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Average Rating = 4.70/5 Average Rating : 4.70/5

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Average Rating : Average Rating = 4.70/5
Total Reviews: 56

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Life does not get any better than thisÖÖ.


The Freefall University Rated 5 by: MikeGee on 2014-11-19

Pros: gorgeous weather, utterly professional instructors, great vibe, stunning 13K views, faultless administration
Cons: itís not half an hour from my house

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Executive summary: FFU/Ocana is absolutely superb.
In years gone by (in a time before AFF was even thought of), I started 5 static line courses but time-expired on every occasion without getting beyond 3 second delays (at 2,500 feet, apparently now illegal!). I also did 25 years in the Parachute Regiment and racked up over 300 military static line descents. But I have always harboured a desire to become a proper skydiver and so (now that I have the time and money to do so) I fulfilled my dream this year. And I think I chose exactly the right place to do it.
FFU at Ocana is collocated with Skydive Madrid (which serves Spainís capital, some 30 miles to the north) and they run seamlessly together (so if you want to read those reviews they are referring to the same location). The thing that made up my mind to go for Ocana was location. I have spent way too many hours and days waiting for the UK weather to improve so that jumping could begin and so Madrid seemed to be the best location by far, with excellent weather, well away from any coastal winds, nowhere near any weather patterns induced by mountains and almost guaranteed warm/hot conditions. And there is something about the warmth, sunshine and wall-to-wall blue skies that bring a smile to everyoneís face, a great vibe to whole facility and a holiday feel to the otherwise serious business of learning to skydive.
The thing that made me decide FFU was Dave Joseph. He does an absolutely first class job of sorting out absolutely all of your package arrangements and is very easily contactable to deal with queries. He is excellent at returning calls, nothing is too much trouble for Dave and, as with all of the Brit students that I have now met at Ocana, his arrangements are universally flawless. And donít be shy about venturing out alone. Your fellow students are probably all British, probably all staying at the same location as you and so, very quickly, bonds form amongst social groups that will last long after you are all back in the UK.
The next great thing about the FFU is the instructors Ė they are uniformly excellent. Bryn (ex-RAF and one the of the UK BPAís most highly regarded instructors) took me through my course with a calm, thoroughly reassuring professionalism and steady nerve (I tested his on several occasions, never mind my own). There are several other British BPA instructors there (Phil on the ground school, Mike, Ryan, Lewis to name but a few) and they are all (from the feedback I have had from other students) equally good. Their training is also fully compliant with BPA training policies and procedures and they will take you through everything you need to to get you your BPA A licence (I got mine within days of completing the AFF course). The local Spanish instructors (and there are many of them) are excellent as well, always willing to answer questions, check your kit and offer advice and almost all speak very good English (which really is the language of Ocana).
The back room staff exhibit the same level of professionalism and dedication as the instructors. The manifest team will make sure that you get as many jumps in as you wish, the office team take your money with great efficiency, and the unsung heroes of the whole facility, the rigging team, work tirelessly and faultlessly to repack your kit within minutes of your arrival back in the hangar after a jump.
The DZ itself is the largest/finest I have ever set eyes on (and I have seen many in my time). It is huge, perfectly flat, devoid of obstacles, impossible to miss and has some fields that are ploughed so perfectly that it is like landing on a doubly folded duvet on a very springy bed.
Ocana uses two aircraft, both Pilatus Porters carrying 10 at a squeeze and they get to altitude quickly. On a busy day, that allows a pretty rapid throughput (6 jumps in a day is my record as a student) despite ĎSpanishí time continually appearing to stretch out in ways that would have Einstein re-evaluating his general theory of relativity. AFF students are almost always mixed in with tandems and it is quite amusing to watch the faces of those who know marginally less than you about what you are all about to do!
The facilities at Ocana are nicely compact (everything from bar to emplaning point within 150m) and include a good-sized hanger exclusively dedicated to rigging/packing, an excellent bar (Wi-Fi equipped) that does all forms of beverages and perfect lunch grub, a shaded chill area, and individual instructor briefing facilities where video replays of your jumps and debriefs are conducted. The toilets are somewhat ramshackle but then nothing is ever perfect.
The recommended town to stay in, Aranjuez, is about 15 minutesí drive from the DZ and is home to one of Spainís royal palaces. The (recommended) Hotel du Jardin is a great place to stay, presuming that you intend to spend every last hour of daylight at the DZ. The rooms have possibly the best aircon I have ever come across, superb showers and a passable breakfast. The hotel also has a range of bars and Spanish, Italian, and Chinese restaurants all within easy walking distance for the evening.
I havenít used the FFU-provided transport (I just hire a car at Madrid airport, which about 45 minutesí drive from the Ocana) but many of my jump buddies have and describe it as like having your own chauffeur Ė the driver will come and find you on the DZ just to ask about your specific needs that day so he can come up with a plan that works for all!
My one piece of advice to all prospective AFF students is to do some tunnel training before you start (Airkix runs wind tunnels in Basingstoke, Milton Keynes and Manchester and Madrid itself is due to get its first tunnel in March 2015). For me, AFF jump 6 was particularly difficult (I had to repeat it twice, at some cost) because I really hadnít sorted out my basic stable position properly. The wind tunnel is an excellent training environment, simulating the airflow of terminal velocity very faithfully but in a far less stressful atmosphere and with the chance to review video of you flight every 2 minutes. No more than 20 minutes of professionally-coached training is required and do ask the tunnel team for one-to-one coaching from one of the tunnelís skydiving coaches, not just the duty instructor who may not be a skydiver. I suspect that I would not have had the problems that I did, had I done such training before going out to Ocana.
Having said that, I can only give the FFU and the whole Ocana team my wholehearted endorsement as THE place to learn to skydive. I will be returning as often as I can.

