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-around 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 to 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


Applications are now open for 2018

Please send CVs and Cover letters to

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

Shaun Zerebecki

I started skydiving in August 2014. I hadn’t ever really given the sport much consideration (except at age 9 when I saw the opening scene of the original power rangers movie!), but after my dad suddenly passed away in June 2014 I began to consider that the life I was creating for myself wasn’t particularly fulfilling, and if I wanted to avoid sacrificing my happiness today on the promise that I might get to enjoy myself later in life, then I needed to change my entire attitude towards work, money and time.

In response to my family’s loss I took the immediate approach of simply deciding I would say yes to all opportunities for new experiences - things that I might previously have shied away from out of nervousness, embarrassment or fear. I decided that my priority would be collecting memories of a life worth living. A couple of my close friends had started their AFF at Redlands in Swindon, where I’m from after they’d both completed tandems. We were discussing their jumps at a party when I managed to talk my way into signing up for ground school with another friend a few weeks later.

Getting my A license took me 6 weekends with the help of Luke, Brucie and Dan. I consider myself lucky to have been taught by these three in particular, and it was because of their collective influence that the idea was planted in my head that I’d like to become an instructor and skydive full time. Fast forward a couple of years - I’m C license and getting more involved with the operation at Redlands - fuelling planes, working drop zone control, and chasing tandems. I’ve stated outright by now that I want to become a multi-rated instructor, but working my 9 to 5 as a payments consultant and only jumping at weekends wasn’t going to cut it. It’s at this time that I came across the ad on Facebook for Hibaldstow’s earn and learn programme.

I’d never been to Hib, but I had met Rob once or twice in Swindon when he’d visited the DZ, and I’d heard a lot of good things about their operation. Ally and Sophie’s experience of the programme sounded amazing in the course prospectus, and so I put in my application before driving the 8-hour round-trip one cold day in January to introduce myself and check the place out.

I obviously didn’t make too bad of an impression at the interview stage (or maybe Rob still has to do what Brucie tells him!) as I was one of the lucky candidates to be chosen for Hib’s 2017 intake. I worked out my notice, sold my car, spent a month finding somewhere to live, and then relocated myself and my girlfriend 150 miles away from our friends and families. I’m going to owe her for quite some time…

I started working at the DZ at the beginning of April and my experiences so far have more than lived up to my expectations. Yes, the days are long and some of the responsibilities of ground crew are slightly less skydiving related than you might imagine, but I’m already trained to contribute in the running of the most efficient jump programme I’ve ever seen, at the most prestigious drop zone in the UK.

The next few months for me will involve lots of tandem chasing - attempting to get my belly skills back up after dedicating the last year or so to freeflying with my friends back home. I’ll also be covering DZ control and getting proficient with manifest. I’ll be attending my CSBI course in November. Add to that my recent CH coach rating and (hopefully soon) FS coach rating, it’s clear that the progression offered by the earn and learn programme more than delivers on its promise.

Update – September 2017

The last few months have gone quickly! The busy season has seen a lot of activity at the DZ. We've had BCPA, the Hib Cup, Nationals in 4-way, 8-way, Freefly and Speed, Sausagefest, and a whole lot of tandem, student and experienced jumping. Over the course of these events I've clocked up a lot of DZ control hours – including my first multi-plane operations and formation loads. My confidence in operating our busy jump programme from the tower has grown massively, and every member of the ground crew has really stepped up into their roles. The Hib machine operates on the back of the teams hard work and energy.

Ally and I formed the manifest dream team over the nationals weekends – taking names and filling planes -  putting together hundreds of loads and getting the competitions finished in record time. The learning curve has been steep but also enjoyable. It's encouraging to look back and realise just how much I've progressed as a member of the team and how useful I am around the DZ now.

My jump numbers are up to around 350, with the majority of my jumping over the last few months being dedicated to tandem and 4-way camera. I've managed to successfully sell a few of my videos, and with the coaching I'm getting from the guys on the pool my products are improving with every jump.

