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guppykf

Skydive San Marcos...anyone been lately?

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I am in San Antonio for a trade show and some of my associates wants to try to do a tandem on Friday....it may be the alcohol talking though. We will see in the morning when they sober up. However, in case they dont change their mind I have read some interesting reviews, so looking to see if anyone on here is currently jumping there to see if the reviews are hype or real. It's work buddies, so I am hoping they can get the good time that we all know a 1st experience can be.
THRIVING IN MY DASH!!

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Anyone who doesn't work for them have a review or opinion? No offense to IMGR2 or anyone else who works there (I'm sure you can understand the desire for a 3rd party review).

I'm thinking of starting the AFF pipeline through them, but the recent reviews here are a bit troubling.

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I'm a fun jumper at SSM approaching 100 jumps - went through AFF training there as did a few of my friends. Great dropzone for tandem students although the DZ does do a lot of them so it can seem like you're just a number being pushed through the system - on the other hand, they have excellent tandem masters and videographers who make your jump fun and everyone is very professional and safety-conscience. Very well maintained planes and excellent facilities and equipment.

AFF training is very good, especially jumps 1-7. Again the only problem is that it's a large DZ with a lot of tandems so there will be a *lot* of sitting around waiting on winds, weather or coaches (since some of the coaches also do tandems, video, etc). Coach jumps are fun because with a large DZ you never know who you'll get to take you up and every coach has a different style.

With a super otter running loads every 25 minutes or so they can put fun jumpers and AFF students on the same load as a gaggle of tandems so you're never really waiting for a plane, you're usually waiting for a coach.

My advice for AFF students - SSM is a great DZ with friendly people and excellent training, equipment and facilities. They follow the training fairly rigidly but are flexible if you can demonstrate skills.

AFF students (no matter the level) are serviced 1st-come, 1st-served so GET THERE EARLY and put your name on the board. Really, that's probably the best advice. If you show up by 8:30-9:00am you'll be taken care of quickly weather permitting. The S&TA will give you a hard time if you show up in the afternoon expecting to jump but he will do his best to get you on a load (although it won't seem like it, LOL).

Also, when going through AFF, BE PROACTIVE - show up and put your name on the board, grab the worksheet for the jump you're on, fill out the wind speed information and grab your student gear and put it aside, turn on the AAD, gear check, etc. Then, when a coach or two are available, you'll be ready to rock and that can happen fairly quickly. And I mean after sitting around for an hour wondering if you're going to be able to jump you'll suddenly feel a tap on your shoulder with "can you make a 20 minute call?"

They will sit down with you after every one of your jumps and give you a debrief so don't feel like just because they're busy you're getting short-changed. I've also noticed that the AFF coaches go out of their way to remember you and say hello the next time you're there so it is a friendly DZ, just BUSY sometimes.

Meanwhile, bring your beer and hang out after the last load and meet some really great friendly people.

Oh - edited to add: There has been some friction between management and staff although you wouldn't know it unless you've been around a while and happen to notice when staff leave, and even then only if you ask. They are very professional even with the friction and always, always safety conscience.

You may hear the bad stuff on dz.com but just keep in mind that for every disgruntled staff member there are a dozen others who don't bother to come here to say "yep, another fun day doing coach jumps and tandems." I absolutely don't know anything about or care about the friction between management and staff as I've always been treated well there as an AFF student and fun jumper.

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Anyone who doesn't work for them have a review or opinion? No offense to IMGR2 or anyone else who works there (I'm sure you can understand the desire for a 3rd party review).

I'm thinking of starting the AFF pipeline through them, but the recent reviews here are a bit troubling.



Don't go by the reviews. Most of them are from employees that were let go or employees from other dropzones. If would like to check that out for yourself take a look at the tandem masters at Skydive Temple and compare the names to a few of the bad reviews. I'm not singling out Temple just using that as one example.
There is not a better place anywhere near that comes close to San Marcos for AFF. They have superior aircraft, equipment and facilities. Spaceland is pretty good too but that's not considered the same area.
Good luck.

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Its funny you said that about Skydive Temple tandem masters and bad reviews. I didn't think that any of our tandem masters here actually read dz.com so I just went and read reviews of San Marcos and I'm sure none of the reviews are from our tandem masters (no usernames are even vaguely close) , and pretty confident none of the reviews are even from are from any of our regular jumpers cuz I don't recognize a single name on any of the reviews.

