Skydive Chicago’s August 2019 Newsletter

A Letter From Rook Nelson…

Change is on the horizon.  Let me elaborate. During Summerfest, there was a group doing an angle jump.    The jump was somewhat uneventful until break off when one jumper tracked into another knocking himself out.

The jumper that was hit remained awake and was able to deploy his main canopy.   That jumper then made a successful landing on the main landing area.   The jumper that was knocked out was properly prepared for that chance scenario by jumping with an AAD.   The AAD activated properly and deployed his reserve canopy.    The jumper then drifted to the nearby river.  Scary situation indeed…

The jumper did not remember anything prior to entering the water but sometime after his splash landing, he was able to swim to the shore where a fellow jumper met him and helped him out of the water.    While both jumpers were a bit sore, they did not have any major injuries and were both back at the DZ a few hours after the incident happened.    A relief for everyone!

I reflect on all incidents that happen both here at SDC and in the Tribe of Skydiving as a whole.  My father told me to never to let the same mistake happen twice.   Upon reflecting on this particular incident, I asked myself how the day would have gone if that jumper wasn’t wearing an AAD.   It was at this point that I came to the conclusion that, in good conscience, I could no longer allow people to jump at Skydive Chicago without an AAD.

I know there will be some people that won’t like this idea but I’m happy to have that argument any day or any time.  I would rather have that argument or lose business than to call their families and tell them their loved one won’t be coming home.   Plain and simple, I simply must set people up for as much success as possible on every single jump.

With all of that in mind, beginning September 1st, you must have an AAD to jump at Skydive Chicago.   I appreciate all the support that I have gotten since I have made this decision and my thanks in advance to all those who will help support this decision moving forward as well.  It is my hope that this change will enhance our safety culture and help keep our Tribe secure.

Blue Skies, everyone.


Time To Get Your Rookiefest On!

The walls of Skydive Chicago boast about the newly licensed skydivers, and the names of all graduates since the skydiving center’s inception in 1993 are recognized on a plaque. The halls of Skydive Chicago are full of world-class athletes – local, and from around the world – and you’d most likely never know it as everyone works and plays together!

When you’re new, it can all be overwhelming on how to fit in. Lucky for us here, there are a plethora of coaches that specialize in bringing up newbies like SDC Rhythm XP, the A-license club, and of course, Rookiefest – the mega rookie event of the year!

DZO, Rook Nelson recalls, “Rookiefest was the brainchild of Warren Peterson. Warren was a jumper that graduated from Skydive Chicago’s Advanced Freefall Program during the back-to-back National [2005/6] days. While he thought it was cool to see the pros compete, he felt that the newer jumpers should get an opportunity to compete and learn from the pros.”

This is your chance to challenge yourself and put your new skill sets on the line for a chance to win bragging rights, the trophy, and a BRAND NEW G4 HELMET!  That’s right; The person who brings home the trophy also brings home a sweet new Cookie helmet as well.  Take a moment and register now to put your name in the running for all the glory today!

Manifest’s Messages For The Masses …

Rookiefest August 30-Sept 2nd and it’s closing in fast!   Make sure to pre-register to make your time at Manifest that much faster.  You can sign up right HERE and help everyone move through the line as fast as J-Russ swoops that Valkyre.

Manifest also wants you to know that Unlimited Slots for September are still available.  We’ve had a slew of jumpers from across the world come to Skydive Chicago this year and take advantage of all that the Unlimted program has to offer.  Sure, you get to jump your face off and the weather has turned for the better so you can.  You also get the opportunity to meet new people from every corner of the globe and build some pretty amazing friendships along the way.  Contact Manifest at 815-433-0000 to get more information on how you can grab yourself an Unlimited Pass today.

Finally, we just thought we would let you know a little something that isn’t always promoted.  Cabins are available for Summerfest 2020 but there are only a few left!  The cabins are available to rent now for next year.  You can call and reserve your little piece of awesome at Summerfest and plan all year long about how you’re gonna have a blast in one of the nicest places to stay at the DZ.  Call now and get your space saved for a truly amazing boogie!

AAD’s – The Standard At SDC

If you haven’t heard already, Skydive Chicago is going to become an AAD mandatory dropzone.  The arguments against the technology can easily be debunked by the numbers. AAD’s save far more people than they injure or kill.  Where we value and understand personal choice safety is our number one priority.

Starting September 1st, all rigs jumped at Skydive Chicago will require an AAD and must be in compliant with the AAD manufacturer, container manufacturer and the FAA.  

If you already have an AAD in your rig, you will not have to do anything.  If you do not have an AAD in your rig, you will need to re-check your rig in with Manifest by September 1st.  Those that do not have an AAD will have their accounts flagged and will not be able to manifest until they check in with Manifest.  98% of our fun jumpers already have an AAD their rig so this will not affect many people.

