Seminars

Skydive the Expo is back for 2022  and will feature a full day of free to attend seminars and educational talks.

From progressing in our sport, to talks from some of the leading manufacturers, there’s something for everyone. Full details of the available seminars will be added as they are confirmed.

2022 Speakers

Dan BC

Reflections of 42 years in the sport, what is coming next?

Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld
Author, Skydiving Legend and Manager of Skydive Perris in California

Dan BC will be joining us live on the big screen from Perris,  Dan will share his observations of the development of our sport over the last 42 years of his skydiving career. Dan will cover training, equipment, competition and all the different disciplines he has watched come of age.  And from those observations, Dan will share his thoughts on where we’re going next.

 
About the Speaker

Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld made his first skydive in 1980 when he was a freshman at Ohio State University. He instantly fell in love with the sport, which he believes to be the closest mankind has come to experiencing true human flight. He worked his way through college as a licensed skydiving instructor, jumpmaster, parachute rigger and pilot, graduating in 1984 with a major in Aviation and a minor in Theatre.

A National skydiving competitor since 1983, Dan’s extraordinary talent for bringing out the best in others has made him one of the most influential people in the history of skydiving and one of the most sought-after coaches in the world. Dan also coached both UK Women’s World Champion 4-way Teams Airkix and Storm. As a competitor, he co-founded Arizona Airspeed in 1994 and holds the record for attending most US National Skydiving Championships. This year was 38 and has seen him earn the titles of National and World Champion in 4 and 8-way and National Champion in 10-way, 16-way and 20-way.

In 2011 Dan published the memoir: Above All Else: A World Champion Skydiver’s Story of Survival and What It Taught Him About Fear, Adversity, and Success which is available on Amazon. In 2014 Dan was inducted into the Skydiving Museum and Hall of Fame.

Dan is currently General Manager at Perris Valley Skydiving, one of the largest skydiving centers in the world. Dan still manages to do around 400 jumps per year to add to the 30,000+ in his logbook.

 

Melanie Curtis

How to Fly: Life Lessons from a Professional Skydiver

Melanie Curtis
Life coach, speaker, author, podcast host and professional skydiver

Join Melanie Curtis live on the big screen from the USA as she shares actionable insight from her wide-ranging career as a professional skydiver, life coach and human as reflected in the title of her book, How to Fly: Life Lessons from a Professional Skydiver. In this session, Melanie will also speak from her experience as a woman in the sport, and from her newest leadership roles as Executive Director of the Women’s Skydiving Network foundation and co-founder of the all-female Highlight Pro Skydiving Team. As always, Melanie invites questions and expanded thoughts, encouraging participation and group discussion.

 
About the Speaker

Melanie Curtis is a life coach, speaker, author, podcast host and professional skydiver. As a leader and influencer in both skydiving and personal development, Melanie has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, Thrive Global, on CBS Sunday Morning, Masters of Scale, and wrote a monthly column for Blue Skies Magazine for over a decade. She has written 3 books, her most recent, How to Fly: Life Lessons from a Professional Skydiver, the anthology of all her columns, launched on Audible in 2021.

Melanie has over 11,000 jumps, has been skydiving 26 years and was the first-ever recipient of the Parachute Industry Association Mentorship Award. Melanie is the Executive Director of the Women’s Skydiving Network nonprofit and co-founded Highlight, an all-female demo team whose mission is to inspire women and girls to live bold brave lives of their own design, elevate gender equality and motivate social impact.

RAY & ALLAN

Skydiving in the TV & Film Industry

Allan Hewitt & Ray Armstrong
TV & Film Skydiving Coordinators, instructors and riggers

The TV & Film industry is growing massively in the UK. Skydiving, parachuting, BASE jumping, speed flying and wind tunnel flying are all in high demand. However, the UK support for this industry makes it very difficult for production companies to justify using British Skydivers and British Drop Zones.

Join Allan Hewitt and Ray Armstrong in this seminar as they explain that with some good planning, we could change this, and the potential marketing with the media coverage could be massive.

If you’re interested in working in the film industry as a skydiver, rigger or camera flyer, then this presentation will provide the information you need.

 
About the Speaker

Allan Hewitt

Allan is a TV & Film Skydiving Coordinator, instructor and rigging examiner, with British, Dutch and American qualifications.

He has been designing, manufacturing and testing parachute equipment for sport parachuting, military parachuting and the TV and Film industry since 1991. As a member of The Red Devils Parachute Display Team, Alan went on to become a British National champion in CF sequential.

