Welcome to the March news bulletin page for Freefall University Madrid.
Here you can see details of our activity as each of our guests undertakes training with our experienced instructors on a one to one basis.
Friday 3rd March
Welcome to Malcolm O Neill who joins us to learn to skydive. Here he is seated in one of our training rooms with Luci during a multimedia presentation.
All our students do their ground school in comfortable dropzone surroundings with an AFF Instructor, and in fact with the same AFF Instructor who will train them in freefall. Students find such a system most comfortable as they get to know and trust them
Birds of a feather flock together..
Here Richard McConell gets ready to do a coaching dive with Paula his personal trainer for the week in the Birdman discipline. Richard is a returning guest and will spend his time perfecting his birdman skills and freefly coaching with Louis. He wil be working on his FF1 qualification.
Nasco a jumper from the local area also popped in for some head down coaching.
This photo was taken as he and his coach descend at 200 miles per hour.
Well done to Gus Reid. He started learning to skydive last Sunday , Qualified to go Solo on Monday morning and has by the end of Today ( Wednesday ) has made 17 skydives.. Theres no stopping him , and no hanging around due to low cloud, fog or because your instructor is training somebody else.
Saturday 3rd March Morning
Richard has been extending his ” time of flight ” load by load today. Trying to get more and more time out of the wingsuit. He has been learning more and more advanced tecniques to achieve longer skydives.
Welcome also to Damien Walsh from Glasgow who is here to do some fun jumping and take advantage of the Spanish sunshine.
Damien is a keen freeflier and is will spend his time jumping with the growing contingent of jumpers from Madrid taking advantage of our mid week flights to escape the office. ( read sickies
Meanwhile Neil Malcolm is doing great with Luci and has completed already today four skydives with Level five next. Not bad since he only arrived yesterday morning.
He is pictured here in the boarding area getting ready for his level three doing one last visualisation before taking the ride to 13.5k.
Saturday 3rd March Afternoon
When it comes to choosing the type of training you want , you will feel like a kid in a sweetshop, Richard decided to switch to some freefly with Louis. Here they head of on a coached dive.
David Wallis has done 15 skydives since arriving with us and is pictured here exiting the porter.
Here is a nice photo of Roberto Sanchez heading off ” head down ” on a solo skydive.
Gus Just aint stopping , here he is getting ready for another one.
How about a backloop… Justin is finished his consolidation jumps now.
Clear skies meant that Richard kept at it also and he decided to do five coached jumps with Louis this afternoon and as you can ses sit is no problem for him now .
All of to Cheers … We look forward to tommorrows new guests , some new to skydiving and others who are coming to jump hard…
Sunday 4th March 2006
Joining us also is Anton Conlon a barrister from the UK who will learn to skydive with us . He is picutured here in training room number 3 with his personal instructor Ulli.
Welcome back to Danny Hold. Danny completed his A license with us in November and is back with us to some more jumping and perhaps the FS1 course.
Welcome to Kerry Sykes who joined us yesterday to do an AFF course. Kerry did his ground school with Andy Gregory and has already completed three levels of the AFF course.
Monday 5th 2006
Here is Anton with Ulli getting ready for level three.
Tuesday 6th 2006
20 degrees in Madrid and by 5pm we had all done five or six jumps each. Its getting warmer now ( it climbs towards a pleasant 30 degrees in the summer now ) We were also quite tired as everybody had been out in Cheers last night , Spanish Staff, English Staff and all the students to Celebrate Louis Birthday.
Richard missed his plane home so will be with us untill Thursday before heading to Perris Valley. He has already booked in with is for some more jumping next month.
Richard i want your job mate… you dont seem to do any work :O)
Pete Clarke also joined us for his second coaching session this year and already has his third booked at the end of the month. Pete has 88 jumps now and is working on his Freefly FF2 with Loiuis.
Whats Luci up to ?
Danny you dude! Danny couldnt remember how many jumps he packed in today and had to check with the manifest when filling in his log book.
Last one down is a rotten egg..
Edward was in a hurry to get to the ground to pick up his next load of skydivers.. At this point Danny is at Terminal velocity but Edward is determined to beat him down..
