My First Parachute Landing
On Sunday, November 13, 1988, I made my first parachute landing from an airplane flying 12,000 feet above ground.
That weekend was very different for my friend Rondon and me. The previous day we left Sao Paulo very early, the city where we were studying our Masters Degree and traveled to Americana, a small town in the countryside located in the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
When we arrived at Americana, about 9:00 A.M., we went directly to the Marte camp, an area in the North side where there are a lot of activities relating to flying navigation.
In contrast with the town which was very quiet and calm, the Marte camp was blustering and full of noise. About 500 people, among them instructors, mechanics, flight captains and expert parachute jumpers and apprentices –some novices such as myself. All were preparing to begin parachute jumps.
We found our team, led by our instructor, who was named “Rat.” We joined them. I have taken some courses previously, but never parachuted before. Compared to me, Rondon who had already performed several jumps, was from my point of view, an expert.
We practiced with an altimeter, we prepared the position of the body for the fall, we planned how to plane and how to land. That took us to 3:00 PM. Other teams were already jumping but our turn was on Sunday.
On Saturday night I could not sleep well, I was only thinking about the jumps and I was very excited. On Sunday the 13, the weather at sunrise was clear with slow winds. At 7:00 A.M. I was already ready with my jumpsuit, tennis shoes and the harness ready. We boarded the airplane and we took off.
When we arrived to the estimated altitude, we aligned in front of the door to jump. I would like to say that when my turn came I jumped immediately, but it did not happen that way. I panicked, so they opted to push me while they told me: “Do not forget all that you had learned”.