For the first 44 years of my life, I had a very consistent relationship with skydiving – I was terrified of it. My parents had made sure of that by placing it firmly into the same category as other activities they disapproved of, like swimming with sharks or swallowing fire. So when my own son asked if I would consent to him doing a tandem skydive, I had to do some serious soul searching.
The decision to strap yourself , or in my case my first born, to another human who will hurl your body out of an open airplane and keep you company as you plummet 10,000 feet at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour is not one to be taken lightly. The key is finding an instructor who can impart all of the necessary points about technique and safety, while striking a balance with reassurance and some sense of fun.
At Skydive St. Andrews, located at Fife Airport in Glenrothes, the highly experienced team strikes that perfect balance. After a full briefing that conveys both how much their instructors know and how little you are expected to know, the jumpers are asked to suit up and wait their turn.
As I watched the plane take off with my son in it, a lifetime of fear gave way to the excitement that must drive everyone who straps on a parachute. After 30 minutes, I heard the buzz of the plane above then watched in awe as a small speck broke through the clouds followed by an explosion of colour and then a familiar voice rose through the air, cheering at the fulfilment of a long-time ambition. As they landed precisely and gently where they intended to, I could literally see that we had made the right decision.
My relationship with skydiving has definitely changed. I dare not tell my parents, but I would consider jumping myself. Maybe someday, and definitely at Skydive St. Andrews.
Tel: 01592 882400 www.skydivestandrews.co.uk