This section chronicles the daily skydiving activities at our school in Ocaña Spain for August 2005.
1st August 2005
Raman Sinha or “Ghandi” as we know him joined us for a weeks holiday. Ram trained with us almost two years ago. He was quite impressed with our new location although seemed more enamoured with a certain Spanish ” Chica ” in the hanger night club which is fast becoming a skydiver haunt in Aranjuez…
No stranger to adventure David Thorpe a banker from London arrived fresh from the British Sailing Nationals to start his AFF course. He graduated in three days of jumping.
5th August 2005.
Congratulations to Brett Shepherd a Captain with the British Army who has just graduated his AFF. Brett Completed his course in three days from ground school to finish. He will now spend his time solo jumping.
6th August 2005
Welcome to Louis Velascoe an Army Officer from Scotland who is here to learn to skydive with us. Loius is doing well on the course but has been severly hampered by a two day hangover after a night out in Aranjuez…
7th August 2005
Project Dragonfly is underway! This is Andy Gulers project to build both a 4way and 8way formation skydiving team to compete in the World Air Games at Senior Level.
The team will be training at Freefall University and for the next months one 4 way and one 8 way team will be joining us for a week at a time.
Ben Hildyard is doing well and is now on his AFF level five after two days of jumping.
Adrian Crowther also joined us on Sunday afternoon and is now on level four of his AFF course.
Adrian has now graduated his aff course and completed twelve solo jumps! Seven of his solos were made the same day. As its warm and Adrian now has his Category eight after a brief he is now jumping in shorts and t shirts! He s pictured here on the right and one of our Spanish students on the left.
Television Nacional España were working with us today making a documentary about skydiving. Louis Velascoe who has now graduated his course is pictured here being interviewed with his Instructor ( 6000 jumps ). Ironically whilst Spain is one of the best countries in Europe for jumping its not so popular in Spain. Of of the objectives of the production team is educational .. Jumping is not the preserve of the military but is also accesible to ” regular ” people.
Every 400 jumps we send our main parachutes back to Performance Designs for reline , inspection and general repair. Here Jorro, our rigger is performing an inspection on the canopy before assembly. This canopy is now on the flight line ready for jumping and we have sent another one to Florida.
Our Cameraman for the formation skydiving school Peter who is from Poland is as happy as a pig in S**** as he has done fifty jumps this week ( best was thirteen in one day ) with project Dragonlfy.
Louis Velascoe gets ready for another skydive. He must have felt like a bit of a pop star as he was being both filmed for national tv and photographed by me !
Below is a photo from that jump.
Every day we discover more and more cafes with wireless hot spots. Here myself and Louis check our emails over morning coffee ( Rotterdam Cafe Aranjuez open network ) before heading to the DZ.
16th August 2005
Sorry about the lack of updates in the last few days. We have been very busy. . We are now averaging fifteen flights a day and this picture was taken at sunset when the last load was getting ready for take off.
Nathan Lance joins us for his AFF course and aswell as his ground school completed his AFF level one today. Nathan works a researcher at Manchester University and is working on talking computers or ” Speech Synthesis.
17th August 2005
Congratulations to todays graduates!
Richard Blisset from London trained with Andy and completed his AFF course from ground school to graduation in two and a half days. Richard is pictured here on the left and Matthew Archer on the right.
Richard works as a banker in London. Below is a picture from his level three.
Also Congratulations to Mathew Archer a student from London who finished his aff course with us also in two and a half days.
Mathew trained with Daniel. Below is a capture from his level three jump. He is about to pull out his pilot chute which is how you open your parachute.
Daniel Jenkins a soldier from the UK joined us yesterday afternoon and is pictured here getting ready for his AFF level one. He is training with .
Jim McTierney joins us for a refresher course. He did his refresh this morning and also completed three solos today. He is on holiday with his girlfriend and will mix his time jumping and spending time in Aranjuez and Madrid with Shana.
