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  1. reyno_gr

    Skydive Taft

    A group of 15 of us flew from the UK to jump at Lake Elsinore, where we faced non stop cloud and limited jumping. One of the locals suggested driving to Taft (I'd never heard of it either) so we got in the cars and drove 3 hours to the DZ (its an hour and 45 minutes from LA). The DZ is on the edge of a desert, with mountains to the south which seem to hold back all the crap weather. Whilst Periss, Elsinore and Arizona were 'clouded out'we jumped everyday (nearly two weeks) and without any weather holds. Its fair to say the DZ is basic (by Periss and Elsinore standards) but it offers shaded packing areas, a pool, bunk house (showers etc), wireless internet and access to a large fridge. There is no 'gear shop', so lost freebags or other spares could result in a short delay whilst new ones are sourced (although the DZ has rigs for hire, so you need not sit on the ground whilst UPS do their thing). There are two aircraft (a Twin Otter which requires 10 jumpers to make a load) and a Cessna 182 (for the quieter periods). Taft (town) is not the liveliest place in the world (it appears to close at 9pm) with little to do if you chose not to jump. However, Bakersfield is only 30 minutes drive away and that offers everything Taft doesn't. So what makes Skydive Taft worthy of a 5 star rating?.....The staff! Dave Chrouch (the DZ owner/manager)and his team are the friendliest and most accomadating bunch of people I've ever met on a DZ. Nothing was too much trouble, and there was no 'skygod' attitude from anyone. Packers, Pilot and Manifest staff ensured that the jumpers needs were met from hoop jumps to high altitiude loads (18k with oxygen). Dave hosted a BBQ for everyone for the departing Brit group that found Taft a week before we did (they'd abandoned Periss too). He also joined us for a night out in the local Thai restaurant (which I recommend), whilst his son Alex packed tirelessly to keep the loads turning. Would we go back? Definitely, in fact we're planning it already. Try and go as a group (that way you can negotiate with Dave for a lower jump rate). Enjoy the rock music from the Otters sound system on the climb to altitude, but don't EVER tune it to Country and Western (unless you want the Pilot to dump you out at 5 grand)! Skydive Taft (and its staff) made our trip. Thanks guys; we hope to see you soon.
  2. reyno_gr

    Slovakia Boogie

    I was part of the second group of 20 Skydivers who visited this DZ a month after the first aborted Helicopter Boogie (see reviews below). Having jumped there my opinion is the same as the first two reviews; its an awesome DZ. My mate Ollie jumped a Let, a Brigdyr, an AN2, a Squirrel Helicpoter (a bonus that stopped by to refuel), a ballon and a glider all on the same day. Where else can you do that?!! Prices very good too. Ballon £30, Glider £35 (you get two aircraft for that as the glider is aero towed) Let £12 Hop and pops £6 to £10 dependent on aircraft. DZ staff friendly and helpful. Ammenities good. Beer cheap. Vodka suspect ;-) I'm definately going back!
  3. reyno_gr

    Skydive Spain

    Six of us visited Skydive Spain in February to complete AFF courses, WARP coaching and just for fun. The dropzone is situated near Seville, and offers a quiet location (with minimal air traffic) making it ideal for teams and students alike. The landing area is hazard free and large enough to reduce students concerns about getting down. There is a cafe / bar (and small pool available in the summer). The packing sheds are covered and there are rigging facilities to hand. Without doubt the biggest selling point of this DZ is its staff. Alan HEWITT and his team are the friendliest group of people I have met on a drop zone. Nothing seems too much trouble. The instructors are all very experienced and coach with head mounted cameras (not a charged extra). Debriefs are conducted using this media. All the instructors were scrupulously fair in their assessments. The dropzone currently leases a Porter for part of the year, but there are plans to make this a more permenant feature. This is a relatively new DZ, and it deserves recognition and sucess. If you're thinking about going (irrespective of your level of experience) my advice is do it! You won't regret it.