(Review ID:8693)


Excellent AFF school/DZ


The Freefall University Rated 5 by: ak0 on 2014-09-14

Pros: very novice friendly
Cons: none

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Been there twice so far - did my AFF/BPA A the first time with the FFU and then came back for a weekend of jumping.
Good vibe, friendly instructors, very diverse divers at the DZ. Fast and frequent lifts (can be less frequent on a weekday, especially if windy and limits operate).

(Review ID:8650)


Spot on!


The Freefall University Rated 5 by: billyskene on 2014-08-28

Pros: Great instruction, chilled atmosphere, massive DZ
Cons: None

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Just finished my AFF here, will definitely be coming back. Top notch instruction from seriously experienced guys.

Nice, clean facilities with a pool and bar. Big packing area and DZ. Two planes run at weekends meaning back to back jumps.

All in all, one of the best experiences of my life. Will be back to Ocana ASAP

(Review ID:8640)


Ace.


The Freefall University Rated 5 by: Mr_Costello on 2014-08-19

Pros: The Instructors
Cons: Range of Food

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I passed my AFF Levels and handful of consolidation jumps at OcaŮaís FFU.

I had Ryan as my instructor, Phil as my Ground Instructor - both highly professional, humble and extremely focussed on a short an intensive course where there are plenty of moving parts. Manifest and the riggers at FFU run a tight ship, they are extremely professional, friendly and efficient. The food offering on the DZ is limited. That said, the food range in Aranjuez is outstanding - a great evening social life too. I met a great circle of students during my 8 days, all of whom I have remained in touch with.

You will be hard-pressed to find fault with this DZ.

Mr Costello (Class of August 2014)

(Review ID:8626)


Awesome drop zone


The Freefall University Rated 5 by: Diripio on 2014-07-31

Pros: Good atmosphere, ample manifest spaces
Cons: Going home

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From the first contact with Freefall Uni I have seen nothing but professionalism. One quick phone call and I had flights, hotel, airport transfers and an AFF course booked. All at a good price. When I arrived in Madrid their driver was waiting to collect me. He even showed me the sights and places to eat around town.
At the DZ I was taken through all the training at a pace that suited me. The ground school was excellent and very thorough. The facilities on the dz were very good, swimming pool near by, a cafeteria, and internet access.
On my AFF jumps I was instructed by Ryan who behaves as a professional at all times. Here again I was allowed to progress at my own pace and never felt under pressure to get on with it. All instructors would take the time to explain everything to you even if you were not their student. Also they were all British so have confidence in no miscommunication.
Overall the place is amazing and as soon as I am able to go back then I will be on the plane.