So How will you exit for your graduation jump ? Here Kerry decided on a dive exit…
Supervised by his Instructor Andy G. Did you know that Captain of the Swiss national team, a USPA AFF Instructor Evaluator and constultant to the Swiss Army for military operations ..
Neil decided on a double tuck front loop somethingy .. under the watchful eye of his instructor Luci B . Did you know that Luci is an AFF instructor evaluator and works part time for us to decide who can teach AFF for the USPA in Europe ? . Shes also a coaching rating director and gold medal holder from the 2005 nationals in Target Skysports UK. she was originally working in Netheravon before moving to the Freefall Uni nearly three years ago.
Anton too decided on the front roll double tuck… Ulli looks likes hes trying to catch him ..no ?
Ulli who started jumping in 1984 is a firm favourite with the students. Hes a BASE jump instructor , qualified rigger with over a 1000 AFF graduates in the last five years alone.
Danny tracks at Mach 4.5 towards Ocaña.
We are also pleased to announce we have secured an apartment in Aranjuez close to the main district. Its very nice , has Internet access .. is next door the to gym and pool and within walking distance of Cheers the ” Skydivers Bar ” . You will not be living with the staff of the school in their homes.
Were also finalizing the arrangments on what in Spain are known as aparthotels where you rent half an apartment which is private from the other half with the exception of a shared kitchen . These will start at 60 euros per night per half with two bedrooms and four beds and are ideal for groups.
Our dropzone Hotel
We have also negotiated a deal with the hotel on the dropzone. For 25 euros per night you get your own private ensuite room ( modern air conditioned ) , coffee and croissants in the morning and a main meal during the day. This is not for everybody as the dropzone is ( a real ) 10 minutes from the city and can be quite enough at night , but may well suit some people who would prefer a quite evening. This hotel has a bar downstairs and 25 metre pool outside your window.
Sorry for the lack of updates over the last few days I have been in the UK and Germany meeting with various associated dropzones. Welcome to Gareth Couldrey who joins us to complete his formaion skydiving course, he spent today solo jumping in order to get ” his knees in the breeze ” or fluid again in freefall before starting his course.
Speaking of formation skydiving Sylvan has been doing great on his course and is pulling of some pretty spectacular moves so his 4way later today should be very interesting.
His coach for this programme is Luci Boella.
He is pictured here sleeping ( which he always seems to manage between jumps ) in one of our training rooms.
Welcome to Martin May who joins us on for his AFF course. Martin is a ” business man ” from the UK and will spend the next two weeks with us. Obviously pretty keen Martin completed his ground school yesterday and first two jumps so far today. He has also block booked 25 solos to take advantage of our special rates for block booking. His coach is ulli.
Credit Card Payments
We are pleased to announce we have finalized arrangments for credit card facilities for all course payments. Your rights to a refund are not effected in any way. Should you not jump for any reason , or not compete your course credit card payments also can be reversed onsite.
Richard McConnell has cancelled his onward trip to Perris Valley and decided to spend the next month jumping with us instead:) He is enjoying his time with us and is taking full advantage of the coaching we offer. He has block booked 100 skydives again taking advantage of the special rates and in addition has purchased 50 coaching jumps with our Freefly coach. He will be working towards the BPA FF2 qualification aswell as perfecting his technique in Birdman.
Welcome back Priscila who trained with us last year. Priscila is an Air Hostess and drops in when she has stop overs in Madrid Airport to squeeze in a few jumps. She works with BA and today flew on the London Gatwick to Madrid route. Currently there are offers to Madrid Airport for as litte as forty pounds return for bookings made with BA and easyjet before the end of the month.
AFF Instuctors course.
We are also pleased to announce that we will be running an AFF Instructors course in Mid June. We will soon post dates of our pre courses. Two of our staff Andy G and Luci B are AFF evelautors and for those interested in pre training or attending the coach course in advance we are happy to cater for your needs. Already we have local people subscribed to the course , so you can be sure it will go ahead. Dates will be posted in the next 24 hours once confirmed.
Welcome also to Nicholas Selmes who is here to do his AFF course. His instructor is Timothy Boyd. Ground school is already finished and Nicholas got on an evening flight to complete his level one .
Welcome also to Mike from Euphoria who visits from Seville.
