Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Adrenaline rush takes enthusiasts 6,000 feet in the sky

“Man’s small, why fall, sky’s call, that’s all”

When the sky is calling, man cannot resist the temptation, especially for two adventure enthusiasts from our city, Suraj R Krishnam and D.S.D.Solanki, Director, Public Relations, International Academy of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (IAMAS)as they embark for a sky diving course in Gujarat.

It was the tenth sky diving course organized by the Indian Parachute Federation, New Delhi, at the Dessa Air Port, near Palampur, Gujarat, between Feb 22 to Feb 27. The five day course teaches various aspects of sky diving. Solanki and Krishnan the only two people from Mysore jumped at the offer without batting an eyelid. Speaking to Express Solanki narrated his experience at the training centre.

The training session was conducted by a Jump Master named Surya Prakash of Indian Parachute Federation. Though he spoke in Hindi, they could follow his instructions well.

Around fifteen participants had registered for the course. As the course was conducted by ex-servicemen, military discipline was evident throughout the training. There were other participants too who had come other states.

The next day began with warm up exercises after which they started doing Para Landing Falls and other drills to get acquainted with the sky diving. The theory classes began immediately after that.

The theory classes dealt on various topics like, introduction to parachuting, ground training like Para Landing Rolls, basic safety requirements, introduction and familiarisation with parachute and their functions, checking adjustments and wearing a parachute, its design, construction & flying characteristics of a ram-air parachute, demonstration of packing and opening sequence of a parachute, parachuting aids, aircraft procedures with commands and signals, jump procedures, handling the parachute while dropping, identification of drop zone from the air, understanding wind speed and wind directions, landing procedures with Para landing falls, handling of parachute on landing, Automatic Activation Device and emergency procedures to be followed.

During the practicals they learnt tying parachute bags to their backs and had to perform a mock drill of sitting in the aircraft, followed by the dive in the air and then depending on the wind condition perform stunts like stall and spiral. They were also taught about making group formations in the air along with learning how to glide in the crosswind and down winds. In the last leg of the training they learnt how to land against the wind.

There are only two grades awarded, either a Superior or a Failure. While Superiors get a chance to jump, Failures do not. Fortunately both got through.

Finally it was time for the two dare-devils from Mysore to wear the parachutes, helmet and tie the altimeter onto their wrists. Both of them along with the jump master Surya Prakash, sat in the aircraft and took off to the air. They were shown the topography of the air strip and the drop zone area where they were supposed to land. The aerial view of the landing strip, aircraft hangars, looked very small and mesmerizing.

After reaching a height of 5000-6000 feet the the aircraft turned around to fly towards the target area. The Jump Master tied the static line to the hook in the aircraft and asked them to take position. With one leg placed on the right wing of the plane and other leg on the edge of the exit door, pat came the signal for exit. Without a moment’s hesitation, they jumped one after another in the air and started the counts to open the chute in time. The parachutes opened with slider sliding down and making sound that the chute was fully open. Solanki made three topples in the air and felt extremely happy doing the stunts, while Suraj jumped as if he is a Spider man and did spirals in air.

After the plunge, it was now time for to feel the controls. With toggles pulled down, we did a little bit of manoeuvring like left turn and right turn, as they were taught in the class room. They did some stalls and spirals. .
“That day I was an extremely happy man. With a lot of mixed feelings, it suddenly occurred to me that, alas, I have realised my dream which I once considered too difficult to realize. Thanks to Indian Parachute Federation, today I have realised my dream of soaring like a bird in the sky" said Soanki feeling elated.

Incase if any body is interested in doing static line or free fall sky diving for details you can write to tigersolanki@rediffmail.com or iamas@rediffmail.com.

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