On Sunday 12th July I travelled by train from Nuneaton to Bicester North Railway station. There I was picked up by a Minibus and taken to St. Georges Army Barracks where we were going to be staying for the course.
We spent the Sunday night getting to know the base and each other-which was quite difficult as there were cadets from all over the UK , from Devon all the way to the Highlands in Scotland!
On the Monday we woke up far too early, as always on cadet camps/courses, and driven to RAF Weston on the Green where we would be given sufficient ground training to enable us to make one static line descent from an aircraft at around 3500ft.
We were split up into groups which were each headed by an instructor who would be taking us through the course and our ground training began. The training was split into three sections; exiting the aircraft, possible malfunctions and nuisances and your descent and landing.
Exiting the aircraft was relatively simple. We were taught how to hang out the aircraft before the jump, how to arch your body when you leave the aircraft and to count to 4000 before checking your parachute has opened correctly followed by your control checks to make sure you can control the parachute. These were drilled into us until it became second nature, we practised jumping out of model aircraft doors and in harnesses suspended from the ceiling-which was great fun as long as your leg straps were arranged properly and if they weren't the lads knew about it!
The training for malfunctions and nuisances was mainly lecture based as we had to be shown how to recognise a non functioning parachute and be shown the drills to carry out to release your reserve parachute. We were then talked through our landing patterns which consisted of a downwind leg at 1500ft, a crosswind leg at 800ft and an into-wind leg at 500ft, most of which was fairly self explanatory. We also went through the landing positions which involved a lot of running and jumping off ramps!
Then the ground training was over and the next day was the dreaded jump day.
The plane, a Hungarian G-92, took 10 cadets up at a time and I was in the third lift. It was a strange mixture of feelings-being terrified and really excited at the same time.
After a very rough plane journey I found myself hanging out of a perfectly functioning aircraft waiting for a man I didn't even know to shout go and throw me out. It is at that point you start to wonder why you volunteered to do this!
Before you know it you find yourself falling to the ground from 3500ft with a parachute strapped to your back and then you realise why you volunteered. You're pumped with adrenaline and feel literally on top of the world!
You carry out your drills without even realising and before you know it, it's time for your landing which for me was slightly unorthodox. Instead of landing correctly with your legs tight together I opted to land on my softest body partůmy backside!
The final day consisted of a debrief where we got to see videos of our exits which were highly amusing and received our certificates and said our goodbyes.
I had an absolutely amazing time and would recommend it to anyone.