Red Sky at night Sailors delight…see you tommorrow
14th March 2006
Woo Hoo Fantastic!!! Im sorry I have not been updating more often. Only back from Berlin where access was limited I have spent the last two days working on the dropzone as we are quite busy. For us all at the Freefall Uni this has been a perfect few days. The atmosphere with people jumping and learning is incredible. There are plenty of photos for you to see .
Thats me second from the right. To my left is Paul McMahon or ” Da Grasshopper” who arrived in unexpectedly. Paul is a the Safey officer for the Parachute Assocation of Ireland and keen jumper, skydiving instructor and Flight Instructor. He also operates ” Grasshopper 1 ” which is the Irish Parachutes club own SAR or Search and rescue flight for any mains which might drift into the ” bog ” beside the IPC.
Here is Paul taking Javier for a Tandem .. Paul .. might i suggest closing your mouth when you have a cameraman with you
For anybody in the IPC ask Paul for a copy of “Summer 2000″..its a must see !
This is most of us but not all who have been carving the Skies of Ocana in the last few days. This was taken Today Tuesday ( Ill try to keep the photos in order for you )
A nice number and a great bunch of people who right now are probably living it large in Cheers ( 11:40pm as I type ). Ill introduce you to many in this bulletin.
Im sure there are bigger ” crowd photos ” knocking around but I know everybody in this one especially our students. For us this is the pefect size to be.
This is Mark Zagorski a part time police constable from the UK who joined us for our introduction to skydiving course. So far he has done three skydives and we are encouraging him onwards to finish the AFF course
He is pictured here in one of our training rooms doing his 1:1 ground school with Andy Gregory his instructor.
Ready to Rock! I snapped this one just before they took of for the level one jump.
I sat in on the debrief and Mark did fab with a great body position with both instructors moving down to one handed grips on both sides as Mark was so stable.
Martin May did great on his course with his personal trainer Ulli Bulli . He went on over the past two days to finish his AFF course and is now skydiving solo.
Yup Martin Aces High indeed ! Its been a pleasure looking after you ..heres to some more rocking solos!
Here is Miki who joins us for some fun jumps ( foreground ) from the UK. Miki thanks for making us your first choice in Spain and indeed when it comes to skydiving abroad. We appreciate it.
Here is Mikey ” Its all good Carpenter ” getting ready to do another jump with Nils Wuerdinger who is visiting from Frankfurt. Nils and Mikey have been very happy with our dropzone and did five or so coached jumps today. Mike is based in Seville but like most schools from within Spain and the UK is welcome to take people to our dropzone for training. There are some external schools coming over the next few weeks so if you would like to train your students at our facility its no problem , please call to have us assist you.
Just another brick in the wall? Hardly this is our graduates wall from 2006 . This is in one of our three training rooms on the DZ. Each person who comes on our courses is asked to autograph their picture and add a comment. some of the comments make for interesting reading..
Probably nice for i think for students to arrive and see that they are in a school with a proud heritage brimming with experience.
The Chilli peppers were playing on the PA as i took this photo. A nice moment for the people you see. Paul had just done a jump as had Javier ( foreground – Tandem ) Louis and Richard were soaking up the rays between loads as each individual group ( usually one student and one instructor ) worked away on their next jump. The porter was also on another climb. We flew back to back pretty much steady for the last few days to make sure everybody got the jumps they wanted.
Adding to our mid week numbers are more and more jumpers from Madrid who are choosing the FFU Ocaña and finding partners to jump with. Angel Lopez pictured here was never refused in his requests to jump at least once every 40 minutes. He had a long stop for lunch but still easily completed 8 jumps today.
Angel , Muchas gracias y mi placir!
Time to practice the exit ..” no where do i go again ” . A Sillouhette ( not so sure of the spelling but who cares ) of Luci Boella , Sylvan , Juan Ventura and Tim on the Porter mock door practicing for Sylvans four way. Sylvan was a bit apprehensive before going up wondering if he would manage to rember everything for his first four way ( See the FS section ).. he need not have worried. He racked up 9 points and Luci told me that when he passed six and realised at about 9k that he had done it he broken into the biggest, broadest smile. Sylvan Well done . Sadly for the world of formation skydiving Sylvan has moved straight onto freefly and will work next with Louis
The atmosphere in the landing area is always good and especially so on the sunset load , first solos or the completion for some , but for everybody a big or small achievement..
