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Experienced Jumpers Newsletter




Job Opportunities at Skydive Hibaldstow

Earn and Learn

Earn and learn is a job where you are trained as you earn. The position is designed for newcomers to the sport. Usually newly qualified skydivers, who wish to become full-time skydiving instructors. During your time working and supporting the jump program, you’ll be trained to do everything from supporting the ground organisation to becoming eventually (within 3 years) a multi-rated instructor and coach. It is designed to train you to be an all-round instructor with the skills and knowledge to succeed with a long and fruitful career in the industry." – Rob Spour PTO CI

"Earn and learn is a very hands-on approach to learning. As with all training, instructors are told to involve students in activities as much as possible to encourage their continued participation and interest. What better way is there than to give people the opportunity to do this as they begin climb up the ranking within the British Parachute Association system.

We have found that people who have worked their way up have a much better understanding & appreciation of the roles that everyone on the DZ fulfils which ultimately creates a much stronger team that is capable of supporting each other during busy times." - Kris Cavill DZM

Prospectus

Please be aware that applications have now closed and there are no vacancies available at the moment.

The Birth of Earn and Learn

Earn and Learn began essentially after a discussion between Rob Spour (our Chief Instructor) and James Swallow (the dropzone owner of Skydive Hibaldsatow). At the time, the DZ had a new program called the Freefall foundry. It hadn’t taken off as well as hoped.

In year 1, Andy Pointer had come to Hibaldstow on the scheme. The foundry was ultimately a fast track 6-month package where people paid to spend 6 months training at Hibaldstow. Training would be in all areas of freefall FS1, FF1, camera flying for tandems and working towards coach ratings.

At the same time, the DZ employed ground workers to support the jump program and it’s running on a daily basis. Usually, these ground crew members had no link to skydiving, so to them, it was just a weekend / seasonal role to earn an income.

Rob discussed how he had gotten into the sport and how he could link the ground crew role into a role similar to the foundry. The essence, was where we would take on keen up and coming want to be skydivers and pay them to work and support the jump program, while being trained at the same time.

Andy Pointer was the prototype for the Earn and Learn scheme. It worked and the benefits were very evident. Year 2 saw us take on Marcus Budgett into a similar training role. Marcus’s progression just like Andy’s had been - remarkable.

The scheme is now going from strength to strength with us taking on 4 candidates a season, talks of expansion and growth continue and the future plans for this scheme are extremely exciting. Watching and working with people as they grow within the sport and being a part of that is an amazing feeling. The scheme goes from strength to strength.


Earn and Learn Summed Up

"Earn and learn is a job where you are trained as you earn. The position is designed for new comers to the sport. Usually newly qualified skydivers, who wish to become full-time skydiving Instructors. During your time working and supporting the jumpprograme, you’ll be trained to do everything from supporting the ground organisation to becoming (within 3 years) a multi-rated Instructor and coach.

"We have found that people that have worked their way up through the ranks within our organisation have a much better understanding & appreciation of the roles that everyone on the DZ fulfils. This creates a much stronger team that is capable of supporting each other during busy times."’ - Kris Cavill, dropzone manager

progression chart

Chris Gonnermann

Hey, my Name is Chris Gonnermann and I am part of the ground crew at Skydive Hibaldstow. I always wanted to fly! When I was a kid I already dreamed about being a pilot, I jumped off stairs with self-made 'parachutes' and tried to build up my own little plane, never really got it to fly though.

After I finished high school I left Germany and flew to Australia. I traveled across the country and worked in various jobs. In the two years I stayed in Australia I realised that I don't want to be working to get money with which I can do fun stuff. I wanted to be working and have fun and enjoy my time at work.

In 2015 a friend took me for a tandem skydive in Byron Bay at the east coast of Oz and I just couldn't believe how awesome this feeling was! I've been flying glider planes with a friend before but this was something completely different. I still don't find the right words for the feeling on my very first jump... So after a while working in a winery in South Australia I saved up enough money to do my aff-course in Moruya.