Allan’s long list of film credits includes the Mission Impossible franchise, in Mission Impossible Fallout he got to jump with Tom Cruise from 25,000ft out the back of a C17. Other films include The Kingsman, Black Widow and several Bond films.

Ray Armstrong

Ray has been involved in Air Sports and Skydiving since he was 13 when he started Parascending, becoming a Parascending Instructor when he was 14. After completing 700 flights including piloting 300+ tandem flights, Ray then did his first parachute jump on his 16th birthday on 11th September 1982. Ray then joined the British Army at 16, qualifying as a Parachute Regiment Soldier in 1983.

In 1985 Ray joined The Red Devils Freefall Team specialising in Canopy Formation and Rigging. Ray has completed over 6000 skydives including Low-Level Military Static Line, HALO, BASE, AFF Instruction, Tandem Instruction, Wing Suiting, Canopy Formation, Water Jumps, Night Jumps, Stunts and Displays. Jumping from Fixed Wing Aircraft, Jets, Biplanes, Helicopters both small and large, Balloons, and Cliffs.

Ray’s impressive film credits include the Mission Impossible franchise, Black Widow, Strike Back 8, Blindspot and James Bond Spectre.

 

JOHN CARTER

Hypoxia

Dr John Carter
British Skydiving Medical Advisor

British Skydiving’s Medical Advisor, Dr John Carter explains when are you at risk of hypoxia as a skydiver, how will it affect you, how can you recognise it, what mitigates or exacerbates it and can oxygen systems help or hinder?

 
About the Speaker

Dr John Carter has been the British Skydiving Medical Adviser since 1989.  He started jumping in 1973 and has held conventional, tandem and AFF instructor as well as parachute pilot examiner ratings.  He has the Certificate of Aviation Medicine, has intentionally experienced supervised hypoxia in ground-based facilities and has jumped at a range of altitudes both with and without supplemental oxygen.

MARTIN SOULSBY

Introduction to the New British Skydiving Coaching Structure

Martin Soulsby
Vice President and Chair of the Coaching Structure Working Group

During this seminar, Martin will introduce the new British Skydiving coaching structure, what it will mean to you and how you can start your training to gain the new Foundation Coach qualification and what is next.

Martin explains who the external bodies will be involved in awarding the qualifications – Ofqual, UKCoaching, CIMSPA and 1st4Sport. This will be part of the consultation with existing coaches and members, so please do come along ready to ask questions.

 

 
About the Speaker

After stepping down after 9 years as Chair of the Association, Martin asked to start a working group to look into a new coaching structure and qualifications.

This became the Coaching Structure Working Group with the remit to improve the overall standard of our coaches, create a journey for our coaches, develop a qualification that would be recognised outside the sport by the wider sporting sector and to improve the skills of our members, as better skills = better skydives.

Jimmy McCarthy

Everything that’s not your belly

Jimmy McCarthy
Head coach at Jimmy’s Sky and Tunnel Coaching

Jimmy introduces us to everything that is not your belly.  You’ll discover TR1, TR2 & TR3, learn the first steps to get into Freefly, what you need to do to master it and what it takes to become a VFS ninja. And if that’s not enough he’ll tell you how to go super-fast if you want to get into Speed.

 
About the Speaker

Jimmy McCarthy is the founder and head coach of JST Coaching. He loves sharing his passion for bodyflight through coaching, finding the best way to communicate with students and getting the most out of them both in the tunnel and in the sky.  Jimmy is a Freefly and Tracking coach, British Dynamic and freestyle indoor judge and International Bodyflight Association Level 4 Instructor

 

AWARDS/ ACHIEVEMENTS

  • 4way Dynamic 2018 Gold, 2019 Silver
  • 2way Dynamic 2018 Silver
  • Current UK National Speed Champion
  • 2019 Speed World Cup 5th place
  • 2021 UK Freefly Nationals Silver
Joel Strickland

Knowing More: Your Cypres Unit At 30

Joel Strickland
Cypres Representative and Professional Skydiver

Skydiving grows more complex every year and Airtec works continuously to ensure the CYPRES unit meets the needs of the modern sport. After 30 years of service and over 5000 lives saved, here we look at how the CYPRES AAD operates in contemporary skydiving and the shared responsibility of both the manufacturer and the individual skydiver.