(Review ID:8605)


An extremely busy DZ with the ability to remain personable and friendly


The Freefall University Rated 5 by: K4209 on 2014-07-17

Pros: The location, the staff, the ethic
Cons: Would be great if you could pitch a tent and stay at the site

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Having taken the plunge (no pun intended) to take up skydiving I searched through numerous reviews, google searches, and spoke to a lot of people who were already launching themselves out of planes. The common denominator of all the advice was to head to Spain. Having narrowed it down I emailed 3 Sky Diving centreís one of which was FFU (I wonít mention the other two).

I received not so great response from one, a positive but generalist reply from another, but within 2 hours of emailing the FFU I had a firm plan of what they can do for me and how they go about their business. At this point I might add i work away so time is precious - FFU put a package together for me that took everything out of my hands, I didnít have to worry about transport, accommodation, etc and I had a timetable sent through to me within 5 hours of first getting in touch.

Unfortunately, the weather front that hit the UK hit Europe as well, however, I still went, and managed to get through an extended version of ground school in the dying hope of actually getting up. Sadly time and the weather had me beaten.

Despite this, I was extremely impressed by how much effort the staff put in to try and maintain a positive vibe, and keep us busy through putting together a more in depth ground school and other activities (At this point, I must admit I was a tad grumpy to say the least).

Not deterred however, upon my next visit, the sun was shining - and after some refresher training and passing the exam, I was able to begin the AFF course.

My instructor was second to none and put me completely at ease. to put others mind at rest I will say and it is astonishing - I had an international instructor i.e. English was the native tongue, however and quite ashamedly so - spoke better English than some of the people I have met in England........

So despite having superb staff after passing the first few levels I seemed to hit a wall - well - picture falling spaghetti and you want be far off.

This is where I found an even greater respect for the staff and instructors - all were extremely supportive, and were willing to spend time and advise me of different techniques to overcome the issue. Unfortunately, time once again became an issue however instead of simply taking my money time and time again (which I know some DZís would be happy to) my instructors advised on tunnel time. (Top tip - never take your debit card to a wind tunnel, you will leave bankrupt)... It did however fix the problem.

So now with that issue fixed I then returned back to the DZ and managed to complete all the AFF requirements (I donít know who was happier, me or the instructors)

I will say, at this point, they donít stop assisting there, the staff are always watching and on hand to offer advice.

The facilities through the summer are great, and regular BBQís are held, this adds to the very social and laid back feel to the DZ. My one criticism would be that you are not able to camp there.....

Overall, between the staff, pre and after care you receive from this DZ you will not be disappointed and guarantee you will return again and again and again.

(Review ID:8584)


Awesome place - amazing people - lots of fun!


The Freefall University Rated 5 by: K83 on 2013-10-01

Pros: instructors!, focus on safety, student friendly landing area, location
Cons: None....absolutely none

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I admit I have been a bit nervous when I arrived at the Freefall University on the first day of my AFF course. After all, I didn't know anything about them except that they had a nice homepage and the booking procedure went smoothly. And then you have to trust people you've never met before to bring you down safely after jumping out of an airplane from 13.000 ft.....scary thought!

However, the nervousness was gone after 5 minutes, as the atmosphere at FFU is very relaxed and welcoming.
The instructor performing the ground school explained all the basics - especially everything that is safety relevant - with a great deal of patience. It was no problem to ask the same questions over and over again...they don't stop before you feel comfortable with your newly acquired knowledge. Even for me as non-native English speaker, it was no problem at all to follow the explanations.

Once you're ready to do your first jump, you have two instructors with you which make sure that you're okay in freefall. Landings are assisted via radio, but even without it would be very difficult not to land on the landing area....it is really huge! While I have been nervous before some jumps, I've always knew that I'll be safe, which is a big plus in my book.

All AFF jumps are recorded on video and discussed with the instructor afterwards. This is a great tool to understand what needs to be improved. With constructive feedback and encouragement from the instructors, it's relatively easy to progress through the AFF program.

After finishinig the AFF levels, the fun goes on doing consolidation jumps. Also here, it has never been a problem to find an instructor giving advice and explanations.

On top, the place just has a nice vibe...all staff ranging from instructors over packers to manifestors is very open minded, competent and enthusiastic about skydiving. The place is nice, the weather very stable, and being in Spain is a definite plus since it gives you the option to relax in the sun between jumps.