Luci looks well chuffed as does Sylvan. Everybody here gets a buzz out of what they do..everybody .. me included i quite enjoy manifest although it was odd asking David McGill who booked an AFF course today to ” hold ” as i put a load on a boarding call ..
Ok ” da papparazi ” out of the way Sylvan is off in to share in some beers with his fellows . It is a tradition to purchase your fellow skydivers beers when you pass a milestone such as graduating an AFF course or in Sylvan case an FS course .
Also back to us for his second holiday in Ocaña is Shane Daniels , who trained with us a year ago. On his last trip he completed the FS1 programme with Andy Guler and this time is taking some extra coaching with Andy once again. It was nice to see him jumping with Gareth Couldrey who graduated his FS1 this morning also.
This is Gareth who finished his FS1. He jumps in Cark in the North West of the UK having trained with us in November. He told me he was very impressed with his instruction and also commented that he say a big improvment in the dropzone ( we have made a lot of structural changes with layout etc. ) since he trained. We dont see the changes so much as we make them day by day but it was nice to have the feedback.
This is Miguel on the left he is a fireman from Madrid and is doing a few hours of the course every day. He is jumping 1:1 with Hristo his Spanish Instructor.
Miguel did two jumps today before heading off to work for the afternoon and will probably be back tommorrow to do a few more.
Here is Ramon , Miguels colleague who is also doing his AFF course. His instructor is Carlos ..or Jill if your watching ” Carloossss ”
Here he is on his level three. We use the one high one low system. On the level three the main instructor goes slightly above the student and the secondary goes slightly low.
Thus if you change your position and slow down you end up moving up into your instrutors hands and vica versa.
For Ramon this is his first time in freefall without his instructors holding him . As we say in Spanish ( ok my broken Spanish ) ” Que Guay ..how cool !
Carlos on the left has 3000+ jumps and only does AFF ( he would not like to do tandems and is not rated ) , Juan Ventura on the right has 15,000+ with 5000 of those jumps as an AFF Instructor.. Ramon of course is completing his third..in good hands
This is peter , a parachute packer and cameran who found himself in front of the camera on head down dive. He is ” flying ” on his head descending here at about 200 miles per hour ,, but even the speed doesnt seem to wipe the smile of his face.
This is Nick Selmes , he is loving it i tell you! He finished his AFF course today in style. I shook his hand and asked him he soon he would ” like to go ” . Very enthusiasticly he replied as soon as possible.. No bother he was climbing to 13K twenty minutes later. He did another three solos before I managed to snap a picture of him in the landing area on the sunset load.
He is considering doing our FS1 course next as he is here for some time yet.
This is Christian Bengel who is here from Frankfurt. Willkomen and enjoy your skydives with us.
Here is a photo of Anton who completed his AFF course , all his consols and of course the CH1 course. Once your finished your consols you can jump in shorts if you like ( its warm enough now ) subject to some conditions and a briefing which we will give you. ( Its a bit different and also we want to make sure everything is well tucked and tied in )
Anton , good to have you here and look forward to seeing you back soon. This is photos here is from another jump.
Our plane is slowly being covered inside with stickers from visiting jumpers and teams. I found this one and thought it was well funny. For those who havent jumped the change in pressure outside your body leads to a desire to ..ok you get it. Its generally considered bad manners ..to relax too much.. so best to wait till we open the door
This is Julian who has arrived to do the base course with Ulli. Julian has about 500 skydives and jumps in Cark in the UK so it was nice to see that he met friends of his on the dropzone that he was not aware were here.. just bumped into them.
So sorry I have not covered everybody , i was busy doing other things to include manifesting , moving around to make sure all parts of the DZ were ticking over and generally didnt want to disturb people too much poking cameras in their face. There are new faces with us both for freelfying and also to do our AFF courses. I hope to post more photos tommorrow but im going to go back to the DZ ( my design machine is in Madrid some 40 minutes away ). I didnt take the camera to cheers to ” shoot the night life ” , perhaps im a dissapointment to the Paparazzi When I left people were settling into ” Crosswinds on the plasma screen and a few well earned beers.
So as they say… red sky at night .. See you soon.
We have more references to post on in our comments section and i hope to get them online tommororow. Its late and time for a Steak
This news report has been brought to you by David.
