Getting to know… Goncalo Carvalho

Friday, May 1, 2020

What’s one of the key positions at a dropzone and sometimes can be a bit forgotten? The rigger. At Skydive Spain we are very fortunate to have a very professional and one of a kind human being behind the main scene.

We want to take the opportunity during this quite time to learn more about our rigger. Who is behind the all the rigs, canopies and lines that fill our rigging room? Let´s get to know a little more about Goncalo Carvalho.


  • First of all, how are you and how are you dealing with the coronavirus lockdown?

Hello … I am very well thank you, and the truth is that I feel relatively positive about this whole situation. I think that if we are minimally intelligent, we can get a great lesson from everything that is happening worldwide right now.

  • What particular lesson are you trying to learn?
I think that this whole situation makes us see how small we are, and how much we are worth. Please respect each other a little more …
  • How did you come to work for Skydive Spain?

In fact, when I started working for SS I had already worked in other skydiving companies, and then as with any type of job, we always want better, through an email I sent to Skydive Spain, I was selected for an interview. Derived from my good skills,(ha ha ha) the company asked if I would be interested in collaborating with them, without hesitation I accepted …

  • Before becoming the rigger you worked on the packing floor, anything that you miss?

Of course … And what I miss most is seeing the smiles that people bring with them after skydive. Although I miss my colleagues too, the teamwork, the jokes we made between us while working. Now the work of rigging is a little more isolated.

  • You say that the work of a rigger can be isolating.  There are not many qualified parachute riggers, why do you think that is..?

Normally in the rigging room a lot of attention is needed while working, so it is necessary to be more isolated.

I am not sure how many riggers there are, I think the reason can be derived from the responsibility we have in what we do, many people do not want this type of responsibility, many of them do not have the capacity to do so. Another reason will be that if you work as a rigger in a drop zone, you will have less fun compared to a camera flyer or instructor AFF/ tandem .

  • When did you decide to become a rigger and why?

Since I started working in the skydiving world in 2009, and started as a packer, the skydiving company I was working for only opened on weekends, which gave me a lot of time to learn and I decided to dedicate that time in rigging. After a few years in 2016, already working for SS, after a lot of confidence in the work I was doing and with many councils from other rigger´s friends, I decided to take my course.

  • How difficult was the process to become a rigger?

In my opinion it was not difficult … Derived from 6 years of manual work, in my point of view, in the whole process the most complicated was the theoretical part.

In the world of Rigging, you have to know many details, names, brands, measurements, pressures, types of threads, needles, types of material, an almost infinite world.

  • What advice would you give to somebody that would like to follow your footsteps?

I think that good advice would be, put a little bit of love in everything you do …

  • How is a day like for Goncalo at Skydive Spain?

I usually have fun-filled days, all day long someone always says hello while I’m in the rigging room. There is always someone who leaves their own equipment to repair, or another type of work, there is always a joke between us, moments that I have outside the rigging room are always a lot of fun too, I always see old friends from different countries, I always see new ones faces too, not to mention the happiness stamped on the faces of the skydivers is impressive. In the end it is a very normal day like any other type of work.

  • What do you like the most about your job?

Before I started working in the skydiving world, I had many different types of work, all of which I did well, but the feeling I feel now, the feeling of working in what I really love is almost indescribable. I can say that every day that I get up, to go to work, I have positive thoughts and always go with pleasure . I love my job

  • If you had to give one piece of advice to skydivers about how to maintain their equipment. What would it be?

There are many tips, for example, remove the twist from your brake lines, do not drag the canopies, try to avoid the direct contact of the material with the sun as much as possible. Treat your equipment as if it was your baby…

  • What question do you receive most often and what´s the answer?

[Ha ha ha] very funny that question. I am often asked, and if the parachute does not open, or the type, what do you feel when you jump or how much does a reserve packjob cost [ha ha ha] but really the most asked is the type, they arrive to the rigging room and ask. .. Can you do this in 15 minutes because I’m on the next load [ha ha ha] .Obviously I answer immediately, NO [ha ha ha]

  • What´s your hometown in Portugal and what do you miss the most about it?

Yes, I am Portuguese and the name of my village is Murteira. It is close to Lisbon. It is a small village with only 1000 residents. That’s where I grew up, that’s where I have many good memories, maybe we could write a book with so many memories… But that’s also where I have my family and most importantly my SON. What I miss most is them.

  • How was adapting to the Spanish lifestyle in Bollullos and what do you like the most about Spain?

To be honest it was very easy to adapt to the lifestyle here in Bollullos. First, not because I understood the language well, but yes, it was a great help that the Spanish language was very similar to the Portuguese language, for me it was like watching Spanish videos with subtitles, trying to speak and making many mistakes, friends correcting me , but this way I learned the language and I continue to learn… Afterwards, especially here, we are seen as the [GUIRIS] people who come from other countries [ha ha ha]. When I arrived here 6 years ago, I was just another [GUIRI] together with my colleagues who were here before me ha ha ha. What I really like about Spain [Seville] is the sea water temperature, wonderful landscapes, typical food, fresh beer, and of course this wonderful weather allows me to work on what I love, every day of the year.


  • What hobbies do you enjoy in your free time?

In reality I am a very calm person, I don’t have any kind of hobby in particular. My free time usually serves to organize my home, being with my dog [Gimbrinhas] is his name. Ha ha ha. Of course, whenever I can, I go to the beach or even the mountain. Here in Spain it is very easy to find wonderful landscapes, where you can rest your mind for a few moments .

  • Is there anything that you want to share that most people don´t know about you?

I consider myself a direct and sincere person, if there is anything that someone wants to know about me it is because they do not know me … I am like an open book.

Thank you Goncalo!

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