For those that our looking for an AAD RockSky Market has all the major manufacturers in stock and ready to be put in your rig. “The only bad AAD is the one not installed in your rig” RSM

If you have questions please feel free to ask me or your rigger. At the next 15 Minute Call Safety Meeting, we will be talking about AAD’s.  How they work and how to work them safely. Bring your rig and get up to date on your AAD and we will see you there!

Grounds’ Top Ten Trailer Tips

As the fall is starting to peek it’s head around the corner, it’s time to take a moment and shore up your trailers.  Grounds wants to share with you a top ten list of things to consider when the summer has taken a toll on your home and winter is coming like an episode of Thrones…

1. Inspect the roof seals and seams of your RV.

Be sure to inspect your RV’s roof for leaks every three months. Water leaks can occur through any open seams in your roof’s edges, vents, skylights, or air conditioning unit.

2. Tighten your RV’s wheel lug nuts and check tire pressure.

Before every RV trip, be sure to tighten your RV’s wheel lug nuts and measure tire pressure to ensure your safety on the road. Check the vehicle’s wheel lug nuts to make sure they haven’t loosened up at any point during previous travel or while in storage.

3. Check your RV’s batteries.

The last thing you want to happen on your DZ trip is a dead RV battery. Some batteries have water levels and some are maintenance-free. The goal for an RV’s battery is that you do your best to keep it fully charged at all times. Batteries tend to last 3-5 years. After three years, a deep-cycle battery (towable RVs) starts to lose capacity. After five years, a start-type battery (drivable RVs) starts to lose capacity.

4. Keep waste water system in good condition.

Maintenance of your RV’s waste water system includes making sure that you are using chemicals that are designed to work with each system, whether it be gray water or black water systems.

5. Keep your RV’s brakes maintained.

It’s important to keep your RV’s brakes maintained for your safety as well as everyone else’s on the road. Brake maintenance should be on your RV’s spring to-do checklist.

6. Clean and treat your RV’s slide outs and seals.

Slide-outs need to be cleaned on a regular basis so you don’t have dirt build up in and around the seals. Not cleaning your slide-out could cause problems sealing your RV. To clean your RV’s slide out, you want to lubricate the slider mechanisms to make sure that they run in and out with the least amount of wear and tear on the motors.

7. Change your RV’s oil.

Unlike a car that you do regular maintenance to every 3,000-5,000 miles, an RV tends to sit a lot. It’s important that you do oil changes on a seasonal basis just to make sure that everything is lubricated and running to the best of its ability. For RVs, it’s recommended to change your oil every 3,000-4,000 miles or every year (fall is a great time).

8. Replace the air, fuel, coolant, and hydraulic filters in your RV.

Similar to changing your RV’s oils, you need to change the air, fuel, coolant, and hydraulic filters in your RV on a seasonal basis.

9. Keep your RV’s awning maintained.

It’s important to keep your RV’s awning clean so you don’t get mildew and mold buildup. By inspecting it on a regular basis you can catch and repair any possible tears early on before they start to grow larger. I

10. Make sure the electrical connection from your RV to your tow vehicle is working.

The connection from your RV to your tow-vehicle is of critical importance to your safety on a RV trip. This is what transmits your electrical signal from your tow vehicle to your RV, turning on your RV’s brake lights when you hit the brake pedal in your vehicle. This electrical connection gives you and your RV safety when driving on the road both during the day and at night.

If you have any questions or concerns about maintaining your RV, please feel free to ask The Danimal and he can show you what, how, where, and when to get the most of your home at the DZ.

RSM Is Here To Help…

With the recent changes to the AAD Policy at Skydive Chicago, Rock Sky Market is prepped and ready to help you maintain your current AAD or get you into a new AAD set-up.

While these items are a higher priced piece of equipment, we can all agree that the cost of saving your life is small in comparison.  It’s well worth the investment to ensure your safety in the sky and Rock Sky has three options to help.

Pick up an M2 for only $999 or a Vigil Cuatro for $1190.  If you’re more prone to pick up a Cypres 2, they have those as well for only $1195.  Finally, we can’t forget the wingsuiters and Rock Sky has them covered too.  Grab a Wingsuit Cypres for only $1,449.

Rock Sky Market stands firmly behind the belief that the only bad AAD is the one that is not installed in your system. Whatever AAD you choose, know that RSM is here to help and answer any questions you might have when deciding which AAD is best for you.  Please, feel free to reach out via Facebook, email, or simply give them a call at 815-786-4560.

Also, don’t forget to check out yet another batch of the SDC jerseys come in.  Rock Sky will be changing the design each year so come and grab this year’s version before they are all gone.

Finally, Cookie G4’s are on the way and RSM is still taking orders.  Feel free to stop on in or give them a call to learn more about one of the most anticipated helmets to ever hit the skydiving world!

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