I have not the foggiest clue of whether the reviews are true, but I can tell you that they are not just random dz competition stuff.

And great aircraft doesn't always mean anything. I've been jumping for 20 years, and if I go to some random part of the country where I've never been to and know no one, I'd MUCH rather head to the small dz than the big one every day. Just cuz at the small dz I'll immediately be family, but at the big dz who knows. Some are friendly, and some you can have thousands of jumps and still do a solo..

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I guess you don't look very good Wendy. Brandon Booker is one. Dropzone.com user name bsbooker and listed on your website as a tandem master. His review is one very near the top of the list. I'm surprised you missed that. I'm not going to waste my time pointing out others but I will ask that you look at 3 most recent reviews. All mention names at the dropzone, all are users with no profile or posts and of the three two of them registered the same day they made the review. Come on. How can you possibly not figure this is BS?
I'm not knocking Skydive Temple whatsoever. I just made the point that a tandem master from your dropzone that left SSM in a disgruntled fashion posted a bad review. You can hardly deny his review isn't biased and at a minimum the 3 most recent as well?
These reviews are not worth anything for the most part other than entertainment. You've got to go yourself or get references from someone you know personally.
If I get anything from these reviews on SSM I get that Skydive Temple has a tandem master on staff that's got a bone to pick. Do I want anyone I know to be attached to him in freefall? I'll let you decide.

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Yeah his was at the very bottom of the page from last year. But I'd be quite surprised if the top 3 belonged to anyone here. Just because they didn't post a username doesn't mean that they work at other dzs. They might be, but I don't have the faintest clue who they are. They appear to describe an actual skydive there, so I can't help but think that it was someone who jumped there.. If I was the dropzone, I would actually check and see if the descriptions of the tandems matched anyone there that day because they sound like real people to me. I doubt any of our staff have even jumped at San Marcos at the past year - I haven't the faintest clue who is doing tandems down there these days..

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So my point being that the reviews are really worthless. There's really no way to know when the reviewer can't be identified. Maybe one of those was for real but has to be discredited because of the anonymity but people that do tandems would have no idea what dz.com is without some coaching.
At least Brandon had the balls to make the review and not try to hide behind the computer screen. LOL It's obvious he had it out with Eric but that really should be kept between the two of them.
Anyway no hard feelings. Salado is a fine place to jump and I have nothing bad to say about it. Probably the reason I don't make it up there is it's pretty far to drive from S.A.

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Anyone who doesn't work for them have a review or opinion? No offense to IMGR2 or anyone else who works there (I'm sure you can understand the desire for a 3rd party review).

I'm thinking of starting the AFF pipeline through them, but the recent reviews here are a bit troubling.



Hi!
I do not work for them and I even don't live in the U.S. However, when I am in TX, SSM is one of the three DZs (beside Spaceland + Skydive Houston) that I try to visit on my trip. From my point of view, I can highly recommend SSM. It is a big and professional run DZ with all the advantages and disadvantages that come with this kind of operation.

Disadvantages:
Big = busy, meaning that you might have some longer waiting between jumps and then suddenly it's the mentioned 20min call
Having a lot of Tandems sometimes leads to a reduced number of fun jumpers, so that "the vibe" might be less than on a small country-club-like DZ (however, I would name the vibe at SSM great)
Advantages:
Having a business model of giving one-time jumpers the thrill of their life is highly dependent on your safety record as bad news about incidents immediately will have an impact on the number of your customers. So they have to be (and from my own experience they are) very safety conscious.
Being no club, upgrades in the facilities don't depend on "a working weekend" of the club members. SSM has upgraded their fleet and facilities in the last year and they are great.

Personally, I would do my AFF there, if I live in the area.
As a suggestion - go there and hang out with them on a weekend. If you like what you see, sign up.
Also you might search the forums, as I am pretty sure that you will find several discussions about pros and cons concerning big vs small dropzones.
Finally-wherever you choose to make your AFF, once you have your A-license, start visiting other DZ from time to time as this is fun and educating.

Blue ones,
M.
vSCR No.94
Don't dream your life - live your dream!

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