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  1. flyingdodo

    Vietnam Boogie Nha Trang

    Hello all, There will be a post boogie report on the Skydive Vietnam website, as well as the Extreme Sports Cafe Blog this week... In short.. THE GOOD: * Thanks to all the wonderful participants who came to this event. * The first week of the boogie was a resounding success. * The "5 Star" Hotel provided a lot of amusement to all participants! * We achieved something unique in that this was the first ever Boogie in Vietnam, which is still a Communist Country. * We assisted in the completion of a World Record. * We set numerous Vietnamese Records for sports parachuting. * We introduced the Vietnamese people to our sport, and gave them a lot of pleasure as spectators. * No one was seriously injured. * We learned a lot. A real lot! THE BAD: * Some of our aircraft were cancelled. * Not everyone got to jump as much as they wished to. * The weather was not anything like that predicted, based on the last four years of records! THE UGLY: * Some of our participants were not happy. * The organizing team made a massive loss on this event as our 'local liaisons' kept moving goal posts and raising prices. Truly, Vietnam has embraced Capitalism better than a lot of 'Capitalist' Countries! Those participants who are not happy have all had a chance to speak to the organisers, and a round house email will be going out to all participants this week to address all the issues raised. Thanks once again to everyone for coming... We hope to see a lot of you again at The Thai Sky Festival. We hope to learn from this event and build a better one for next year. Blue Skies, Skydive Vietnam Team. Flying Dodo 'Always on the edge of extinction!'
  2. flyingdodo

    Vietnam Boogie Nha Trang

    Hi all, We have spent most of our time here on the ground making sure things run as smoothly as possible for our participants... Hence there are some pictures (ground based) of the landing area and so on on our daily blog here... Yesterday we had hundreds of spectators crowding the beach, and closing the roads down in Nha Trang to watch our event. What a wonderful feeling! Our 5 Star Load Organisers have been in the air looking after people wonderfully. Thanks to Wendy, James, Omar, Kevin, Danniel, and all of our Thai Military support staff for all their wonderful efforts to make this such a fun few days so far. Also to Cherie and Jo for helping Julia and Stephen out so much. Congrats to Giang for moving his skydiving qualifications forward, and of course all of our Tandem Skydivers, including the Canadians who were very proud to be not only some of our first Tandems, but also the first Canadians to jump here! Today the weather is not so good, but we will keep monitoring it, and we shall meet up with Wendy, Omar, James etc. to get some ariel shots to post on the blog. A big thank you to our cheerful and enthusiastic, as well as understanding, participants. This has been an amazingly hard event to pull off and we are just happy that people are here, jumping, partying and providing so much entertainment for the locals both on the beach and in the Sailing Club in the evenings!!!! Rumours of people climbing on the roofs of the golf carts at the hotel are greatly exagerated! We hope! Jose! More later, Extreme Sports Cafe / Mekong River Boogie Team. Skydive Vietnam p.s. Our best wishes for a speedy recovery to Stefan Brender who had a rough landing. We will be sure to check up on him when we return to Bangkok next month. If there are any skydivers in Bangkok he is in Bumrumgrad hospital and we are sure he would appreciate a visit. Flying Dodo 'Always on the edge of extinction!'
  3. flyingdodo