Shaun Zerebecki freefly

As I'm typing this blog we are hosting the BPA TI and AFFI week – with a couple of staff members on the course. It's great to look ahead at friends going through the same things I will be relatively soon. Preparation for my CSBI course in November has begun, and I'm actually looking forward to the days spent in the classroom learning from the best in the business. With the standard of instructors here I'm full of confidence and excited to start collecting my ratings.

Rob Johns

My name is Rob Johns; I am a full-time member of the ground crew at Skydive Hibaldstow. I started skydiving at Skydive 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.

Rob Johns

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 5000 or even 10000 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

Update 23/06/17

We work very long days and for very little pay and what sometimes feels like little appreciation, sometimes it gets hard to keep the end goal in sight. However, most of the jump staff are very appreciative and help out when they can to let us go for a jump and get at least a slight break from the controlled chaos that is running such a busy jump programme.

3 months in and I have so far managed to get 68 jumps in, taking my total to 116. My target, set by Rob Spour and myself is to have 200 jumps and C license by September. Though I cannot currently achieve any ratings as I don't have the necessary 2 years in the sport until 15/08/17, once I have reached 200 I can start training for camera pool, following out tandems and groups to build the necessary skills.

I am also currently working towards my radio license, having completed the test I am now waiting for a practical assessment. Once I have this I will then be able to start doing some DZ control training and student talk down.

Update 12/09/17

The UK National Championships has been and gone in one big blur that has been August. Plenty of prep. work was done at the start and clean up at the end. I was assigned to fuelling and starting which was almost a constant flow with 3 planes flying and dropping every 5 minutes. There was a great atmosphere around the dz and as much as people hype up the manic nature of trying to get everyone jumped and keeping on top of the dz with that many people here, it was actually a pleasure to work, support and be part of the event.

I am now up to 188 jumps, nearing my 200th jump and my C license. Actually, jump 188 was my biggest formation to date (18) and also my first multi-plane formation. I am hopeful that I may achieve C license by the end of this month. Once I do achieve it, I can then receive a camera and tandem lurking brief, which allows me to follow out tandems and start working my way towards getting on camera pool. Then I can start actually working as a skydiver alongside my other roles on the ground.

I recently also achieved my radio license which allows me to now act as the DZ controller. This is a big learning curve and teaches you more than you realise about the running of the jump program.

I have been learning to manifest too and along with Ally Tebbutt manifested for the 25th Birthday weekend. We had 2 planes running for the entire weekend so this was a very challenging introduction to manifest. Since then I have manifested days with single plane and done weekends with 2 planes with other staff.

Liam Pyne

I'm currently a part-time staff member on the Earn and Learn Scheme, run by Skydive Hibaldstow until July when I will start working full-time after my final exams. I first started skydiving in September of 2016; through the AFF system, I managed to achieve my 'A' license in just under 3 weeks, quickly followed by my FS1 a few months later.

Before skydiving, I always had a passion for aviation and the concept of flight in general. Then I discovered the world of Skydiving and quickly completed my AFF ground school. I was not able to jump on the planned day due to weather but thanks to the great staff at Hibaldstow I managed to do a tandem and therefore still get to jump in some way. That was it, I was hooked and I just needed to jump again.

Liam FS

Personally, doing the tandem first was a great idea as I really got the inital feeling for what would happen on my AFF Level 1 and consequently, my AFF level 1 went quite well. I managed to complete my whole AFF course without having to do any repeats and without any issues. 

I initially progressed quite quickly for the time of year that I started as winter was quickly approaching. After my AFF and a few solos, I started the coaching jumps to get my FS1. All but one or two coaching jumps went very well and I achieved my FS1 by just 32 jumps! From there, I started flying with booties and had some time in the tunnel to improve my flying and I'm now on 57 jumps. So far, the biggest formation I have flown in is a 7 way.

From the very beginning, I noticed that the strongest part of the sport is the social scene between skydivers and from here I managed to hear about the Earn and Learn scheme and how I could potentially be a part of it. After learning more about the Earn and Learn Scheme from the staff, I decided that it was right for me and I needed a place on it. At first, I managed to get myself a small weekend job just driving buses, opening up and shutting down and starting. I do think that this proved how much I wanted the job and it strengthened my position on the applications as i had experience working on a dropzone. Finally, it was time to apply.

