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    Indiana Skydiving Academy
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  1. Hey everyone. Thanks. I appreciate the quick help. P.S. To "gearless chris"...what did your rigger say?
  2. I'm looking for information/suggestions on how to replace the the black plastic "shrink wrap" (for lack of knowing the appropriate term) at at the top of the cutaway housing that has ripped on a rig. What kind of material it this? Where can I get it? How do I replace it? Any help would be appreciated. Paula Coody
  3. All of you have been so helpful, resourceful, or at least entertaining with your ideas. My jumpers and I thank you very much. I'll give you a target update sometime. Blue Skies, Paula
  4. All right all you math and light bulb I need some additional facts and calculations: Assuming I'm going to dump a 1 1/2' pile (of washed, real pea gravel) on the ground, tapered at the edges, on top of some kind of landscaping cloth that allows water to pass through, in a clear area, free of turbulence, but clear of the swoop lane, but not too far of a walk that no one will use it [see, I've been paying attention], with about a 7 meter radius (erring on the smaller side is fine, to save $$ and it's really not for regulation competitions, just to try to get our jumpers to be able to hit a target)...I need to know the following: 1. How many lbs/tons of rock to do I buy...(hmm...I've never bought rock myself...I don't really know how you order it...weight, truck load, ???) 2. Assuming we're going to pick it up ourselves, in a full-sized long bed pick up, how many truck loads? Or, is it more practical to have it delivered? 3. How many skydivers, equipped with shovels, will it take to shovel out the truck (assuming we do it ourselves), calculating the amount of rock to shovel, and the average amount of work that one skydiver, working for free, is capable of doing 4. Most importantly, how many cases of beer do I have to buy to get this done?
  5. Thanks all for sharing your knowledge, info, suggestions, ideas and the great math refresher course. I really appreciate everyone's help. Paula
  6. Without getting into the Notam discussion, here's my $ .02 (I'm the dzo, but not a pilot. I know we have a standing notam and atc on notice of our operations, Fri-Sun, sunrise to sunset, year round, within a 10 mile radius of our airport. We do have to call flight services when we are doing nightjumps, since it is outside our regular operating hours. (Please don't yell at me about my facts or talking "pilot-speak" is like talking to a non-jumper about skydiving. {clueless} I have to rely on my chief pilots for this stuff) The other reasons for not doing night jumps all the time are threefold in my mind: 1. I want perfect conditions---no high winds that might make for a bad spot; no clouds to try to spot around in the dark, etc. 2. They take extra planning and effort---making sure lights are available for the jumpers to carry and in the landing area, giving proper briefings, etc. 3. DZO Laziness---I'm too tired to stay at the DZ from 8:00am until 1:00am every night. I need to go home and sleep sometime (and have a beer and food sometime), so we only do them on limited occasions. With daylight savings time, our sunset isn't until almost 10:00, so, waiting an hour, you're looking at almost 11:00 to start jumping. Paula Coody Indiana Skydiving Academy Goshen, Indiana
  7. Okay, you experieced folks out there who may have built a pea gravel pit for accuracy competitions in their hay do I build one? I've been running a dz for several years. We took over from the former DZO who had already built a pea pit. Now, we've moved our landing area and without "the pea" to shoot for, our jumpers are quickly loosing their accuracy skills. (plus, we have a new crew of jumpers who need to earn their "IGLOT" numbers!!). We obviously need to put one in. Now, how? How deep? Do we dig? Do we line it with sand or anything else besides pea gravel? Standard sizing? I would appreciate any help and guidence that I can get. Thanks, Paula Coody Indiana Skydiving Academy Goshen, Indiana
  8. I've probably been involved in about 30 transactions (both buying and selling) on I've always had good luck and never ran into a problem. I'm a dzo and rigger, so I've acted as middle-man (woman) for several of my jumpers. Sellers can look me up on USPA and they ship to our business address. We usually hold the check, inspect the gear when it comes, and then forward the check to the seller. This works great. But, I've also done many tranasaction direct to buyers/sellers (since I AM the middleman, and don't have anyone else to do it for me). I've never had a problem. I usually talk to the person by e-mail and by phone. You can usually get a pretty good idea about that person's trustworthiness by talking to him. I've sent gear without receiving payment first to people I was comfortable with, they then looked at it, and sent payment afterwards. I've also done COD sales. In other cases, I've sent the check and waited for the gear, or we've agreed to send 1/2, get the gear, and then send the other half. All in all, I've found that people in the skydiving community to be a pretty close knit and trustworthy group. Talk to the person. Use your common sense to judge a person and a situation. Look them up, look up or call their dz. If anything sounds unusual about the transaction or the deal seems too good to be true - beware, there are scams out there - but those people probably don't know too much about skydiving when you talk to them, either.
