This repost was published in hindsight, on 11 March 2019.
Yesterday I spent about 8 hours watching Dan and his Dad learn how to parachute. They did their first jump at about 6pm. It was a very comprehensive course, and I think that I could probably have jumped out with them, had I the money. They are jumping more today, I am joining them for lunch with the rest of his family and if they are good they will both get to do free fall (previously they did static line – the plane pulls out your parachute as you fall).
I didn’t realise quite how many safety procedures went into a parachute. Not only is there a reserve chute, but it can be released by
a) you cutting away the main chute (pull the red thing)
b) you pulling the reserve rip cord
c) your altimeter reaching a set height above a certain speed
So, even if you are unconscious, and your main parachute hasn’t opened, you will float gently to an area within 100m of the dropzone (They drop you such that if you use reserve you would land in the right place without even steering.)
With that in mind I am going to sign myself up for the university’s skydiving club in September. Dan seemed to enjoy it and thinks I would too.