The jumping was amazing, the place just gorgeous but the most impressive thing was the community. The people in skydiving are all a bit special but in a good way and everyone is just trying to make the most out of their days. I met instructor and coaches that worked every day ridiculously long hours and still have fun with what they do even after so many jumps they still love to go up and jump again. I just wanted to do my aff-course and go on exploring Australia but I just couldn't leave the dz.

I ended up helping out and working at the skydiving center and stayed in Moruya for 3 months. From that point on I knew that I wanted to be working in the skydiving industry and become an instructor and tandem master. So I started researching and found the Earn and Learn program at Skydive Hibaldstow... and luckily they offered me a job and I am now on my way to become a professional skydiver.

At the moment I am working on my belly skills and try to take in as much information and observe everything that is going on at a busy dropzone. I hope that I'll have more than 200 jumps and a C-license by the end of summer and just have some awesome month! I really enjoy working in such a good environment, meet new people and be able to jump nearly every day.

Blue skies


Martin Martinez

Hi, my name is Martin and I'm 30 years old. How did I get into skydiving? For the last 10 years, I have been working in the kitchen - they're busy places, with long hours and lots of nerves. I was looking for positive energy and a new experience and I eventually found this with my first tandem jump.

I immediately knew I wanted to skydive lots, so I enrolled in an AFF course. With every jump, I became more and more hungry of being in the sky. After one month, I noticed an ad on Facebook. Skydive Hibaldstow was running a program for young skydivers called "Earn&Learn". As a young skydiver straight after AFF, I thought this was my big chance!

Skydive Hibaldstow is a big drop zone with plenty of work, knowledge, good staff and experience. So, after 5 months of waiting and 2 days of qualification, I'm in. I was feeling like a winner of the golden ticket to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory!

The Start

During my first few days of work at dropzone, I was asking myself what I can I expect from Skydive Hibaldstow? The answer was simply,  knowledge and experience. I have great instructors with lots of experience. In no time at all, I had gained my CH1 qualification (Canopy Handling). Having a good knowledge of how canopy works and how I can be safe flying it is imperative.

Andy Pointer, another instructor, showed me how the British Parachute Association teaches and how to pass that knowledge on to the students. Because of that, I started to feel like a real skydiver and I see myself in the industry.

Experience

I've been working here 2 weeks now and I am already jumping lots with Ash. He's also an amazing instructor and he explained to me many things and emphasises the importance of  "relax and be safe". Skydiving is not a competition, it's not a fashion week in Milan. Everything in this sport is about being safety.

After those jumps, I really increased my skills. In freefall, I'm feeling more relaxed and I've made some big progress. There is still so much to learn, but I'm a part of a team Skydive Hibaldstow and I see a bright future here. The future is in my hands now and it won't be long until I achieve my B-license yeah!


Rob Johns

My name is Rob Johns and I'm a full-time member of the ground crew at Skydive Hibaldstow. I started skydiving at Hibaldstow in August 2016 and very quickly fell in love with the sport and everything that goes along with it i.e. social scene. I spent every weekend I could at the dropzone trying to get jumps in as winter approached.

I completed my AFF in September 2016 and soon after started working towards my FS1. It took a little while to complete due to work commitments and weather, but I finally I completed it at Skydive Algarve on the 4th January 2017 having decided to take a holiday over New Year and get a few jumps in while over there. Currently, I have 58 jumps and I am working on improving my belly flying by participating in as many FS jumps and tunnel sessions as possible as well as working towards my C license.

I jumped during nationals weekend at Hibaldstow and being in the presence of the nation’s best skydivers and on the plane with national champions I realised how supportive and friendly they all were, no arrogance whatsoever was shown from anyone, which is something I love about the sport, guys with 5,000 or even 10,000 skydives never put down newbies or put themselves above anybody else. The community as a whole supports each other as much as possible and everyone, no matter if they’ve been in the sport 25 years or 2 days, all have the same goal of enjoying themselves as much as possible.

After seeing my instructors working in the sport they love and how rewarding their job appeared to be, I decided that becoming an instructor was going to be one of my long term goals and whatever it took I was going to make it happen. I applied for the Earn and Learn scheme the moment I saw the advertisement, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work and the best DZ country and receive the best training whilst working to pay my way through it.

