Skydive Chicago’s July 2019 Newsletter

A Letter From Rook Nelson…

Event Season at Skydive Chicago is upon us and what perfect timing now that the weather has cleared.  Events can be exciting as there is so much amazing energy when you pack 700 or more skydivers on a dropzone.

It’s easy to get ‘boogie fever’ and find yourself somewhere you don’t want to be or that might not be good for you.  Whether that’s on a jump that may be out of your skill set or you find yourself surrounded by too many people in the sky.   If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t go on the jump.  No organizer on the planet would be upset with your call.   It is better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground.    With Summerfest rig

ht around the corner, you might find yourself in one of these scenarios.  Remember to just take a breath, slow down, and make the right call.  There are a few other little tips and tricks to get the most out of Summerfest too.  A.J., my Events Manager, posted a great article that explains each of them.  You can check them out right here:


If I may, it’s not my first Summerfest and I’d like to leave you with one last bit of advice about it.  Summerfest is that its a marathon and not a sprint.   I’ve seen it year after year where attendees spend a little to much time a the tiki the first few nights and miss out on all the organizers have to offer you and the incredible jumps while you’re nursing a hangover.    Don’t be ‘that guy’…
Blue Skies, everyone.

Manifest & Summerfest…

It’s getting close to Summerfest and The Manifest Team has a few insights that will definitely help you streamline your check-in process as well as help you get the most out of your time at Summerfest!

If you’re coming to SDC for your first Summerfest, then you might not know about the long line that tends to be there on the first weekend as everyone is trying to get a wristband, check in their gear, and sign paperwork.  If you have been here before… You know.

So let’s make it easy on you when you check in.  First, register for Summerfest online.  It only takes a minute but when there are 200 people trying to do it in the Summerfest Line, 200 people taking a minute takes up 200 minutes!  You can click this link and register today and save those minutes in line:

Secondly, you can purchase tickets online as well at the same link.  You will be able to just grab them and go when you get to the check-in line.

Finally, make sure that your gear and credentials are all up to date.  All reserves must be in date throughout the entire boogie.  You will get an orange tag on your rig to signify that.  Our loaders won’t let anyone on the plane without one.  It’s just part of making sure everyone is as safe as they can be here at SDC.  Don’t forget to have your license up to date either.  You’re gonna want to jump and we can’t let you if you don’t have that license.  If you did happen to bring a ton of gear or you simply want to lock up your valuables during Summerfest, we will also be renting lockers for $25 during the boogie.  They can be rented right in the check-in line or inside Manifest.

Manifest wants everyone to enjoy the boogie and have the time of their lives!  It’s what Summerfest is all about.  We’re working hard already to make sure we’re ready for you this year.  We want to do the best job we possibly can for you.  Help us make your experience even better and register early, update your credentials and gear, and get ready to have a fantastic SUMMERFESSSSSSST!

Anthony, What’s Landing Direction Again???

an we also put a reminder for Mid-Season Safety Day?  Doug is going to have a presentation.  We will also have the cutaway system and VR down at the Tiki.

Which way do we land?  Into the wind, of course!  If only it was that simple.

There has been some confusion on how landing direction is determined as of late around the DZ.  Let’s just take a quick moment to clear it up for everyone.  In the past, landing direction has been set in the loading area prior to taking off, which works well if we are landing in one of the cardinal directions.  If Mother Nature could only be so direct.

People’s interpretation of what North West is or South East can vary greatly from person to person. So, to clear things up, we will be landing in the direction of the Wind T.  So, before you get on the plane, look at the Wind T. When you open up look at the Wind T. (You can see it from 8k feet…) Whatever direction it is pointing is the direction you are landing.

What about those days where the wind is light and variable?  Well, we will be staking it down.  An 8-pound weight has also been installed so when a pigeon farts, it doesn’t spin around in circles. Those with big canopies, learn how to land crosswind. Those with small canopies, learn to put your canopy down exactly where you want it while landing into the Wind T.  If you can’t accomplish these tasks on your current canopy, then it may be time to up-size.

If, after all this, you are in the air and you don’t feel safe landing in whatever direction is determined,  hold in brakes and land away from everyone else. (North Strip, West strip, etc.) We will come to get you.

Remember, there are no winners when canopy jousting.  Land in the direction of the wind T.  Be safe out there and Blue Skies.


It’s Time To Give Thanks…

Thanks.  “Thanks for what”, you may ask.

It’s simple.  It’s Matteo Fialdini.

See, some of you may know Matteo as the fueler and loader guy that you see when you’re getting on a load.  Some of you might just know him as the dude with the weird hat that mows lawns or weed whacks.  Maybe you have seen him cleaning toilets or mopping or sweeping.  Basically, he is one of the full-time Grounds Crew Staff and he crushes it.

