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vocabulary Pierre Boist: "It takes our whole lives to learn how to use it."
ABOVE THE CLOUDS

ABOVE THE CLOUDS

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Some guys with headphones, from which, drowning out the roar of airplane engines, drum and bass can be heard, sniff something from matchboxes. The cabin lights flickered - the pilot signals that it's time to exit.

Parachute jump

I peek out through the open door. Indeed, nothing can be seen below, except for the clouds, and due to this, it's not scary at all. Since it's my first time exiting the plane at an altitude of 4200 meters, an instructor is attached to me. I'm bigger than him, so he hangs on my back, like a 90-kilogram child. He presses my head to his, and we go out...

  I do a forward somersault, cast a farewell glance at the plane's bottom, which slowly moves away towards the sun, and here's a turn! - clouds are in front of me, and the instructor pats me on the shoulder, so I can spread out and relax, lie on the air stream.

 It's such a thrill, guys! Words cannot describe it, and even cursing won't help! You're flying at a speed of over 200 kilometers per hour towards the ground, with the wind noise in your ears, and in front of you - a white mattress of clouds. Another second - and I'm already in the clouds, a solo parachutist flies by, waving his hand in farewell, he flies away, like a giant butterfly, to the left.

 Suddenly, the clouds end. Now you can see Kyiv, although it's a good 30 kilometers away, you can see that the earth is not flat - its edges seem to bend.

 A couple more seconds - the earth becomes flat, all the details are now visible from below, the surface is approaching, and it's noticeable.

 The instructor hits me on the shoulder, I group up and we open the parachute. The brief acceleration of 16G sharply reminds me that it wasn't a good idea to drink so much whiskey last night. For the first 20 seconds after the parachute opens, I can't speak - I hold back so as not to say goodbye to last night's dinner right in the air. Then it passes, I thread the metal rings, attached to the parachute, under my knees, and comfortably sit in the air, like in a chair. The instructor hands me the parachute control lines and asks in a philosophical tone:

- Why are you so tense, Misha?

 - Shouldn't have drunk yesterday...

 - Ah, it happens, it's better after... Turn left.

 - Yeah. I'd like to smoke...

 - Buy your own parachute - then you can smoke, otherwise you'll burn holes in my new one. We'll land and smoke afterward. Make a snake.

  A snake is when you pull one control line strongly towards yourself and hold it like that for a while. The parachute and the objects attached to it, like us with the instructor, start rotating around their axis. The rotation speed is quite something, and yesterday's whiskey reminds me of itself again.

- Go to hell with your snake, I'm already feeling sick!

 - As you wish. Anyway, turn towards the airfield, because our horizontal speed is 160 km/h, and we still have 6 minutes to fall - we might end up in the forest, - says the passenger hanging behind my back in a mentor tone. He grabs my hand and makes some sharp pirouette not in the direction of the airfield.

 - I hate you, - I tell him.

 - It's okay, - was the response.

Clouds from below

 And then we landed. For the first few seconds on the ground, I couldn't speak - it felt like the sea of emotions and a monstrous adrenaline surge had drained all my strength. In response to the sympathetic questions from those around asking if I was "going to throw up?" I could only wave them off, and when in response to a question from a girl with piercings in her tongue and lips "Well, will we pass the AFF?" (that's at least 12 more such training jumps) I tried to smile, my cheeks cramped slightly and I "smiled" for another two minutes.

 But as soon as I smoked a cigarette and took a sip of cognac, my body and mind suddenly came to life, as if a computer inside me had loaded. Sounds became clear, colors - vivid, thoughts - lucid.

- What are you doing, Misha? - asked the instructor, pointing to my hand, which involuntarily rose and aimlessly caught the air.

- This, trying to climb up to the sky! - I surprisingly realized myself, - I want to go back there again!!!

