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  1. brinary01

    Skydive Lillo, Madrid, Spain Swoop Pond

    As no one has made a review of Lillo in a while seems like a good time to do it. I think it is important to keep the reviews on this one current, because as with any poorly run organization turnover is high, and things tend the change quite a lot. What is more, most of the reviews here are from our Jr. brother and though valuable I think the opinion of someone who has a few more destinations under there belt is important. Location: like most DZs this one is out there. It is in the middle of a desert in central Spain about and hour and a half from Madrid by car. Car is the only good way to go. Bus is possible but cumbersome when you are carrying all your gear. That said once you are there you are pretty much set there are some good staff that will help out with getting around. Facilities: Though there is everything you may need, not much better than a well-established club. With that there is a good packing area, grass landing area if you have 100+ jumps and decent aircraft. -Student and low number jumpers beware. Gear rental is expensive, the highest I have seen in fact and €25 a jump, and the student landing area can be pretty nasty in places. -Take food with you unless you want to pay your first borne to the gypsies that run the bar. Staff: There are some awesome folks working at this dropzone. Unfortunately this is the minority and there is a lot “Big fish” in this little pond. I have never seen student have such a hard time getting help, unless they are willing to pay a lot of money, and the mentality “you are old enough get out of the house” is used far to often with AFF Students. People: I love all of the fun Jumpers at this DZ but they have their circle and just because you are a skydiver it is not enough. Expect a really strange vibe, nothing to worry about if you are going with a group of friends but if you are flying solo I recommend making your way to Skydive Spain in Sevilla, or Empuriabrava north of Barcalona, in fact I live in Madrid and that is what I do. Summary if you are paying all the money to come to Spain for a skydiving holiday it is the same or less money to go to Empuriabrava, or Sevilla. Note on that more experienced jumpers may prefer Empuria in the summer, and check the event for Skydive Spain in the winter there is always something scheduled. And the do Skysaver days search the website. Less experienced jumpers may prefer Skydive Spain as they tend to have more friendly winds for the novice jumper. Tandems beware!!! Many of the tandem instructors here do not have a current and proper flight physical as required by the equipment manufacturer and the USPA. I have even seen one go down and be carried away in an ambulance for kidney problems right before getting on a load with a passenger. Many of the Camera flyers are not very good or even do not meet the minimal requirements for flying video with tandems. This is your big moment do not accept less. Look at Skydive Spain, Empuria, or Skytime Castellon.
  2. brinary01

    Sunset Load

  3. brinary01


    SO the first question is how to rate a canopy I have only flown once, sense the only thing I have to compare with are various main canopies I will compare all the canopies with cars. Everyone here drives assume and I imagine most everyone reading this has pushed many cars to the limit. So here is the line up Saber 2 190 = Ford focus ST Navigator 210 = Ford Ranger Sport Vengeance 170 = Honda civic SI Smart 175 = Ford Focus LX First sense I was in a dive below 2000FT My body position was Sh!7 none the less the Smart opened nicely on heading. Flight was very smooth and predictable. The flare was nice and predictable. In the end how can you really rate something that is the last resort it opened, I landed on the DZ, I lived to jump another day you will not be disappointed in a reserve canopy.
  4. brinary01


