Has your parachute ever failed to open?
What if the parachute doesn't open?
Harald Maier has already made more than 1400 parachute jumps. The 43-year-old training manager of the Breisgau club for parachuting will be there on Sunday when I jump off the plane. Since my jitters are getting bigger and bigger, I had an interview with him beforehand about how it is with the reserve umbrella:
Harald Maier: It can be done in about 20 hours. That is the number of hours prescribed by the association to be able to jump out of the plane all by yourself. Until then we have gone through both a theoretical part and a practical part together.
Harald: It's not a real free fall. From the feeling, yes. But at the back of the backpack harness there is still a pull-up cord attached, your umbilical cord, so to speak. This is connected to the plane and opens the parachute.
Harald: It's not that simple. You can do a lot wrong. If, for example, you jump out of the plane the wrong way, lean out badly, then it turns you in the wind. It's like holding your hand out the window on the freeway, only more extreme. But that's why the 20 hours of preparation are, we show you jumpers videos so that you can see how to do it and how not to do it. And we practice on the steel hanger.
Harald: Usually not (laughs). You can always back down. For example, if you say: I suddenly feel terribly sick. But if you're already stupid in the air, will we give you a boost? You couldn't back down on the 3-meter board in the swimming pool if you were half-suspended.
Harald: Out of 1800 parachute jumps a year in Freiburg, 4 jumpers have to use the reserve parachute here in Freiburg.
Harald: Very sure. It may only be packed by people who have received special packing training. Yes, it really is. And there have been no injuries here in Freiburg in the past five years, apart from bruises.
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