That’s the greeting folk at the newly opened drop zone in the province of Pangasinan will be hearing from skydivers and first time jumpers during weekends this summer.
The drop zone, which is located at the WCC Binalonan Airfield, is the new center for skydiving in Luzon. The veteran skydivers behind the Skydive Binalonan are security expert Snooky Cruz and Police Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos, the director of the Aviation Security Group.
Carlos was my jump master and instructor when I took a refresher course on skydiving after being inactive from skydiving. It was Cruz who allowed me to use his extra skydiving rig for a demo jump during the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta at Clark, Pampanga several years ago.
Today, the two best buddies are working together to promote the sport of skydiving with the recent opening of the drop zone in the town of Binanlonan in Pangasinan.
They are supported in this endeavor by Binalonan Mayor Ramon Guico III who intends to set up the WCC airstrip as “a one stop adventure shop”, Cruz told the Philippines Graphic during an interview in Makati recently.
The drop zone already has a unique distinction. On April 22, Cruz’s two 14-year-old daughters, Kikay and Kukay, became the country’s youngest twins to do a freefall.
In fact, it’s even possible that Kikay and Kukay, who are both accomplished gymnasts who have competed internationally for the country, could lay claim to the title of being the youngest twins to make a freefall in the world.
According to Cruz, an inquiry has been sent to the Guinness Book of Records to verify this.
The twins told the Graphic that their gymnastic skills were a big help in becoming skydivers. Their excellent physical coordination borne out of countless hours of gymnastics practice allowed both of them to do their freefall after just two practice jumps.
That in itself is impressive. This writer, who has made 43 jumps logged, was only able to do make his first free fall after four practice jumps. Cruz, who has 293 jumps, did the same number of practice jumps as this writer before doing his first freefall.
For those interested, the entry point to joining the exciting world of skydiving begins with taking the first jump class conducted by the Skydive Binalonan Club. The group can be reached through cell phone number 09209685867. The first jump is a two-day event.
On the first day, one will be required to go through about six hours of classroom lessons and ground training.
In the classroom, the sport of skydiving is explained. The would-be first time jumpers are introduced to the equipment they will be using, taught how to properly exit the aircraft for their first jump, and briefed in the maneuvers they have to do in order to land safely in the drop zone.
Once the classroom lessons are completed, next comes the ground training phase. The first jump students will now practice what they learned in the classroom.
On the second day, the actual first jump takes place. The first time jumpers will exit the aircraft at an altitude of roughly 4,000 feet. All they have to do is perform what they practiced the day before. The jump master will be the one who will deploy the parachute for the newbie skydivers. This is a maneuver known as IAD or Instructor Assisted Deployment.
Once out of the aircraft, the newbie will experience roughly four seconds of freefall. Afterwards, the canopy will deploy and the student will feel what is known as the “opening shock.” It’s a great feeling to look up and see a canopy fully opened and functioning. The student is know flying under what is called a ram air canopy.
The student will now receive radio instructions on what to do in the air. These are easy instructions to follow because the student practiced the necessary maneuvers the day before. And landing is essentially an effortless transition. It’s just like stepping off an escalator.
That’s the first jump. Welcome to the exciting world of skydiving. The next step will be training to do the first freefall. And that’s entirely new story.