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    Triathlon 175
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    Cypres 2

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  1. skyflower_bloom

    Skydive Milwaukee / Sky Knights SPC

    Had been jumping at Atmosphair but needed to find a DZ with more weekday availability to get through my AFF due to my schedule and family. Planning to take advantage of both DZs one I get the AFF program tackled, so it's nice to know now that I have two great options close by. Went out to East Troy on a weekday afternoon with my toddler and log book in tow, with the intent just to check it out and ask about the option of AFF jumps after having jumped with another program. I was told that not only could I transfer over to their AFF progression, but that if I wanted to get jumping that day I could (and hell yes, I wanted to jump, after near 6 weeks on the ground :) Sasha at the front desk/manifest was awesome on the phone with directions and in person, in helping me get my jumps figured out, talking with the other staff about my situation, and helping out with the kiddo, which was certainly above and beyond her responsibilities/duties. She has also gone out of her way to accommodate my scheduling needs and keep me posted on getting the jumps that I need in asap, and I'll be going back out tomorrow. My instructors for the two jumps I made were Tom and Mur, both were a lot of fun, positive, passionate about skydiving, and very thorough. The AFF program is a bit different, so we went through my log book and what I'd done prior, and decided to go back one level since the program includes some 180 turns and forward motion which I'd not yet done. So I did their program's AFF-2, passed that, and I wound up making the sunset load as well for a second jump that day. The debriefing was extremely thorough and both instructors had helmet cams, which was really useful for me to see exactly what my body position was like. The PAC aircraft is awesome!! The AFF program at SkyKnights introduces a few more maneuvers a bit earlier than the other program I started, but also has less associated paperwork- it seems they don't have you plan out the spot and calculate the winds and all that like the other program I was doing, which I think is a helpful thing to have students do, but on the other hand, I felt that the written handbook and the pre-jump prep was thorough enough that I did not feel that I suffered from any lack of training, and it was definitely a smooth transition, both to a new dz, and back into jumping after an ankle injury. As an AFF student, I cannot take advantage of this yet, but it appears they also organize a lot of cool events, like a jump for diabetes recently, helicopter jumps, and coaching days and workshops and such.. looking forward to taking advantage of this down the line. I definitely love jumping at Ft Atkinson, which I still consider my "home" dz, because of the kid friendly set-up and close knit community- SkyKnights is a bit bigger, and has less kids present at least when I went; however, I still would describe it as extremely family friendly, if not family 'centered.' There are dogs there that are apparently not too kid friendly, which is a bit concerning, but the owner seems good about keeping them controlled.. I also love going to Ft. A and knowing everyone, but it seems that over time one would get that at SkyKnights to some extent as well- it is a bit bigger, but not a big dz to the point of feeling overwhelmed or lost in the crowd, though I have not yet seen it on weekends. However, I definitely did not interat much with people outside of the manifest and AFF-Is, so you may need to take a bit more initiative at SkyKnights in talking and getting connected with other jumpers. That said, the ability of a slightly bigger dropzone/club like SkyKnights to accommodate my schedule this summer and offer more days to jump is important to me right now and worth a slight increase in size/number of people and slightly more effort to get to know and talk with people over time, plus I will mostly be there weekdays anyway, so not too worried about the weekend rush or things getting too chaotic or crowded. Overall I was really happy with everyone who helped me with the smooth transition and welcomed me, and cannot wait to go back tomorrow! I'd highly recommend the program for AFF based on my experience so far, especially if you need to jump weekdays. That said, if you are a weekend only jumper due to work/school stuff, Atmosphair might be the better bet since it is a bit smaller- however, they are a but understaffed this season so maybe it's a toss up as to weekend availability.. As for the programs, I'd say AFF jumps at Atmosphair are a bit more self-led and involve more networking with fellow AFFers to plan for the jump, whereas (so far) SkyKnights seems to be rooted more in verbal dialogue and physical practice with the actual AFF-Is. I am comfortable with both approaches; for others, it may be a personal preference thing. I do enjoy the camraderie with other AFF students at Atmosphair but that may be comparing apples to oranges since I don't have other AFF students from a shared FJC, not having taken it at SkyKnights.. thus I also can't speak to type or quality of FJC training at SkyKnights/East Troy, obviously. For experienced jumpers, I would definitely recommend making a visit to SkyKnights and jumping the PAC! Thanks Sasha, Tom, and Mary for getting me in the air and welcoming my little one and for making the transition smooth; looking forward to tomorrow!