Wednesday March 15th - Morning .
First flight of the ground at 930am . Sweet morning and already people are in shorts and t shirts. -im on to the DZ for another day of fuunnn! Wayne Pascoe have a good trip and we will see you later on. Andy Gregory will be your instuctor For anybody who would like to come on any of our courses Samantha is manning the phones today and Ill be working to bring you the news on and off as we get lots of loads on the DZ However as we have lots on ,Paparazzi ( or as Sylvan says ” Pepperazzi” ) duties will be secondary to most other things.
This news report has been brought to you by David.
Ok me again I didnt get to connect to the web today. It was a smooth day on the DZ and I took advantage to get some flying time up ( on the porter ) and just chill. The morning started slow with people having a late night in Cheers last night however at 11am we going in earnest and the back to backs begun Here are some snaps from today.
Here is one of our offices with Paul and Javier reviewing photos and video on an editing PC. The cameraman is Peter ( in the white suit ), a talent already and I believe sure to figure on the international scene soon. He arrived to us with few jumps two years ago and started work as a packer. He jumped and jumps whenever he can be it funjump or video. He is now DA MAN to have taking your picture or doing video and his rates are excellent.
This is Noah Goodman , he is here to learn to skydive with us and is just loving the experience. He was nervous to start with ( actually who isnt ? ) but under the guidance of Luci is doing just great. He came down of his last jump and said ” i got it , i know the feeling your talking about ” .. it was his best jump to date.
Martin is rocking on in style. He is working on his accuracy and perfecting his flare or braking technique when landing . Seeing him come in from the landing area each tome is rewarding as his smiles are getting bigger and bigger ” That was Tippy toe Dave ” . Martin says hi to all the folks back home and says he will be home for a while before coming back in April.
This is Gareth getting ready for a 4 way with Andy Lucy and Tim. He left this afternoon and how nice it was to say goodbye knowing that he will be back soon for some more advanced FS coaching with Andy of the Swiss team.
Gareth everybodies pleasure having you here with us .. dont leave it too long.
I spend a lot of time just walking in circles ..yes really! I like to see where people need help and what or who might need attention. Sometimes I have the camera with me. Here is Tim working with MArtin showing him how to fill in his log book. A detailed log at this stage of your skydiving career is very important , its suggested amongst other things you write down things you liked about your last jump and things you would like to improve.
Tim gave me some stills from his own camera today of his course with Nick ( who did about five jumps today.. he stopped jumping for a while to kindly give Gareth a lift to the airport ) . The style of videoing your course is very personal and here I guess Tim and Nick are sharing a joke on the way up to altitude.
Maybe for the world of FS there is hope tha Sylvan will stay in it. He spent his day working with Shane and Andy guler who was coaching them both. I saw some of the videos of the jumps and Shane and Sylvan seem to progress well. I overheard Andy talking about emotion on exit which makes sense. Often its noise in our heads ( ” will i do it right ” ) that gets in the way of a really smooth exit.
I took some time in the air also differently. Im learning to fly and went up with Edward to watch him pilot the Porter. I could not resist taking the camera with me and took some pictures. Here the flight was a mixture of students and Freefliers .. Christian in the middle is the jumper you see who is progressing really well. He always seem to have a smile on his face whenever I bump into him . He asked where were all the photos going so i told him to check this page out when he got home. He will be with us untill Friday.
This is Nick, he struck a pose just before heading off for another dive.
In the back is Christo who is training Luis ( who you cant see in this photo ) from Madrid.
Remember that four way with Gareth , well here it is. you can see them all heading off. It did not come out perfectly , but im not a four way Guru so wont comment . The dive went well with ten or more points so all is well that ends well.
Handshakes ! You will love them and perhaps be daunted a bit as you get used to the different ones. This one I call ” ET phone home ” . It is customary for everybody to shake hands with each other in various manners on the 2 minute call ( the pilots gives you notice before asking you to leave his plane ) . This is Martin.
Thats all for today. It was about 25 degrees and I ended up tanned being out and about quite a bit . The sky was nice , so we look forward to another day of leppin from perfectly good aeroplanes tommorrow. Tommorrow another member of the team will post the news.
Thursday March 16th
Ok its my turn for the news updates today. My name is Louis Harwood, I run the freefly school here at the freefall university, you see me here on the right with my student Richard McConnell.