After getting through to the second stage of selection for the scheme, I came for a weekend which included seminars on working in the industry and a brief interview. Around four weeks later I heard that I had got the job and obviously was over the moon. I immediately started packing up my house and searching for somewhere close by the DZ to live. I handed in my notice at work and two weeks later started work and my long journey to my ultimate goal: AFF instructor.

“How did you get into skydiving”?

People ask, well you can get a million and one different answers. For some, it was always something they wanted to do, that infamous tandem that turned into so much more, a tick of their bucket list that led to an addiction to the sky.

Sophie Harper

For me it was simple, it’s in my blood. Growing up with a skydiving dad you always learn to look to the sky. Christmas time would see me asking for a pink Barbie parachute and late nights would mean reading through my Dads old logbooks waiting for the day I could finally skydive.

So it was only natural for me to begin skydiving the second I turned 16. After one and a half years of skydiving and still being a student on the category system, I decided to take it a step further and try to find employment in the sport, and it was then I came across the opportunity at Skydive Hibaldstow.

I spotted an ad on Skydive Hibaldstows website offering employment for somebody who wanted a career in the sport. Their three-year program would take you from the very bottom to the very top, from ground crew to AFF instructor. I thought it sounded too good to be true but I applied completing the application form and submitted my personal statement , a few months and training weekend later, I miraculously found myself packing a very large suitcase and moving to England.

A-License, B-License, 50 Skydives

I have achieved so much more than I thought humanly possible in such a short space of time. Within 2 weeks, I had my A-license that I had been working towards for such a long time and within a month I had 50 jumps, B-license, half an hour in freefall, another 2 weeks saw me with my FS1 (formation skydiving grade 1).

One of the biggest highlights had to be my first skydive with the man who got me into the sport, my dad, Craig Harper. I managed to get my FS1 on lift 38 that night and was sitting on the plane with my dad on lift 39, the last load of the night. Despite being on a five-minute call, the second I donned my rig it, went surprisingly well. There’s something very strange about jumping out of a plane with your father, a feeling I could tell was mutual giving the number of times he checked my closing pin on the climb to altitude.

The jump, filmed by two good friends and fellow staff members, is something that will be in the family scrapbook for a long time. Of course this couldn’t have been possible without my FS1 and amazing instruction by Richie Gecse who had more confidence and patience than I did. Also, the instructors on my FS1 jump who wouldn’t give up until it was achieved, many thanks to Chris Southworth and Andy Pointer.

Not only is there progression in my skydiving, but I am finding myself learning skills I never thought I would be able to do. Such as refueling planes, starting them, driving bowsers, (although not reverse parking them, much to everyone’s amusement) co-piloting a Dornier, working towards my radio license and being a DZ controller.

I have seen AFF students come to us fresh from ground school on the Friday and leave on the Sunday night with A licence in hand. We see people every day achieving their new licenses, new ratings, new personal bests and it’s incredible to see.

8-way, 100th Skydive

Recently I took part in my first 8-way which went well despite this being the first formation skydive since my FS1 dive and I am now nearing my 100th jump. Despite the many beer fines I have incurred over the past few months, there’s so much more I hope to achieve at Hibaldstow this year including my radio licence in the next week or so, C licence by the end of the summer, camera flying by early next year and if it weren’t for Hibaldstow these goals wouldn’t be achievable.

Skydive Hibaldstow has shown me what it’s like to be a part of a drop zone where its number one priority is the progress of its students, fun jumpers, experienced skydivers, staff, teams and I hope to be a part of it for as long as I can be.

Sophie Harper

Ally Tebutt's Story

I've never really known what I wanted to do with my life. After I left school at 18 I traveled and worked around Australia for a year, it was an amazing experience, but I didn't exactly 'find myself' as many others claim to have done.

My Dad bought me a tandem skydive as an 18th birthday present which I did in Australia. I don't think I've ever been so nervous before in my entire life, but as soon as we left the plane all that worry was gone, I was flying, and it was awesome.

Ally Tebutt Earn and Learn

At Freshers' Fayre on my first day of university, all the sports clubs and societies were out in force recruiting new members. I knew I had to join the skydiving club and with a little help from the student loans company, I signed up for my AFF course.

