My story about parachute jumping with the world champion of 2016
It has been quite a while since the idea of parachute jumping has been tickling the back of my brain so a few years ago I put it on my bucket list.
It was on my bucket list but somewhere at the very bottom to be honest since my step son jumped a couple of years ago in Miami and told me that he was terrified and would never do it again.
The other week however, I’ve had our friends over for a bbq and after a few beers my friend said that he was thinking of doing a parachute jump. He’s done it 4 times already and wants to do it again.
Probably due to the volume of already consumed beers I quickly dusted my bucket list down and said ok, let’s do it, let’s jump!
Who did I jumped with?
As it happens, My wife’s first cousin is a professional parachute guy and since it wasn’t to late in the night I told my her to give him a ring and get it organized. She made the call and Tamas Varga picked it up at the other end.
It turned out that they were actually in Russia on the 40th CISM World Military Parachuting Championship 2016 and were getting ready for the last day of the competition so he couldn’t really deal with our request. We wished them good luck and the next day the text arrived: WE WON 🙂 !
A few days later when he was back at home we called him up and congratulated to their win. He said thanks, but what about that jump then? I thought wow that makes a difference, now I’m going to jump with the World Champion!
We agreed to make it happen on Saturday just gone so I called up my friend to let him know that we’re jumping but now with a real Parachute World Champion of 2016.
So two days ago we arrived at the airport near Kiskunfelegyhaza where it was all happening.
How do you compete in parachute jumping?
We arrived a bit early but that gave us a chance to get Tamas to tell us all about their win. He told us that it was an extremely tight competition and they won by 1 centimeter, which is less than half of an inch.
The parachute landing accuracy competition goes it’s like this: The team consists of 5 jumpers. They take you up you jump and you have to land onto a target which is about the size of a 10p coin. Obviously the nearer you land the better. Out of 5 jumpers the 4 best jumps count, they disregard the worst.
You have 10 rounds and the results add up. Now get this: The Hungarian Parachute Team’s total points were 26. This means that out of 10 jumps of 5 men they only missed the target by a TOTAL of 26 centimeters (about 10 inches). The Russians came second with 27 centimeters and Belarus came third with 31 centimeters.
Other countries in the competition were: Slovenia, Germany, United Arab Emirates, France, Italy, Czech Republic, China, Oman, Algeria, Spain, Bahrain, Morocco, Switzerland, Argentina, Indonesia, Denmark, Serbia, South Korea, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, and Palestine.
Let’s get going…
Anyway, let’s get back to our jump. We went through a Health and Safety induction, filled out the necessary paperwork, then completed a ground practice of what we’ll do in the air. During the ground practice my adrenaline level started to rise already as I realized that this will actually happen and there is no way back now (well, there is, but obviously my pride would never let me).
Everyone around when they saw me all dressed up and in harness kept asking “are you not afraid?” I can say all honestly, I wasn’t. I was extremely excited and could wait on my turn actually.
I wasn’t afraid first of all because I fully trusted Tamas and second because the Health and Safety induction and the ground practice convinced me that even though we came to have fun, everything is being taken very seriously and nothing is left to luck.
We jumped from 10,000 feet (just over 3000 meters) and our way up was really adventurous in a little Cessna 180 with all the seats taken out except from the pilot’s of course. It has taken about 25 minutes to climb up to the required 10,000 feet.
I was looking out of my head enjoining the view when Tamas sitting behind me suddenly tapped my shoulder which meant that we have about a minute before the jump. The door opened and as we practiced on the ground climbed out the plane onto the small 20” x 10” platform. A last wink into the camera which was strapped onto Tamas’s wrist, then whoa!!! …we were in the atmosphere wrapped around only by the wind.
120 MPH free fall
The feeling was simply amazing. Free fall at 120 mph is a feeling that cannot be told, you have to experience it. I’m a biker so this kind of speed is not unknown to me at all but this is something else. A true freedom!
To my estimate it lasted about 30 seconds before we opened the parachute. To be honest my only worry was this part as I was worried about my “man” parts getting hurt however, it was a pleasant surprise as it went down as smooth as a butter with no sudden drag-back at all. It was like a brake test on an R1 from high speed to zero I would say.
Once the parachute was open and I felt like no falling at all just drifting between the earth and the universe I turned around and started to enjoy the scenery. It was truly beautiful. Tamas passed me the “steering wheel”, I mean the two pull things that you navigate the parachute with and said from behind me: Now let’s have some fun! He asked me to pull the right side down really hard.
Boy, that was some fun! It made us to flip almost 360 degrees around our axle. Wow, what a feeling, my spine still shivers as I think back on it. We’ve done this turn one more time, and then started to get ready for the landing.
For the landing we turned against the wind which slowed us right down, then smoothly touched ground as per the book.
Wrapped up the shoot and walked back to the airport with my heart still beating from the excitement. I couldn’t thank Tamas enough for this experience and actually saw on his face that he enjoyed this just as much as I did even after 9000 or so jumps that he’s completed so far.
All in all I can only recommend parachute jumping so if you’re in Hungary and thinking of what to do stop thinking. Do a parachute jump! It well worth the 45,000 HUF (about £ 130 at the time of this article) for an experience which you will never ever forget.
They didn’t ask me for it but I include their website’s link here because I can only recommend this fun to everyone.
So if you want to do parachute jumping with the World Champion, get in touch with them and ask for Tamas, tell him that I sent you 😉
Unfortunately the website is only in Hungarian but still, check it out: http://tandemszeged.hu/