Owning a Parachute Center!
A little update on owning a drop-zone!
We are on a two week shutdown right now, so that we can take a good look at our parachute equipment. Make any updates that will prolong the life of the parachutes, give the aeroplane a little TLC and look at our options of buying our own aircraft.
Currently we lease a C-182 from Texas. She is a beautiful girl, built in 1957, she has wing extensions and a standard 182 engine. Not the fastest climber, but she is steady. Well maintained and very much loved. Perfect for a Tandem operation!
When we opened this business, I didn’t really know anything about aircraft engines, tach times, climb and descent rates or ATC for that matter. I was one of those that always just climbed in the plane; Let the pilot do their job, jump out when they got me to the top and tried to get in the thing as efficiently as possible. I never wanted to upset the owner by keeping their plane waiting while it was burning fuel.
I always thought the owners were just grumpy farts. Farts that liked to complain about how long it took us to get on board the waiting plane. Damn, I was paying for the privilege, What did it matter if I wasn’t seated and belted up in an instant?
Now however, I’m all about the engine type, the climb rate, the decent’s, the fuel burn, engine starts. I am the grumpy fart that stands there looking in disbelief as it takes five minutes for the staff to get their tandem passengers situated and belted in. I am the one looking at my watch, thinking “come on guys, get it together!”
When you pay for a plane buy the hour, it is amazing how much those minutes add up and eat at your patients.
Getting customers to make a Tandem Parachute Jump.
The hardest part of this project for me, has been getting the business in the door to begin with. If I had a dollar bill for every time someone has said to me “You know what you should do!” I wouldn’t need to be working for a living any more. It is amazing how suddenly, when you own a business, everyone becomes an expert on how to run it!
If I get one more “You need a call to action!” I might just get into action and explode.
Of course, there are some great idea’s out there. I don’t mean to discard any good ideas that might come through. It’s just the constant brilliance from those that didn’t and don’t have the gumption, passion or commitment to start a business of their own. They want to tell you how to run yours, because you are new and don’t, in their minds, have any idea of what you are doing.
While it might be true that I am new to this business, I am not new to the parachute industry. I have been skydiving for almost 30 years now. It has been my life. I have lived and worked within the industry for the whole time I have been jumping. I have over 10,000 skydives and I have lived on and worked at skydiving centers all over the World.
My goal with this drop-zone is to bring all the things that I love about my sport and the people in it together. I want to create a little skydiving heaven of my own. A place that people can experience the exhilaration of overcoming their fears, gain self confidence and learn the gift of human flight.
Getting people to come out to jump…… now that is the challenge!