GoSkydive welcomes first female tandem skydive instructor

Female tandem skydive instructors in the UK are rare and GoSkydive are one of the only tandem skydive centres in the UK to offer skydives with a female instructor. Holly qualified as a tandem skydive instructor with GoSkydive after completing the GoSkydive Apprenticeship Programme. Holly had to complete more than 1,300 jumps and 8 hours in freefall to master parachute handling, freefall and camera flying. Now in her second year at GoSkydive and after completing more than 2500 skydives she is one of the most popular instructors.

Holly joins about 11 other female tandem skydive instructors working in the UK, and GoSkydive’s team of 20 instructors, who between them complete up to 150 jumps a day.

Holly was first introduced to skydiving by a friend whilst studying for a degree in sociology. After completeing her degree she chose a career in skydiving working as a freefall photographer in other dropzones around the world including Miami. In 2014 Holly returned to the UK and enrolled in year 2 of the GoSkydive apprenticeship scheme to become a tandem instructor.

“It really is an honour to share the special experience of tandem skydiving with someone – especially when it is their first time, and often will be their only time doing one” said Holly. “It’s brilliant that I can call it my profession.” Holly qualified through the British Parachute Association approved GoSkydive Apprenticeship programme – the first of its kind in the world.The programme offers candidates the opportunity to train and qualify in the adrenaline-filled industry.

During the two-year programme apprentices can fully qualify as freefall video and still photographers. They’ll then go on to become fully qualified tandem skydive instructors.Gordon Blamire, the founder and managing director for GoSkydive, added: “Being a tandem skydive instructor is such a fulfilling job — you get to give people unforgettable memories while doing what you love on a daily basis. Holly will be a great asset to our team and we look forward to seeing her put her training and qualification into action with lots of Tandem Skydives this summer.”

To find out more about GoSkydive’s apprenticeship programme go to GoSkydive.com/apprenticeships

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The Gift Of Human Flight – Diane Starr

Skydive Chicago has teamed up with The Free Fall Foundation to give away a FREE tandem skydive and FREE video package to individuals who want to skydive but simply can’t afford the cost of skydiving.

Diane Starr was nominated by her friend, David Schilling, because of her tireless work ethic.  She is a single mother who works multiple jobs to support her son.  She would never take the time or the money to spend on a skydive and that’s the exact reason she deserves this skydive.  David wanted Diane to feel the experience and freedom of skydiving and she got to do just that!

Skydive Chicago is partnering with The Free Fall Foundation in 2017 to help deliver the dream of skydiving to those in the Greater Chicagoland Area and surrounding communities for those who want to skydive but cannot muster the means to chase their dreams. Just like The Free Fall Foundation, Skydive Chicago believes everyone should feel the experience of skydiving. In fact, that is Skydive Chicago’s goal for all who walk through their doors and into their skies. The family and staff at Skydive Chicago live, work, and play in the world of skydiving because they believe in the freedom, family, and experiences that motivate them to push their boundaries to grow as skydivers and people as they return year after year to continue to give that gift to all who want to be a part of the experience.

If you know someone you think deserves the gift of human flight at Skydive Chicago, click here and nominate your friend or family member today!

Illinois State Women’s Record

On the weekend of August 18-20, 2017, fifty-one women will attempt to achieve the Illinois State Women ‘s Skydiving Record at Skydive Chicago.  in 2013 and 2015, JaNette Lefkowitz of Skydive Chicago’s Rhythm XP skydiving team, successfully organized and achieved the Illinois State Women’s Skydiving Records but JaNette felt there was opportunity and skilled women who would be interest to aim for an even larger record.

This weekends Illinois State Women’s Skydiving Record event will include three-plane jump attempt, a weekend of forging new friendships and countless learning opportunities from the best women in the sport of skydiving.  Women will arrive Thursday evening from all parts of the country.  The weekend will then kick off with dive planning from JaNette Lefkowitz.  Jumping will begin on Friday and continue through the weekend.

The goal for the weekend is to achieve a one-point, fifty-one way record.  This means that fifty-one women will dive out of two planes flying at 18,000 feet, thus requiring oxygen on the ride to altitude, and build a formation that will include linking everyone by hand or leg grips in a specific pattern.

In a sport made up of only 13% women, this is an opportunity for women to set themselves apart from the community and drive home the importance of women in skydiving.  There will also be lectures and speakers from the Women in Skydiving Leadership Network that will focus on empowering women to be leaders in the skydiving community.

Won’t you please join us this weekend as we attempt to complete a record setting set of skydives that will set our state apart in the industry of skydiving as fifty-one skill and competitive women will break records and forge new new steps in equality for women skydivers.

ISSA World Series Champion

ISSA World Series: Speed Skydiving 4th Round, Dunkeswell, UK. 30 June – 02 July 2017

Our man max is now the International Speed Skydiving World Series Champion – here’s his personal account of the competition.

The last round of the ISSA World Series was held here in the UK and hosted by Skydive Buzz, down in Devon with a fast aircraft and a warm welcome. We had a pretty good turnout, with fourteen competitors from five countries – UK, Austria, Switzerland, Portugal and Italy. Unfortunately our fifteenth competitor, Gerda Klostermann-Mace from Germany had to withdraw due to an injury so this left only one female in the competition, our own Lucy Westgarth from the UK.

The scheduled start for Friday morning was delayed due to low cloud which persisted all day. No jumps, but lots of tea was drunk and cake eaten. It all got going on the Saturday morning though, with a practice round for everyone and then straight into the competition. I turn out a speed of 484.87kmh, not bad but not the 500+kmh I’m capable of. However, the sudden upset is from Matt Byrne, one of our UK entrants. He’s done some speed skydiving in the past and has hit some pretty fast times in practice recently, but not in competition. Matt posts a speed of 548.77kmh, which places him firmly in the ‘500 Club’ and what a way to arrive! That’s the fourth fastest speed ever recorded in competition, and dangerously close to my British record.

The pressure is on and over the next six rounds I’m chasing Matt hard. My speeds are more consistent but not as fast as I usually am. Is the air slower in Devon? I only score one round over 500 (505.82) which helps me to catch up and at least I’m comfortably clear of Mike Lovemore, who’s owning third place. The final round comes on the Sunday morning and I’m in second place still, but Matt is only a couple of kmh ahead of me, so the final round could change everything.

And so it does! Matt scores an O.B. (out-of-bounds) jump which is his third for the meet and that means his five best scoring rounds include a couple in the low 400s which offset his fastest jumps. On the other hand I post a respectable 492.53kmh, which is not the fastest I’ve been but consistency wins the day. My total score is the highest. 2469.82kmh to Matt’s 2416.39kmh, making it a comfortable win, averaging out at 493.964kmh.

Prize giving follows a couple of hours later and I walk away with a huge silver cup for winning the round, but most importantly the gladiator sword which is the trophy for winning the series. It’s been a great competition, I won three of the four events and only came second by a very small margin in the other, so I’m really pleased with my performance. Next up is the European and World Cup of Speed Skydiving held next month in Saarlouis, Germany alongside a whole bunch of other skydiving disciplines also competing for their European and World Cups. It should be fun for the speeders as most of the usual suspects will be there so I need to go even faster!

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