Cadets Spend Their Reading Week Skydiving in Florida
Article by: 25997 OCdt (IV) Andrew Birchall, 7 Sqn
Who wants to jump out of a perfectly good airplane for their spring break?
Surprisingly, a large group of adrenaline-seeking RMCC Cadets and a few graduates signed up and slapped down over $1,800 each to do exactly that!
This year’s Skydiving Florida trip was bigger and better than it has ever been before. We had 27 finish their Solo License, 5 finish off their A license and 1 finish all the skill sets required for their C license. The trip also included 2 graduates as well as Master Bombardier Sean Cunningham who volunteered free of charge to assist in the packing course and spent many hours explaining the details of the sport as well as answering all the questions of the eager OCdts.
The Solo program has more training to it than one would expect: There are 4 hours of ground school, 20 minutes of wind tunnel instruction at Sky Venture Montreal, and 10 jumps out of a Twin Otter at 13,500’. This is a big challenge for the Cadets as they must focus on the technical details of the manoeuvres while managing the stress, adrenaline and anxiety that flows through their bodies when stepping into the skies. As always, the Cadets did very well in this intense learning environment with a majority of them admitting to their new addiction to this sport.
The next level of licensing is the A license. This license allows Cadets to start jumping out in groups. For the program, the Cadets must complete 5 coaching jumps, a style series (perfecting a front flip, back flip and barrel roll), accuracy requirements (landing 10 times within 30m of a target), learning the complexity of packing a parachute, and completing a total of 25 jumps. These Cadets also accomplished formation jumps that were much more difficult than many would expect from someone with their experience. The credit for this skill is due to their instruction in the wind tunnel and their jump instructors who were feeding them as much information as the Cadets could handle. These Cadets were continually coming back and asking for more.
Although there is a rather large financial barrier to the sport, some Cadets have already started saving for next year’s trip and jump tickets for the spring. Others who have their license are looking towards investing in their own equipment to bring down their costs per jump. With this passion as a foundation in our group there is interest in building a competition team in the future to represent the College. Although it is ambitious and it would take a great deal of training and commitment before competing at the national level, the fire inside the Cadets is very alive to learn as much as they can about the sport.
Describing the emotions, technicalities, adrenaline and raw beauty of our 3 dimensional playground is very difficult to convey to someone who does not have their own jumping experience. Therefore, we will be editing our 155 Gb of high definition footage to provide a video in a later issue.
Ed Note: This particular event was not a funded or an approved RMCC Club supported activity due to insurance complications within the CAF. Consequently, the trip was conducted as an independent group of cadets from RMCC enjoying Reading Week in an activity of their choice.