Brett Shepherd , FFU Ocaña AFF Graduate.
I had been maintaining an interest in an AFF course since i attended a RAPS course two years ago. I found the static line fun but progression was slow, even if all your jumps were successful.
I first looked at doing an AFF course in Florida but the flights alone would have cost nearly as much as the course itself! The added problem of time and travel meant i looked a bit closer to home whilst combining the course with a holiday. I found the Freefall University.
All the non skydiving matters were taken care of by David Flights , accomodation and and car hire. Confirmations etc. were forwarded by email. He also phoned regularily in advance to make sure that we had recieved everything we needed.
Once I landed in Madrid it was only a short journey south to Aranjuez. The hotel ( Infantes ) was simple but more than adequate. Aranjuez itselfy is very pleasant and its got many restaraunts and bars some of which stay open much later.. probably more than you would want them to!! The small town of Ocaña is closer to the dropzone, we avoided this, the few extra kilometres are well worth it.
Of course the real reason for being there was the skydiving. Arriving on day one i was straight into ground school with my instructor who used his vast experience to ensure that all Ii needed to know came across in a clear and concise manner. Having had previous experience., albeit 2 years prior. My instructor was able to identify when I already understood a lesson fully, and was flexible enough to move on. That meant i was able to jump on the first day.
For Level one i jumped with and Christo. It was clear that their main interest was safety but also that I completed the level successsfully. They had a friendly , reassurring approach with a lot of banter that eased my anxiety.
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The course continued in the same way and by the end of the week i had passed my AFF and completed eight consolidation jumps. Im sure i would have completed more solos had it not been for strong wind on occassion.
The camaradrie was something that I noticed straight away at the Freefall University. I had heard that at some dropzones that they could be rather ” cliquey “. At Ocaña I was made to feel very welcome not only from the instructors but from experienced skydivers who rather than look at the AFF students as the new guys respected us for getting involved in their sport. This extended beyond the dropzone with the staff and students socailising in the bars of Aranjuez. One word of warning though , if you smoke will nick your fags!
Coming to Spain and qualifying as a skydiver has been one of the best decisions i ever made. Combining a spanish holiday with the thrill of flying your body has to beat a week sitting on the beach – if your hard enough!
Im already planing my return in October!