I could continue telling about the good organization, the interesting and funny people one can meet there, the evenings out.....

My recommendation is: GO THERE, learn, jump, enjoy....you won't regret!
I will certainly go back there, it's the perfect place.

(Review ID:8226)


Awesome place for a holiday!


The Freefall University Rated 5 by: red-sky on 2013-08-12

Pros: Staff, weather, landing area
Cons: lack of changing/shower facillities

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I've been to the Freefall University twice now, once in March and once in July and had a great time both times.
Jumping is the only thing you need to think about when youíre there, as everything else is taken care off by the FFU. Accommodation is arranged in apartments in the nearby town Aranjuez. Most, if not all of the students and funjumpers stay there so there's always people to have a drink with after jumping. Transportation to and from the dz was arranged every day as well.
The dropzone itself has a massive landing area, one or two Porters flying depending on how busy it is, a big hangar for packing and a cafe that servers a variety of snacks and sandwiches.
Thereís a steady stream of AFF students there and of course thereís the local freeflyers, wingsuiters and bellyflyers to jump with. The staff are great with everyone, regardless of the experience level.
I went for freefly coaching on both my trips, which was great for pointing out/getting rid of some bad habits and got a lot of things to keep working on.
All in all I had a great time on both trips and would recommend this dropzone to anyone, be it student or experienced skydiver!

(Review ID:8104)


The AFF just the beginning...


The Freefall University Rated 3 by: 21JumpSuit on 2013-05-06

Pros: Big landing area with few obstacles, vibe among students at dropzone
Cons: AFF course lacks some elements you are taught at other places, no showers at the DZ, bad weather options could be organi

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Generally doing an AFF has been one of the best choices I've ever made. It didn't feel that way in the beginning of the AFF-course as my body didn't consider jumping out of an air-plane as a natural thing but it changed during the course as I got comfortable with falling out of the sky.

My instructor was good in explaining skydiving itself and in finding solutions and exercises for my improvement. However he was quiet rough in his first feedbacks creating more an atmosphere of drill than the relaxed environment that you would need as your body and mind are already in a alert state. Luckily that changed completely after addressing this. Respect for his ability to adapt his teaching style to the student.

However, now that I've been to different dropzones I know that other SkyDiving Schools teach you a lot more during your AFF for a comparable price. In Hohenems (Austria) which I can strongly recommend you if you speak German, you learn to pack your parachute as well as the first elements of relative work. That makes you much more of a skydiver once you finish your course.

The spirit on the dropzone was great which helped a lot to chill out between the jumps. Everybody was friendly and open minded - I met a lot of interesting people I'm still in contact with. The dropzone had everything from a bar where you could buy soft drinks, coffee and sandwiches to a full restaurant with a great three course meal for just 10 Ä.

Beside jumping and having fun there was nothing to really think of as everything else from transport (daily and airport) to accommodation was perfectly organized by the FFU for a fair price.

If you are looking for an option to learn SkyDiving before/ after summer Madrid is surely an option. Otherwise its worth to have a look at other European Dropzones (as Hohenems or Sevilla for example) as they do not only try to bring you through the AFF but teach you a lot skills beside that you'll need later on.

(Review ID:7898)


Great Place to learn and master the art of skydiving


The Freefall University Rated 5 by: JamesGroves on 2013-03-10

Pros: Serious Skiydivers, Family environment, 2 planes weekends, Free WiFi
Cons: Lack of Changing and Shower facilities

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I did my AFF here in the summer everything went smoothly. Great coaching before and after each jump. Plenty of experience people to ask at the drop zone who are always willing to help.

During the summer access to a decent size swimming pool.

There is a few complaints about the food but I feel there are enough options to satisfy peoples needs. There is another restaurant close and a garage with a shop 10-15 minutes walking. There price is the average price for these kind of places chips 3 euros but you get a shit load of them, bacon sandwiches 4 euros, again of good size. Also there is no problem if you want to bring your own food plenty of places to sit and watch the students and professionals land.

I have met many great people and friends there and it will be guaranteed you will too.

I have a discount code to use if you come by my recognition (dcowman). use this with what ever you book. tandem or courses.

Many people talk about doing this vary fey actually grab the bull by the horns and ride the beast to the finish line.

Will you live the dream?....

(Review ID:7822)
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