 
About the Speaker

Joel Strickland is a writer, educator, and professional skydiver.            

Martin Skrbel

Why I love being a camera flyer and what it takes to be one

Martin Skrbel
Freelance camera flyer and a Tandem Instructor

In this seminar, Martin explains what motivated him to become a camera flyer, the aspects that make the job so worthwhile and the challenges you can face when taking this path.

 
About the Speaker

Anyone who knows Martin understands he is very passionate about skydiving. Always doing his best to help make this sport safe and enjoyable for everyone mostly by making memories they’ll cherish for a long time. Working in skydiving full-time is a dream come true for him.

mug shot

Can we become old skydivers? How does sustainability play a role?

Chris Sears
Founder of VISIONAIRi

One day Chris had an idea of being an old skydiver, it came from the thought that he wanted to be able to keep jumping for a long time, to be able to see others do the same and keep enjoying the sport.

This thought led to three key ideas of how we can all contribute to this goal:

1. it has to be safe
2. it has to be fun
3. it has to be sustainable

The safe and fun side of things hopefully are reasonably self-explanatory, however, the more we seem to dig into the sustainable bit, it is perhaps not quite as simple. Chris will provide an update of what he has been up to at VISIONAIRi and he will explain where we are and what we can do as individuals to mitigate the effects our jumps have on the environment, the talk will include a Q&A so you can ask your questions but also put forward your ideas as to how we can make our sport more sustainable and become carbon neutral.

 
About the Speaker

Chris started jumping in 2014 and since then it seems to have become a pretty large part of his life. Chris enjoys learning more about the sport, flying canopies, different disciplines in freefall (and the tunnel), different ways/methods of coaching & instructing and also some of the bits that go on behind the scenes and on the ground in making DZ’s operate and is really looking forward to seeing what the next few years bring.

PHILIP WEBLEY

Performing on demand and under pressure

Philip Webley
AFFI, TI, CSI and Flight-1 Instructor

Getting coaching whether it’s a canopy course or freefly coaching is no doubt the best way to learn new skills effectively and safely. However, coaching is not a passive process. We have to take the coach’s points on board and actively apply them well after the coaching session in order to improve.

Join Philip in this seminar where he draws on his experience not just from 15 years in skydiving, but also a military career and a lifetime as a musician. What all these fields have in common is practicing skills and performing them on demand and under pressure.

 
About the Speaker

Phillip Webley is a British Skydiving AFFI, TI, CSI and Flight-1 Instructor with over 4000 Skydives. A former member of the British Army Red Devils Parachute Display Team with over 20 years of military service. Phillip is also an active VFS and CP competitor, regularly coaches the next generation of FF, TR and CP skydivers and is a UK head-up record holder. 

Brian Cumming

YOUR route from FS1 to Brit200. How to get on bigway skydives and stay on them

Brian Cumming
AFFI, FS Coach and Big-Way Load Organiser

You need a bunch of skills to get onto a bigway skydive. But just because you’ve been on one it doesn’t mean you’ve made it. Brian will list the 7 things you need to know to be on bigway skydives and the 6 things you need to be good at it. Plus he’ll explain how to think like a load organiser to help you avoid making the mistakes that will stop you from getting invited back.

 
About the Speaker

Brian Cumming is a professional skydiver and tunnel coach since cutting away in 2015. He’s a co-host of Radio Skydive UK and with 100k+ downloads it is Europe’s #1 podcast. He’s an AFF instructor and runs events at DZs across the UK and Europe, such as the popular Rookie Rumble and his multi-plane BigWay Skills Camps. He competed at 4way FS for nine seasons and represented the UK at two World Cups. Since his first taste of FS bigway he’s been wondering why the UK National record set in 1999 has never been bettered and it’s that fire that still burns brightly today. He has a World Record in FS Bigway and also one in wingsuit bigway but at flight line still hears “I didn’t know you wingsuited” quite a lot. When asked why he organises so many events, despite skydivers being a nightmare, he replies “I don’t know, it’s like a scab, you know you shouldn’t but you just can’t stop picking it”.

Cath Leather

FS Coaching – What is it all about?

Catherine Leather
FS Coach, Skydive Hibaldstow

In this seminar, Cath will walk you through the highs and lows of being an FS Coach, the realities of being an FS coach, what you need to do before you qualify, what you need to do once you qualify and why you should become a coach – it really is one of the best jobs on the drop zone.

