Skydive Chicago’s October 2019 Newsletter

A Letter From Rook Nelson…

I would like to take a moment and congratulate SDC Rhythm XP, our beloved 4-way RW Team.   Eleven years ago they came to SDCwith a little ‘convincing’ with a dream to be the best team in the US.




The heart and dedication of both Steve and JaNette are truly amazing.   They have painstakingly managed teammates leaving, injuries, rebuilding and, even with a litany of adversities, they still kept coming within a few points of Airspeed, the long-time leader in RW Formation Skydiving.   On top of all that they are just down-right good people.  Can you even think of a time you didn’t enjoy being around them??   Let not forget Doug’s storybook comeback either.  The guy comes close to never jumping again and then not only jumps a year after the accident he raises the bar and then WINS Nationals!! It is stories like this that movies are made from, people!   Andrew doesn’t have a comeback story but doesn’t need one.  Often times the best teams are held together by each member and what they can bring to the table.  You need the silly ones, the loud ones and then the quiet ones like Andrew who sits back and then strikes when no one expects it!    I tip my hat to Rhythm’s camera flyer Justin who is new this season and didn’t feel 100%,  so he allowed Elliot to step in.  It was no doubt a team effort and Rhythm showed they are the best team out there.



I am so proud of this team that I can barely put it into words.  When I heard they won, I thought that words wouldn’t be enough.  So, I called Heidi, got a sitter for The Rocketman, grabbed my caravan and we flew straight to North Carolina to show them the support they deserve.  We arrived just in time to see them get their well-deserved medals!  The vibe was like watching the Cubs win the World Series.  There wasn’t a person in the crowd that wasn’t cheering.   As a 20-year veteran of competitive skydiving, I want to let everyone know that when you send emails, high-five, or support your team it really means a lot.    I encourage everyone to support their local teams and if you don’t have one, support Rhythm. They are my heroes!



Congratulations again and thank you for representing Skydive Chicago with style, grace, hard work, attitude, and victory.



Manifest Messages…

Hey, everyone!  It’s Shannon and I’ve got a few reminders for all of you out there.  I know I keep saying a few of these things but I have to make sure everyone gets the message. Before I do that, it is time to celebrate!

For those of you who don’t know, a long time ago, Rook purchased an incredible fax machine/copier.  It was state of the art.  It has worked and worked and worked and worked… Until it didn’t.  We’ve fixed it 1,000 times and it was being held together by duct tape and prayers.  We had to treat it just right.  (That is why there was a sign on it for a long time that read:  “Please DO NOT allow A.J. to use me.  He is too fast and hits my buttons too hard!)

Well, we needed a new one to say the least.  Thanks to Rook, “Stephanie” arrived this last week and is smaller, faster, stronger and better than anything we’ve ever had.  It was built just for us and our needs and we’re so excited to have it.  Just in case you might not think that a copier applies to you and the newsletter, remember that every waiver you sign has to be made by someone.  Yeah… Her name is Stephanie and we love her!  Thanks again, Rook.

Alright, back to the messages I have for you all.  Really, it’s just two things.  The first is rent.  If you have an outstanding balance on your rent account, please come into Manifest and get it up to date.  If you don’t know where you are with your rent, don’t worry.  I will send out emails to those who need to come drop some loot on their accounts.  Secondly, it’s getting to that time of the season to make sure you have completed your 50 jumps to stay on the DZ.  I will also be sending out those reminders via email as well.

I just wanted everyone to be aware as the season is starting to wind down.  If you have any questions about your jumps or rent or you just want to call to celebrate Stephanie with us, you can reach out at 815-433-0000 and we would be happy to chat with you.

Thanks, everyone!



Your Spot… Your Responsibility…

Recently we had a jump run that was not exactly correct.  The pilot made a small but crucial mistake. A South jump run went North on a particular day with a strong South push.  Many barely made it back and a few landed off.

So, the question becomes “who’s fault is it”? Ultimately we are the ones that exit the plane. Each jumper makes the choice on their own and according to their training. In the age of GPS, spotting is a lost art but is still a required task on your A-license proficiency card. 

It is important to be aware of the winds, aware of jump run throughout the day, and also aware of your jump run on your particular load. So before you exit that plane next time, take a peek out the door and remember your training. If you don’t like it, move over to the side and let others move past you. If you’re going in the opposite direction…….say something.  Voices that are never used are never heard. 

Sticking your head out to spot for traffic, clouds, and the dropzone before you jump shouldn’t just be said and done in AFP. It should be said and done on every single jump.

Thanks so much, everyone and feel free to stop me and chat about this anytime you want.