Richard is her for another two weeks after cancelling his trip to Perris
Valley. He is progresing well on his route to headdown and is taking
advantage of the hot Spanish sun. I’m already looking forward to seeing
him and his friend here again in July.
Also joining us all the way from New Zealand is James McArthur. He’s an old friend of my team mate David Downham. Just popping in for a few days on his travels he joins the growing scene of freefliers at the freefall university in Ocana. I managed to get a few fun jumps in with James today…great fun.
James usually jumps at Skydive Auckland (Mercer) in New Zealand but is currently backpacking around europe.
At last I get to meet the famous Wayne Pascoe! Ive heard so much about you over the past few weeks, its great to finally meet you. Wayne kept in constant contact with the staff here about his course, travel arangements, accomodation as well obtaining some prescription goggles for him to use during the course.
I’m sure you’ll enjoy your AFF course Wayne…I look forward to seeing the DVD of your jumps.
Meanwhile in the FS world Shane and Sylvan are busy honing their skills on 2 way skydives no that they are both FS1 skydivers.
Here you can see Shane and Sylvan practicing their exit on the aircraft mockup.
Being on a load with Sylvan is a must for anyone with a sense of humour…Mui Bien Si Si Sylvan, looking forward to doing some freeflying with you!
Cracking on through the AFF levels is Noah, now on level 6 he’s loving it and cant wait to finish the course tomorrow so he can jump solo.
Every time I see Noah after a skydive he’s wearing the biggest smile you could imagine, its great to see!
Julian has finished the ground school with his BASE instructor Ulli and have now gone to complete the first few BASE jumps from a bridge.
Julian seemed remarkebly calm before he left, Iim looking forward to seeing his face on the video, i’m sure he’ll love it…as long as he’ll still come on some tracking dives with me over the summer.
Me and Richard have just landed after a great Head Down coached jump. Your coming along nicely my young padawan learner! Richard has also been doing some fun jumps with some of my team mates today…I get the feeeling he’s enjoying it here .
Nick has just landed from another jump…Ive lost count how many times ive seen him walk to the plane today.
He’s one of the most chilled out AFF students ive seen yet, its a pleasure to be with him on the plane.
The dropzone has an excellent atmosphere today, theres a sense of comraderie between the AFF student, FS students, Freefly students and the Spanish fun jumpers. We all had a big lunch mid day and got straight back into jumping managing to squeeze one last load in for the hardcore jumpers just before sunset.
Wayne managed to complete his ground school as well as AFF level 1 and 2. Waynes wife Cheryl has been avidly videoing his landings and ground school…maybe she wants to join the fun also?
All in all a good day at the freefall university. Hot weather, clear skies and smiles all round. Everyone’s had a busy day today and you can tell by the slightly lower population of the local skydivers bar, I think they’re all tired and want to prepare themselves for another busy day of jumping.
Stay tuned for more tales of the jumpaholics and the freefall university!
Sunday March 18th
We were joined yesterday also by Leigh Browne who completed his ground school with Tim Boyd and did five levels of his AFF. Leigh is a manager with Sainsburys and i found him sitting queitly watching the sunset load embark reflecting. Its hard for people watching to get an impression on high skydiving truely touches you so it was no surprise to see Leigh contemplating all that he had done. He told me ” how can something be so scary and so amazing at the same time ” .. thats skydiving. I snapped this picture of Leigh with Tim.
Noah only has one more jump to go and Wayne is doing great. He and Cheryl took of to Madrid for the day.
Julian did great on his first BASE and told me that ” it was all over very quickly ” . He did a pilot chute assist from a bridge , had 15 seconds under canopy and had a tippy toe landing. He left to do some more jumping this afternoon and has been really pleased with his experience. We look forward also to recieving Alun up from Seville on the BASE course and say hi to Lee Cootes who we hear good things about ( Lee trained with us on the BASE course last month.
I had a good chat with Nils today and am glad that he has had a good time with us . He has applied for a job as a packer with us as he reckons it would be a good experience to work here during the summer. Nils we hope that you do indeed come to work with us.
Mark Zagorski ! I told you Mark was not long home when we received an email asking to come back to finish the rest of the course. Mark will be back in May. Cool !