    Vietnam Boogie Nha Trang

    Hi there, This is from the Extreme Sports Cafe team.... and we felt we should at least pop our heads into this thread as there are some people with doubts perhaps... We are really looking forward to you visting us in Vietnam along with our friends helping to organize this. It took a lot of work, and a lot of effort on the ground in Vietnam with a long term friend who lives there, and has very good connections from his personal and professional dealings in the country. He's also an ex-military skydiver with over 900 jumps. Not quite such a newbie! To date we have all been working on this for over 18 months, and have dotted every 'i' and crossed every 't'. If anyone wants to see a copy of the official government document authorization please email and request it. We'll gladly send it out, post it on the web site, or here. Just let us know. You can also contact the Vietnamese Authorities independently if you wish to check the validity of this event. Please feel free to do so. Please also feel free to check with any of the names I mention here to see if this is genuine or not. And please remember we have been involved in a lot of successful events also! For the record voltage has been frequenting these forums for a while trying to cause us damage.. If you hunt around you'll see the story played out in another thread from a while ago. I won't elaborate, and wish voltage all the best in his endeavors. With regards to Skydive Thailand.. We are still trying actively to make skydiving a permanent reality in Thailand, but the government and the culture here have managed to break several attempts by us and others for this to happen, both in the past and recently for us. To date the only successful event in Thailand is the Thai Sky Festival, which we are also involved in each year. At the moment we have handed the Skydive Thailand reigns over to a dear friend who used to run the London Parachute Club, who is hopeful of a fledgling DZ in Thailand next year.. Fingers crossed. But to be frank we needed a rest! Please don't think I am criticizing the wonderful military support we get in Thailand, as they are 'da bomb'. We have all personally jumped with them at World Team in Udon, and for His Majesty the King's birthday at the new International Airport where we set a world record also. They all want the same as us. Permanent skydiving in the Land of Smiles, but bureaucracy and corruption elsewhere cripple most attempts. Now to Vietnam.... Both the Thai Army and Air Force are providing their support staff to us. The Same team that do the Thai Sky Festival each year. So cheap, good pack jobs, and fun fun fun people. The rest of the staff are a mix of people who have been in the skydiving community for many many years and involved in many many successful events from all over the globe. Not sure where this one-man-show idea came from. It's on 100%. Confirmed. Set in stone, and even if only 1 person turns up we'll be jumping every day for the entire period : AFF Camp and Main Boogie. We are already half booked, which is a relief for us. Both AFF camp, coaching camp and main event are at about 50% capacity right now. (30% have even paid in full to our "evil corporate bank account!") Omar (Skydiving God!), James Evered (Thai Sky Festival), Wendy Smith (World Team and Sky Fest etc. etc.), Kevin McCarthy (ex-Empuria, UK Champion & Freefallco owner) and a host of others are confirmed to be coming as organizers. We are still confirming some, but those are locked and loaded. On general staff are Danniel Lee (Safety and Training Officee for the USPA in Asia and contactable on, Darel Davenport (World Team), and the team that did the Mekong River Boogie. Planes are confirmed and booked. Mi8, AN2, AN26. And we have availability for more, as well as us being able to set the altitude and number of jumps per day. So if you want to jump you can! TV coverage is confirmed. Hotel is confirmed. Travel packages are all arranged to get you there. Parties, events, lazy day activities etc. etc. all done and dusted. If anyone really has any concerns please contact us either at Extreme Sports Cafe, or Skydive Vietnam, and we can talk. What we really want is a yearly event which is going to be a huge smash and loads of fun, and we know we've got that opportunity.. All we need is you. Kind regards, Extreme Sports Cafe Team / Skydive Vietnam Team. p.s. Blue Skies and a White Christmas to all! Flying Dodo 'Always on the edge of extinction!'
  4. flyingdodo

    Problem with dropzone / operator

    Hi Genn, EDIT - Thanks for your PM. Much appreciated. Kind regards, Stephen. Flying Dodo 'Always on the edge of extinction!'
  5. flyingdodo

    Problem with dropzone / operator

    No problem at all.. I editted my sig as you kindly pointed out my spelling error! So thanks for pointing it out.. As you can see I registered on Drop Zone dot com quite a long time ago, and that error has been there since day one! How embarrassing!! Flying Dodo 'Always on the edge of extinction!'
  6. flyingdodo

    Problem with dropzone / operator We do not enforce this at all, but have it there simply to avoid people dipping in and out of a course such as our AFF course in Thailand, where (as I have explained above) it is not cost effective for us to offer an 'open-door' policy (which we do offer on 99% of our courses). The above page is linked to from every page of the web site. Also in our online store.... (Linked to from every page) Nonetheless, we offered Andreas the possibility of transferring his course to any of our other partner centers, anywhere in the world. We also provided several dates (including tomorrow, and the following few days) to complete his course. He declined all those options. Flying Dodo 'Always on the edge of extinction!'
  7. flyingdodo

