At 4000 feet, your main parachute is activated and your instructors release their grips on your harness. In about two seconds you'll feel a reassuring "jolt" ... the parachute's open!
The Parachute Ride: After the rush and wind-noise of freefall, suddenly it's going to seem very quiet! You can see forever! The crackle of the instructor's steering instructions over the radio will bring you back to reality. You'll check that your parachute is open and flying properly. You'll find the big parachute is easy to fly through the sky. You will be able to turn, speed up and slow down easily, just by pulling on two steering handles.
By following the radio'd steering instructions you'll find yourself homing in on the target area after about four minutes. With some last minute advice from your instructor on the ground, you'll "flare" your canopy and glide in for a landing.
You'll have a grin that'll last for days and memories that will last a lifetime. You're a skydiver!