Skydiving for sport equipment

an rlsb staff member mid-air during a sky dive

In January 2017, RSBC merged with the Royal London Society for Blind People (RLSB). Although we are now called RSBC, there may be some references to RLSB in the following article.

In 2001, Life Chances magazine reported on an exciting skydive done by RLSB staff to raise money for sports equipment.

8am on a chilly September morning, at an RAF airbase in Oxfordshire, 10 RLSB members of staff boarded a small aircraft in which they ascended 10,000 feet – before jumping out!

Tandem skydiving in aid of RLSB was certainly one of our most exhilarating fundraisers – even for the spectators. The money raised by the brave (or reckless) group of RLSB parachuters went towards sports equipment.

One of the Dorton divers, Carl Hawes, explained how he felt before, during and after the skydive:

“After a 20-minute briefing, we were kitted out with a suit, harness, gloves and a leather padded hat complete with goggles and reminiscent of the 1940s. Once loaded into the plane, what you’re about to do suddenly hits you.

“Tumbling out of an aircraft two miles above the Earth is not a natural, or logical, thing to do, but it’s just about to happen!

“The climb to the correct altitude takes about 10 minutes and the noise of the engines make conversation difficult. Three minutes before the door is opened, it’s time to secure both hat and goggles. Then, sitting on the lap of your instructor, the straps that link you together are tightened. Once the door was opened, I had to move onto the floor in this shackled state, and go towards the freezing sir – which is a task in itself.

“Sitting at the edge of the door, with legs tucked under the plane, head back and nothing but clouds beneath you, you realise there’s no turning back now. the instructor counts to three, and out you go!

“it was a millisecond after this that reality hit me – plunging towards and through the clouds at 120mph. this lasted for about 30 seconds before the world slowed down as the rip cord was pulled and 140 feet of nylon opened above me. From then on, there was a quietness accompanied by a wonderful sensation of flying with the countryside laid out before you.

“I have to say the skydive was such an exhilarating experience which I will never forget. The adrenaline was pumping for hours afterwards! if you do one daring thing in your life, do this!”

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