  9. Hey, Does anyone out there have contact information for Dick Higley? If you've been around skydivng for awhile, you may know him. Dick has come to visit family in Indiana several summers and has flown for us and jumped with us when he could. I'm trying to get in contact with him, but due to the "benefits" of electronic storage, have lost my phonebook. thanks. Paula Coody Indiana Skydiving Academy Goshen, Indiana 574-642-3156
  10. Just bored tonight and reading some of the threads. A couple of quick comments. First, thanks for the clarification about prices..every student has a different pace and needs, so it is really impossible to say 7 jumps and then solos and then you're done. Or, x number of jumps in the S/L progression, etc. I own a small dz and we tried flat fees for a while, in all of the progression methods. What I found was that there was a strong financial motive to consider "passing" a student with questionable performance, whatever method. We went back to per jump pricing, with discounts for purchasing groups of jumps, and never again "sold" the whole program. I've had students fly through and students who needed many jumps at each level. I just don't think you can fairly price any program on a flat fee basis because of the tremendous potential for variability. I do tell students that the S/L progression is generally more cost-effective. But ultimately, if you follow all the levels of USPA's ISP, and don't go 7 jumps and then solos, the prices don't come out too different any more. Oh yeah, second point, S/L rated instructors can touch students once they reach the coach levels and are working on group flying skills, just so there is no confusion. Blue Skies (and no winds, hopefully)
  11. Hey, this is the land of debt (I'm mean "leverage", which is a nicer term). I started a DZ for about 10k (a small, homey one, of course). We financed the 182, bought five good, but used student rigs and one tandem rig. Also, of course, a pilot rig, radios, jumpsuits, altis, helmets and such from another DZO that closed near the time we were opening. What the 10k wouldn't pay for, we used those nice credit card checks. Most public airports rent hangers cheap. Find one that wants'll buy a lot of expensive fuel and the airport gets federal funds credit for takeoffs and landings. That was about six years ago. The DZ has been one of my greatest joys and one of my greatest headaches. The debt is paid (except the plane) and we make a little profit ("little" being the key word). Advice? 1) Doing what you love as work can be incredibly rewarding, 2) Don't quit your weekday job just yet, 3) You'd better like risk...there's no insurance for this business, 4) It's better to not have much in other assets (see #3), and if you do, put it in your spouse's name, if married, and own the DZ corp. in your name only, 5) If you're looking to maximize the return on your investment, try mutual funds instead, 6) Find hungry teenagers to pack for you (nothing causes small DZO burnout like packing dozens of new 290 sq. ft ZP mantas in August), 7) Static line or IAD is most efficient and profitable for a Cessna dz, but you need tandems, too., 8) remember not to stop skydiving (yes, your slot could generate another $20 on the next load, but you need to remember why you are doing this. 9) You've gotta be an instructor/rigger, or have a partner who is, or get to be one ASAP. In fact, going to a rigger's course is a good thing to do over the winter. I was bored eating lunch...thanks for listening to my was entertaining for me. Best of luck!
