Forums: Skydiving: Events & Places to Jump:
How's a Newbie to know?

 


SecondRound  (A License)

Nov 17, 2013, 1:37 AM
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How's a Newbie to know? Can't Post

I am looking for a good warm weather destination to get me through the winter season and I am having trouble getting a good handle on which DZs are good choices. It seems like most websites are aimed at students or tandems and their event calendars are not filled out more than a month or two ahead. I have searched the forums and reviews, but these seem to be pretty much out of date. I have specific goals in mind and it seems like my only course is to touch base individually with likely choices either by email or phone. Am I missing something or is this an accurate assessment? Trips like this are a significant investment of time and money and I would hate to screw it up.


Squeak  (E 1313)

Nov 17, 2013, 3:12 AM
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Re: [SecondRound] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

SecondRound wrote:
I am looking for a good warm weather destination to get me through the winter season and I am having trouble getting a good handle on which DZs are good choices. It seems like most websites are aimed at students or tandems and their event calendars are not filled out more than a month or two ahead. I have searched the forums and reviews, but these seem to be pretty much out of date. I have specific goals in mind and it seems like my only course is to touch base individually with likely choices either by email or phone. Am I missing something or is this an accurate assessment? Trips like this are a significant investment of time and money and I would hate to screw it up.
Where and when
Eloy, sebastian, perris, elsinore and Zhills all have things happening over your winter


(This post was edited by Squeak on Nov 17, 2013, 3:12 AM)


Premier skymama  (D 26699)
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Nov 17, 2013, 6:22 AM
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Re: [SecondRound] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, a lot of people learn via these forums. Tell us about your goals and we can help steer you in the right direction. Are you looking for coached jumps? Do you want to go to a tunnel also? What discipline? Do you want to be able to camp or stay in a bunkhouse? Which coast do you want to go to?


SecondRound  (A License)

Nov 17, 2013, 2:43 PM
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Re: [skymama] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

  Here are my background and goals. Newer A license Cessna DZ with some Caravan jumps. 49 jumps since April 2013. I would rate individual skills B: group skills C-to D Canopy skills C+.
Looking to get additional freefall time towards B license and take care of the canopy and water training requirements.
I am in MN so coasts are about equal distance and I have reasons to go to FL, AZ and CA. At 61 I will probably look for a non-camping accommodation and night life is not much of a factor.
My first trip away from my home DZ saw me making some poor choices and I am still looking to recover my confidence. My want is for some coaching and evaluation and a chance to practice in a comfortable environment.
Tunnel is optional on this trip.
I hope I am not coming across as whiney or needy, I mainly need an idea of the best way to get the info I need to make a decision


Squeak  (E 1313)

Nov 17, 2013, 3:02 PM
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Re: [SecondRound] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

SecondRound wrote:
Here are my background and goals. Newer A license Cessna DZ with some Caravan jumps. 49 jumps since April 2013. I would rate individual skills B: group skills C-to D Canopy skills C+.
Looking to get additional freefall time towards B license and take care of the canopy and water training requirements.
I am in MN so coasts are about equal distance and I have reasons to go to FL, AZ and CA. At 61 I will probably look for a non-camping accommodation and night life is not much of a factor.
My first trip away from my home DZ saw me making some poor choices and I am still looking to recover my confidence. My want is for some coaching and evaluation and a chance to practice in a comfortable environment.
Tunnel is optional on this trip.
I hope I am not coming across as whiney or needy, I mainly need an idea of the best way to get the info I need to make a decision

Go to Eloy and hit up the Axis Flight School, stay in the Skyrider Inn. Tunnel on site and exceptional coaching. for both sky and tunnel


raff

Nov 17, 2013, 5:30 PM
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Re: [Squeak] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Go to Eloy and hit up the Axis Flight School, stay in the Skyrider Inn. Tunnel on site and exceptional coaching. for both sky and tunnel

I would have to second the above recommendation. Eloy is certainly not a "coast" if you're looking for scenery, but you will find everything else for which you are looking.


Premier skymama  (D 26699)
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Nov 17, 2013, 5:48 PM
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Re: [SecondRound] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I would agree that Eloy, Sebastian, Perris, Elsinore and Zhills would probably meet your needs and I'll also add DeLand. Skydive University is in DeLand, but you'll also find coaches at the other dropzones mentioned. Flight-1 has an excellent reputation for canopy control classes, so it would be worth your while to attend one of their camps or classes. Most of the dropzones have bunkhouses, trailers to rent or skydiver rates at nearby hotels. You'll find friendly faces and turbines at all of those dropzones. Does that help?


normiss  (D 28356)

Nov 17, 2013, 6:47 PM
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Re: [skymama] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

Also consider in Deland, you can visit a large portion of the manufacturers in the sport.
Wink


SecondRound  (A License)

Nov 17, 2013, 9:34 PM
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Re: [normiss] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

There is the problem. All the major DZs look good, yet they also are intimidating since they are home to such highly skilled jumpers. Deland is especially so since it is home to so many manufacturers and Factory teams. I do not want to get in over my head yet I want to work on improving my own skills. I guess some phone calls are in order and then trust my instincts to sort out the best choice from the usual suspects. Thanks to those who have offered opinions, I appreciate your taking time to respond to what is probably a repetitious question.


