The idea was to start the season with some nice jumps. For sure we had some training goals which got replaced with just one theme: Having a blast!
Where have we been?
Oversimplified: Spain! 🙂
Empuriabrava is a two hours drive from Barcelona Airport in direction north west. Right at the ocean and very close to the french border. The dropzone Skydive Empuriabrava is right at the city around two kilometers far from the ocean.
The year before we made our first journey to a dropzone out of Germany. In October ’17 we checked out Skydive Algarve and we were stunned by the awesome view. So we used the winter to do some researches about nice dropzones in Europe. After seeing pictures from Empuria our destination was set.
Walking to the check-in counter and seeing the Beech 99 starting in the background made us smiling right away. The feeling about the right decision was there from the 1st moment.
But let’s get back to the check-in counter. The building was looking like it’s brand new. Maybe it was, maybe not. The check-in process at the 1st visit takes everywhere some time but the team was able to support in english, spanish, german and probably in a few other languages, too. After the paperwork a stuff member made an extended gear check. This takes a lot time but somehow it gives you a good feeling about the gear quality of all people at the DZ. And for a stay of multiple days it’s only a fraction of the time.
After the registration at the check-in you can log in at a website to buy your tickets online. This is very comfortable and saves time. But to manifest they preferred to print the tickets at the check-in so the manifest (separated) can scan this. I don’t know if bad scanners at the manifest or bad phones of the clients were the reason for this extra step. A RFID card would reduce the walkways between check-in and manifest. It sounded like they work on it. So we will see how it works next time.
Skydive Empuriabrava is using a big hangar as packing area. There was plenty of space and with a the good separation inside this hangar it should work well even at boogie time.
We heard rumors about a super hard and dry landing area but we found the exact opposite of what we heard. A well maintained green at the normal landing area and the swoop / staff landing area. For sure this is related to the season but at our visit in mid of April it couldn’t be better.
These two areas are separated by the runway. I really like this separation. This already splits the canopies in the air and you can be sure people around you are flying the same pattern.
But wouldn’t be us if nothing went wrong. Sure one of us had an outside landing and the greenest field has been picked even it was in the no-go-area… uuuuuuups!
But beside to learn again where not to land it was interesting to watch how outside landings are handled. Telling the people at the manifest about a outside landing happened already some minutes after the pickup car was on the way. The pilot saw the outside landing and gave notice via radio. Seems like an often used routine. We already heard about changing wind conditions at Skydive Empuriabrava.
As mentioned before, we heard rumors about strong wind. And I think we got a lot luck with this. The whole week we spent at the dropzone had absolutely perfect wind conditions. As I remember there was no jump limit a single time back then.
In the middle of the dropzone is a bistro which got everything you need. Snacks, big dishes, cafe and a beer for the end of the day… everything you need. And finally after some days I recognized the english menu… but the daily dish was always a good choice. 🙂
At the week we were there they had two planes in action. A Beechcraft 99 and a Twin Otter. I felt like the Beech was the fastest plane I took at a dropzone. I hadn’t have a look at the clock but I can tell it was fast! A little bit less fast was the Twin Otter but the bigger plane scores with more space. With these awesome planes there was no space for complains 🙂
As I’ve heard they have also two other planes. A Porter PC-6, which wasn’t there during our stay, and a smaller one for the deluxe tandem package. But to be honest, I don’t have a clue which plane it was.
Around the dropzone
In walk distance you can find a shop for skydive equipment, a wind tunnel and two tracks for karting. And after some meters more you have the whole city Empuriabrava and the ocean.
I am pretty sure the region is worth a trip even without skydiving but we have to check this out the next time. At the beginning of the season we couldn’t get enough from skydiving so we didn’t so much more. But with the nice and relaxed people down there at the dropzone, we had no reason to hang somewhere else! 🙂
I you didn’t watched it already you might check out our Video (https://youtu.be/epvFtQwfs-c) to check our non-sense moves and the great view at Skydive Empuriabrava. Big greetings to Juanma who joined us for some fun jumps. For sure he pushed the average skill level to a whole different level. The week was a blast!