It’s Almost Time To Winterize…

That all too familiar time of the year is here again. Leaves are falling from the trees and the grass is starting to slowly stop growing. The summer flowers are gone. The days are shorter and the nights are colder. Fall is upon us.  It’s good that I don’t have to cut the grass for several months. Now I’m just getting ready to start plowing some snow. (#facepalm)

Winterizing your RV for the winter requires some preventive measures so it will be ready to use next spring. You’ll also be glad you did it when you don’t have costly repair bills due to the damaging results of winter. Now the question is how do you prepare it for winter, and who will be doing it?  If you’re a veteran of the DZ and know how to do it, then sweet.  If not, there are some people who can help for a small fee like Charles Lane.  (Feel free to Facebook him about that one…) If you don’t know how and want to give it a try, take a peek at this video to give you an overview…….Winterizing & Storing video.

Before you get started there are a few items you will need to have. These items can be found in most RV parts stores:

  • Non-toxic RV antifreeze (The amount depends on the layout and length of your plumbing lines. Two to three gallons will normally do).
  • A water heater by-pass kit, if not already installed.
  • A wand to clean out holding tanks.
  • A water pump converter kit, or tubing to connect to the inlet side of the water pump.
  • Basic hand tools to remove drain plugs.

Now we can winterize the RV water system to protect it from freezing. Be sure to read your owners manuals for unit specific winterizing guidelines. Follow the steps below that apply to your RV.

  • If you have any in-line water filters remove and bypass before starting.
  • Drain the freshwater holding tank.
  • Drain and flush the gray and black holding tanks. If your RV doesn’t have a built in tank flushing system clean the black tank out with a wand or use a product like Flush King that allows you to clean both the black and gray tanks. Lubricate the termination valves with WD 40.
  • Drain the water heater. Remove the drain plug and open the pressure relief valve. CAUTION (never drain the water heater when it is hot or under pressure)
  • Open all hot and cold faucets; don’t forget the toilet valve and outside shower.
  • Locate and open the low point drain lines. There will be one for the hot and cold water lines. Using the water pump will help force water out, but turn it off as soon as the system is drained.
  • Recap all drains and close all faucets.
  • By-pass the water heater. If you do not have a by-pass kit installed the water heater will fill up with antifreeze before it goes through the water lines, wasting six gallons of antifreeze.
  • Install a water pump converter kit, or disconnect the inlet side of the water pump (the line coming from the freshwater holding tank). Connect a piece of clear tubing to the inlet side of the pump and put the other end into a one gallon container of non-toxic RV antifreeze.
  • Turn the water pump on and pressurize the system. Starting with the closest faucet, slowly open the hot and then cold valves until antifreeze appears. Replace the antifreeze container as required.
  • Repeat this process on all faucets from the closest to the farthest away. Don’t forget the outside shower, if equipped.
  • Flush the toilet until antifreeze appears.
  • Turn the water pump off and open a faucet to release the pressure. Go outside to the city water inlet. Remove the small screen over the inlet and push in on the valve with a small screwdriver until you see antifreeze. Replace the screen.
  • Pour a cupful of antifreeze down each drain. Pour a couple of cups in the toilet and flush into the holding tank.
  • If your water heater has an electric heating element make sure it is turned off. This will protect the element if the unit is plugged in while being stored.
  • Make sure all the faucets are closed.
  • Consult your owner manuals for winterizing icemakers and washing machines.
  • The unit is winterized.

This checklist is a basic guide that was intended to assist you in winterizing your RV. As with many other checklists it would be impossible to cover every RV. It is extremely important that you read your owner’s manuals for unit specific winterizing guidelines.

Thanks, everyone.

~The Danimal


We’re Still Here For You!

It’s getting a little colder outside and T-Shirts just aren’t cutting it like they were when the sun went down in September.  A bonfire helps but there’s nothing like a good long sleeve or a jersey to be that extra layer that makes you feel just right. It’s a good thing that we just replenished our long sleeves and jerseys then!  That’s right.  You read that right.  We’re all stocked up and ready for you.  Come on in and grab a layer as the nights just keep getting a bit chillier each day.

We also wanted to let everyone know that Rock Sky Market is now the exclusive USA Dealer for V-MagV-Mag is an extreme magnet mount and very lightweight. It fits perfectly on three types of helmets. Those helmets are the well known Cookie G3, Old and new Kiss helmets. Click here to learn more or call our store and ask for more details.

As the year is in its latter days, we wanted to remind everyone store hours to reflect SDC’s operating hours.  If, for some reason, we are not available the day that you are going to be around the dropzone for your rigging or gear needs, simply give us a call or email us and we will be happy to schedule an appointment with you.

Finally, Rock Sky Market is looking to hire two new sales representatives for the 2020 season at the Skydive Chicago location.  If you like talking gear and getting paid to do it, then we should really be talking about how to make that happen for you!  Rock Sky Market is looking for qualified, excited, capable, and dependable workers to keep the tradition of first-class, dedicated service that our customers have come to expect from us. If you would like to send us your resume, please send it to

Thanks so much, everyone and Blue Skies!

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