Having jumped out of a plane around 14,500 times, it’s no surprise Gold Coast Skydive Managing Director and Chief Instructor, Archie Jamieson, is always looking for the next big adventure. The Kirra-based company, which Archie has now been operating since October 2008, facilitates about 500 thrill-seeking jumps per month, increasing up to almost 800 during the peak summer months.
Starting out as a husband and wife business with his partner Samantha, along with two tandem masters and a pilot, the company has grown to 23 staff and three aircraft – plus additional maintenance and refuelling staff.
He’s now got a full time General Manager, full time Marketing Manager and a part time media liaison to help him keep on top of the growing business – and, he says, they’re just keeping up. They’re about to commence a new helicopter skydive venture in Surfers Paradise, landing at Broadwater Parklands, to add to their list of operations which includes an indoor skydive training facility and the aerobatic Gold Coast Adventure Flights, taking passengers soaring across the Gold Coast in a Russian YAK 52 aircraft.
Another element of the business is displays, such as the recent jetski landing finale at Currumbin’s Buskers by the Creek event, and appearing from the sky as skydiving Santa at the Coolangatta Christmas Carols. While giving the audience something to remember, it’s also awareness that Archie is aiming to achieve. “Any time we do an event display, we’re there to answer people’s questions. It’s a good reminder for people that we have a skydiving company right here on the Gold Coast. You can go skydiving and land on Kirra Beach – it’s the best place in the world.”
Quite the high flyer, Archie was involved in skydiving displays at Expo 88 in Brisbane, and at the State of Origin in the same year. Other career highlights have included filming a Hewlett Packard TV advertisement, the G20 Festival of Light in Southbank, Brisbane and being a technical adviser and jumper on the UK TV show, “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!” from 2004 through to 2015.
It all started on 26th April 1986, with Archie’s first jump. “It was the most terrifying experience of my life,” he said. “Then the parachute released. I couldn’t believe I could be that scared and still survive. I went back the next day and did another jump. If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have gone on with it.”
By the time Archie got his skydiving licence, the terror had gone away. “I had the bug. But I never dreamed I would run a skydiving business and make a life out of it.”
Almost 30 years later, with more than four operations running simultaneously, as well as training around Australia and his involvement in a side business, RAM Aviation, which is implementing an industry-leading instructor training program, Archie admits it’s a big job. But he has developed the team and the tools to ensure the business runs like clockwork.
“It should be a fun and happy place to work. If the staff are happy, they’ll look after the customers. There’s no denying there is an element of risk in the job but that’s why we have the risk management to the highest level – above what is required.”
Looking forward to 2017, there’s no slowing down in sight for Archie and the Gold Coast Skydive team. Gold Coast Skydive recently entered the Queensland Tourism Awards in the Adventure Tourism category, which involves a process that looks at every aspect of the business from operating procedures to marketing plans. “It was a great process,” said Archie. “It’s basically like auditing our entire business. And we took the judge for a jump.” Of course.
For more information on Gold Coast Skydive visit http://www.goldcoastskydive.com.au/ or phone (07) 5599 1920.