Skydive SAFETY – The CRUX
Dan's Dan's Thought for the Day...
Most participants agreed after this year’s Makgadikgadi Boogie in Botswana, that this was the perfect boogie. So let’s take a closer look what makes this boogie so special and what ingredients you need for a great boogie…
Of course everybody has different expectations of what makes a brilliant boogie but there are some points most of us can agree on…
What jumpers want: a cool plane with a large tailgate, that brings the jumpers fast and convenient to 12.000 feet / 4.000 meters or preferably higher. Capable of also carrying lager groups.
What Makgadikgadi offered: a Casa and a Hercules. Both planes fulfil all listed requirements if not exceeding them by far. While the Casa is basically a bigger Skyvan (but much nicer) and was only used for the warm up jumps, the Herc is a class of its own. 100 jumpers at once? Piece of cake. 12 minutes to altitude? Check. 5.000 Meters/16.400 feet with oxygen? Every jump. Two beds in the cockpit? Why not.
The good thing about these planes is, that they are guaranteed. As the Makgadikgadi Boogie is co-organized by the Botswana Department of Tourism, Botswana Defence Forces will supply the planes. And while the Department of Tourism does a real great job in co-organizing the Boogie, the Botswana Defense Forces supplies not only awesome planes but also great pilots and jumpmaster who are actually skydivers themselves.
What jumpers want: an organizer in their favorite discipline with lot of background in this discipline and in organizing great and / or fun jumps.
What Makgadikgadi offered: Sian Stokes, Milko Hodgkinson, Dan BC and André du Preez (from the right). Enough said.
What jumpers want: a cool location, easy to reach
What Makgadikgadi offered: a dropzone in the middle of an animal sanctuary, next to a beautiful and green and red colored salt lake, very easy to reach. As there is a flight from basically every major airport in the world to Johannesburg, and as there is a 1 hour flight from there to Kasane, it is easy to reach. As soon as one has landed in Kasane, it was the all-around carefree package. No need to search and book rental cars, hotel rooms or the like. The busses of the Botswana Department of Tourism where waiting for the jumpers, brought them to the dropzone. Two bed tents with real beds with white linen, freshly made every day, directly at the shore of the lake.
A food tent with the same great view, serving three excellent buffets with too many choices and too many calories per day. Enough cold beer, maybe even a bit too much.
What should be considered: there might be a life besides skydiving. If so, you must consider a Safari before or after the boogie. Botswana is known for its richness in species and Kasane is considered one of the top safari spots in the world. So it would not only be rude not to do a Safari while there, it would be damn stupid not to go. You would miss the best African wildlife has to offer. Elephants, Crocodiles, Giraffes, Buffalos, Hippos, Lions, Zebras, Springbuck, Wildebeest and many more. All in a three hour boat cruise or jeep safari. Besides that, the Victoria Fall, one of the three biggest waterfalls in the world, are only a 1,5 hour drive away.
Some of us, which have the cruel fate to have a non-skydiving partner, wife, husband, etc., should definitely take another look at the Magkadikgadi Boogie. The Safari before and/or after the boogie, the beautiful boogie side with options for boat and motorbike rides, as well as a spectator ride in the Herc, might be the perfect place to convince your S.O. to join a skydiving event for once in your relationship. Those non skydivers who did join the boogie this year were all truly amazed.
What jumpers want: good food, lots of beer
What Makgadikgadi offered: the food was, as many participants agreed, the best the every enjoyed on a boogie. And as it is included in the all-around carefree package (transportation from and to the Airport, food, softdrinks, lodging and skydiving), there is no need to look for restaurants in the evening, to drive there, etc. A good selection of beers was available and even as the jumpers tried their best, they couldn’t drink it all.
What jumpers want: party hard
What Makgadikgadi offered: for those jumpers who are not the party animals, there was some more relaxed get together and social drinking in the food tent every evening. Or maybe the usual skydiver stories around a nice bonfire? For the “can't stop partying” crowd there was a large party area about 300 meters away with a stage and good live music where you could mingle with the local non sykdivers and impress them with your heroic stories. No shit, there I was…..
For obvious reasons no pictures are shown in this section.
What jumpers want: do we really care?
What Makgadikgadi offered: real two bed safari tents, lined up perfectly straight and the lakeside, with reals beds that were made by “room service” every day. All included in the all-around carefree package. No need to sleep in the car, look for a motel or the like.
Besides the above mentioned points, there are some points to consider, even so these are points we usually forget about. What happens when, due to a hard landing, someone breaks his ankle or worse? How far is the next hospital away and how do you get there? No matter how important this point is, most of us try not to think about it. Ask yourself, how long would it take to get an ambulance at your home DZ? And think about all the DZ you have been to. On some the next hospital is quite a while away. That’s why during the Makgadikgadi Boogie there was a MD plus a helicopter permanently on site. While the Herc or the Case where not flying, it was even possible to do a helicopter jump from that helicopter.
Another point skydivers usually try to forget about is bad weather. It can and will happen, but we all hope it doesn’t. So when the boogie was winded out on the 4th and last day, the organizers quickly devised an ingenious plan. They just set the participants in the Hercules and flew them back to Kasane. So they spared them the bus ride back and gave everybody the possibility to do more Safari before flying home. And being transported from the dropzone to your connections flight in a jumpship, even more in a Herc is somehow just fu…. cool.
So, as you got the recipe for a perfect boogie now, feel free to organize one yourself. Or if you think that’s too much hassle, but want to jump the venue most participants consider the perfect boogie, feel free to join the Makgadikgadi Epic Boogie in Botswana in 2019.
Some more pictures from the boogie: