Right – I guess I should start off with describing how EXPENSIVE skydiving is here in relation to the general income (I’ll try make this as easy to understand as possible).
Skydiving in South Africa has unfortunately reached a point where it is reserved for professionals. I am sure not why this is, but it a major factor behind skydiving here not being as accessible as it is in the rest of the world.
To put it in context – A jump ticket cost me R200 (roughly $26.50), gear hire and packing – $9.90 each jump. Considering I normally take home around $2000 per month after TAX (Which in Rands is a fairly decent salary).
So – By the time I pay for my car, rent, food, cell phone etc, I am usually left with around $260 to jump with 🙁
I can’t really compare the cost side of things to the US as I don’t know how much it costs relative to the average salary, however – In South Africa, jumping is out of reach for the general public 🙁
Other than the costs involved, Jumping in South Africa is pretty much the same as anywhere else in the world, just on a smaller scale. We only have about 6 Drop Zones in the whole country, but I plan to jump at all of them 🙂
As for BEER FINES, yes – we have them 🙂 but on a smaller scale. For passing my AFF progression, I was rewarded with having to buy a case of beer, and while everyone sits around drinking my beer, they laugh at all my AFF videos. I then had to tell a story that begins with “Oh SHIT, there I was – I thought I was going to die…(insert story here :-))” Then had to down a beer within 5 seconds, and if you don’t finish it – pour it on your head. Haha – Good Times!
For our “Firsts”, we have to do down-downs, not buy cases of beer – This suits me just fine because two cases of beer is equivalent to one jump ticket, and I’m sure everyone knows – when you first get into the sport, there are A LOT of firsts!
Things are looking very promising for the skydiving future of South Africa as; recently a very wealthy business man decided to invest in uplifting the sport. So far he has built and upgraded various drop zones around the country, bought 6 ex South African Air force planes (Previously known as Atlas Kudu’s) and is currently in the process of having them all converted to turbine engines. The first three have been rolled out (My DZ currently has one). These are now called Atlas Angels and have a wicked paint job :-). The idea is that once all 6 have been converted, 5 drop zones will each have one and there will be a spare for when one goes in for a service! I love these planes – it takes just 12 minutes from take-off to 12 000ft, and about the same time back to the end of the run way.
Although the Angels only hold 9 skydivers, they are normally on their way back up with load 2 by the time the tandems from load 1 are landing 🙂
See below pic’s of my favourite jump ship 🙂
One thing I love (Especially now being winter here), from about 7 000ft and up the view is amazing! To the right of the plane, we can see the Drakensburg Mountains, covered with snow, and to the left, we see the entire Durban coast line and even the arch of our new stadium!
Those are the main differences that I know of – the only other minor difference is: Here, the maximum wing loading for a “Beginner / intermediate” skydiver is 1.0 as opposed to the 1.1 in the US, not a huge difference, but for me – it’s the difference between being able to fly a 170 vs. a 150. Meaning that now (Because I’m in the process of buying my FIRST rig) I have to buy a 150 canopy, and look at it in the cupboard while I jump a 170 till I get my B-License 🙁 as the 150 is going for a great price and don’t want to lose out!
I haven’t been able to jump anywhere other than in South Africa, so I’m just going on what I’ve read. Please feel free to add a comment if there is anything specific that you would like to know about.
Blue skies everyone and happy days!