An exact plan was made for our skydive vacation: Having fun! We think, after one week at Skydive Algarve, we should get a master degree in unstableness for the stuff we did. And for sure we made a new YT video to prove this! 😀
All matters for skydiving. So this time we compared three different viso mounts.
Everyone knows the moment when you open your latest order and it’s not like expected. So we want to bring some brightness to the dark to prevent some disappointing moments. That’s why we created our “Reviewing Stuff” series.
In the meantime there is so much equipment available for skydiving and most time there is no possibility to test it before the order.
For this review we had a close look to the L&B hand mount (which is included if you buy a L&B Viso), the L&B wrist mount and the wrist mount of Bertrand Adrenaline.
The pocket of the two L&B mounts are absolutely identically. For us it had the right strength. It’s a little bit hard to get the Viso in the first time (if you weren’t using the tool because you don’t read manuals) but as soon you got the Viso in, it fits perfectly. There is no space movements of the viso and no material is in the area of the display.
With the wrist mount of Bertrand Adrenaline it’s the opposite. The pocket is much softer than the L&B pocket. So it’s very easy to put the Viso in without any help of a tool. And yes, it doesn’t look like the viso can move in there but the pocket itself has the possibility to move a little bit and that’s enough to annoy you. In our case the the little band between buttons and display move a little bit in the display area. It was still possible to see the numbers but it was very close to the numbers so it was hard to separate a 5 from a 6 when the Viso wants to tell you a number with 3 digits. And the difference between 600 or 500 meters might be important in some situations.
The hand mount of L&B is fixed to your hand with a kink to one finger and a strip to your wrist. While our tests we didn’t prefer to have that big kink at the finger. Wearing this mount was compared to the other two mounts not comfortable.
The wrist mounts of L&B and Bertrand Adrenaline have a similar system. With a stretch band these mounts are fixed to your forearm. So it’s easy to turn it exactly to the position you want to have it. But the stretch band of L&B is more comfortable than Bertrands version. The band of Bertrand Adrenaline has two big logos stitched to the band and those are not flexible.
While using the front risers the hand mount of L&B puts a lot of pressure to the fingers through the kink. Also the fixed position was not the best to read the Viso display while piloting the canopy.
Both wrist mounts can be put in a much better position at the forearm. So checking the height is much quicker while piloting the canopy compared to the hand mount.
Both L&B mounts come with a tool called “tool”. This can be used to put the Viso in the mount. So this is easer with the tool but it is working without the tool, too. Compared with a pack band you can use the tool like a “pack boy”. We didn’t try this but officially it is possible. A little mini mirror is also included in the package. You can put it on the pocket so you can easily check your GoPro lights by yourself instead of annoying someone else in the plane. We like to annoy other people, so we don’t use this, too.
The wrist mount of Bertrand Adrenaline just comes with nothing than the mount itself.
The hand mount is included if you buy a Viso. In case it got lost you can order it for 26 Euro in the official webshop (links to all mounts are at the end of this article).
The wrist mount of L&B has the same price at the official webshop. Our local skydive dealer takes 30 Euro for it (totally OK, because you can try all sizes in the shop).
The Bertrand Adrenaline wrist mount costs only 15 Euro which brings an other angle of view to the whole topic.
The hand mount of L&B really doesn’t get any points for style. It just looks boring and is not aligning at all to your body.
The L&B wrist mount is available in all colors. So for sure you find the version which fits perfect to your skydiving outfit. And it looks significant because it is. On the other side… close to every Viso owner has one.
The wrist mount of Bertrand Adrenaline is only available in black/red. But I really like the look with the big logos. Nobody else at our dropzone had one of those so it’s a little eye catcher with the thick band. But with a close look you see the soft pocket which doesn’t appear significant.
We prefer to use the L&B wrist mount. Even it costs the most of all the three mounts we think it’s worth it.
If you want to have a close look at the mount before buying one we recommend to watch our video about this review:
We had a blast last weekend. Westerwings invited Sandy Reid and Bill Wenger (a skydive legend of the US) of Rigging Innovations for a trip to Skydive Westerwald. Sandy explained the new innovations for the Curv and Bill joined a jump with all crazy Curv owners at the DZ.
I don’t have to mention it… but for sure it was a Team Fancy Shit member who bombed Bill out of the Formation!
Thanks Raphael for making this happen!