The Expo was epic and everyone who went came back – some a little altered, some with very nice goodies, some with a few blanks in their memory, but we got them back eventually. Great fun, excellent presentations and some cracking partying.

It then went a bit downhill and trying to get a jump in has proved interesting!

Mind you, it has meant we have made much more use of the tunnel in Manchester than we have for a while and plenty of students have kept working on their skills ready for when we can get back into the air. A fair bit of FS progression is going on as well and a few of the more experienced jumpers have been joining in to try and keep current – we even saw Dave Major going back into the tunnel for the first time in a while, although the video hasn’t been shown yet so the results can’t be verified! The tunnel wasn’t a great success for everyone though, at least one jumper couldn’t actually find it – mind you, that’s because they were looking for it in the wrong place. I’m not sure you should ever try tracking Lisa W, I’m not sure we would ever find you (only joking – honest!)
Talking of Lisas, welcome back to Lisa Ball from her travels around warmer parts of the world, good to see you back, but you could have brought some of that sun with you.

Some students chose to get on with it regardless of the weather and ran away to the sun in Portugal and use the AFF route at Skydive Algarve to get qualified. Needless to say, their thorough grounding with static line jumping meant that they had no problems at all and did us proud! Mind you, they did say their Instructor, one Mr Rob Spour wasn’t too shoddy. Well done to Zoe, Lizz and Vienna, we look forward to seeing you back and jumping with us when we all get airborne again!

On the subject of AFF, Tilly is branching out this year and, working with our friends at Skydive Crazy (the aforementioned Rob Spour), we will be offering AFF as a method of training. We will be running some mid-week courses on Wednesdays and jumping on our regular Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the season, but we also hope to have open weeks in July and August with ground school on the Monday and jumping for the rest of the week. We will still be cracking on with static line, so people can choose the way they would prefer to learn.

We have some other students on our hands at the moment, as we send two hopefuls off to train for TI, good luck both! Good luck especially to the cannon fodder – well done to Suzie for volunteering to be a living bag, enjoy that! Well done too to Lucy who has stepped forward to train as an Instructor, starting with CSBI. It’s great to see so much talent being brought on in such a small DZ.

Before finishing, I can’t resist blowing my own trumpet and I was delighted to be given such a wonderful accolade recently, when I was named ‘Beautiful and functional’ – Julie swears it was a comment about the gorgeous paint job on my helmet (thank you Dan Armer) but I’ll take it anyway. Oh, and someone thought I deserved Instructor of the Year with a very nice shiny cup and a heck of a surprise for someone of my advanced years.

Finally, in case you’ve missed it RAINBOW BOOGIE IS BACK! Having hosted the very first UK Rainbow Boogie, we’re going to do it again with a Caravan, a helicopter, an Antonov AN2 and of course, our dear Airvan. We’ve lots of traders coming, goodies to give away and a stonking party planned when the situation allows!

Gary Windon

Achievements: A LICENCE Zoe Gough, Lizz Ritson, Vienna Morgan

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Photo: Team Tilstock at the Expo by Bret Caines