Published: March 5, 2019
Over the weekend of 23/24 March SA Skydiving played host to the magic that is a Jules McConnel canopy course. Jules needs no introduction, trusted by the APF as one of Australia's best, delivering canopy courses and the Train the Trainer program all around the country.
This event was supported by the APF, the South Australian Parachute Council and the South Australian Sports Parachute Club.
With a good influx of new jumpers since Jules' last course at our Langhorne Creek dropzone, the course was booked out weeks ahead, with 15 participants over two days. Experience was well varied on the course, with some jumpers maximising their learning early with less than 30 jumps, others working on more advanced techniques and high performance landings with over 1000 jumps.
After worn out closing loops, tattered pull ups and a stiletto were burned, as sacrifices to the weather gods, we were blessed with almost perfect conditions, at least for the Saturday. Crystal skies and nil wind had the course participants chomping at risers and ready to learn. After an early morning brief, which included setting goals for each jumper, the Cessna 206 prop roared into action and 2 back to back groups took to the skies. Loads ran all day Saturday with the participants all making great progress.
It was great to see Kate Furness back in the harness after a short hiatus, delivering some very confident landings and encouraging to see Alex Hanka progressing fast with some expert advice on his new loaded Crossfire 3. Tiarne Easley sought advice on downsizing, successfully demonstrating textbook landings on a Sabre 2 150. Everyone always says do a canopy course before downsizing, but how many do; onya Tiarne, looking solid!
Saturday evening saw two loads back to back in an action packed Swoop and Chug. The Swoop and Chug was part of the SA Skydiving Foosball World Cup organised by Josh Haffer and the beers were sponsored by Icarus by NZ Aerosports - thanks to the legend of JYRO and the team at NZA for their continual support of all things canopy and beer. The swoop and chug was contended by 12 participants, the winner, Brad Anderson taking out the chug in a time of under 5 seconds! The top 3 winners of the swoop and chug scored bonus goals to use tactically in the Foosball World Cup, held that night.
Perhaps the most stylish swoop and chug was by Jed Smith, coming in hot and collecting girlfriend and swoop and chug partner Jay Fitz in an "affectionate, high impact" hug, spilling half the beer all over both of them before downing the rest.
After the festivities of the Foosball World Cup wound down on Saturday night, Sunday morning course participants were straight into it bright and early on Sunday. Sunday saw some new course participants who took full advantage of a good morning brief and a few jumps.
There was, again some great progression, with plenty of learning around canopy inputs and weather conditions and their influence on parachute flight. This learning about weather was soon put into practice as sacrifices to the weather gods ran out of power and a hot, turbulent northerly grounded the operation.
Jules continued with seminars and detailed debriefs after jumping stopped.
Thanks Jules for making the trip and imparting some much of your knowledge and experience in what was a very successful course. We look forward to the next one.