Team Algeos about to jump

Graham Beck reflects on an exciting but terrifying experience.

Today is the day! Early July morning clutching a coffee cup in both hands close to my chest, looking up at the air traffic heading westbound towards Ireland and who knows where.

Weather permitting; in a few hours’ time, I will be getting into an aircraft, before climbing to an altitude of over ten thousand feet, only to launch myself out of an open door and jump from a perfectly serviceable aircraft and head southwards towards the earth below.

“What could possibly go wrong.”  OK, so lots could go wrong…. Just let that day not be today.

Arrived at the Skydive site with a combination of excitement disbelief of what was about to happen.

After checking in and confirming my details, we filled out the necessary documentation and waiver forms.  Following the initial formality and confirmations, it was off to weigh in and perform safety and sanity checks; safety tutorial and clearance.  Once passed clear, off to the kit room and on with the gimp suit and strap into the harness.

Then the wait…. We waited in the ‘departure lounge’ waiting for our ‘flight to be called.’ 

The aircraft was a noisy Gippsland GA-8- Airvan – GVANX – adapted for Skydiving and what it lacked in aesthetics, it made up for in power. Held together with Duct tape and with interior panels falling off, the trusty old sky bird was doing its job by transporting Six passengers and a pilot (who it transpires mid-flight…was 20 years old) Up to eleven thousand feet….

Then the shout came from the Pilot – barely audible over the constant hum of the two bladed propeller and the rattle of the 300-horsepower flat-six air cooled engine.

‘Make ready...’ Door slides open, air rushes through the aircraft. Pilot holds the aircraft steady…. And

One away…
Two away…
Three away… then...

Head back. Palms out. Feet tucked under.

Luke and I shuffled towards the open door of a now empty aircraft.

Of the practice drills conducted on the ground in the kit room. Time for one more practice.

“Head back. palms out. feet tucked under as far as you can…”  no more practice. This was it! It is happening!!

As I looked down out of the door I could see the canopies of the other divers below, slowly making positive progress on their way towards the landing zone (LZ) a large orange cross marked the LZ target zone.

“Are you ready Graham…?”

Just like that we were free of the aircraft. Then Silence… but only for a split second, then came the rushing sound … of the wind rushing past my ears...

So, there I am hurtling towards to ground at around 150 mph … freefalling… but in complete control and feeling an immense sense of peace with the world.

Took in as much I could during the descent. Looked out towards the horizon towards the west, the same west I saw the air traffic disappear over a few hours earlier.

“Can I see my house from here?”

Below I spotted the other three divers nearing the LZ - even managed to set eyeballs onto the aeroplane I had jumped from only a few seconds earlier descend below and to the side of me.

With a massive smile and immense adrenaline rush….

“This is crazy…this is madness!... & I love it!!”

After what felt like 30 seconds, there was a tap on the shoulder & two thumbs of affirmation from Luke, and with two thumbs of confirmation from me followed by…

“Here we go then… “tally ho tally ho …”

“Woo hooo!!”  From 150 miles per hour … to 5 mph in a split second!

Air quickly filled the fabric of the parachute canopy as the chute deployed and unravelled itself. Then time to settle back and ‘enjoy’ a gentle descent taking in the view over the beautiful Shropshire countryside.

Then it was a controlled decent towards the LZ.

Landed safely… a textbook landing.

Took a few minutes to lay flat near the LZ to gather my thoughts, let the adrenaline settle….and to enable blood to flow back to my legs again… and to reflect on the experience, the sensation, and the euphoria of the situation.

Back to the kit room for the debrief. Thanked Luke and the team for the experience.

The experience is made even more satisfying knowing that we did it in support of Claire House Children’s Hospice.

Author: Graham Beck

Well done to Millie, Callum, Graham and Scott jumped out of a plane in aid of our charity of the year Claire House Children's Hospice. They raised an amazing £1913 in total.

Algeos are still accepting donations for this incredible charity and are working alongside Claire House to raise money to help build its new hospice in West Derby, Liverpool.

If you would like to show your support for #TeamAlgeos donate via the link:
Donate Here

Thank You