 
About the Speaker

Cath has been an FS coach for the last 5 years and coaching is her ultimate passion. She finds it so rewarding and loves passing her knowledge onto others. For the last two years, Cath has been teaching others to become FS coaches. Being passionate about raising the standards of coaching in our sport to create better skydivers coming through the system. When she is not coaching, Cath spends time Load organising, doing FS 4-way and 8-way and coaching in the wind tunnel.

Liam Goddard

The Realities of a Plane Crash

Liam Goddard

An unfortunate reality of skydiving is that sometimes things go wrong, and it doesn’t get much worse than when your plane decides to stop working on the ride up! This seminar will try to help people experience the emotions and sights of a real plane crash; explain how people reacted, good and bad; and discuss what we can do to be prepared.

 
About the Speaker

Liam started jumping for fun in 2011 and has worked full-time in the sport since 2016 after achieving his instructor ratings. He has worked at skydiving centres all over the world as a camera flyer, TI, AFFI, and rigger and has always been incredibly safety-focused, which served him well during the plane crash! At the end of this season he moved back into the real world and now runs a social media management agency with his wife. He feels incredibly lucky to have survived a plane crash, and now wants to share his experience with other skydivers to help them be better prepared for emergency situations.

Eros Skydive

Progressing in 4-way – Rookie to AAA

Eros 4-way Skydiving Team

AAA 4-way often seems like an elusive goal. Come and listen to Eros talk about how to progress through the categories and towards the top of AAA!

 

About the Speaker

Eros is a British 4-way Skydiving Team who has represented GB at World Level.

2022 line up: Travis Wood, Roy Little, Helen Williams, Matt Cumming and Craig Hicks on camera.

Peter 'Taf' Mather

Life happens to us, not for us!

Peter ‘Taf’ Mather

In this seminar, Peter ‘Taf’ Mather confronts a very important issue in our sport that affects many people, your mental health.

As a recovering addict, Taf opens his heart to us and explains how in 2020 he hit rock bottom but a defining moment set him on the course that has changed his life for the better.
His journey of recovery includes finding himself, understanding why he went down the road of self-destruction and working towards the person he wants to be. Along the way he reflected on inter-personal relationships, the value of life and learned to focus on the things that were important to him.

As Taf explains his journey is not an overnight quick fix – ‘it has been an 18-year journey and battle, life has no starting point and has no finite end date – it is a day-by-day – a year-by-year progression.‘ Pete’s seminar will focus on his story and on how in the last 12 months he has turned his life around and will focus on the coping strategies and tools that he uses every day to be the amazing human that he now truly feels he is. Strategies that may help you, and support your decision to do something about your cycle of self-destruction.

For those in the skydiving community that know Taf, you know he speaks his mind with honesty, complete frankness, but it is always with a smile on his face! In his own words, Pete says ‘I am hoping if you take anything away from my seminar – you will always remember – you are not alone – help is to be found in the most unexpected places – and human nature is most underrated! Life happens to us, not for us!’

 
About the Speaker

Taf is a successful entrepreneur with several business interests and is DZO, TI, AFFI, FS coach and Tunnel coach

He has also been a member of several 4-way formation skydiving teams including: 

  • Uniga – A, AA, AAA
  • DWS – AAA
  • Vision 99 – AAA
  • 4mula – AAA
  • Satori XL – AAA

Team 4mula won the AAA silver medal in 2015, 2016 & 2017 at the British National Championships in 4-way formation skydiving.  Taf also represented Team GB with Satori XL where the team placed 7th at the 2018 FAI World Parachute Championships in Queensland Australia. 

Through his experiences of addiction, Taf now offers help and guidance to others in the community who find themselves in similar situations.

David Pratt

The Evolution of Camera Flying

David Pratt

In this seminar, David will take us through the ‘Evolution of Camera Flying’ and will discuss how pictures and moving images have been captured in parachuting and skydiving. His talk will go back to some of the very first parachuting images and looks at how camera flying skills and technology have developed over the years since.

 
About the Speaker

David did his first jump in 1997 and as soon he was able to jump camera he made himself a camera helmet, since then camera work and the technology behind it have been a huge part of his skydiving life. From his initial camera fun jumps he started flying with 4 and 8-way teams which lead to doing camera work for tandems. After a few years of tandem camera, he decided to see if he could make a living from skydiving and set upon the path to being a full-time skydiver doing AFF, tandem, camera and rigging.