May 29, 2010

Three Kilometres High (over Cookstown, ON) II

"Don't worry, I've got your back" had never sounded better.

There was no way I would jump, but for safety reasons I was wearing a parachute - a "rig" rather, as the parachute is the part that opens.

I asked to be tethered, and they ran a cable from my rig to the plane. But, soon enough I would realize that was only to humour me - when we reached the desired altitude, they unhooked me.

As logical as the reason was - it's better to fall off a plane than to be dragged by it at 200 km/h - my discomfort was hard to hide.

That's when James, who was staying in plane with me, told me "Don't worry, I've got your back".

This is Marc, signalling me to come and take my position. (Note the angle of the horizon; my camera is parallel to the airplane)

To get the picture I wanted, I had to lean outside the aircraft. One knee was still inside, and I was holding (clasping, grasping...) the red bar (see photo) with my left hand.

Knowing, or rather thinking, I would be attached to the plane itself, was the only thing making me feel safe about this position.

So much for that.

The practice runs helped. I got accustomed to suppress my fear of heights long enough to make photos.

And on what was to be the very last jump because it was already nighttime on the ground, the pilot executed what would have been a wheelie had we been on a motorcycle to catch a last glimpse at the sun.

And it worked.

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