I managed to complete my first 3 levels by December, which was chilly to say the least! During the first 3 months of 2013, even when the weather was good enough to jump, the grass runways at Netheravon were too waterlogged to use.

I stayed earth-bound until Easter, when I went on tour with the British Collegiate Parachute Association to Skydive Spain near Seville. I got my license on the last day of tour and even managed my first qualified jump with a friend from university. That trip really opened my eyes to the community spirit found in the skydiving world, and I made many life-long friends.

Progression

My progression over the next few years was quite slow, but last year I decided to really push myself and put everything I could into skydiving. At the start of my final year of University an advert came up on the Skydive Hibaldstow Facebook page for the Earn and Learn scheme, it seemed too good to be true: get paid to work in skydiving whilst also being trained up as a multi-rated instructor.

I'd first come up to Hib in July of that year for BCPA nationals and fell in love with the place, awesome facilities, great staff and plenty of altitude. I applied straight away and was asked to come up for a trial weekend at the start of the 2016 season.

Since I've started I've learned so much. Not just in the sky but so much about the running of a DZ. It's really amazing to see the amount of time and effort that goes into running a skydiving operation, especially one as big as this. I can now start and fuel all the aircraft we operate, I help support the jump program in any way I can to keep it running smoothly throughout the day, I'm a canopy handling coach and working towards my FS coach rating.

Radio License, Dropzone Control

I recently received my radio license so I can start working on DZ control and talk-down student skydivers. I'm going on my CSBI course at the end of October and I've done around 70 jumps here since I started here, a lot of which have been tandem follow-outs to get my skills up to camera pool level. The footage is definitely improving since my first accidental rodeo jump with Baldrick but it still has a way to go yet to meet the high standards that Hibaldstow require.

As with anything else in skydiving the beauty is that even while you're learning something new or if the jump doesn't go exactly to plan you still have an awesome time doing it.

Rewarding

I've never had a job before where I've worked a 14 hour shift and been happy to come in the next day, and then come in on my days off to jump, and spend most of my evenings here having a beer or 2 with the rest of the team. It is hard work, but also extremely rewarding and enjoyable.

In the past 18 months, I've done 233 jumps (320 in total), which I thought was a lot, but seeing how fast people progress here my goal is to have 1000 by the end of 2017, and possibly even my AFFI. I know it'll take an awful lot of work and commitment to make it happen but I couldn’t be more up for putting the time in.

Ally Tebutt

After a lot of preparation for the event, the weather unfortunately wasn’t on our side this year (2016) . My role was to check in competing teams back in after jumping, helping with dropzone control and assisting in any other areas to cope with the huge amount of people at the event.

Marcus Budgett

Despite the forecast, we took every chance possible to get the competition going and get as much done as possible. Our best was not good enough and so the competition rolled over to the next weekend with 2/3 rounds left to complete. Over 45 4-way formation skydiving teams came back the following weekend to get the competition completed.

Running immediately after that, the 8-way,freefly, freestyle and speed skydiving disciplines could commence. With a big push and lots of Hibaldstow team effort, we managed to finish just before midday on Saturday and so the rest could begin.

I too was competing in the Freefly and after seeing my team on the manifest screens with a short time left before take off, I was relieved from work and it was my time to compete! I defiantly had mixed emotions at this point as I had never competed in skydiving before. My team had spent a lot of time and effort into getting prepared for the event and I didn’t feel I was in 100% competition mode. This was probably due to nerves, but I was also excited to compete for the first time.

Unfortunately, the weather rolled in again and we didn’t get to jump until Sunday afternoon. We managed to get 4 of the 5 rounds complete and we were in 3rd place with one jump left to do the following day. The weather was great in the morning and we did the final competition round scoring a 8.1. This brought us up to a silver medal position which we was really happy with.

It was all over so fast, then 30 mins after getting all the final scores, it was back to work to help keep the Hibaldstow machine running. It was a pleasure to work and compete in the nationals, it takes a huge team effort every year to host the event, so it is pretty tiring.

To get the nationals completed in two weekends which both rolled over to the Mondays with the weather not on our side was truly unbelievable. Also, it was a great learning curve for me about how freefly artistics are judged and the difference in just fun jumping and the preparation needed to do well in competition.

