Arun Vijay is in London in preparation for his next film Maanja Velu. He tells about his experiences during the hectic Sky Diving Course he is taking for a stunt sequence in the film…
Says Arun, all the way from London, “I have started the AFF [Accelerated Free Fall] SKY DIVING course that I am undergoing with SKYDIVE WESTON, Oxford shire in London. It has been quite an experience this far. I had to undergo rigorous training in a ‘Ground School’ that teaches the various aspects of Skydiving including the complete details of understanding and operating a parachute all by myself. I was given training in handling the worse situations mid-air, such as ‘mal-functioning of a parachute’ and safe landing.
Physical training was also given as fitness is the main criteria for sky diving. All the instructors are well experienced, most of them having served the ROYAL AIR FORCE, United Kingdom. My first instructor was a lady, Ms Andel, who had also served for the RAF having an experience of more than 2300 jumps. The first level of coaching was very interesting.
I have to travel 90 miles to the Bicester Airfield where my training is being given everyday. But it’s worth the travel. The weather here is really cold and windy making it unpredictable to dive. The craft carrying the divers takes off only if the sky is clear. Hence, we might have to wait for hours just for the sky to clear up.
I had my first jump at 15000 ft in the air. It was an exhilarating experience. Once the door is opened, the gush of chill air followed by the min-blowing view from top was a bit scary. I had 15 divers along with me in the craft. The craft that took us was a G99. The flight was smooth and fast, taking off from the field in less than a minute.
As the altitude rose, the tension started building in me. My instructor Mr.Simon Powell who accompanied me was talking to me constantly giving instructions and asked me to relax. I was the last one to jump out of the plane with my instructor from the height of 15000 ft. For a second I was at blank at the pressure I was falling and looking at the white bed of clouds below me.
My instructor was giving signs for what I had to do. I recovered in few seconds and was doing what I had to do. It was one great experience and was the best. At 8000 ft I was left all alone in mid air with no one around me. From that moment onwards I was solely responsible for all my actions. I then managed to manoeuvre the parachute all by myself avoiding the roads and buildings.
I have to say that I was lucky enough not to have any malfunctions in my parachute avoiding the use of emergency procedures. Initially it was difficult to locate the drop zone from up there. But then slowly as I got closer I could identify the landing area and have a safe landing.
Inspite of all the risk involved in this sport, I will definitely complete my entire course of 8 levels to gain my license. Since the weather is bad it would take longer than expected thereby delaying my completion. I am planning to do this challenging act in any one of my forthcoming films Maajha Velu.”