Two air cadets from Tynemouth have proved they have a head for heights after completing their first solo parachute jump.
After successfully touching down following their 3,500ft descent, Corporals Kai Korzonek and John David Adams of 346 (Tynemouth) Squadron Air Training Corps declared they wanted to do it all again.
The 16 year olds completed the static line jump at Shotton Airfield, County Durham, after a day’s intensive training at the Peterlee Parachute Centre.
The pair, who are both in year 12 at Whitley Bay High School, were buzzing with excitement following their daredevil experience.
Cpl Adams, who wants to join the RAF when he completes his A-levels, said: “I was very nervous beforehand, but once I jumped the training kicked in. It was amazing seeing the ground from so high up; you get a completely different perspective when you’re on the end of a parachute.
“I like heights, but doing the parachute jump took it to another level. But I never thought about not doing the jump when the chance came up. It’s what being an air cadet is all about, pushing yourself and doing lots of exciting things you wouldn’t usually get the chance to do.
“Now I’ve done the jump I feel I can do anything.”
Cpl Korzonek added: “I had always wanted to do a parachute jump, so I leapt at the chance when the opportunity came up.
“It was a bit nerve wracking waiting to jump, but the best bit was when the parachute opened and you had time to look around and take in the view. It was really exhilarating.”
The cadets’ parachutes were opened by a static line secured to a point in the aircraft.
The parachute jump was just one of a range of exciting activities the two cadets have taken part in with 346 (Tynemouth) Squadron, including flight training at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire, shooting, the Duke of Edinburgh Award, adventure training, and residential camps at UK and overseas military bases.
Cpl Adams is one of just 54 air cadets nationally who has been chosen to fly out to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus at the end of October for a week, where he will experience life on a working military base as well as have the chance to visit the United Nations buffer zone – known as the Green Line – between the southern Greek part of the Mediterranean island and the Turkish northern sector.
Tynemouth squadron’s Officer Commanding, Flt Lt Dan Laidler, said he was proud that Cpls Korzonek and Adams had completed the parachute jump. “It takes a lot of guts to do something like that, and hopefully they will carry on the training and progress on to freefall.”
“It was an amazing opportunity for them, but the Air Training Corps is all about offering youngsters the chance to push themselves and try new and exciting experiences like this.”
“The Air Training Corps motto is ‘Venture-Adventure,’ and Cpls Korzonek and Adams have lived up to that.”
Tynemouth squadron is one of the oldest Air Training Corps in the country, having been set up in 1941 to help prepare young pilots for wartime service.
It welcomes male and female cadets between the ages of 12-20 who are interested in the wide range of activities it has to offer.
The squadron meets twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays at its headquarters in Military Road, North Shields, and cadets have the opportunity to take part in a range of character and confidence building activities as well as a host of community initiatives.
Cadets can also study for a BTEC diploma in aviation skills.