Lessons of Flight and Fancy

I’ve packed and jumped parachutes for an awfully long time … almost half of my life, and I’ve made my share of misjudgements. Today was one such occasion.

I’m wanting to reinvent my style in the sky, so I thought I’d go for a solo stiffly jump, reacquainting myself with the basics of body flight. The beauty of skydiving by myself lies in the ability to jump on my own terms, learning at my own pace and opening at an altitude that is safe in the situation. Being the only fun jumper on the plane (the rest were tandems), I pulled slightly higher than normal. 3,500 feet to be exact. Boy am I grateful for that little bit of extra time! Turns out, when I unhooked the demo Pilot canopy on the weekend, I did a complete switcheroo without repacking my Spectre main 7 cell canopy. A friend helped me with the exchange whereby all looked and seemed intact with no misrouting. In this instance, I put too much faith in another, and I really know better in such circumstances. Rule of thumb: repack my gear whenever the canopy is released (cutaway) from the container, regardless of whether I’m in a hurry or ‘certain’ that everything looks like it’ll work out fine.

Well, on this opening, I started spinning rather rapidly under a tightly wound cascade of line twists that reached up a good 5 feet. Bicycle kick extraordinaire had me under a semi-normal canopy. The first thing that I looked for after flying on heading was in which direction the nose was pointed. Funny you might ask, but the initial thought that went through my head was that the canopy had been reattached backwards. In fact, I’ve seen slaDE purposefully land a backwards attached canopy. He just did a 180 under his risers and landed like that. I wouldn’t have the same sort of bravado or courage to land a backwards flying parachute! Rather, it turned out that I had a triple twist in my right riser housing whilst the left riser had a single twist. You got it. Misrouted reattachment. But with enough altitude above my set hard deck of 2,000 feet, I deemed the main canopy safe to land (it was surprisingly stable and docile despite the large number of riser twists) and decided against cutting away (even though the conditions and spot were perfect for a reserve deployment). What went through my head was: “Why spend an extra $70 for a reserve repack if I didn’t need to?” I had enough thrills for the day and was happy to safely set down lightly and with ease. Big sigh of relief. Next time I jump a demo, no matter who hooks it up, I’m repacking my main canopy just to triple check that everything is kosher!

Thoughts on drinking and driving

No drinking and driving. Ever!
All this information is quoted directly from the website: Think! Road Safety
Here’s a powerful video on YouTube … if this doesn’t inspire you to think seriously before you drink & drive, nothing will.


Even one beer or one spliff makes your driving worse. They slow reaction times and make it easier for you to make bad decisions that could cost your life or someone else’s. At the very least, driving drunk or on drugs makes you an idiot and could get you sent to prison. The effects can include:
    • slower reactions
    • increased stopping distance
    • poorer judgement of speed and distance
    • reduced field of vision
Alcohol also tends to make you feel over-confident and more likely to take risks when driving, which increases the danger to all road users, including yourself.

There is no failsafe guide as to how to stay under the legal alcohol limit or how much you can drink and still drive safely. The only safe option is not to drink if you plan to drive.
No drinking and driving. Ever!

You can’t calculate your alcohol limit, so don’t try.
Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive safely.

No drinks, no excuses

‘I had a drink, but it was at lunchtime.’
–> Even a small drink at lunchtime makes you sleepier and impairs your driving.

‘I feel fine to drive.’
–> Any amount of alcohol affects your judgement.

‘I’ve only had a couple.’
–> Even a single drink makes you drive less well.

‘I’ve had a meal.’
–> Alcohol still gets into your system and affects your driving.’

‘I can handle my drink.’
–> Alcohol affects everbody’s driving for the worse. It creates a feeling of overconfidence, makes judging distance and speed more difficult and slows your reactions so it takes longer to stop.

‘I’m only going down the road.’
–> A large proportion of all drink drive crashes occur within three miles of the start of the journey.

‘I’m driving slowly and carefully.’
–> Alcohol actually makes you less alert and careful, however slowly you drive.

Choices …. solo journeys

soloRight now, I am pissed, hurt and angry. Some rules are meant to be followed, for the safety of everybody’s sake. And when a line is crossed, in my book, I am the first to say what’s on my mind, whether it be ‘right or wrong’. And usually someone gets hurt. At least, I’m being real and true, to what I feel.

Sometimes with choice and at other times not, I take the time to give myself some space. Breath, think, breath some more. Connect with the source of my issue and anxiety. And then Explore. Learn. Grow.

I’m still not happy AT ALL about the actions this person favoured. But I have come to terms that I have no control, over anyone except myself and what I do. I really don’t, even when I dearly want it. We are each of us alone, solo in our journey. I can not make the choices of another, and when that person makes unwise decisions, they will have to live with their actions for the rest of their existence.

And then I step back and think ….

  • Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right.
  • Love the ones who don’t just because you can. Believe everything happens for a reason.
  • If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it.
  • Kiss slowly. Forgive quickly.
  • Breath, connect and then speak.


Friend or foe?

This morning I sat and drank in YouTube skydiving videos, reminiscing about the times of old, somewhat nostalgic in my desire to return the the skies above.

I came across this animated short named “Angst”, and I could relate to Little Andre’s apprehension with the wind.

From the day André was born, he got harassed by the wind, which resulted in a fear for it. He is forced to confront his fears, the moment his dog gets in trouble.
— Director: Emiel Penders