Boituva, a city 100 kilometers from the capital of São Paulo, is considered the best place for skydiving in all of South America.
The door opened and a very strong light, wind and noise came in. The two who were closest to her did not take long and took off. The guy behind me slapped me on the right shoulder and said, “Come on!”
It was feeling the skin and the muscles of the face tremble that the plug fell. I remembered that I was attached to a guy with the name Azambuja by just four small hooks and about to jump into the void, at 12,000 feet (about 3,600 meters) in altitude. I remembered the character of Chico Anysio of the same name, a husky voice with a hoarse voice whose picks invariably went wrong, and I wished that the similarities were limited to the name.
There was no time for anything else. We plunged head first. I thought I was going to feel cold in my belly, which happens on roller coasters due to the movement of the viscera. Nothing like that. What you feel is the wind and the noise. It is an indescribable euphoria.
Free fall, for 45 seconds, at 200 kilometers per hour.
It seemed like 10 seconds had passed when the experienced (13 years of practice and 2,500 jumps) and calm Érico Azambuja pulled the rope and the parachute opened. A slight upward streak – in fact, the abrupt interruption of the fall – and, finally, silence. Below, that scenario that can be seen from the window of the plane, but from another perspective. A kind of box, literally, open sky.
Another 4 minutes and the feet return to the ground. The unforgettable experience for those who jump for the first time is already a routine in Boituva, a city 100 kilometers from the capital of São Paulo, which is considered the best place for skydiving in all of South America. It receives from people who only want to jump once until those who see in the modality the solution to satisfy the need to taste high doses of adrenaline.
Under the graces of Saint Peter
The history of skydiving in Boituva began with the construction of the Castelo Branco Highway. The runway, which is now used by airplanes that transport athletes, was used by engineers during the construction of the road. But it was the geographic and meteorological conditions of the region that attracted practitioners of the sport.
First, because there are no mountains or any geographic accidents that hinder the maneuvers of airplanes or parachutists. Second, it sells little, which favors jumping. Third, and the most important: it rains little, very little in Boituva. Each year, there are about 300 days with good conditions for jumping.
“It may be the biggest rain in São Paulo, but the person takes the road and when it gets here it is the biggest sun. It seems that São Pedro made a hole in the sky here ”, explains Eslin Saldanha, one of those responsible for the Fly Factory, one of the schools at the National Skydiving Center.
Today, Boituva has an excellent infrastructure to practice the sport. There are no less than 17 skydiving schools, in addition to a restaurant and hotel. The city hosts the main championships of the sport, attracting practitioners from various parts of the country and even from abroad.
At the Skydiving Center in Boituva, athletes are transported by a company, Vera Cruz Táxi Aéreo, which offers four Cessna aircraft, model Caravan, adapted for the sport: without seats, and with a sliding door.
Beginners and post-graduates
In Boituva, it is possible to do a “mere” double jump, which requires only a quick training on land, to the full course, which enables the practitioner to jump alone anywhere in the world. For the truly passionate, there is the freefly, the most advanced (and daring) stage of parachuting, in which the practitioner performs several maneuvers in free fall.
Fly Factory is a school specialized in jumping with a higher degree of difficulty. “It is an island within the National Skydiving Center. We are an exception to the rule. Instead of the belly jump, we do the vertical jump. The Fly Factory is the graduate of skydiving”, explains Eslin Saldanha, who, in 10 years of activity, has already performed about 4 thousand jumps -1 thousand of them just last year.
In fact, the school is a meeting point for friends whose common interest is to practice and evolve in radical maneuvers. “Everyone here has another occupation. There is a lawyer, a businessman, a systems analyst. We want to improve the techniques and win more and more people ”, he completes.
All choreographies made in free fall are planned on dry land. On the ground, they do the briefing, performing the movements that they will do in free fall. In the air, the athletes record the jumps on video and show it as soon as they arrive on land, to perfect their movements. “From jump to jump, we always put an extra degree of difficulty, but never failing to observe the safety points. An unsuccessful maneuver can be fatal ”.
In free fall, a parachutist reaches a vertical speed of up to 250 km / h and a horizontal speed of up to 90 km / h, as the athlete not only moves downwards, but also sideways. The collision of one parachutist with another can be equivalent to a frontal collision of a car at 180 km / h.
Safer than roller coaster
Answer quickly. What do you hear most often: an accident in an amusement park toy or with a parachutist? Statistics indicate that accidents in free fall are very rare and the vast majority are caused by the practitioner’s lack of technical skill, not the equipment.
In each jump, the practitioner takes two parachutes. There is a device for automatically activating the equipment, in case the athlete passes out or another event occurs that prevents him from doing the manual activation.The altimeter, in fact, is a barometer, that is, a device that measures atmospheric pressure. “If it measures a very large pressure variation, in a short period of time, it means that the equipment was not opened at the correct height. Then, there will be automatic opening ”, informs Saldanha.
Another fundamental aspect is the folding of the parachute. Each athlete must know how to double theirs, but there are professionals specialized in this practice. One of the most skilled is Alcídio Lima de Souza, who has been parachuting for 15 years. He lost count of how much equipment he has already prepared. It even doubled 80 (!) In a single day.While talking, another one doubles, with the resourcefulness and tranquility of those who are closing the buttons on a shirt. “For those who are outside, it is a beast with seven heads, but it is quiet”, he guarantees.
In the beginning, it was not quite like that. “I was worried. While I didn’t see the guy hit the ground, his heart was racing, ”he recalls.
Instructor Érico Azambuja, who has more than 2,500 jumps in his curriculum, considers that skydiving has evolved a lot, especially in safety. “Twenty years ago, the parachute went where the wind took it. Today, we land where we want, ”says Érico, who started out as a parachute bender, taken by his cousin. “After getting the hang of it, I would fold a blindfolded parachute in less than five minutes.” Today, Érico does about 20 jumps per weekend.
The practice of parachuting provides several benefits on dry land, guarantee those passionate about the sport. The lawyer Claudio Knippel, who jumps for 12 years (there were about 7 thousand), explains that, before, he liked to ride motorcycles at high speed, but today he prefers jumping.
“There are people who feel the need to experience high doses of adrenaline and there they practiced high-risk activities, such as driving motorbikes at high speed or participating in races. With parachuting, they manage to have the same load of emotion, but without risks ”, explains the businessman Eslin Saldanha, who exchanged the passion for speed in cars and motorcycles for the jumps in free fall.
He explains that the fundamentals of the sport can also be used in daily activities. “Skydiving helps people to be more daring, within the parameters of safety, to innovate, to grow professionally. It is easier to calculate and face risks, it develops discipline and planning ”.
Anyone can perform a double jump. To do so, just sign a statement that you are in good physical condition, aware that the activity offers risks and exempts the company from any responsibility in the event of an accident. Scary, right? But just a visit to the facilities is enough to realize that the place stands out for its organization and professionalism.
For those who want to be an accredited parachutist, and to be able to jump alone anywhere in the world, it is necessary to take a course. In the first part, the student receives theoretical classes of 10 hours, in which he will learn about the equipment and concepts such as navigation, free fall and aerodynamics, in addition to emergency procedures. In the practical part, the student must perform eight jumps, in the first, accompanied by two instructors, in the following four by just one and, in the last, alone.
Then, the practitioner can improve in courses of intermediate and advanced levels.
Service:Fly Factory – www.flyfactory.com.br – Tel. (15) 3363-1767.Skydiveboituva – www.skydiveboituva.com.br – Tel. (15) 3263-5202.
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