There are some of you who know him in a different context.  Maybe he was the guy who took you on your first AFP jump.  Yeah, he’s an AFP Instructor too!  He works full-time on Grounds but also works in our Accelerated Free Fall Program.  He is the guy who will sit with you on weather hold and get you ready for a license test, teach you to pack your canopy or even just walk you through the basics of gear purchases.  He literally gives his personal days to do this as well.  Sure, he gets paid to do a jump with students in AFP and teach you about skydiving and how to do it better but he stays late or comes in early to help with no need of pay or thanks.  He just does it and he does it well.

So, Matteo, Grounds Crew and the entire Dropzone want to lift you up and say, “Thank You!”  Thank you for all the work you do on grounds and in AFP and, most importantly, thank you for always being willing to lend the helping hand wherever it may be needed.  We see you.  We appreciate you.  We thank you.

Strong work, Matteo.  Strong work…

Summerfest Armbands… 

Oh yeah!  The infamous armbands are back!  We’ve upgraded them for you this year.  They are 100% satin.  Super soft and super cool.  All full-event jumpers get one just like always.

It’s always great to see those who have worn one for a full year.  Love it.  Love it. Love it.

There is a little change this year when it comes to armbands.  EVERYONE HERE HAS TO HAVE ONE.

That may sound silly, right?  Like, duh.  We know.  You’re right too.  It’s kinda silly we have to mention it but we have to.  We had some issues in the past with a few non-jumpers getting in and causing a little bit of ruckus so we have to be more vigilant this year.  We just want to give a little heads up that, during the boogie, if you’re on the DZ, you’re gonna need one of those little awesome bands.

We know it might sound a little like were policing the event and, let’s be transparent, WE ARE.  That’s for your protection.  That’s for all of The Tribe’s protection.  We want to provide a safe environment for all at our favorite boogie of the year and an easy way to start that process is to make sure everyone here is registered and has an armband.

That does mean that if your mom comes out to visit that day, she will need an armband.  If your significant other is on the dropzone and not a jumper, then they need one too.  If you aren’t jumping but just visiting old friends for the day, you’re going to need one too.  We have bands for day jumpers, non-jumpers, whole-event jumpers, and more.

Kinda makes us feel like Oprah… “You get a band! You get a band! Everyone gets a baaaand!”

Yeah, We’re Stocking Up…

Summerfest gear?  Sure!  We got that!

We are getting in a new order of Summerfest hats and T-Shirts for the boogie again this year and we’re stoked about it.  Why?  Because every year we have these crazy designs and we got with A.J. and came up with an idea.  Simply Summfest.  Just simple, good apparel.  No crazy designs this time.  No boxy shirts.  Make them truer to size. Make things simple. Make things soft.  Make things classy.

A.J. told us about his hunt for a good shirt that is true to size and comes both women’s (longer length) sizing and men’s that are true to size, soft, durable and just look good.  He scoured the planet to find a shirt that was just that.  Enter the American Apparel heathered CVC short sleeve t-shirt.  It’s a 60/40 cotton-poly mix with combed, ring-spun cotton at 32 singles.  Wait, what?  Yeah, that just means that your average boogie shirt is about 18 singles and not combed or ring-spun.  Simply put, the cotton is refined of impurities and put through an innovative spinning process that’s designed to thoroughly soften and straighten each fiber. (#score)  They are also side-seamed which means they have a better fit and aren’t tubes with sleeves. We hope you like them!

There are new hats this year as well and the Rock Sky Market has new SDC jerseys that will be in stock for Summerfest as well.  So, if you need some new, well-made, and simply awesome apparel this Summerfest, Rock Sky Market has your back.

Rock Sky Market will also have a vendor liaison dedicated to assisting vendors with sales this year.  If you visit a vendor, learn what you need, and head into the store, Rock Sky’s Vendor Liaison, Amber Barrett, will be there to help you finalize your purchase.  She’ll have you in the sky and sporting your new gear in a fash.

Summerfest is almost here and Rock Sky is helping to get you ready to enjoy it and have the best gear and apparel and rigging for all your boogie needs.  Can’t wait to see you all!

Time To Set Some More Records…

The Head-Up World Record attempts are making their way to Skydive Chicago this July.  Sara Curtis and Amy Chmelecki are bringing their world-class skydiving and organization skills to Ottawa, Il this year so that they, and 98 other seasoned skydivers, can show the world that nothing is impossible!

The warm-up weekend for the world record is scheduled for July 20th-21st.  Those who got the invite will start going for the gold on Monday the 22nd.  Each day will bring new challenges and new jumpers to meet those challenges as there is a very deep bench on this attempt.  There will be no retreat. There will be no surrender.  They will push all week long until the world hears the echos of 100 canopies opening in

the sky like thunder as they celebrate the victory!

Come on out and watch all the exciting attempts at glory at Skydive Chicago next month!  For more on the record, click here:

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