Bright and early on Saturday the 28th May, five bleary eyed Cadets arrived at Speech Hall after their delayed prom. Paperwork checked they boarded the minibus and we travelled to Netheravon, Wiltshire, home of the Army parachuting school.
The Cadets took part in theory and practical lessons delivered by our instructor Sue. The Cadets learned how to leave the aircraft, understand where to be according to the wind, how to land and importantly what to do if the parachute does not deploy properly. At the end of the day, they had to pass a practical and written test.
All passed and Sue informed them that the weather was looking good and they will be able to jump that evening. The boys signed out their rigs and went for the final brief before boarding the aircraft in reverse order. Will G. was to be the first out! At 3,500 feet Will was to take his position in the door. Then told, “Look up, Go”. With distant sounds of 1,000, 2,000 he was gone. Just the end of the static line where he once was.
One by one the Cadets jumped. After checking their parachutes had deployed properly, steered themselves to the holding area. At 1000 feet they turned towards the landing area with the wind behind them before turning into it at 400 feet, getting ready to land. All landed without any problems as the sun set over Stonehenge. A debrief followed where the instructor showed the Cadets videos of their jumps, analysing their body positions etc.
Ruari was told he got a VGATW (VERY Good All The Way) not often given out. We dropped our bags into the bunkhouse and headed off to our booking at Pizza Hut to chat about our individual efforts and how we were going to improve in the morning. We returned to the hanger in the morning ready for our second jumps in front of parents. Unfortunately, the weather due at midday arrived early and the parachuting school informed us there was to be no student jumping that day. Only experienced sky divers could jump that day, so the Cadets got to watch the Army and Navy display teams practice before heading home.
The Cadets also raised funds for the local Royal British Legion branch. It was a great weekend and a chance for the Lower Sixth Cadets to bond before taking over the reins of the Contingent next term.