In 2014, Andy Beck and his wife Alyssa purchased Oklahoma Skydiving Center. This was the culmination of a long-held dream for Andy who made his first jump at OSC fifteen years earlier. Over the course of those fifteen years, Andy evolved from a novice skydiver to a highly experienced, multi-rated skydiving instructor and coach. Oh, and did we mention that he also became Oklahoma’s only Master Parachute Rigger?
Andy and Alyssa are passionate about the sport of skydiving, but they’re even more passionate about building a welcoming, safety-focused dropzone where students can learn, have fun and become a member of the OSC skydiving family.
Keep reading to learn more about Andy and Alyssa’s journey to becoming DZOs below!
I Started skydiving in 1999 with a tandem skydive. I was going to take the class, and had actually showed up to the dropzone twice only to get weathered out, when I decided to do the tandem since it was windy again; that was the beginning of a true obsession with the sport. I went back the next week and finished my student training and made my first solo skydive. I have been at the dropzone pretty much every weekend since then. The part about skydiving that I enjoy the most is the singular focus of completely living life in the moment. You cannot skydive and think about other things or worry about all of life’s little problems. When I am skydiving it is focused and all encompassing.
In order to skydive as much as I wanted to, I needed to make more money somehow, and the dropzone owner at the time, Mike, needed lots of help around the dropzone. I have never been afraid to work for what I want and my first job at the dropzone was mowing and weed eating all around the facility, parking lot, and the landing area. I would get everything ready for the weekend and then that would earn me jump credit! What a perfect situation for both of us. Mike quickly became a mentor to me in many ways: learning to skydive, parachute rigging, teaching skydiving. My passion for the sport and teaching people about the sport quickly moved me into earning a USPA coach rating and eventually to the classroom to teach the gro
und course for students. I was also diligently working on my FAA senior parachute rigger certification in the evenings, learning about sewing, packing, and maintaining parachutes. I couldn’t learn enough fast enough!
IAD instructor was the first instructor rating that I received, followed very closely by my Tandem instructor course and rating. The FAA senior parachute rigger was next. I couldn’t wait to get to the dropzone and work with students, meet new people and families to take their loved ones on tandems or student jumps. Some of the first students I taught still skydive with us today!
A friend of mine who was a parachute packer brought his sister out to the dropzone one weekend and I meet the love of my life, Alyssa. She loves the sport and the people in the sport as much as I do so we started our life together with parachuting blended into most of it! She is now the dropzone mom, and always takes care of everyone; she treats our customers like family!
I had heard about BASE jumping, but had never had the opportunity to experience it until I met Jack. He we the second DZO that I had worked for and he always talked about his BASE past. He told stories of the old days of BASE and I knew I had to try it. I made my first BASE style, single parachute jump from a hot air balloon and immediately realized that BASE was even more intense than skydiving. Since that first jump, I have jumped all over the US and we even went to Switzerland to jump the big cliffs over there. I have made over 1100 base jumps from all types of Buildings, Antenna’s, Span’s, and my favorite is Earth jumps. Cliffs are were it’s at! To climb a mountain and then jump off of it is a truly amazing feeling!
AFF Instructor was a real challenge. It had a reputation as the hardest rating to attain, so that made me want to be an AFF instructor more than anything. So off to Florida I went to go through the AFF precourse and instructor class with the best in the business, Bram Clement of Skydive Ratings. I made a few practice jumps and then it rained for 3 days! I had one day to do all of my HOT instructor evaluation jumps! Thanks to all the hard work and practice we had that week, I was able to complete all of my evaluation jumps back to back and pass the course! Back to the Dropzone as an Aff instructor for me!
Master Parachute rigger rating was the next challenge. This would allow me to make major repairs and alterations of parachute equipment. LOTS of responsibility! I went to see the best in the business, Mark Lancaster in South Carolina. What a week of training, testing, learning, and finally passing my FAA Master Parachute rigger rating to make me the only active Master rigger in Oklahoma.
The thoughts of someday owning the dropzone that I worked at started to come to realization in the 2013 season when the previous owner was growing tired. At the end of the season, I had the opportunity to purchase the DZ where I first started skydiving 14 years earlier, grew as an instructor, fell in love with my wife, and made more memories than I can remember. With my wife as my partner, we started down a new road as DZO’s!
Creating a dropzone experience for new jumpers and skydivers where they can have fun, learn, progress, and love the environment has been our goal. Over the past few years, we have done some major remodeling to the DZ and purchased new tandem and student gear to ensure we’re providing the best dropzone experience possible.
The DZ had always had one plane: a Single Cessna 182. That was a great start, but made it difficult to really provide an environment for progression. We could do tandems and students, but not really serve fun jumpers to continue on in this sport that we love. So we started leasing a second 182 which increased our capacity for jumpers. This was a huge success, so we purchased the leased plane about halfway through the season! What a great accomplishment for the first year!
“If you want to fly 2 182’s non stop, you have to have 3 182s!”, I said this to myself so many times it sounded like a broken record. 182’s need constant preventative maintenance so on our second year of business we purchased a 3rd 182. By this time we were truly as busy as we could keep up with even with 3 planes. Such a blessing, but the amount of maintenance meant that all we did was work on planes! This started the search for the next level of aircraft!
Our 3rd year in business was the year of planning and researching Turbine aircraft. Turbine engines are more reliable and require less maintenance. The problem with Turbine aircraft is cost. There really were no smaller Turbine aircraft until Turbine conversions came up with the PT6 –Cessna 206 Turbine conversion. I had heard rumor of a prototype of this conversion in Missouri. We contacted them about coming down to our DZ so we could try out the conversion! We did and what a success! More altitude , faster and with much less maintenance. A dream come true!
Working with Brian and Mike, we spent the next 9 months building the 1st non prototype pt6 Turbine Cessna 206. Probably one of the most difficult projects of my life.
Starting in 2017, we had our plane certified and ready for the season. This is truly a game changer for Oklahoma Skydiving. There has never been a full-time, full-altitude Turbine dropzone in Oklahoma, but there is now!
We also purchased a second maintenance hangar for our aircraft during this project to have a world-class maintenance facility! During the process of the Turbine conversion the company that created the conversion came down and toured the facility and asked us to test a new prop type on our conversion. This started a partnership with Turbine Conversions where they asked us to be one of three certified conversion shops. There are only 2 in the USA! What an honor, so we are looking forward to converting more 206’s for the skydiving industry!
What’s next for me? Continuing to grow and improve the dropzone here! I am working on my pilots license currently and I am finishing up my A & P apprenticeship training while working with my mentor and chief mechanic, Mike (Mr.P).
Falcon 300, Skymaster 280, Skymaster 230, Sabre 210, 190, 170, 150, 135 Spectre 150, 135 Jedei 136, 120 Velocity 120, 111, 103. Currently I jump a Spectre 150 & Comp Velocity 111.
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