Squeak  (E 1313)

Nov 17, 2013, 10:18 PM
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Re: [SecondRound] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

SecondRound wrote:
There is the problem. All the major DZs look good, yet they also are intimidating since they are home to such highly skilled jumpers. Deland is especially so since it is home to so many manufacturers and Factory teams. I do not want to get in over my head yet I want to work on improving my own skills. I guess some phone calls are in order and then trust my instincts to sort out the best choice from the usual suspects. Thanks to those who have offered opinions, I appreciate your taking time to respond to what is probably a repetitious question.


Asking the question is a non-issue, that's what these boards are for.

Your "feeling intimidated" comment MAY be an issue. All the DZs listed are quality DZs that have a very good novice student focus. with state of that art facilities and coaching methods.
Step up, state what you want and they'll be able to help you.
Tell them your goals and ask them to work out a progression for you over the given time frame that you are there. Anyone of the mentioned DZ should be fine with doing this for you. So you next question might be, Where do I want to spend my time and money based on NON DZ requirements?


(This post was edited by Squeak on Nov 17, 2013, 10:20 PM)


mereanarchy  (A License)

Nov 18, 2013, 5:48 AM
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Re: [SecondRound] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

hey there. I am a newbie, 40 jumps since July. I just ventured out for the first time, I had a conference in Cali and took my rig with me to Perris. Although the DZ is huge, I never felt out of my league. The organizers there were fantastic, and Grace Katz and Mark Brown took me under their wings for the day I was there. I went back one more afternoon to spend some time in the tunnel. I would definitely recommend it for a newbie who is coming from a Cessna DZ.


Premier Remster  (C License)

Nov 18, 2013, 6:51 AM
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Re: [SecondRound] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
such highly skilled jumpers

They all put their pants like you, one leg at a time.

Seriously, skydiving is one of those rare sports where, a nobody like you (no offence! Smile) or me (see!Wink) can get coaching from the worlds best for, what really is, not that much money in the end (try and get 1/1 coaching from Tiger Woods or Sebastien Vettel). And, the boys and girls at the top of our sport are, for the most part, pretty down to earth (they have to be, considering their diet of Ramen Sly)


Premier skymama  (D 26699)
Moderator
Nov 18, 2013, 8:35 AM
Post #13 of 22 (2905 views)
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Re: [SecondRound] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

You shouldn't be intimidated by the large dropzones. The highly skilled jumpers train people all day long, they are very used to newbies wandering around. They are also very used to seeing people screw up! In DeLand, for example, there's a huge mix of tandems on their first jump, students at Skydive University, visiting teams from other countries, students at Flight One, regular fun jumpers who have absolutely no skydiving goals other than to have fun (like me!) and hot shots with 20,000 jumps. We all just intermingle and everyone is pretty darn nice.

If you want to improve quickly, you should go to the places that have the skilled jumpers and learn from the best.


Premier NWFlyer  (D License)

Nov 18, 2013, 9:28 AM
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Re: [SecondRound] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

SecondRound wrote:
I do not want to get in over my head yet I want to work on improving my own skills.

The big thing, as others have mentioned, is to be completely up front about where you are in your progression and what skills you want to work on.

In terms of getting in over your head, I think the most critical thing that you can do when visiting any new dropzone (but particularly a very large dropzone like the ones you're considering visiting) is to get a thorough dropzone briefing - to include everything from where/how the planes get loaded, what the standard and alternate landing areas are (and you'll find that some of the big dropzones have a designated area for students and newer jumpers - it's good to know where that area is), how the dropzone establishes its landing patterns, where the good and bad out landing areas are, things to know about ground operations (like where the active runways/taxiways are that you might have to cross), where you shouldn't land or do your pattern (like in the middle of a high-performance area), etc.

Take some time to observe operations before you hop on your first load. Ask questions if you see something you don't understand.


(This post was edited by NWFlyer on Nov 18, 2013, 9:29 AM)


Ron

Nov 18, 2013, 9:41 AM
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Re: [SecondRound] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
All the major DZs look good, yet they also are intimidating since they are home to such highly skilled jumper

Well:

1. Bring beer. Everyone likes the guy that brings beer.
2. Call ahead and schedule a coach to work with you a bit. They open doors.
3. Try to find a DZ that will have organizing.

I'd suggest Florida. I'd further suggest Zhills. They have coaches (Sally Hathaway comes to mind, but they have others). And they have organizers. Some DZ's do not have organizers on deck every day, ZHills normally does.

