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FFlyer

Skydiving around Essex - UK

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Hey there,

What dropzones exist around the Essex region of England? Within about 2 hours drive / train? Are there any big and busy dropzones around that area, particularly with a good freefly scene?

Also, where are the Bedford and Airkix tunnels located? Are those within a reasonable distance from Essex?

I know the weather in the UK is generally pretty terrible but what is the skydiving like year round with dropzones near to Essex?

My geography of the UK in general is really cr@p.

thanks!

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I would suggest Sibson or Langar are in a reasonable distance and there are a few freeflyer (including myself). The tunnel in Bedford or Milton Keynes are not so far away either. Should be all in a 2 hours range.

Langar is jumping all year round (did jump there last weekend), Sibson is opening in Feb.

Have a look at Google Maps that helps.

blues,
Marcus

p.s.> good source for skydiving in the UK is http://www.ukskydiver.co.uk/cms/forums/

and the BPA site:
http://www.bpa.org.uk/where_can_i_jump

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Quote


I know the weather in the UK is generally pretty terrible but what is the skydiving like year round with dropzones near to Essex?



You clearly know lots about the UK weather. [:/]

When I did AFF in South Africa, I was warned that jumping in the UK was so bad (due to weather) that even the CCIs often only had a few hundred jumps.

The reality is somewhat different - most UK CCIs actually have many, many thousands of jumps (far more than the average CCI in SA) and quite a few of the dzs are open on a daily basis - or maybe 6 days a week (again, unlike nearly all the SA dzs). And you won't find everyone at the dz going home if the day starts out as cloudy - something that has happened many times at the SA dz I go to most frequently.

However, back to your question. I lived in Essex for about 15 years and depending on where you are in Essex, transport links can be pretty poor. Nearest DZ is probably Headcorn in Kent but getting there from rural parts of Essex can be quite a lot of effort. And my first experience of Headcorn - in about 2003 - was not great so I decided not to support the place (it may be a totally different place now, but as a paying customer, if I don't like the service I will go elsewhere). When I lived in Essex, I used to travel to Hinton, Sibson and to Old Buckenham (now relocated to Norfolk I understand). I went by car and the trip would typically be 3-4 hours depending on traffic.

Bedford and Milton Keynes are both reasonably accessible by public transport (rail links from London, I believe) - but I have only driven to the wind tunnels so I dn't know if you would need expensive taxis. Trains can be pretty expensive too.. (I read about the first 1000 pound railway ticket earlier this year). From where I lived in Essex(maybe 40 miles outside London), a return ticket to London bought on a daily basis for peak journey times (before 0930) was something like 25 pounds, and prices will have probably increased a fair amount since I lived in England. Weekend travel is probably a fair amount cheaper, as will tickets bought in advance.

So if you believe your mates stories about English weather, you probably should leave your rig in sunny SA. On the other hand, if you want to jump, you should take your gear with you and you might just be surprised.

***********************************************
I'm NOT totally useless... I can be used as a bad example

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The Old Buckingham Parachute Club/DZ has just (Jan 2010) relocated to Beccles in Suffolk. Depending on where you are in Essex, its about 1-2 hours away. Its smaller than Langar but thats gonna be your nearest DZ, easily.

http://www.ukparachuting.co.uk/

You can take a train from Ipswich to Beccles and a quick cab ride from the station to the DZ.

Alterntatively a couple of hours across London (perhaps more like 3) you have Skydive Southcoast - which isnt actually anywhere near the south coast, but it is right near Stone Henge! Good DZ on an old WWII airbase.

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Cool thanks for the replies.

I lived in London for about 18months back in 2002. I did a bit of skydiving at Headcorn dropzone. I WILL NOT be going back there again. The attitude and atmosphere is terrible. I have heard countless people say the same thing both in person and on here, so im not the only one to have had a bad experience.

But thanks for the ideas about the other dropzones. Ill look them up online to find out a bit more detail.

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I used to live 40 miles from Headcorn. Did a tandem there years and years before I started jumping but no experience there as a fun jumper.

I used to drive 2 1/2 hours to Hibaldstow EVERY weekend! If they can get one of the Dornier G92's in the air they will. 15 people to 15k in 15 minutes. Could hardly complain at that! Although the drive back on a Sunday night was horrible. I often had 'Mondayitis' ;)

Don't put off 'till tomorrow what you can do today

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Each dropzone has its own character so it is worth trying some out and see what you like. Beccles and Sibson are probably closest to you, as others have said. Headcorn has some very good skydivers, and you get to dodge the sheep and llamas when landing! The bigger the dz (in numbers of skydivers), the harder to get noticed and fit in I reckon.

English weather is not all bad in winter. When it is a high pressure day it is cold but the air is clear, the views good, the winds low and the planes climb faster. And packing warms you up afterward! I got 6 jumps a day in January and February last year at Dunkeswell.

Hope you find the right one and have some good times.

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