  12. Hmmm. I haven't posted in a long time, but I was eating lunch at work and I found this thread entertaining enough to read it all and then of course, it's hard not to want to put in your 2 cents. (now that I read what I wrote, it looks more like 4 or 6 cents). I'm kind of a "reluctant" DZO. Many days I'd much rather be sitting around fun jumping all day, instead of having to deal with dumping the trash, answering the phone, trying to remember to feed the jump pilots, packing student rigs, trying to explain to angry student and their families about wind limits, and all the other really glamorous things that dzos get to do. Before owning the DZ, I had plenty of complaints about our DZO, S&TA, USPA....etc. However, one day our dz closed unexpectedly. We found ourselves having to travel a long way to jump and didn't always like what we found. So, reluctantly, we decided to re-start a dz at our local airport. Sometimes it's the most amazing thing to do, and sometimes I can't imaging what misfiring neurons in my brain caused me to do this. What I've discovered, both from my own experience and talking to many other dzos, is that except for a few very rare exceptions, there just isn't much profit in this business. I could have invested the same amount of money in some other venture, incurred less risk, and have given the same amount of my time and labor, and the resulting profit margins would have GREATLY exceeded anything in the skydiving business. Again, except for a few rarities, it's the love of the sport and the love of sharing it with others that makes someone open a dz. An odd phenomenon with this business is that our primary customers---licensed jumpers---actually often cause us to incur a loss, especially now with the higher insurance and fuel costs. Right now, a full load on our 182 of licensed jumpers is a net loss to me. Yes, I do cringe when my folks take 2 or 3 passes in the 182, or fly around for 15 minutes at altitude, looking for a hole to jump though, then come back down and jump at 3000 and pay our 3000 rate, since I don't want them taking chances with cloud clearances. Yes, I love our regular jumpers and there would be no sport without you, but please appreciate a little of what we do to keep you jumping and to keep your jump tickets cheap. Tight profit margins do create an inherent motivation to save money where you can. Sometimes, we have to change policies when we see something happening that could impact safety. Knowing the bills I had waiting for me to pay, I've been tempted to send up the students when wind conditions were borderline. Now, we intentionally have someone with no interest in the DZ as S&TA, and have given him final decision-making authority with respect to winds and other limitations, since he can make this desision purely with safety in mind, and has no profit motive. Also, we used to give students the option of pre-paying for their entire course through their A-license up front for a flat fee. Quickly, I learned that this created a motive for us to pass student when their performance on a jump was questionable, since repeating jumps cut into our profits. So again, we stopped doing things this way. I think that most dzos and their staff work very hard to make this potentially dangerous sport as safe as possible. I know that when I market our sport to a student, teach that student, pack a person's researve, and encourage people to fly on my plane, that their lives depend on me. I couldn't live with myself if I didn't give them the best training, best equipment, best plane and best chance of not being killed as possible, even if it sometimes makes me wonder why I'm in this business when I run our end of the years proft/loss statement. Our licensed jumpers really want us to get rid of our 182s and buy a shiny new turbine aircraft that can get them to 14,000 in ten minutes, without paying more for jump tickets. When we can't afford it, they may go off and jump elsewhere. My point is that this business is tough. Few get into it because the money is good. Most dzos are people who have a total love for skydiving, just like you. Because of this, and their willingness to take on a huge risk and burden, there are lots of places to skydive at very reasonable prices for licensed jumpers (and also because USPA, with a very small constituent base, has been able to hold the government regulators at bay). I know of very few places who would send up their students in 30 knot winds to make a buck. If you know of such places, don't ever go there again yourself, or send anyone there, even if their airplane is really big and fast.
  13. I'm not an don't take this too seriously. It's perfertly legit to report income from skydiving work and take the related deductions. One of the only real good tax shelters left is being self-employed in some manner. Be careful, like was said, and don't show a loss every year, because the IRS will claim it's a hobby, not a business, and you can't take any deductions. But, you probably should talk to your DZOs, if you like them, and find out how they handle your pay/trade for jumps, in their tax reporting. I think it's if you earn, as an independent contractor, over $1000, the business owner is supposed to send you and the IRS a 1099 reporting the payment. If you report more income from the DZ than that, and they haven't reported it, you could be getting your friends investigated. If you're going to report, and your DZ doesn't treat you as an employee and give you a W-2, which most don't, definitely do it on schedule C, as your own business. Otherwise, you've got a whole slew of other issues for your DZO to contend with, like not doing withholding, Social Security/Medicare, etc.
  14. If for some reason I'm on a load doing a solo from altitude, Ilike to work on something, like trying to improve my really poor freeflying skills. But, I really love having a chance to do a solo on a day where we're only getting like 5-7k. There's something really cool to my just laying on my belly, totally relaxing, and watching myself fall through the sky...It's like wow...what an amazing thing we do. Usually, there's no time to just think about falling from a plane, when you're busy thinking about the next point, or what you're student is doing. You almost start to take the basic experience for granted.
  15. Hi everyone. I just wanted to thank everyone again. We are going to take our first tangible step in rebuilding the dz tonight. Thanks to our friends' generous donations, we're going to begin by ordering the rigging tools that we need so that when we get some gear in, we'll be able to pack it