I am writing these lines many many years later in 2021 when I redesigned my website and relaised I never entered any info about the Z-Hills dropzone called Skydive City . We have departed our lovely huse near Deland and headed our own separate ways. Some of us met tup again in a lovely DZ called Z-Hills, located just outside the town of Zephyrhills . A maze of small huts and wooden gangways.
The morning was a bit foggy but that soon cleared and the weather hold on the jumps was lifted by about 11am. Then we went full throttle as we knew we might have another weather related bad jump day tomorrow. I managed to make a record 8 jumps, the last one being the sunset jump. Usually they are at a higher altitude but this one was the same as the others, nevertheless it was completely full.
Barbara (white helmet, pink grips), Babi (white helmet, blue/white suit), Gvido (red helmet) and myself (blue/silver suit) made a 4-way formation The morning had low clouds but we hoped that they would soon lift and that we would see blue skies again - unfortunately this took much longer than first predicted as we started jumping at about 1PM. As it was a Sunday most of the skydivers wanted to make the most of the day and the DZ became very busy as there were 3 planes flying at any given time (Twin Otter, PAC 820, Skyvan or Porter), today we saw the first appearance of the Skyvan .
As we woke this morning we could only take a depressing glance out of the window and despair over the rubbish weather we had. It was bucketing down. We had to decide either to stay in the house, go on a (inside) sightseeing tour, or drive to a DZ that does not have bad weather. We chose on the latter and decided to go to Skydive Sebastian - a DZ located in the Florida town called Sebastian (duh) just over 2 hours drive from Deland, passing Titusville and Cape Canaveral on the way.
Some goofing around by Gregor The weather, again, was a bit of a disappointment. In the morning we were not sure if we should bother even going to the DZ. Our landlord Dennis said that the clouds should break up. When we came there the DZ was closed for jumps and it looked like nobody was going to jump today. However later in the afternoon the clouds cleared and I managed to do 2 jumps, the winds were quite strong and sometimes unpredictable, but I was quite pleased with my landings.
As the weather wasn’t very promising most of us managed to do only two jumps, the last one in many cases being in the rain and believe me, it is not nice or romantic to free fly through rain. It feels like you are being pricked with pins all over your face. I did a couple of three-way jump with Miha and Barbara and I think it went well considering our experience.
Now that I have got my reserve deployment out of the way I can get to some good and proper skydiving. Managed to get the record number of jumps for a day - 5 and I could have done at least one more but I had to arrange another rental car for our group. The picture on the left is showing our makeshift hangar - the flag has now been moved to a proper flag post close to the boarding zone - pics to follow :-)
Not only was it my first jump at Deland or in the U.S. in general, but it also ended up being the jump that I had to deploy my reserve. The jump started well as a 5-way group with the local instructor Carl. We broke off the formation at 1.500 m and opened at approx. 1.200 - 1.000 m. The parachute opened a bit slower than usual but I very quickly realized something was very wrong, the canopy was making me go in circles, but not spirals, I wasn’t loosing height quickly but it all came down to my first cell from the left (the parachute is a 7-cell Atair Dragon 170).
Group photo outside the wind tunnel - Click to enlarge Feeling better after the midnights tunnel session, still having problems with some of the techniques but my instructor Aljaž says there are visible improvements. I hope so as I sometimes feel like a sack of potatoes in a tornado when I’m in the tunnel. Today marks the end of the tunnel sessions for most of us as our group will be moving out of the hotel and heading up to Deland, FL.
Wind tunnel This is getting to be really tough. Last nights session started at midnight and I somewhat remember going to bed at 2am. This morning there are another three sessions, the first one on which starts at 9am. I am well and truly sore all over and hadn’t had this much physical exercise in a good few years. Most of us, who are doing RW work in the tunnel don’t have much time to do anything else.