A Day in the Life of a Rottnest Island Skydive Instructor
Find out what it’s really like to jump out of planes for a living
Being a Rottnest Island skydive instructor is a pretty cool job, there’s no doubt about that. If you’ve experienced freefall (and loved it), you may be able to imagine how incredible it’d be to get paid to fly through the skies every day.
Our Rottnest Island skydive instructors work hard to ensure your adventure is a safe, positive, fun, and a rewarding experience. Their day at “the office” may look different on the outside, but behind the scenes, it’s about all diligence, discipline, and dedication. Keep reading to find out what a day in the life of a skydiving instructor on Rottnest Island looks like.
Early wake-ups calls
Rottnest skydive instructors don’t get to sleep in a lot. They live by a “make hay when the sun shines” motto because skydiving is heavily dependant on the weather.
The day begins with an early morning message (as early as 5:00am) from the Drop Zone Safety Officer (DZSO) who checks the local weather. The DZSO decides if the skies are favourable for jumping. If they are, all staff get ready to go to work. If not, they can go back to bed for an hour or two until the next weather call (if deemed appropriate to go “on hold”). If the weather is forecast to be unsuitable all day, bookings will be re-scheduled, and the instructor gets an impromptu day off.
Ready for take-off
Skydive Geronimo crew assemble at Jandakot Airport for the agreed departure time to Rottnest Island. Together with the ground crew, the skydive instructors (and the jump pilot, of course) fly to Rottnest Island for a day of skydiving.
The 12-minute flight from mainland Western Australian to the small island is part of the daily commute to work; it’s just more scenic than most commutes. Upon touch down, the crew get the airport ready to welcome the first tandem passengers of the day.
Once the passengers arrive at Rottnest Airport, there’s not a lot of downtime for skydive instructors. On a busy day, our skydiving instructors can each take up to 12 people for a tandem skydive. That’s a lot of adrenaline!
It all begins with a friendly introduction to their passenger as assigned by the manifest/customer service agent. There’s no rhyme or reason to who an instructor gets paired with, it’s just the luck of the draw. Sometimes, passengers request a skydive instructor because they’ve jumped with them before, or they’ve been recommended by a friend or family member.
After the friendly formalities, it’s time to get serious. They’ll check the customer’s harness and also make sure the parachute is safely packed and ready to go. These safety checks are all part of the skydive instructor’s job before every jump. If the passenger wants video and photos, the instructor will start filming, then escort the customer to the airplane.
Beautiful views with a side of adrenaline
With their passenger seated in front of them, the skydive instructor continues to capture footage on the flight to jump altitude. This will include colourful, stunning aerial views of Rottnest Island from up to 15,000 feet above. The tandem instructor will also film the passenger in the plane. This may consist of gazing out the window, interacting with others on the aircraft, and general silliness that will encourage the passenger to relax and be a star of their personalised movie.
When the aircraft’s door opens, the real fun begins for the professional skydiver. When a customer trusts their instructor and has faith in the process, they relax in freefall. And a relaxed passenger results in less physical work for the tandem master, and more fun for the duo. There’s more time to breath in the views, play-up to the camera, and live fully in the moment. This is what skydivers live for and what they want for their customer: pure joy in “the now”.
The tandem skydive lands with a soft touch down onto one of the beaches approved for Skydive Geronimo’s beach landings. After some final photos together, the instructor heads back to the airport to meet the next passenger and repeat the process.
At the end of the day…
For a Rottnest Island skydive instructor, the workday may end at 1pm or 7pm; it all depends on the weather and the number of bookings. After the last passenger lands safely onto the beach, the crew head back to the airport to tidy up and close up shop in the same fashion as any other business. Then, it’s back on board for the return flight to Jandakot and home to get ready to do it again the next day.