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    Vigil 2

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  1. In the United States, and I'm sure there are similar abroad, there are laws put in place that protect the confidentiality of ill people, rather that illness is cancer, hepatitis, or AIDS. Something like hepatitis or HIV is not easily spread anyway. HIV dies almost instantly once in the air and cannot be transmitted unless the TI is either having sex with the student or bleeding directly into their open wound. I'd be more concerned if the TI had a cold or the flu or tuberculosis, but any of those three would certainly keep even the most headstrong people out of the sky.
  2. I bought a 1995 Dolphin D3 in 2009 from a skydiving school that had gone out of business, unknown on the amount of jumps it had on it before I bought it. Sent it to Mike Furry about a year later to have it modernized with the tuck tab reserve pin and riser covers as well as a few hardware updates. He had it done and back in my hands within the week. Excellent customer service. With adequate pin, riser and bridle protection, I put about 1,000 jumps on it in the last 8 years I've been in the sport, and just stopped jumping this rig this last summer. This rig has served me well for the last 8 years, bringing me through a variety of skydiving disciplines from belly work to free flying to Wingsuiting.
  3. As a tandem and AFF instructor my altimeter has got to be reliable. This was the first altimeter I've really ever had a problem with. For the first couple months I had it, it worked well. Then it started automatically switching from feet to meters after takeoff, which wasn't a huge problem, as I learned the equivalent to both. But then it started being okay for the first jump of the day, then locking up on landing where I couldn't even turn the altimeter off, which also drained the battery, then I'd have to borrow an alti the rest of the day. This is also not the first case I heard regarding the unreliability this altimeter. It is also not user friendly. The instructions are kinda hard to understand, and they don't seem to coorillate with the actual operation of the unit. Won't be buying this again.
  4. This is defiantly one of the best dropzones I've ever been to. My first weekend there, I was immediately accepted as family. I am a licensed skydiver, and an instructor myself, and as soon as I got there I was greeted with a smile and a hello. One of the locals happily showed me around. I had been there before once a few years back when the DZ was under other management, and I was happy with some of the changes that they'd made, such as updating the restrooms and showers. They also cleared out many of the trees in the landing area and made it more wide open. The otter now takes off from the grass strip right outside the hangar, so no more bus rides to the airport to board the aircraft. I've watched many of the instructors and students interact with each other, and it is a very positive, professional, and productive exchange. And from what I've seen, they make sure your experience is as safe and as enjoyable as possible, rather you're there for your first skydive or if you are a veteran with thousands of skydives. Just an all-around awesome place with awesome people that live to be apart of and share this wonderful sport with each other.
  5. I actually started jumping here in 2013 as a sport skydiver, and I must say, from the very beginning, these guys and gals made me feel like I was a local that had been jumping there for years. I have also seen that they treat their tandem and AFF students professionally.
  6. This DZ is basically right around the corner from the Paraclete wind tunnel, and flies turbine aircraft, and with world-recognized skydiving coaches around here in almost every discipline, it is a very good dz to come to if you're training with your team in the tunnel. But just as a heads-up... If you are a solo RW skydiver, especially without a lot of experience and/or on a weekday, do not count on many people wanting to jump with you, if any. Freeflyers at this DZ outnumber belly fliers 10:1. Most of the belly fliers that do go there are training with their team, and the coaches are usually training those teams. Also, there has been a few times several teams have been training, plus fun jumpers, plus students and tandems... All out of 1 otter. The teams and tandems, of course, get first dibs, but even they had 2 and 3-hour wait times between loads. That, though, has only happened a couple times. Also, beware of the pilots. I was training with a team and we had a pass at altitude of the unsure-spot type. The pilot told us to exit now because he "didn't have fuel enough for a second pass". The student program is quite expensive but extremely accelerated, incorporating the wind tunnel as part of student training (I never took lessons here but as an AFF instructor myself, I have a habit of checking out syllabuses of different dzs to try and better myself). For AFF training (skydiving lessons) here, you will only have one instructor through your early progression, although the Skydivers Information Manual ( has recommended two instructors for your first three jumps. People jumping tandems, Skydive Paraclete XP has as good a' tandem instructors as any as far as I can see, and the prices are around the same as neighboring dropzones.
