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

The post GoSkydive welcomes first female tandem skydive instructor appeared first on GoSkydive.

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!

The post ISSA World Series Champion appeared first on GoSkydive.

What is Freefall?

We’ve come to realise that try as we might to not use industry specific language we sometimes fail and it seems that when we talk about ‘Freefall’ people are often unclear as to what that actually means. So what is freefall? Freefall is the state that a tandem skydive pair are in when they first exit the aircraft. So once the aeroplane has reached the desired jump altitude (height from the ground) that we are wanting to skydive from the tandem pair exit the aircraft – they are then in a state of freefall until the parachute is deployed by the tandem instructor. The pair are literally falling freely through the air at speeds of approximately 125mph.

The freefall is the skydiving part of the experience and the length of time that the experience lasts depends on the altitude that you are jumping from. The parachute is deployed at 5000ft so the ‘freefall’ or skydive lasts for the time it takes to fall from the jump height minus the parachute deployment height. So jumping from 15,000ft minus 5000ft when the parchute is deployed gives you a freefall distance of 10,000ft which on average takes about 60 seconds to cover. Jumping from 10,000ft would give you a distance of 10,000ft to cover taking about 30 seconds.

To calculate the speed that you would freefall at you can use our freefall calculator (refresh after each calculation)

The post What is Freefall? appeared first on GoSkydive.

Our Man Max has just Won Round 3 of the International Speed Skydiving Association World Series! Here’s Max’s account….

The third round of the World series comes just two weeks after round two and this time we’re in Sweden, hosted by the Stockholm Skydiving club at their dropzone just north of the old town of Uppsala. It’s a proper old fashioned club, run on a not-for-profit basis and all members are ‘shareholders’. This means that everyone mucks in together to help keep everything running smoothly and there’s a really friendly vibe to the place. Unfortunately it’s also pretty far north (about as far towards the pole as the very top of Scotland) so that means the weather can be pretty variable. Last year we were rained on for 3 days solid and managed to rush through six rounds on the Sunday afternoon. We’re hoping for more sun this time. Also, there’s only six of us in the competition. The three Swedes: Henrik Raimer (current World Champion and World Record holder) Daniel Hagstrom and Henrik Anderson. The only foreigners to make the trip apart from me is Reinhard Wiesenhofer from Austria and Mascia Ferri from Italy, who is our only female contestant in this competition

Coming so soon after the last round is a good thing, I’m feeling fast and on top of my game, especially after just missing out on gold in Germany. I arrived a couple of days early so I wasn’t rushed and tired after travelling, and spent the day before the competition sightseeing in Stockholm. I’m feeling relaxed and ready to go as we get a warm up jump before we start so I know all my kit is in order and I’m familiar with the dropzone from above. Despite the careful preparation my first round goes badly and I score zero as I’m fast but unstable. If it had scored it would have been a 500kmh+ jump. Yet again, this puts me on the back foot at the start of a competition. It always seems to happen to me! Henrik Raimer has put in a respectable 465.99 kmh on the board and as the World Champion on his home turf he’s the man to beat. Round two and Henrik posts the first 500kmh+ jump of the competition – 505.99kmh but I blow him away with a 537.40kmh to establish myself at the top of the leaderboard. I manage to hold on to first place all through the competition, posting a bunch of fast jumps (500.57kmh, 514.25kmh, 506.87kmh & 495.90kmh) and extending my lead on Henrik despite his efforts to catch up.

We get the meet wrapped up in just a couple of days despite low cloud and rain closing us down early on Friday and Saturday. The final round is held on Sunday morning and I’ve got it all sewn up. Henrik Raimer never really found his form and only posted one round (R2) over 500kmh. On the other hand I consolidate my performance with several fast rounds over the magic 500. In fact, only one of my best scoring five rounds is in the 400s. I’m really happy with the result as my performance is much more consistent this time. My fastest isn’t as fast as the last meet but my slowest isn’t as slow either so it gives me a competition average (of the best 5 rounds) of 511kmh, slightly faster than last month’s comp.

Next up is the fourth and final round of the ISSA world series, to be held here in the UK at Skydive Buzz in Devon at the end of June. I’m currently the favourite to win the overall series trophy as I’ve won two out of three events so far but it’s not in the bag yet. I came second to Moritz Friess in Germany last month. If he’s there then I have to make sure I beat him as he could still upset my plans. No pressure then…

The post Our Man Max has just Won Round 3 of the International Speed Skydiving Association World Series! Here’s Max’s account…. appeared first on GoSkydive.

Industry Leaders in Safety Training

Fully regulated by and accredited with the British Parachute Association GoSkydive’s first priority is customer safety. Using a core team of highly experienced, full time professional skydive instructors and the very best industry leading parachute technology, GoSkydive strives to continually ‘do things better’ and aspires to lead the way in safety development and improvement within the industry.

One area which we believed could be ‘done better’ was the training of our customers in preparation for their jump. Not satisfied with the standard industry approach which is to use a ‘horse’ similar to that seen in a gymnasium, GoSkydive set about a way to make the training closer to the actual experience. We needed to find a way in which customers could practice the key body positions required for exit, freefall and on landing.

The solution was to create an environment in which the customer is suspended in a harness in a similar way to being suspended by their instructor during the tandem skydive experience. The customer also wears the outfit and equipment that they will be skydiving in, again keeping the training as close as possible to the ‘real thing’. Timing was also important, we wanted that tuition to take place as close to the actual jump time as possible.

Customers are ‘kitted-up’ in their jump suit, head gear,goggles and tandem skydive harness. They are then suspended and with a fully qualified instructor taken through each of the body positions required. Customers practice those manoeuvres under the close eye of the instructor ensuring the manoeuvres are carried out correctly. Once the instructor is satisfied and the training is complete, customers will move directly to the flight departure area where they are met by their instructors for final checks before the flight up to altitude.

Fully approved by the British Parachute Association, GoSkydive’s method of tandem skydive pre-jump training in a simulated training environment, is recognised as being industry leading.

The post Industry Leaders in Safety Training appeared first on GoSkydive.