Gerard Costabella

Looking to be tandem master

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I have 60 jumps experience and I'm in research of a cheap dropzone where I could get lots of jumps in a good price with the objective to do the tandem master. Also I've heard that some dropzones could pay all the jumps and courses as an exchange after to work for them...? I'm not sure if that is true but I heard about it. Looking for any way, all information is appreciated, thank you.


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Perhaps you are looking for the New Zealand model for training drop zone staff. They take on near neophytes - like you - and train them how to drive the shuttle van, how to pack, how to edit videos, how to do manifest paperwork, handle money and credit cards, how to dress students, how to refuel the airplane, how to take out the trash, how to mow the lawn, how to swab the decks, how to do outside camera and eventually how to do tandems.

Pre-levels to become a TI include 3 years in the sport, 500 jumps, another skydiving coach or instructor rating, class 3 medical, etc.

Before you do any of that, chat with your local TIs and ideally a Tandem Instructor Examiner to learn if you are tall enough and strong enough and have the right personality to become a TI. A good TI keeps the student in the limelight while he/she plays a quiet supporting role.

Also determine if you are willing to work long hours for small pay. Pay is slowly improving as drop zones struggle to hire from the small pool of full-time, professional TIs.

Then get the Class 3 medical (private pilot). Related to the aviation medical exam is your recreational frug habits. Some countries (e.g. USA) have rigid standards severely limiting the types and quantities of recreational drugs that you can ingest AND work as an aviation professional. Alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, hashish, heroin, extacsy, amphetamines, etc. may all be popular recreational drugs on your DZ. Recreational drugs are a quick "in" socially, but can hamper your career in the long run.

I was a full-time professional skydiver for 18 years. It helped that I had been a part-time TI, IAD, static-line and freefall instructor before I went full-time. It also helped that I had a couple of rigger ratings so I could hide behind a sewing machine while the rest of the full-time staff were grumbling about the rain. I had to learn the finer points of driving the fuel truck. All those skills made be fully employable, meaning a lot of 60 and 70 hour weeks.

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42 minutes ago, riggerrob said:

How much is Lodi charging for hop-and-pops?

How much is Lodi charging for jumps from full altitude (14,000 feet)?

$10 hop n pops 

$25 for 10k or 12k if theres a tandem on the load. 

theres not a lot going on there these days. They are a 3 c182 DZ now. 

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