Archive for August, 2010

Vabalangemine!

Parasummer 2010 is done and dusted, and I’m detoxed enough to put a few words down. What goes down at the boogie stays at the boogie, so what you’re getting is the “sanitised for your convenience” version, but if you’ve been to a boogie anywhere you can probably fill in the blanks.

A total of 111 jumpers from all over the world showed up for the boogie. Aussies were somewhat surprisingly the 4th largest contingent, after the hosts, Finns and Swedes, as there were 2 of us present.

The jumping took place at Pärnu airport, which obviously used to be run by the Soviet air force back in the day, as it was littered with well-camouflaged hangars. One of the hangars acted as the packing area, and despite the slight dampness provided a welcome respite from the 30C+ heat outside.

There were two jump ships: a Turbolet and an Islander. Most of the jumps were done from the Let, which is a twin-turbine side-door plane that takes 16 jumpers to 4 km (about 13000 ft) in about 15 minutes. The Let was hired specially for the boogie, as it is normally based in Hungary. The Islander, which serves as the club’s regular jump ship, is a twin piston engine 10-jumper plane, also with a side door, that feels a lot like a slightly larger C-182 or a C-206.

Most of the jumpers stayed at Jõekääru camping area, which had heaps of cabins and ample room for those cheap enough (such as yours truly) to insist staying in a tent. I had borrowed a “$30 Aldi special” tent, which probably would have held water just fine, had I not forgotten to close the flap for the biggest torrent of water I have ever witnessed. The next day was sunny though, so I was able to dry out my gear and keep on boogieing.

I’d be willing to bet that the lingerie 8-way that was broadcast on most if not all Estonian TV channels did wonders for the financial welfare of Eesti Langevarjuklubi, as eager tandem and AFF students must be keeping their phone lines ringing red hot. A jumper who shall remain nameless speculated that all the other hangars at the airfield are filled with ugly babies.

Sauna

Another jumper who shall remain nameless – let’s just call him “an antipodean with a solar panel for a sex machine” – had his fair share of culture shock the first night, when everyone piled into the sauna; not only was it his first time in a sauna, but he had a hard time coming to terms with the concept of co-ed sauna bathing. Even yours truly, who grew up in the region, seems to have been away long enough to have all but forgotten… but I digress. Our intrepid native antipodean sussed it out eventually, so all was well.

The camping area also had a smoke sauna. For those less familiar with the intricacies of sauna bathing, a smoke sauna is a traditional kind of sauna that has no chimney – it fills with smoke as it is heated, and all the walls are covered in soot, so don’t wear your Sunday best; in fact, don’t wear a thing. The hosts were somewhat surprised to learn that smoke saunas are not unknown on the other side of the Gulf of Finland either – they must have thought it to be uniquely Estonian. Incidentally, here’s a hot (sic) tip; let the eager beavers fry their ears first, the heat keeps for a long time and it’s much more pleasant inside when the temperature has gone down a bit.

Cypres demo

“If you know someone whose Cypres has fired and they told you they heard a loud bang, well, they heard wrong.” These were the words of the man from Cypres just seconds before a demo cutter disintegrated with a loud BANG!

“It’s never done that before…” No worries mate, they’re man-made, these things happen. I’d be willing to bet that he’s going to edit the script slightly for the next demo though.

Flight Club

Stephan Lipp, one of the forces behind New Zealand Skydiving School, was on hand to do one-on-one freefly coaching for those keen to take it to the next level. His swoops were a marvel of German precision, skimming the taxiway and landing always on the exact same spot regardless of the wind.

Mr. Bird-Man, aka Jari Kuosma, did his 5000th jump at the boogie and celebrated accordingly. Visa Parviainen, infamous for his rocket-boosted wingsuiting as seen on Youtube, was also in attendance and brought his pimped out “Lordi” wingsuit, modelled here by Erkka the Jet Fighter Pilot.

Comp Air

The boys from Räyskälä dropped by and jumped in from their pride and joy, the bright yellow OH-XDZ, a Comp Air built from a kit by two club members. Only took them 10000 hours to build it too. The Comp Air is the fastest and baddest jump ship in Finland – looking forward to giving it a go before I head back to sunny Queensland.

Flatfly…

Seriously guys, if your ad says you’ve got a load organiser for 16-ways who then organises not a single load and buggers off halfway through the boogie – it’s not a good look. I wasn’t the only out-of-towner to be there mainly for the imaginary 16-ways either.

There were a few flatties around though, so I spent the week doing mostly 4-ways with a few smaller and bigger ones thrown in, including a handful of 8-ways on Friday which ran the gamut from beautiful to interesting. One of the 4-ways was also my 400th jump, an offense for which I obviously had to shout a carton of Saku.

Summary

What can I say, a great boogie! Made lots of new friends, learned new things – Finnish skydiving jargon in particular, did heaps of fun jumps (25 in total), partied a lot with awesomely cool people… in short, got my money’s worth. I’d say that the only thing that needs to be seriously looked into is flatfly load organising. It looks like I’ll unfortunately have to give next Parasummer a miss, as Rel Week is on at the same time in Batchelor, but I’ll do my very best to be back for Parasummer 2012. As they say in Estonia: VABALANGEMINE!

PS: Thanks to Wolli, I now know a bit of practical Estonian as well: “Vabandage, kust veeras mees siin linnas nikku saab?”