Liam Earn Learn

It did take some effort trying to convince my parents as I would be doing the Earn And Learn Scheme and giving up my place at Leeds College of Music. At first, they were quite hesitant. However, after some time they realised that I wouldn't get this opportunity again so they agreed and let my apply for the job to work here full time for the next three years of my life. Luckily, I was successful in the Earn and Learn application process and I am currently working part time (weekends) until June 23rd when I will be able to work full time and live in Hibaldstow after completing my GCSE exams.

Here I am now, with 57 jumps, FS1, JM1, CH1, CH2, and my B license. It is an understatement to say that I am looking forward to the next few years of my skydiving life and hopefully at the end of it all i will be able to put a student through their AFF, static line and ripcord and see them progress just as the instructors here have done with me. As well as throwing in a few tandems here and there. In my opinion, Skydiving is one of the best sports out there. From the community to the experiences that community shares, all of it's positive. I would love to be able to introduce new people to the sport just as the staff at Skydive Hibaldstow did with me.

Chris Gonnermann

Hey, my name is Chris Gonnermann and I'm 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 tho...

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 didn'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 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!

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.

From that point on I knew that I wanted to be working in the skydiving industry and become an instructor and tandem instructor! 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!

After 6 months of working here in Hibaldstow, I have learned a lot and become a much better skydiver! Some weeks ago I completed my 200th jump and started filming Tandems which isn't too bad considering that I've only been in the sport for about a year!I am looking forward to learning more, progress quicker and become a badass Skydiver here at Skydive Hibaldstow!

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.


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 emphasizes 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 safe.

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.

Sophie Harper - Year 2 Baby

Year 2 baby, we made it! Finally not the lowest underdogs at the dropzone, I mean we are still pretty low, but not the bottom and that’s all that matters. The last year has been long and tough but we made it through to the other end and came out stronger. Over the past year I have achieved a crazy amount. I managed to get my A licence, B licence, C licence, FS1, Canopy Handling coach rating and Category System Basic  Instructor.

static line student

At the beginning of the year Rob, our Chief Instructor, sat us all down and went over goals for us. Things we hoped to achieve by the end of the year. When we sat down and listened to what he had planned for us, I was a student jumper not even A licence with 21 jumps and thought that this guy in front of me telling me I would be an instructor in less than a year was crazy.

As the year went on the jump numbers went up and as did my skill level.  After a mental summer and a dodgy farmers tan I stumbled out the other side with over 200 jumps and a C licence and then began the training for the CSBI course. This was so strange and surreal as only a few months earlier I had been the one sitting in the lessons, not teaching them. After hundreds of practice lessons, many briefs and thousands of cups of tea, it eventually came around and I was ready for my course which was held in Peterlee in February in 2017 which I am delighted to say I passed with fairly good remarks. Then it was back to the DZ to teach my first lot of students!

Teaching students for the first time is the strangest feeling in the world and them throwing them out of an aircraft is even more so. After I dispatched seven static line students for my first time I came down from the aircraft and couldn’t stop shaking. I don’t know who was more nervous, me or the students. I have been an instructor for 4 months now and love every second of it. Seeing their faces as they exit the place and on the ground after their first skydive is the best feeling. Knowing you taught them to jump out of a plane and survive is amazing, and knowing they loved every second of it and want to go again is even better.

my first students

Another memorable moment was following out my brother on a tandem. Glen growing up said he would never in a million years go skydiving. So naturally, for his 16th birthday, I got him a tandem! We went up, Glen attached to Andy Pointer, with me and Neil Oliver filming. Watching him skydiving was very weird! He got down and loved it so much he went straight back up and did it again! Now he is working his butt off trying to save up for an AFF course. I don’t think my mum is too happy about both her kids and our dad all being skydivers.

So with all this happening this year at Hib, all of my goals were achieved, which is crazy to think about, however, it was not all glitz and glam. This year has been hard. It is mentally long hours and hard work. We have concreated pretty much everything, painting what feels like every wall in the whole DZ, scrubbing, cleaning and digging so many holes. At times we forgot what the end goal was however, we were bought back as soon as we watched our friends as instructors and remembered that that will be our turn soon.  With just the two ground crew Ally and I, most of the time it looked like the jobs lists were never ending and soul destroying. However, then came our knight in shining armour, our saving grace, our papa smurf,  Ash Kemp. The hero kept me and Ally going and is awesome with a pick axe, I don’t know what we would have done without him.