PJ Kennedy fresh back from Iraq joined us today to complete an AFF course he started with us last February. After a refresh course yesterday he continued and completed it today and has done three solo jumps also. PJ is pictured on the right. In the middle of the photo is Rusell Scott who had sixty two jumps when arriving. He is working on his formation skydiving ( FS1 ) qualification and did seven jumps today..jumping to the ” max ” !
Meanwhile Nathan Lance is progressing well and finished today on level six. He is pictured here with Tim Boyd his instructor boarding for his last jump of the day.
Meanwhile the formation skydiving school is also busy with Dragonfly in full swing! This is the last day of training for the 4 way, but only for a few days break. They will continue training in a week before the 8 Way commences.
In other news we have now installed a 4MB broadband wireless system on the dropzone. People who wish to bring their laptops and surf or check email are more than welcome to use the system.
18th August 2005
Today began as it usually does. All students not jumping with an instructor recieve a refresh on safety procedures from an AFF instructor in the morning.
Welcome to Garreth Tennant , Andrew Nicklin and Stephen Caddywould who join us from the UK for their AFF course. They are pictured here going through the ground school which is a combination of theory and practical exercises. For example Andrew is pictured below practicing the basic body position.
Here is Danny Jenkins on a one instructor dive with Andy Guler as external cameraman. Danny is doing well and has completed five jumps now.
Nathan has finished his AFF course and has already completed three solo jumps.
18th August 2005
Danny is now about finished his AFF course and only has his level seven to do. His is pictured here with on his level 6. On each level your instructor will aim to ” put a hand on you ” during your deplyoment sequence. Ordinarilly on a level seven ( graduation freefall ) you are left on your own to pull.
20th August 2005
Some pics this time from Aranjuez during the evening. The city has numerous places to eat. Here our group ( fourteen people ) eat together before heading of clubbing for the evening.
Stephen , Andrew and Gareth have all graduated their AFF courses and are now jumping solo. Everybody headed off to the Avalon night club to celebrate the graduation. Including our new aff students Jill, Laura , Dean and Michael.
Congratulations to Stephen Caddywould who has finihsed his AFF course. He was taking it handy today and is pictured here practicing his arch position while diving into the pool. Stephen took advantage of our Skydive Spain package deal.
Congralations also to Scotty who FS1 qualified today completing a nine point 4 way. He is pictured here with his instructor Andy Guler ( Dragongfly Captain ).
Also graduating , but this time the AFF programme is Gareth who is with the British Army in the UK. Ask him about Norway and Sandals…
Finally to end yesterdays graduates is Andrew who completed his AFF course in three days. Andrew will be on holidays with us for the next two weeks and aims to complete his formation skydiving course also.
Welcome also to Jill Nason who is a trainee nurse from Dublin who is here for a weeks holiday learning to skydive.
Also along with Jill for the week is Laura Cullen also from Dublin ( and training with Jill ) who is here to complete her AFF course.
Also joining Jill and Laura for the weeks training is Michael Williams who works for Pfizer in the UK.
Michael is accompanied by Dean Smith a workmate from Pfizer.
And this just in! A short video of Richard and Mathews thoughts on life. Please note this was shot at 2am on a night out and is a bit dark for the camera. Click here
21st of August 2005
Congratulations also to Daniel Jenkins who has finished his AFF course and is now jumping solo. Daniel is a soldier with the Royal Engineers and is between tours in Afghanistan.
Also celebrating passing the 100 jump mark ( completing forty jumps in less than a week ) on top of his formation skydiving qualification is Russell Scott or Scotty who also is between tours and with the Royal Engineers.
Meanwhile Jill, Laura , Dean and Micheal are all doing well and are now over half way through their course having been with us for three days ( we had a bit of wind on Sunday afternoon and didnt jump ).