  7. Upon arrival, I was greeted professionally and given a tour and dropzone briefing. But being a visiting skydiver, only a few people were willing to talk to me, even just to make friendly conversation (but I've learned that is to be expected from dropzones that have been around for a long time). The organizers were more friendly and made sure I had people to jump with. My jumps required me to be out on the camera step on the otter, and not realizing that the step was angled toward the ground, I actually slipped off the step and fell before the rest of my group were able to set up in the door. On the other hand, they have great restroom/shower/laundry facilities that they keep clean and well-stocked as well as a pro shop. Elly (with the rating school) was very informative and answered my questions about taking some upcoming courses. There is plenty of room to set up a tent or bring an RV. All-in-all a good experience, other than the cliques and camera step.
  8. I decided to make a trip down to Skydive Carolina for a day, which was about 2.5 hours away from where I live. I passed another closer DZ to get there, but I certainly did not regret it! Great vibe there and I was immediatly greeted by staff as well as other local fun jumpers, who were happy to introduce me to organizers and other fun jumpers. The main aircraft that was flying when I was out there were a Caravan and a King Air, both of which looked very nice and seemed to be well-maintained. There is plenty of open, obsticle-free space to land in. A load of jumpers coming in for a landing were organized - all landing in one direction, not landing every which direction. All in all it was a great experience, and I will most definatly be back in the future. I was recommended this DZ by a friend, and I would certainly recommend it to any of my friends if they find themselves in this corner of the world.
  9. I bought my first camera helmet last year from a friend, his Optik. It's a great helmet. The ratchet chin cup keeps the helmet stable against the rush of the freefall air. One thing to keep in mind with this helmet, though, the chincup can be kinda hard to take off under normal conditions if you have a smaller chin, and before you jump it, install a chincup cutaway system on the unit in case of an emergency. Other than that minor flaw, it has been a great first camera helmet. I may even keep it...
  10. At first, I wasn't even considering the Pulse until I flew a demo canopy, and I realized how much fun this canopy was, from opening to landing. The first thing I noticed about the Pulse was the ease of packing. Transitioning from a PD 230, it packed a lot like my old canopy, very easy, and it didn't want to re-inflate on you like a typical ZP canopy would. The Pulse has a relatively short snivel, but it doesn't slam open (as long as you pack it right). All openings were consistantly on-heading. Another thing I particularly noticed about this canopy is that it doesn't stall easily. I had to take 3 wraps on the steering lines before I got it to stall. This has never been a problem with landing, though, since it does have a nice strong landing flare, and only in strong winds do you have to worry about stalling on landing. Another thing I noticed is that the Pulse is very responsive to both harness and rear-riser imput, to the extent where I would have been quite comfortable landing on rears if I had to after the first jump with it. Another great feature is the canopy's very flat glide. A couple times I've gotten out on a long spot, and I made it back to the airport with altitude to spare. With this canopy, landings have been very fun. I've made straight-in, by-the-book "student" landings, as well as swift, sporty landings even without the ground-rush factor of pulling a front riser. All in all, this canopy is a great canopy for any experience level when loaded correctly. I now have a Pulse canopy of my own. I have already recommended it to one friend, and I would recommend this canopy to anyone I know.
  11. The canopy I got was manufactured in early 1988. This canopy, though old, still had plenty of jumps left in it. I load it about 1:1, and the landing flare was reduced, but still very workable. Packing is a breeze, and the openings are quick, but not hard.
  12. I've been jumping with a Factory Diver since off student staus. This helmet is very quiet and provides protection to the minor knocks to the noggin sustained in freefall or minor landing mishaps. The biggest downfall to this helmet is the occasional fogging of the visor, especially after opening, due to a non-flip visor.
  13. I went through my AFF course with Start, and I had some awesome instructors that were clearly passionate about skydiving. They led me through the ups and downs of the learning process, completely explaining questions as well as thouroly briefing and debriefing before and after jumps. After I got my license, I had no problem finding someone to jump with. In all an awesome dropzone, regardless of experience.
  14. fireflyer1988

    Skydive Arizona

    I came to Skydive Arizona from colder lands up north to finish my coaching jumps for my A-license. The staff and the locals, although I wasn't from around there, were very friendly and were willing to help me improve my skills, even after I got licensed. Also, with a wind tunnel being only seconds from the DZ, it makes for an awesome learning experience regardless of skill level. The overall atmosphere was everything you'd want out of a drop zone and more. Scenery was absolutely beautiful, and although there was one cloudy day, jumping was not put on hold because the only clouds that were in the sky were over our jumping altitude. There is just something for everyone, regardless of experience or orientation.