SKYDIVING: NOT FOR EVERYONE, BUT SIMPLE AND COOL

Skydiving is cool

  Parachuting is not like diving or even mountaineering. Those suffering from heart and vascular diseases, arthritis - radiculitis, losing consciousness from height, and having problems with the vestibular apparatus may be disappointed right away: parachuting is not for you. A huge pressure drop ( 3 kilometers in 60 seconds!), swinging in the air, stress on the body during parachute deployment - a very powerful jerk, impact on bones and joints upon landing - will help your ailments deal with you sooner than was previously planned in the heavens, from where you will dare to descend. You can try a jump from a height of 800 meters, if your doctor does not categorically forbid it. 

 Well, if your health, buddy, is not all that bad, you can climb to 4,200 meters. There is nothing complicated in parachuting (if you jump for fun and relaxation, not for complex aerial acrobatics and Guinness records).

THE HISTORY

 The parachute was invented not by some ordinary Joe, but by Leonardo da Vinci himself! In 1483, Leonardo sketched a pyramidal parachute. He wrote: "If a man has a tent made of starched linen 12 cubits wide and 12 cubits high, he can jump from any height without danger to himself." The surface of the device proposed by Leonardo da Vinci for a person's descent is approximately 60 square meters. This data is close to modern parachutes for humans. The lack of practical necessity for the use of a parachute, unfortunately, prevented timely development of skydiving as a favorite pastime of medieval knights and lords, and only the development of ballooning and frequent disasters prompted inventors to engage closely in creating a device for the safe descent of a person from a great height.

 The first person to build and test such a device was the French physicist Lenormand, who gave it the name - "parachute" (from the Greek "para" - against and French - "chute" - fall). Lenormand was the first in the world to jump with his parachute - from a tower in Montpellier on December 26, 1783. In 1911, a Russian military man, Kotelnikov, impressed by the death of Russian pilot Captain Matsievich, whom he saw at the All-Russian Air Festival in 1910, invented a fundamentally new parachute, the RK-1. In 1917, the Russian army registered 65 parachute descents, 36 for rescue and 29 voluntary.

PARA-VARIETIES

  In our time, there are two types: a parachute with a round canopy (round parachute) and a parachute with a rectangular (or elliptical) canopy (wing parachute).

 Round parachute. This is an older model, simple to operate (i.e., virtually uncontrollable). Round parachutes reduce the falling speed almost exclusively due to air resistance. They have a hemispherical shape, with lines (ropes) attached to the lower edge, on which the parachutist or payload hangs. For stabilizing the descent, there is usually a polar hole at the top of the canopy, through which air escapes. This prevents the parachute from swinging. The area of such a machine reaches 80 square meters.Wing parachute

 Wing parachute. Modern wing parachutes reduce the falling speed primarily by changing the direction of the parachute's movement with a person or payload - due to the special design of the "wing", relying on the air, it transforms the falling speed (vertical speed) into horizontal speed - and the parachutist moves through the air at speeds up to 160 km/h. The cross-sectional profile of the "wings" corresponds to an airplane wing profile. This allows for a significant reduction in the parachute's area and weight, in some cases, up to 10 times.

Reserve. The reserve parachute, as you can easily guess, is intended for when the main device (whether it's a wing or a dome) fails. The reserve parachute, unlike the main one, which you can pack yourself or which can be packed for you at the airfield by someone who simply isn't too lazy, is packed by specially trained people - riggers. These parachute packing masters, as a rule, undergo mandatory certification, and on the reserve itself, the name of the rigger and the packing date are indicated - so that, if the reserve fails, the inconsolable relatives and the police know where to look for the responsible ones.

Skydiving cost question

 Automatic activation device. Designed for automatic deployment of the reserve parachute in case the parachutist, for whatever reason, cannot deploy the main parachute. This small device, if not manually disabled while in the air, will automatically open the reserve at an altitude of 300 meters.

THE COST QUESTION

 In skydiving, only the training is expensive. Subsequent jumps are just the cost of gasoline for the plane, divided by the number of parachutists on board - maximum, about 100 hryvnias. You can rent a parachute system for a jump for 50-70 hryvnias, making skydiving an affordable weekend pastime. For serious skydiving, you will need an altimeter - from 120 to 300 dollars new, depending on the features and brand, or 50 - 70 dollars used.

