Have you thought about skydiving, if so a tandem jump is definitely the way to go? I was fortunate enough to invited along by Graham Field at skydive Rustenburg.
Graham Field landing
The morning started off with me making my way to Rustenburg to report on an Aero Club Transformation and Development function at Rustenburg Skydiving Club and ended up being one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life.
While the second last load for the day was busy taxing out to get airborne Danelle Field came over to me and asked me to fill in an Indemnity form, a bit shocked I asked why? She then informed me that Graham was going to take me for a Tandem jump.
Rustenburg Skydiving Club
Fortunately things happened quite quickly so I didn’t have time to think about it or get too nervous, as soon as Graham laded with the previous student he took me aside for a very thorough briefing on what to do and what I could expect. The attention to safety was immediately became very apparent.
Ten minutes before take-off I was fitted with a tandem harness we was continually check by Graham on the ground before boarding the waiting Atlas Angel. The Atlas Angel is an ex Airforce Aermacchi AL-60 Kudu which has been retrofitted with a Walter M601D engine and Avia V508 3-blade constant speed propeller, making it the perfect Skydiving Aircraft.
Fitting the harness
The flight to jump altitude took just over fifteen minutes at a constant climb rate of just over 500ft/min, fortunately the visibility on Saturday was amazing making the scenic flight to 14000ft was very entertaining, even with the nagging knowledge that we were about to jump out of this “perfectly serviceable aircraft”. During the flight I noticed every one of the skydivers checking and rechecking their buddies equipment to make absolutely sure that all was good for a safe jump.
On the climb
At two minutes before the drop Graham handed me a set of goggles and manoeuvred into position so he could fasten up all the straps that attached me to his harness, and once again he checked all the gear.
Suddenly the door opened and the aircraft filled with the cold altitude air at this point “stuff“ suddenly got very real. I swung my legs out the aircraft and then edged forward until my legs were arched under the aircraft and nothing but the attachments to Graham holding me from a long fall down to the ground.
Out the Door
Suddenly we were falling, the acceleration to close to 100km/h caught me by surprise, I know it doesn’t sound fast but believe me when you feel the “Whoosh” of the wind it is feels way faster. The reason you won’t reach terminal velocity is the Drogue Chute which is set to slow you down enough that you experience a safe, comfortable opening when the time comes.
Under the Drogue
After about 35 seconds of pure adrenaline Graham pulled the main canopy, at first there is a slight increase in speed as you drop away from the drogue which is quickly followed by a very fast but surprisingly comfortable slowing down and then everything goes silent except for the flapping of the slider above your head.
Directly above Rustenburg Airfield
The slow and gentle part of the experience starts, about a five minute canopy ride, graham gave me control and it was surprisingly simple to control. The ride under the canopy is everything but boring flying through the air silently invokes a feeling of peace that can’t be explained. The landing comes all too quickly and before you know it you back on the ground left trying to make sense of what you just experienced.
Herman Grobler takes care of safety as soon as the aircraft gets airborne, he makes sure the airspace is sterile and is constant contact with the drop pilot and will not hesitate to stop the jumpers from exiting the aircraft if conditions on the ground aren’t perfectly safe for the decent.
Safe on the Ground
There are three ways one can enter the wonderful world of Skydiving, the most common is doing a tandem jump as explained above.
For the more adventurous there are other options, firstly Static line. Static line offers the thrill seeker the opportunity to experience their 1st SkyDive where the parachute is opened by a static line system; they will fly and land their own parachute under the supervision of an experienced static line instructor.
The full Accelerated Free Fall Course consists of a minimum of 10 Skydives under the direct supervision of dedicated AFF Instructors. For those who wish to learn to Skydive Solo, and to jump with other Skydivers at Drop Zones around the world, the Internationally Recognised Accelerated Freefall is the fast track program designed to turn you into a safe and competent skydiver in the shortest period of time.
Anyone that is join this exciting world don’t hesitate to contact the guys at Skydive Rustenburg, Graham, Danelle and Herman will look after you way above your expectations.
Info and Bookings
Call: Danelle Field (Admin / PRO / Bookings) +27 (0)79 345 7058
Call: Graham Field (Chief Instructor) +27 (0)74 198 0891
GPS Co-Coordinates: 25°38’39.04″S 27°16’1.94″E