    Problem with dropzone / operator

    Hello spicypete, Thought I would clarify a few things for you... We try to be as upfront as we can with all our clients.. Firstly a little history.. (Feel free to skip this, as I have details below about our payment terms which may be of more interest to you.) Skydive Thailand does not make a profit at the moment. Of course we intend to in future, but for now are just trying to bring civilian skydiving to Thailand on a regular basis. To get the permissions (just the permissions to operate in Thailand) you require almost 500,000$$ (US) in paid up capital. The non-refundable government fees alone for 'registering', and 'setting up' the paperwork for this kind of operation is US$25,000. We also have to have a commercially rated pilot to fly our plane, not a hobby pilot (and I don't mean hobby pilots are any better or worse than commercially rated pilots - just cheaper!). We also have to file a permission to operate (separate from flight plans) each and every day we wish to operate, and this incurs more government fees... and so on... So it's not quite as simple here, as in some places to run a Drop Zone.. Ok.. So more studenty related stuff.. Skydive Thailand charges a non-refundable booking deposit for an AFF course. This is because we must schedule air field time, obtain permissions to run a course in that period, schedule instructor time and travel, and also secure plane time. Our instructors come from outside of Thailand (there is simply not the business for instructors to set up shop here and do all the required work and residency permits yet), so we must also make it worth their while and time to come and run these courses.. We send out a full information pack to any interested student explaining all of our terms. We also send out a course agreement, and schedule once a booking is made(most arranged for a students travel / stay requirements as we have a lot of transient students). And we are happy to answer questions, give advice, and send info out as many times as a student questions us. When a student arrives at the accommodation we also arrange (if they wish) we then sit and have a coffee with them, and introduce the staff and their instructors. We then take them to the Drop Zone as it's a bit outside town. Every day we run students back and forth from their flat / hotel / whatever... We also arrange meals in the evening and social events and try to make the whole thing a little bit like a club of friends. Heck, some of our students have even crashed in my flat in Bangkok just before they flew out, as they arrived back in town late and could not find a convenient hotel. When a student comes to the Drop Zone if at that point they want to quit they can walk away, and the non-refundable 10% deposit is the only thing they lose. We will then immediately make a loss on the course, as instructors expenses, paperwork fees, and a portions of all airfield and plane fees are all paid by us upfront. Once the course starts we expect the full fees for that course to be paid. They are non-refundable at that point. However, if a student wants to take a break they can, and come back and join in on any future schedueled course at no further expense. They can also quit the course and recieve a credit for the outstanding poriton of the course, and then transfer that to any other Drop Zone / Instructor that we work with, anywhere in the world. The only condition we have is we will not refund cash. There is an old saying in Thailand, that you never get a cash refund. This is true I am afraid. Although to be honest it's not that uncommon the world over. You will however, always be offered a valid alternative. Of course if we cannot supply the products or services we have promised, or we screw up in some way then we will refund the course fees and deposit for any course. There has to be some leeway here, and a few days bad weather, or permissions / plane problems for short periods do not constitute us 'screwing up'. This is also in our standard terms and conditions. In Andreas' case we did not 'screw up' in my opinion, apart from we were not able to control the escalation of his anger. With regards to our finanacial policies... There is no other way we can do business. So if you feel that is not good for you then please do feel free to look elsewhere. Also, if you, or anyone else, did want to visit us, but were still unsure because of this one thread on the entire internet, we are more than willing to let you speak to previous students who have consented to be referees for us. You can even visit our Drop Zone as a guest anytime you are in Thailand, and or speak to me on the phone... Do let me know if that answers any of your queries, or if you need any clarification from me. And thank you for Drop Zone [dot] com for letting us have our say here. We feel really sorry for Andreas. Danniel and I had a long chat on the phone about it today to try once more to find a solution, but Andreas does not seem to want to work with us any more... Flying Dodo 'Always on the edge of extinction!'
  8. flyingdodo

    Problem with dropzone / operator

    For the record.. That was not deliberate. I really did not do that deliberately. My apologies to Andreas for that. I have since tried to edit the post to cover his up also, but cannot edit the post any more.. If an admin would be so kind I would appreciate it if they would mask Andreas' email address too.. Flying Dodo 'Always on the edge of extinction!'
  9. flyingdodo

    Problem with dropzone / operator

    I do appreciate the comments from all of the posters here, and the advice given / observations made. Danniel and I are still both trying to communicate with Andreas, despite threats of a vendetta against our Drop Zone. I have asked that Andreas stop posting here (on this issue), and perhaps put an end to this by saying that we are talking to try and resolve this, and that this has perhaps got out of hand. I have made that a condition of us having a talk simply because I think it is best for all that this unfortunate situation ends and should Andreas not be able to bring himself to compromise I don't want this issue to come back here and escalate further. But once again, I am glad that this could be aired in a forum of our peers for unbiassed comment. Kind regards, Stephen. Flying Dodo 'Always on the edge of extinction!'
  10. flyingdodo

    Problem with dropzone / operator

    You could apply the same principal to someone going into a bank with a gun I suppose... It's only a few hundred dollars, we've got millions.. Nah, let's not worry about it, let him have the money.. ;) But seriously.. We have a no refund policy for a very simple reason. It's not cost effective for us to do that in our current operating setup. We are very upfront about that, and do explain it very carefully, as has Danniel (Andreas' instructor) in another separate email to him last night. I hope later this year we will have resident Instructors and be able to be more flexible. Also, you have to consider that if we now do this for Anreas now that he has made everything so public we leave ourselves open to having to do it for everyone. We have made lot's of attempts behind the scenes to solve this for Andreas. We have also offerred to transfer his course package to any of our partner Drop Zones in Europe or the US. As soon as we suggested that Andreas said he wanted it for a Drop Zone close to his home in Germany, and nowhere else. Unfotunately we don't have a realtionship with a DZ in Germany close to his home, so would have to purchase the course for cash there. There has to be a limit to what you have to do for a customer. It also seems increasingly clear that Andreas just wants the money back. I am not convinced he actually intends to jump again. I hope I am wrong. Flying Dodo 'Always on the edge of extinction!'
  11. flyingdodo