 Suit for jumps - equipped with special wings on the arms and legs, allows better control of your position in flight, feel more confident in the air - from 150 to 400 hryvnias.

Parachute-wing - depending on its size, quality (it affects not so much the reliability, but the durability of the device), the brand can cost 1100 - 3000 dollars. You will also need to purchase a backpack for it, for 800 - 2500. A decent reserve parachute can be bought for 1000 US dollars, and for an AAD (Automatic Activation Device) you will need to shell out 1300 - 1500. However, you can also rent a reserve parachute inexpensively, so you can do without it. You will also need a helmet, starting at 50 dollars.

HOW TO START

How to start skydivingIt's easy to just arrive in the morning at the airfield and choose the type of jump. If it's your first jump - in tandem, the briefing will take about 3 minutes, but if you want to experience the delights of freefall for 5 seconds and the thrill of solitude in the sky while falling from 800 meters, then the procedure will take a few hours - you will be taught how to land properly, jumping from a trampoline, how to disconnect the reserve parachute, etc. Price: tandem - 130 - 150 euros, "classic" - 190 - 250 hryvnias.

Where to fly: there are many airfields in Ukraine where skydiving clubs are based, several around the capital, however, from our personal experience, we recommend the airfields in Borodyanka and Chaika.

CLASSIC GENRE

At any self-respecting airfield near your city (of course, it is unlikely in Khatsapetovka - you will have to go to the outskirts of some regional center) you will be offered two options for jump training: classic and AFF (Accelerated Free Fall). In order to jump at any airfield in the world, as and when you want, you will need to complete one of these programs, get a parachute logbook and a skydiver's certificate.

Classic - it's the "old school." It starts with a jump from 800 meters on a round training parachute D1-5-U or military D-6 - such ones are used by paratroopers. Strictly speaking, even if you prefer to train in the relatively accelerated AFF program, it's still better to make your first jump using the classic method - jumping from 800 meters with a parachute that will automatically open in 3 seconds - so later you have something to compare with.

 So, classic. You go to the airfield on weekends, make up to 5 jumps from 800 meters, then, if everything is okay with you, you jump from 2200 meters, perform a series of exercises in the air, and so on. Gradually and step by step, having completed about 45 successful graded jumps, you move on to a "wing" parachute, controlled and comfortable, and you will exit the airplane doors at 4200 feet. The cost of each jump will depend on the pricing policy of the airfield, ranging from 180 to 250 hryvnias.

Sport parachute jumps

 AFF is a different story. Both the learning speed and the prices are different. Each jump, depending on the number of instructors accompanying you, will cost 100 - 130 euros! However, you only need 8 - 12 successful qualifying jumps. In fact, when calculating the costs in detail, you may find that AFF is still more expensive than the classic method - that's true if you don't consider the money spent on trips to the airfield (there will be at least three times more trips) and your personal time.

 The training looks more than interesting: first, you jump in tandem with an instructor, then you jump out of the plane with an instructor on each shoulder - they properly position you in the airflow during freefall, open your parachute for you, check your reactions in the air, then you jump out of the plane embraced by a single instructor, and finally, the instructor jumps separately from you and only approaches you in the air, showing various signs and checking your well-being.

WHAT TO DO IN THE SKY

Classic parachuting (individual acrobatics and landing accuracy).

Group acrobatics and formation building - building figures in freefall by groups of parachutists.

Canopy acrobatics - building figures by groups of parachutists with open canopies.

Freefly - a discipline of parachuting in which athletes perform freefall in any position except the classic "belly-fly" position.

Swooping - one of the youngest, most complex, and dangerous disciplines of parachuting, characterized by a special landing technique: a rapid extreme turn followed by a long high-speed flight (at a height of about half a meter above the ground).

BASE jumping - an extremely extreme form of parachuting that uses a special parachute for jumps from fixed objects (buildings, cliffs, bridges)

We also recommend our readers to read the article about hot air balloon flights.

BASE jumping

Author: Mikhail Gannitsky

vocabulary Pierre Boist: "It takes our whole lives to learn how to use it."
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