23rd August 2004
Congratulations to our three graduates, Micheal Williams , Dean Smith and Laura Cullen. All are now jumping Solo. Dean is pictured here boarding for his level seven.
Here is a picture of Dean in ” a full roll ” . On level seven which is really a ” show off jump. You demonstrate all the skills you have learned. The idea behind leaving the plane unstable is so you can see how easy it is to recover ” stability ” …you just arch.
Lets introduce you to another member of the team, Daniella our french PC-6 Pilot. She has joined us from GAP in France. GAP is one of the largest parachute centres in France and Daniella has been working as a ” paradrop pilot ” for eight years.
Here is a picture of Laura with the most perfect of body positions..
Nathan Lance´s comment today after having his introduction to formation skydiving.
After an introduction to formation skydiving a few dayss ago Nathan decided to have a crack at Freeflying. Today it was 30 degrees so Nathan decided to jump in his shorts.
Meanwhile Dean is ploughing on and completed 6 jumps today. Here is a photo of one of his more unorthadox methods of leaving the plane.
Also joining us today after biking down from the UK to see his son is David Caddywould who will stay in Aranjuez for a few days. He will of course be doing a tandem skydive tommorrow. He is pictured here on the right with Stephen in the middle.
25th August 2005
Welcome to Russell Moore from London. Russell is an Engineer with Glaxo Smithkline and has arrived as a complete beginner. He is pictured here with his instructor in ground school and has already completed his first three levels of AFF.
Meanwhile Laura has now started to jump solo..
Also David did his tandem and had a ball! Stephen is talking him into doing the course next!
The day ended with a total of 20 flights. Each of the people on this weeks course got at least six jumps in and most were struck by the serenity of the Sunset load. Deans comment was ” bootifull . The day ( night ) ended in Aranjuez bars / night clubs where Louis Velascoe was waiting having taken a late flight back from the UK for another weeks jumping with us!
Congratulations to Jill Nason who after a break of a few days finished her AFF course in style!
Meanwhile Dean and Mike who are on day six of the their holiday and their last are continuing to ” jump to the max ” .Dean finished on 23 jumps in six days and Mike finished on 27.
Celebratory drinks were had in the Tropicana music bar in Aranjuez. This after a hearty meal in the ” American Eatery “.
Welcome to Simon Lemon who joins us to complete the beginners AFF course. He is pictured here with Paula one of our admin team who is from Brazil.
Also joining us is Tony Jones for a brush up course . Tony is a financial analyst in London and originally learned to skydive in New Zealand but had not jumped in eight months. After a compressed ground school he is back in the air. He completed one jump under the supervision of an instructo and was recertified to go solo.
Meanwhile Russell is on level six and should finish the course before the day is out. Dean has one last swim before heading off for the short drive to the aiport. Dean packed in as many jumps as he could so were waiting to see if he makes his flight….
Welcome also to Nigel Arnold and David Cook who joined just in time for Sunset beers..
Also Russell has just finished his AFF course and is now jumping solo!
30th August 2005.
More pictures to be posted shortly. Sorry for the lack of updates we have been mega busy jumping. Both Nigel Arnold and David Cooke have finished their course and are now jumping Solo. You can see Davids ” comment of the day” on the right.
Team Dragonfly , the project for the Swiss National Senior formation skydiving team is in full Swing. A number of teams are working with one of our instructors Andy Guler as their coach to form the team that will represent Switzerland at the World Air Games. Andy is a player / coach on the team.
Also joining us to complete his AFF course is Robin Seiger who originally started in Skydive Arizona in the US.
Robin is now going to do some solo jumping before moving to 1 on 1 coaching with the Swiss Team. Robin is a ” motivational guru ” and speaks at a variety of international business conferences. His website is here .
Andrew Ciarelli Parenzi , originally Italian but living in London joined us for his AFF course. He is pictured here with his instructor just after qualifying to jump solo. Andrew trained and qualified to jump solo in three days of jumping.