    Ok I got about 40 jumps on this canopy not much but I want to put in my two cents about the airlocks as this is the most distinct feature on this canopy and what really sets it apart from the other canopies I have flown, including Saber 2 190/170, and spector 230/210, and a few others not worth mentioning. Before buying this canopy I read a lot about it, and about the airlock technology. Three big issues mentioned downing the canopy on windy days, cutaways, and packing oh and openings I will address this separate. Cutaway: well I had to chop it once it was diving when I cut it away and it did not go far and winds I think were around 8 to 10 knots that day I recovered it with no problem but this is a forgiving DZ if there were trees I would have been paying a tree service to get it back but in no way did it fly any more than other cutaways I have seen. Packing: My canopy had about 400 jumps on it when I got it, I don’t know what every one is speaking of when they talk about it being hard to pack. To me it is not more difficult to pack than any other canopy of equal size in a equal size container, I am packing into a Jav J4 so it is going into a d-bag made for it. It is at the point were it is much easier to pack, but the issue is supposed to be with getting air out of it this has never been a problem. Downing the canopy: this is the pain about this canopy windy it is a real pain, I don’t bother trying to stow my breaks on a windy day because I will end up fighting the canopy, I don’t bother trying to daisy chain the lines on a windy day because I will end up fighting the canopy. I get to the tail asap and shake it to get as much air out as possible, stick the toggles in there holders, and pick the lines up neatly pickup my d bag n pc then move out. On low wind days if I twist and down it on it’s side just right it will land on the ground up side down (still fully inflated) in this case I do the same as above but stow my breast, and daisy chain my lines. Openings: not as bad as I had read but still kind of funky not bad at all if I fly the opening, and soft I have opened in a track and it did not slam me if not flown some times it is fine most of the time it opens in a dive, which can be a problem if you have line twist, and opened kind of low like below 3000 in my experience this was enough to chop it as I was loosing a lot of altitude quick I do not blame the canopy design for this as most of the issues that led to the cutaway could have been prevented and were a result of me being in a rush to pack, and opening lower than I planed to. So to summarize a lot of fun to fly, and other than downing the canopy, I like the airlock design, but as I jump in Spain it is quite windy very often, and I will replace it with something similar in a non air locked design if the right deal comes along. Hope this helps anyone considering this canopy. The only reason I do not recommend it is because it is such a pain to down and sense there are so many canopies that are similar with out airlocks I would say go that way first, but if the price is right you wont be disappointed with the flight.
  5. brinary01

    Skydive Utah

    This review has been a long time in coming, as this was the first DZ away from my home DZ I visited I wanted to visit a couple more and develop a base line. Now that I have been to a couple of more DZs and gotten an Idea here it goes. The first thing I want to mention about Skydive Utah is the folks jumping there. Skydive Utah is a pretty small operation, you want find a bar, restaurant or swimming pool, but you will find some very friendly skydivers, in fact being away from my home (and in UTAH!) for the 4th of July would have be quite boarding if it were not for the regulars at Skydive Utah. As for facilities as I mentioned before it is lacking, but they have the most important stuff. Carpeted covered packing area, good mock up, enough of a gear store to cover the basic stuff you may want to buy at the DZ, and a good King Air. I did not rent gear because I have my own, but the rental gear I saw was pretty good for rental gear, including some FF Friendly stuff. As for the tandem operation I ended up there initially because of carrying family and friends for tandems which as many DZs is the blue chip. First I want to describe the tandem progression at my home DZ as this is the measuring stick that I am using. At my Home DZ the tandem ground school covers lots of stuff that was in my first jump course including malfunctions, and how a ram air parachute works. And the TIs continue mentoring the student all the way to the ground. Students leave the DZ more knowledgeable about the sport weather they pursue an A license or not. Now I trust the TI’s here to the point that I would take family and friends here for tandems in the future. I don’t think there tandem brief covers enough though. They don’t cover malfunctions, which in my own humble opinion is quite important. Now is there anything a student can do about a malfunction? No but they should be aware of the potential risk as well as the likely hood that it may happen without having to pay for the first jump course. That said the whole staff as well all the fun jumpers are very safety minded and I trust the lives of my friends and family with their Tandem and AFF instructors though none of them have continued the learning progression. Jack and Debbie are both very welcoming, and most of their staff is great. In fact there was only one staff member that rubbed me the wrong way, and Phil’s love for money over the love for the sport would probably not be nearly as annoying if it was not paired with his micro managing, sky god mentality. Wanting to make money for the DZ is ok for a DZ manager, but this guy has far too much ego, to mentor and lead the way a good DZ manager should he is the one thing that cost this DXZ the fifth star, but this one guy is not enough to keep me from returning to jump with the great folks who jump at this DZ. If you are in SLC check them out. Blue skies!