Functional skills tutor jumps out of a plane at 13500 feet for charity!

Julian Nichols, Poultec Training’s functional skills tutor completed his long-awaited want to jump out of a plane on 21st June 2023. ‘Ever since I did para-sailing on holiday, I thought, the next logical step to being tied to the back of a boat, was to jump out of an aeroplane – weird logic, but it made sense to me.’ says Julian.

Although Julian has always wanted to do a skydive for his personal self-achievement, earlier this year the opportunity arose for him to sign up to a skydive as well as raise money for local charities which was a no brainer. Julian stated ‘This provided me with the motivation and incentive to finally do the jump!’ Julian and a group of friends, 20 in fact all booked to do the jump at Ellough Airfield in Beccles. ‘Together, we have raised over £20,000 so far, which will be split between several local charities.’ says Julian.

Raising money wasn’t Julian’s only preparation to complete before the skydive. The skydiving weight limit is 100kg and when he signed up in March Julian weighed in at 115kg, meaning he had just three months to lose 15kg! Julian took on this challenge and absolutely smashed! He visited our sister company Gymtec Fitness and spoke with personal trainer, Tiago who sorted an exercise and eating plan. Julian said ‘Tiago was incredibly helpful and supportive. It was bloody hard work but it paid off and I made the weight…the rest is history.’ Tiago was very impressed with the results Julian achieved in such a short amount of time.  

We asked Julian what was the skydive experience like and he said he could talk about it all day. He was so happy to be doing the jump and that he was remarkably calm and didn’t feel nervous about the situation however he did say he was anxious about the weigh in, in case he hadn’t lost enough weight to qualify. As Julian was one of the last to jump in the group, he was able to speak to the instructors in depth about exiting the plane, the free fall, the chute deployment and landing whilst watching all the others complete their jumps. The time came for Julian to prepare for the jump, he said ‘it was a tight squeeze on the plane and, if I am honest, the harness was very snug and a little uncomfortable.’ Julian’s said he remembers sitting with his legs daggled over the door, looking down thinking I’m SO happy, this is…. INCREDIBLE. Thirteen and a half thousand feet in the air nothing but air, blue skies and a few clouds between him and the ground, the most perfect conditions. ‘Then, a tap on the shoulder from my jump instructor and we were out of the door, falling at 120mph. I have never experienced anything like it. I didn’t think about how high we were, how fast we were falling, I even forgot, for a second or two, about the guy I was strapped to; I was just enjoying every single second of the 60 seconds we were free falling.’ said Julian. They hit the cloud and then the chute was opened, jerking into a slower pace through the clouds. ‘To say the feeling and the view were amazing, simply, doesn’t do it justice.’ Julian stated. The surreal parachuting part lasted around five minutes, then sadly for Julian the ground soon approached. ‘My instructor told me to lift my legs and we gently landed. My jump was over.’

Julian’s feet may have been back on the ground but his head was still, way up, in the clouds.  The whopping great cheesy grin on his face lasted for hours afterwards. We asked Julian would I do it again? and without any question he said YES straight away. In fact, he said would have quite happily got straight back on the plane and done it again if they would have let him. He also added ‘I was actually quite jealous of the instructors who got to do four jumps that morning.’

We are lucky in Norfolk having a Parachute UK Centre in Beccles, this made it a lot easier and doable for Julian being virtually on his doorstep. ‘Don’t worry, it is incredibly safe’ Julian assures anyone who is wanting to take the jump themselves. He also recommends going and watching other people doing it and speak to the team about the experience first.

Final big words from Julian ‘I can honestly say, apart for my wedding day and being at the birth of my three children, it was the best experience of my life….so far.’