Jumping out of planes for charity!

Wonder what it feels like to hurtle towards the earth at many miles an hour with a man strapped to your back?

Now you can experience it vicariously through Chris’s words and video evidence, taken a few weeks ago when five crazed brave molecules (Kenny, Sara, Mags, John and Chris) decided to face their fears go and jump out of a plane in order to raise some money for charity!


They raised a nice amount between them, but as Media Molecule is matching the amount they raised, we thought it would be worth seeing if any of you guys would like to donate to their causes before the time limit is up to donate! If you’d like to donante (go on!) You can do so over here on chris’s page, which has the least amount raised.

Look at that sad amount, but you can help to bolster it? Please donate! Now: the evidence…

The Chris Falls Out of a Plane Experience

“The plane is a small propellor driven thing with a cockpit and a rear area, no seats and just two flat blue cushions to sit on. The first tandem diver climbs in, and invites John to come sit between his legs, with both their backs facing the pilot. Next, I climb up onto a small seat at the back of the plane, while my diver positions himself on the neighbouring cushion, so I can shuffle over and sit in between his legs. A couple of extra guys jump in (one wearing a wingsuit), followed by our cameramen who sit between our legs. By the end of the process we’re like two conga lines sitting side to side, and its time to take off.

Over the course of the climb we do a few thumbs ups for the camera, get a fair amount of reassurance, and take in the view. Every thousand feet my diver points out his altimeter, which it eventually turns out is about 250 feet out, but nobody seems that worried and we continue to climb. At around 8000 feet up, I shift position so my tandem diver is sitting with his legs flat and I am sat on his lap. The straps are tightened so we’re very rigidly attached to each other, and after what seems like very little time the door of the plane opens. The first two divers jump out of the plane, followed by my cameraman who hangs onto the wing waiting for me to jump and it begins to get very real!

I’d expected to be sh***ing myself at this stage, but for some reason I’m not scared. It’s not bravery - that’s when you overcome fear - but there simply wasn’t any fear to begin with. I think that perhaps this is because the brain has never had to develop a fear of jumping out of a plane, as it simply isn’t a situation the human body ever had to deal with. Even as I’m shifting over to the door, repeating in my mind “legs up, hips forward, arms crossed, head back”, I get no real shivers down my spine. Although my heart was probably beating at 200bpm and my brain was flooded with endorphins and adrenaline, the closest I felt to fear was what I’d describe as pre-exam nerves…

More after the jump. (har har har)

The clinch point is now upon me, as I have to shuffle towards the door of the plain and perch on the edge, with my legs dangling out, arms back, and hips pushing forwards. This was the moment I was expecting to be the worst, but once again the fear simply did not come. I was all ready to take a deep breath and tell myself to fight the vertigo, but all I really remember is the draft, and then my diver must have jumped, because I wasn’t in the plane any more.

Free fall now begins, and I get an minor lurch in my stomach as the initial acceleration kicks in, but the real battle is occurring in my mind, as I struggle to make sense of what’s going on. The ground is so far away that my eyes can detect no movement and as far as they’re concerned I’m stationery. I can feel and hear the wind, which tells me I’m falling, but my stomach has settled and so I can no longer be accelerating, even though my feet aren’t on the ground. This mix of senses is an experience like no other, and its pushed even further as we roll and spin a couple of times before my experienced diver brings us under control and we end up lying flat, bellies facing the ground.

After a few seconds, I realise the cameraman has skillfully positioned himself opposite us while simultaneously falling at 120mph. This brings me back into reality as I focus enough to give him a wave, and then start working out exactly what is going on. Over the course of the next 30 seconds I cycle through silence, swearing, waving and screaming, as my brain tries to work out how to deal with this entirely new experience. You are simply not equipped with the circuitry to process the idea of falling so far, at such a speed, for a full 30 seconds, and it triggers wonderful sensations that just don’t occur in the real world.

Now its time for the parachute to open, and if there was a genuinely uncomfortable bit it was here. We decelerate from 120mph to less than 10mph in a few seconds, and the weight of my body squashing my groin into the harness is unpleasant. However once we’re under control (very quickly) my diver allows me to rest my weight on his feet and he adjusts some straps mid air, which relieves some of the force. While still not exactly comfy, it’s copeable with and I begin to take in the view, as we float to the ground over the course of the next 10 minutes.

Once floating, the sensation is very different. It is silent except for my divers voice as he encourages me to look around and verifies I’m alright. The ground is amazing, and for some reason my fear of heights still doesn’t kick in. I’m a few thousand feet above the ground and the world looks flat, whole fields are small squares, cars are dots and people are just not visible, but it doesn’t feel like ‘height’ - more just a different view. We are spinning around quite a bit at this stage, and motion sickness kicks in a little, but I let my diver know and he brings things under control.

As we near the ground I can honestly say I was starting to look forward to having my feet on the floor. The sensation has been unlike anything else, but I’m starting to feel quite motion sick and the pressure change has caused some pain in my eye. Both of these issues are insignificant though when compared to this experience, and even as I wretch a little coming into land I have a smile on my face. At the last moment, I lift my legs and we touch down softly, sit on the floor and just don’t move for a few minutes.

It’s over, and now my legs are on the ground (which feels very solid), I’m aware of the incredible experience I’ve just had, and the adrenaline pumping through my veins has me in a kind of giggling wobbly stupor for a little while. Several hours later, I’m still a little shaky, but can say without a doubt that that was one of the most truly amazing experiences I’ve ever had.


Comments powered by Disqus