Skydive Sebastian, in Sebastian Florida has just stepped up it's efforts to be the number one destination for skydivers on the East Coast, and in doing so has now attracted the world's best free flyers to instruct, coach and organize on a daily basis. The Free fly Training Center (FTC) has just opened at the DZ located centrally on the east coast of Florida. "Our mission as The Free fly Training Center, is to lead the free fly scene at Skydive Sebastian in the most efficient way possible. This will allow each and every individual flyer to progress at their desired learning curve. We are doing this through extensive coaching, events every month, and free load organizing", says Mike Swanson, instructor for the school and current Free fly World Champion.
The FTC has 4 instructors on staff who are already involved in organizing on a daily basis, helping to expand free flyers in aerial awareness, communication, flying skills and dive planning in a safe and controlled manner. This program aims towards flyers who are used to visiting DZ's where it's hard to find anyone to jump with, and end up spending their vacation doing solos. " We wanted to get away from the typical situation where intermediate flyers never get a chance to jump with someone who is more skilled than themselves. Our program adds to EVERYONE'S learning curve, and gives us more capable flyers to have fun with during events", reports FTC instructor Dave Brown.
The FTC is the end result of all of it's members giving a combined effort in looking to start something which will benefit ALL flyers in the end. The FTC members are: Mike Swanson, from the First School of Modern Sky flying Instructor Staff, and Rook Nelson, of Free fly Chicago, which together are the current Free fly World Champions. They will be training all season long at Skydive Sebastian, hoping to defend their title in the 2003 Free fly World Championships. Addition FTC members are David Brown, also of the First School of Modern Sky flying Instructor Staff, and Rob Silver, formerly of Sebastian Free flight. Together they ensure that the quality of free flying at Skydive Sebastian will be extensive, and without a doubt, educational.
Coaching programs are available for individuals who are looking to excel past their current flying ability, OR towards specific goals. All of the instructors are highly experienced and capable of teaching all facets of free fly, in a unique and efficient atmosphere. This allows the flyer to advance and become proficient in all areas of three dimensional flight. The FTC has no minimum on the number of instructional jumps that one must purchase. HOWEVER, they recommend that any student should participate in AT LEAST five instructional jumps, to attain the most out of the program. At the end of each coaching session, the instructors will evaluate the student's progress, and give advice for the future, so as to continue the process of education and guidance after the student returns to his/her respective drop zone. With the already increased interest in their programs, the FTC has worked with DZ management to get price breaks on block ticket jumps for students who come to the DZ to do at least 25 instructional jumps or more. The FTC instructor rate is discounted with this package as well, offering discounted coach rates with the purchase of 25 jumps or more.
Since the beginning of October, the FTC's events calendar has started rolling with the Halloween Boogie, the Keys Boogie and an influx of regular and visiting jumpers doing coached and organized jumps. Both of the boogies were great successes, lots of high quality and safe jumping. Each month the FTC plans on having events focused on different flying and learning. The event which has drawn the biggest response from flyers thus far, is the FTC's "Pure Progression Program", where students are engaged in a 30 jump minimum course held over a period of 7 days. This takes them to the next level of human flight. The weeklong course includes seminars in three dimensional flight, canopy piloting, and camera flying. During the week, students will visit the Sky Venture Wind Tunnel in Orlando, and participate in the FTC's Wind Tunnel Program, focusing on head up flying and dimensional control. There are also two "Big Ways" camps, a Weekend Skills Camp, and The All Axis competition. The FTC hopes to draw flyers nationally and internationally not only to have fun, but also acquire as much knowledge as possible this season.
If you are interested in any of these programs, or want to get in touch with FTC members contact [email protected] or go check out the FTC's website at www.freeflytrainingcenter.com, the web site is currently being built and will be up and running soon. Also check out Skydive Sebastian's website at www.skydiveseb.com for the latest information on boogies, skills camps and coaching info and prices.
All photos of Dave Brown and student Dan Labelle by Rook Nelson