With everything achieved last year, this year is due to be just as progressive. So far I am at 300 jumps and counting. By the end of this year I am hoping to be up to a camera pool standard and also have my CSI rating. I also hope to be on my way to getting my FS coaching rating, along with improving my personal flying and working on my skill level while upping my jump number so I can possibly start thinking about a tandem rating and AFF rating. Bring on Year 2.

Update 05/10/2017

Half way through year two now. Nearing 400 jumps, and have successfully achieved my FS coaching rating! Also on follow out to sell with camera now and prepping for my CSI course in November. Also talk of going out to Spain for three months in the winter. Exciting stuff.

Sophie Harper “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.

Sophie Harper

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 Tebbut - September 2017

It's been a busy summer here at Hibaldstow with lots of big events and some awesome progression from staff and fun jumpers alike. The past few months have seen me smashing manifest like a boss on the 3 busiest weekends of the year, doing loads of camera jumps and I even had a weekend off to attend Sausagefest 2017 as a fun jumper.

Starting with our 25th Birthday Party Boogie Weekend Hibaldstow's Rob Johns and I were put together in the manifest office and all things considered, I think we did pretty well. With almost every skydiving discipline you can imagine descending on the DZ for a big weekend it's safe to say we had our work cut out for us but we powered through, made the most of the changeable weather and ensured everyone had an awesome weekend.

Ally Tebbutt cameraman

The next few weeks after saw the drop zone buzzing in the run-up to Nationals. We had lots of teams here training hard for the competition. And with the other members of the earn and learn scheme coming up through the ranks it allowed me some time to focus on my tandem camera work, having done around 100 camera jumps in the past couple of months. I've been really enjoying it and steadily getting better.

All this practice built up to me doing a day as the cameraman for AAA team Quasar when their normal cameraman was busy. It was a great experience and I can safely say I'm quite good at letting go of a plane and looking at stuff. The first weekend of Nationals arrived and after the Friday night opening ceremony, including possibly the greatest safety brief ever (Lesley Gale's words not mine) courtesy of myself and Chris Gonnermann, the dirt diving began and the competitors were ready for a bright and early start Saturday.

The Dream Team arrived in the manifest office, with Shaun Zerebecki as my wingman I was unstoppable. Talking to guests and filling manifests, taking deets and printing sheets, having a ball(s) while making calls, whatever you want to call it we did it and did it well. Despite a mostly very windy Saturday sat on the ground we managed to fly well over 100 lifts and finish the competition in time for a big party Sunday night.

The days were long but it was pretty amazing to be right at the heart of the Hib machine and see the 4-way competitors doing what they came to do. I was also tasked with making day tapes and videos to show at the prizegiving ceremony which all went down well. For the second weekend of Nationals, 8-way, Speed and Artistic Freeflying came to Hibaldstow and brought some decent weather with them. The Dream Team were back in manifest and we were cooking on gas.

By the end of play Saturday everything was completed bar a couple of rounds in speed and senior 8-way. The weather gods blessed us again on Sunday and we finished the competition by around 11, in time for a midday prizegiving and a nice early finish for the competitors.

After the prizegiving we still had enough people wanting to squeeze in another jump or two that our very own load organiser and published author (Shunt is available now on Kindle or paperback from Amazon and by all accounts a great read) Stu Ferguson put together some awesome afternoon jumps for staff and fun jumpers to wind down the weekend, including a formation load which was a first for many of the jumpers involved. September has been a busy month already for me having done plenty of camera jumps including a lot of our own Liam Goddard's AFF beat-up jumps with Rob and Noel, a little bit of dispatching and a weekend of fun jumping at Sausagefest 2017.

Despite some changeable weather we still managed 5 jumps and made some sweet shapes in the sky. As I write this we are currently hosting the BPA AFFI and TI course. Good luck to Brad on his TI rating, and big congratulations to Danny who has just converted his New Zealand rating (with me on the front of him), and to Liam who bossed his AFFI course. Looking forward I have booked onto my own TI course for next March at Langar. And there is also talk of a winter trip out to Skydive Spain for some of us to hide from the cold. The future is looking good so watch this space!