Bring on 2017.

Getting Into Skydiving

I arrived at Skydive Hibaldstow in 2013 with 80 jumps and a tent. My first season here was spent doing ground crew work as well as working the old bar in the evenings. I was focusing mainly on developing my FS skills beyond the bare minimum for the FS1 sticker which I already had. I was also learning basic head-up freefly skills and getting my FF1 sticker. Towards the end of that season, once I had acquired that magic 200, I put a camera on my head and started following out tandems - the first real step toward professional skydiving.

Over the following winter, I took a break and then returned to the DZ in March to start training as a dropzone controller and canopy handling coach. These were the first steps toward my first instructor rating, the Category System Basic Instructor (CSBI). All the while I was continuing to follow out as many tandems as possible to get my footage (along with editing and packing) up to camera pool standard.

Camera flyer

Cameraman

It took me exactly 50 unpaid tandem follow-out jumps to be accepted onto the Hibaldstow tandem camera pool. I think this figure is one that will vary massively between individual camera flyers - some people could get there in 20 jumps, others in 100. I've always felt that the standard at Skydive Hibaldstow has been very high in all areas, the camera pool included. This has resulted in a high level of satisfaction once I was told I was ready.

While I started doing paid tandem camera jumps, it started off fairly slowly as I was still predominantly a DZ controller. I enjoyed learning dropzone control, and again feel I was taught to a very high standard by those that mentored me in this area. It was an area that I soon learned could be incredibly satisfying.

Running a 3 Dornier operation smoothly or getting a tough spot perfect are some of the best feelings I've felt on the dropzone and I'd encourage anyone who works regularly in skydiving to take an interest in DZ control - the rewards for learning an appreciation for this area are well worth it. DZ control was where I started out as a fulltime skydiver and to this day I pride myself on being good at it. It's a skill set that has already proved invaluable to me as an instructor and as a skydiver and I'm sure will continue to do so as I continue to progress.

Becoming An Instructor

In late August I took my CSBI course and received the minimum recommended probationary period before returning to sit the Category System Instructor (CSI) exam course. The CSBI course was a very enjoyable course and the coaching received throughout was fantastic. Aside from the coaching received from examiners, it was interesting to simply see how instructors do things differently at different DZs. The CSI course was different. It took a lot of classroom preparation and teaching practices to even feel nearly ready to take the exam course. On this course there was none of the coaching from examiners, although again, it was still rewarding to see new instructors and the methods / techniques they used.

Upon returning to the DZ with a shiny new rating, I was put to work with teaching static-line ground school courses, B-licence progression days and PLENTY of static line refresher training. Initially, under the continued supervision of the chief instructor and other senior instructors, I also learned that dispatching static line students was surprisingly physically demanding (but also unbelievably good fun as well). When I landed with the aircraft after dispatching my first two full Finist SMG loads of students, I was shaking. I got more of a buzz from dispatching those two loads than I ever have from a skydive. I walked around the packing hangar and high-fived every one of those ecstatic students before sitting down with them all, beer in hand, for a hugely enjoyable debriefing session at the end of the day. Turns out this instructor business is alright.

family skydives

Lots of Skydives In 2015

I made 775 skydives during 2015. This has been largely tandem camera and was a big enough bump to my jump numbers to have me ready for a Tandem Instructor (TI) course in time for June. Since getting the tandem rating (another very enjoyable BPA instructor course), I've made around two hundred tandem descents and am thoroughly enjoying the new challenge and sharing the experience of a first skydive with so many people.

November saw my final BPA course of 2015. After even more classroom work, several tunnel trips and a beat-up trip to Skydive Algarve, I attended an AFF Instructor course. This course was not like the previous courses I’d been on. It was very high pressure throughout, to say the least. Despite going through one of the most nerve-wracking weeks of my life, I ultimately came away with the rating and couldn’t have been happier.

This was also the first course that I attended alongside Rich Cotton. A colleague and friend from Skydive Hibaldstow, Rich also achieved all his ratings over the course of 2015, and it was a great end to the year to be able to tick off rating number 3 at the same time (with the same score- but who was counting anyway!).