    Problem with dropzone / operator

    I think enough has been said... I would simply point people to the reviews on this site itself about peoples experiences at Skydive Thailand.. Then you can draw your own conclusions. Simply to operate as a Drop Zone we have had to set up a company with registered capital of over 500,000 dollars. Do you really think we would want to annoy / rip off / deal with a customer in such a way to save a few hundred dollars? Again, I leave that to peoples own opinions. Hopefully this is the end of it. Flying Dodo 'Always on the edge of extinction!'
  12. flyingdodo

    Problem with dropzone / operator

    What needs to be put in this thread is a little of the whole facts.... Andreas was in fact offered more than one occasion to finish his course. He elected to go to a Buddhist retreat instead of one of the options, and only when he found that bullying and threats would not get him a refund in cash did he decide at the last minute to reverse his decision and try to come on one of the courses offered him, only to find it was now fully booked. Our terms and conditions, which stipulate no refunds, but a credit and the ability to continue the course at any time in the future were stated at the beginning of the course, and many times throughout. The reasons for this is that a lot of the fees for the plane time, airfield time, instructors travel (as they are not resident in Thailand) and so on are used on the booked course period. Skydive Thailand exists on an airfield for which they have to pay fees for every day they operate. Notwithstanding that, if a student feels they wish to take a break they can do, but it is explained to them they will need to fit into scheduled course spaces thereafter. We have also offered to credit a portion of the course against coaching in future if he decides to finish the course in Germany. If he truly wants to continue in this sport that is a valid option... Extreme Sports Cafe (which is considerably more than a 'one man band') and Skydive Thailand have kept in touch with Andreas throughout this period and tried everything they can do to find a solution. The only restriction being a no cash refund policy. This is totally standard business practice in Thailand, and in many other locations around the world. Extreme Sports Cafe and Skydive Thailand have clearly stated Terms and Conditions on all of their sites and literature which are explained fully to all customers at the time of booking, and also on the first day of a course, prior to any funds other than the (10%) course booking deposit being paid. Skydive Thailand really feels we have done everything to accommodate Andreas. At one point Andreas requested that at any time the plane might go over 10,000 feet he would require supplementary Oxygen of he would not jump. We don't want to get into personal criticisms here but I would suffice it to say that the afore mentioned request is one which gives an example of the demanding nature Andreas was as a client. A client who we are happy to correspond with, try and explore solutions with, but have had to draw the line somewhere as to how far we will go to accommodate increasingly unreasonable demands. EDIT - Andreas has since contacted me and asked me to clarify what he asserts are 'lies' about the 'Oxygen' issue. He asked that I either delete that part of the post of proove it.. So, for what it is worth I have posted an excerpt from our emails.. Flying Dodo 'Always on the edge of extinction!'
  13. Evidently not. And comments like that without any foundation are damaging to a lot of people who put a lot of hard work in to try and promote not only this sport, but other extreme sports. Extreme Sports Cafe has been running for over 10 years and works with some of the best Drop Zones and people in the business... They educate over 500 skydivers a year at Drop Zones around the world, and work with many ex-world competitors. They were also the group that set up and got Skydive Thailand established from nothing. Which is currently the only civilian Drop Zone running in South East Asia, and also has an unblemished safety record. So I would be interested as to why you would suggest stearing clear of them...... Some usefull information and facts rather than innuendo please, and perhaps qualify your identity and information rather than hiding behind a 'handle'. Flying Dodo 'Always on the edge of extinction!'
  14. Hello... Just joined the forum and been looking around for a thread which is supposed to have someone chatting in it who has footage of my fiance's accident in Spain (Just before New Year @ Empuria 2002). Jewls is on one crutch now and doing fine. But it has been a long 9 month so far... When we were in Figueres hospital someone mentioned a 'brit' I think had some footage. We would both like to see it very much as Julia and I still don't know exactly what she did at the time. My recollection is that she did a Hard right turn just before the bushes by the runway crossing (at about 20ft). That is what it looked like to me. Julia cannot remember a thing and we both find it hard to believe it was that simple. She is very experienced at off landings and tree landings being small and light and often on large canopies when we were hiring kit!!! So we have run through all kinds of theories from gusts of winds, turbulence, re-positioning in the harness and using toggle as hand hold by mistake... right through to simple brain fart... but until we know it will difficult for us both to put to bed. I have no real wish to see the footage as I still have nightmares which run over and over her hitting the ground in my head... but I feel it would be a good thing overall if we can maybe answer some questions. Julia has no recollection of any of it at all, and sometimes I feel that can be worse than remembering... Anyway... sorry to ramble... but if anyone knows someone who has the footage, or has it themselves can you please contact us. Cheers everyone, Blue Skies. FD Flying Dodo 'Always on the edge of extinction!'