Part of why I suggest FL is you can go to Zhills, and then Maybe DeLand, then Maybe Sebastian, then maybe Lake Wales, then maybe.... Point is you can get around a do a bunch.

As for the intimidation.... Yeah, don't sweat it. Most pro's are normal people who like to help.

If you are in South FL. PM me.


dudeman17  (D License)

Nov 18, 2013, 9:58 AM
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Re: [SecondRound] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

+1 to what everyone else has said. Don't be intimidated, skydivers pretty much everywhere are friendly, welcoming people. Plusses for the west coast are that Perris and Elsinore are within half an hour of each other, so you have both options available, and if you want to spend a day touristing somewhere else, there are a lot of things to do within an hour or so. Whichever way you go, do have fun!


mattjw916  (D License)

Nov 18, 2013, 3:50 PM
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Re: [SecondRound] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

Can't go wrong at Perris or Eloy... tunnels, great organizers, fast planes, big landing areas, restaurant/bar on-site, etc, etc...

Both have events going on throughout the holidays and you can literally jump with some of the best in the world on any given weekend.


freakflyer9999  (D 99999)

Nov 19, 2013, 5:33 AM
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Re: [SecondRound] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

I would suggest going to Florida, mainly because you will have so many choices. Pick one to start with, but be willing to move on down the road if it isn't meeting your needs or just to try something different.

When I had about the same number of jumps as you, I had a business trip to Florida. I visited 6 dropzones in a week and found everyone of them offered something different and a different feeling/vibe. All were pretty friendly, though at the time I did find Deland to be the most intimidating as a newbie in the sport. The friendliest dropzone that I visited that week doesn't exist any more. It was in Umatilla. Z-Hills got my vote for #2 spot that week with Lake Wales and Titusville tied for 3rd and Sebatians winds were too high for me to jump.

You seem to be pretty honest with yourself and this group about your skill levels. Pick up the phone, call each of the DZ's and ask to speak with a coach. After doing so, I bet one of them will stand out in your mind.


GLIDEANGLE  (D 30292)

Nov 19, 2013, 7:52 AM
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Re: [SecondRound] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

Let me help you understand the social side of this a bit more.

One of the great advantages of big DZs is both the formal, and the informal contact with those very experienced jumpers you are intimidated by. Yes, you will benefit a lot from formal coaching. However, if you keep your eyes open and are friendly... you can learn a huge amount outside your formal instruction. You will see dirt dives and exit practice, you will see and perhaps hear folks debrief jump videos. You will have the opportunity to ask the occasional question when these folks are idle. You can learn a huge amount after jumping is done for the day... hang out and learn.

My favorite example of the advantage of this depth of skill is when load organizers assemble jumpers to participate in a SCR 8-way. The organizers typically select skilled jumpers who can fly their slot reliably. Many times I have chuckled at the group assembled to help some new jumper earn their SCR: World Team veterans, competitors who have earned medals at USPA Nationals, professional coaches, and very experienced fun jumpers.... and the new guy has NO idea who these folks are.

Regarding any concerns you may have about canopy traffic "it is SO busy".... Typically even the very busy places have a large, low traffic, student/novice landing area.

The biggest variable isn't the DZs (all listed so far are more than sufficient for your needs). The biggest variable is YOU! Most important is your ability to build relationships, ask questions, listen well, and be a pleasant person who people want to spend time and energy with.


Trafficdiver  (D License)

Nov 20, 2013, 8:33 PM
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Re: [GLIDEANGLE] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

There are plenty of noobs and people who are not that good at the big DZ's too that will grab you because you are in the same position. You can get a coach but even of you don't you'll find people to jump with. Chances are there will be several jumpers there just off student status.

If they only allowed people with Mad Skillz the places would be dead.Wink


SecondRound  (A License)

Jan 15, 2014, 12:11 PM
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Re: [SecondRound] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, gathered up my courage and signed up for Flight-1 101 and probably 102 and contacted Skydive U about coaching. Deland here I come. Can't say that I am not nervous, but I also can't wait to see temperatures above 40 and ground that isn't white. I am on a mission to learn to suck less at skydiving and have 75 minutes at SVCO the following month.
Thank you to all who offered advice and encouragement.
See you in February.


CCGV19  (C License)

Jan 27, 2014, 7:21 AM
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Re: [SecondRound] How's a Newbie to know? [In reply to] Can't Post

Sounds like you made a great choice. I made two trips to FL where I jumped at Zhills. I did the 101 and 102 Flight-1 course with Aaron Stocum as well as my water training. I earned my B then celebrated later with night jumps.

I can personally say that the Flight 1 courses are great and I really enjoyed the video debrief to see what my landings looked like. I have gained a lot more canopy confidence and would recommend them to all for better control and skill. The license is just a bonus in my eyes. The flight-1 guys really focus on safety and improving everyone at their individual skills. You will be very happy you chose Flight-1. Best of Luck and enjoy the trip!



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