This motivating slogan is displayed on banners welcoming skydivers and spectators entering the drop zone of the small airfield at Gransee, located 60 km north of Berlin. An invitation that also motivated us, the author and his wife Almut, to give a tandem jump a try, falling off a plane at an altitude of 4,000 meters.
“It’s something more different for a change than writing about air cargo”
Should I, or shouldn’t I? That’s the probing question that becomes increasingly urgent the closer the parachuting challenge approaches. But once stepping onto the drop zone everything happens very fast and well-orchestrated: sign up for a tandem jump, fill in name, address and your weight on the application form, put on a jump suit, fasten straps, and start listening to the instructions given by skydiving pros to newcomers, most of them still nervous and a bit restless.
This short time of preparation, full of nagging doubt, ended abruptly through a loudspeaker announcement, urging “Load Number 5” to move to the aircraft for boarding. “Load Number 5”, that’s 15
skydivers and one pilot, who propels the Cessna 208 to an altitude well above the clouds. And us being part of “Load Number 5,” together with other skydiving guinea pigs and their “Tandem
The aircraft spirals skywards, higher and higher. Buildings, trees, fields and roads get smaller and smaller when looking out of the window.
After 12 minutes, the time has come. The hatch, a large roller door, opens, the first tandem jumpers crawl to the opening, sensing the enormous air resistance.
The first tandem: that’s me and my piggyback partner Manuel, a native Argentinian, as he had told me during our mutual introduction prior to taking off.
Vamos hombre! Los geht’s!
Now, there is no point of return. Sitting bolt upright, holding the head pressed back into the nape of the neck and blowing a couple of times through both nostrils – and off we go, falling free down to earth.
Volamos a alta velocidad. Absolutely crazy. Schierer Wahnsinn!
2,500 meters of incredible excitement, thrill, mixed with pride, a feeling of elation, sensual delight, and also some relief. An unforgettable 50 seconds lasting journey through the air
resembling the dive of a large bird that shoots from great altitude at a speed of 200 km/h towards the earth’s surface.
Then, at a height of 1,500 meters, Manuel opens the parachute and the fall turns into a smooth glide, lasting about five minutes until touching ground again.
Skydiving – that’s a sport one can fall in love with. Especially at Gransee, one of the nicest airfields in central Europe. There, it’s more than parachuting, it’s also togetherness, team spirit,
fun and party time from morning to evening. An enjoyable ambient not only for jumpers and club members but also for visitors dropping by incidentally.
Orchestrated are all processes by Nga Dieu, who runs the drop zone activities in a highly professional manner coupled with great charm and warmth.
Owner of the drop zone is Nga’s husband Jan Hempel, a skydiving aficionado that earns his money as Head of Special Logistics and Board Member of Hamburg-based property investor Garbe AG.
Speaking about parachuting, Jan says that for many a tandem jump is the entry into regular skydiving. In addition to courses and instructions it needs about two dozen jumps for obtaining an
official skydiving license. At GoJump, the entire program takes six to eight weeks and costs 2,700 euros, he states.
Once licensed, a skydiver can jump at any place on the globe he or she wants.
“And when do you enroll for a course?” Jan asks.
Well, I might give it a thought.