Decades on from his skydiving dream being dashed due to a broken arm, a Fylde author has finally realised the ambition of a lifetime – parachuting solo from a plane not once, but twice.
Former soldier turned writer, Steven McLaughlin, leapt out of a plane at 3,500ft over Flookburgh in Cumbria last month.
The 43-year-old wanted to learn to jump as part of the Army, but his plans were scuppered when he broke his arm in a football match.
Steven, from South Shore, called the experience “awe-inspiring”.
He added: “I’m glad I finally got to do it all these years later, and I’d recommend it to anyone else who’s up for a bit of adventure.
“It’s an incredible feeling to see the world thousands of feet beneath you as you fly a chute, and the sense of clarity and purpose you get is awe-inspiring.”
Steven, a former member of the Royal Green Jackets, said he was inspired to learn how to jump as a birthday present, and spent two weeks training at ground school before he could take part. He added: “I’ve always wanted to learn how to parachute, but never seemed to find time as my writing career kept getting in the way.
“So I decided to take drastic action for my 43rd birthday and sought out a course before it was too late.
“The classroom stuff was pretty intense and I spent a lot of time hung up in a harness learning emergency drills and how to land and roll safely – easier said than done, I can assure you.
“But the instructors were fantastic, and as I jumped out of the plane I felt completely icy-calm, as they had done such a great job training me and instilling the safety drills.”
Steven is the author of the bestselling memoirs, Squaddie: A Soldier’s Story, dealing with his time at Weeton Barracks when he served in Iraq and Northern Ireland, and Clubland UK: On the Door in the Rave Era, which covers his time working on the Blackpool nightclub doors in the 1990s.