Ally Tebutt's Story - July 2017

It’s been a while since I last checked in and a lot has been going on! Last time I was getting ready to go on my CSBI course in November. I was pretty nervous in the run up to it but when the first morning came I was actually fairly relaxed. I think the fact that it was held here helped me to chill out a bit but also meeting everyone on the course put me at ease, other candidates and examiners included. I really enjoyed the course and passed well, with a 6 month recommendation period.

The next 6 months were spent teaching and working with real students under the supervision of Rob (CI) and other senior instructors. I really enjoyed this time finally getting to use my skills and knowledge to help newcomers to the sport take their first steps into the world of skydiving and progress through the category system. Once I booked onto the CSI course at Skydive Strathallan in May it all became a bit more ‘real’. There was still a lot of prep to do and I spent the 2-3 weeks before the course in the classroom.

The weekend before the course came and it was glorious sunshine, I filled my car up with everything I would need, left a busy DZ and headed off for Strathallan. Once I arrived in Scotland I became a lot more relaxed, it was my first time there but everyone was very friendly and welcoming. We started with kit & docs on the Monday morning and it was good to see a lot of friends I had made back on my CSBI course again. As there were only 6 on the course we stayed in 1 syndicate. Low cloud and rain meant that after some breakfast, the course welcome and the written test (96.5%!), we cracked on with the teaching practices. I was up 5th out of the 6 of us so had a little while to wait. Watching the other candidates it was clear they had come well prepared, but I was quietly confident I would do well too. My first lesson went well and after that we finished for the day.

On Tuesday we smashed through all the rest of the lessons, my 2nd went even better than the first and I was feeling good. Around 5pm the cloud started to clear and the wind started to drop, Strath CI Kieran went up in the 206 to check the wind, he was happy so we got on with the dispatching. I have done a couple of SL jumps before but jumping at Strathallan was a new experience in many ways; first time jumping a 206, a right-hand door, with a chest-mounted alti and the views were spectacular.

I only had my brief to give on the Wednesday, so I enjoyed a few beers that night with the DZ locals. The brief went well and everything was completed by about 10am. As we packed up our kit and the examiners deliberated the mood was quite tense. They called us upstairs one by one, Amy passed, Liam passed, Paula was my turn, any confidence I might have had went out the window when I sat down in front of Ian, Matty and Jeff. They started very sternly but after a brief grilling they told me I was now a BPA Category System Instructor. I got my certificate and went back downstairs with a huge smile on my face. After the last few candidates went up it turned out we had all passed -  massive congratulations to everyone on the course. I packed up and started the long drive back to Hibaldstow as a proper skydiving instructor. It was a warm welcome when I got back to the DZ and a 'few' beers were had to celebrate.

The next goal on my list was to get on the camera pool here at Hibaldstow. I'd followed out my first ever tandem about a year previously and had been slowly building up my skills ever since. I'd already sold a few follow outs and as the weather and tandem bookings improved I managed more and more practice until eventually I was deemed good enough to start doing full paid camera work. I really enjoy meeting all the new people, most of whom are first-time jumpers, and getting to share that experience with them, the little extra bonus on my paycheck at the end of the month isn't so bad either. Although I am now on the camera pool I'm always working to improve my camera skills and get that perfect shot.

In the next few months my goal is to get to 800 jumps, I'm currently at around 560 so it's definitely doable with the way we turn things around here. There is the potential for me to do my tandem instructor rating at the end of summer as well, it'll take a lot of work to get there but I'm more than happy to put the time and effort in.

In the meantime we have the North Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage festival coming up as well as our 25th Birthday Boogie weekend at the end of July, followed by the run up to, and competion weekends of the UK nationals in 4-way, 8-way, Speed and Artistic Freeflying. It's a big few months for Skydive Hibaldstow and there's plenty of things in the pipeline to keep me busy as well.


Ally Tebutt's Original Story in 2016

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.


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.


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 Tebbutt

Marcus Budgett

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.


Andy Pointer - 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


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 ach