Interested in skydiving? As with any trip, before you begin skydiving, you might wonder, how much does skydiving cost? As far as skydiving is concerned, a quality experience doesn’t have to be expensive, but it is priceless. As you prepare for the adventure of a lifetime, the costs associated with skydiving are going to depend on a few things including the day you’d like to join us, the type of skydive you would like to make, and the form of payment.
Tandem Skydiving Costs
Tandem skydiving is one of the most popular ways for individuals to experience a skydive. At Skydive Orange, we offer two different types of tandem skydiving. The regular price of a basic tandem skydiving package is $259 if paid with cash and $270 if paid with credit. We also offer a $20 tandem discounts for jumps made on Wednesday and Thursday.
At Skydive Orange, we also offer a HALO tandem option. The cost of this ultimate skydiving experience is $685 if paid with cash and $715 if paid with a credit card.
What’s included in the cost of your tandem skydive?Basic Tandem Skydiving Package
Skydiving is composed of many parts and there are various costs that need to be covered to provide you with a safe, fun, and comfortable experience.
The cost of your tandem skydive covers quite a bit:
A highly experienced, trained, professional skydiving instructor.
A pre-jump briefing and training class. During this briefing, you will learn everything you need to know to help ensure a safe, fun, and comfortable experience. This briefing will also help you know what to expect during your tandem skydive.
All equipment needed for the skydive: parachute, harness, jumpsuit, and helmet.
The ride up to 13,500 feet in our skydiving aircraft.
60 seconds of freefall.
A parachute flight of about 5-6 minutes.
HALO Tandem Skydive
The HALO tandem skydive includes everything from the basic tandem skydiving package, with one major difference. Instead of a freefall from 13,500 feet, your HALO tandem skydive is from an incredible altitude of 17,500 feet. This means nearly an extra 30 seconds of freefall! Because of the added altitude, you will also be provided supplemental oxygen. This, too, is included in the cost of your HALO tandem skydive.
Additional Benefits Included in the Cost of Your Skydive
When you chose to make a skydive with Skydive Orange, you can rest assured you are jumping at a state-of-the-art facility operating turbine aircraft. These turbine aircraft get you in the air at a fraction of the time it takes with a piston engine aircraft. They also provide a roomier, more comfortable ride and allow us to take up larger groups at a time.
You can also feel confident that you are jumping with a United States Parachute Association member drop zone. This means that we maintain our equipment and aircraft to the highest standards. Additionally, you will be paired with a USPA approved and rated skydiving instructor.
Group Discounts for Tandem Skydives
Have a group of brave, ready, and willing friends and family that would like to jump with you? For groups of 10 or more, we can offer a discount of $25 per person.
First Time Skydiving Solo
Your first-time skydiving doesn’t have to be a tandem skydive. There are an adventurous, brave few, who would like to try skydiving solo for their first-time. So, how much does skydiving solo cost for the first time, and what is included? The first time skydiving solo costs $410 if paid with cash or $430 if paid with credit. The cost covers a 6-8 hour jump course with an accredited instructor, a skydive with 2 USPA licensed AFF instructors, and a video debrief to go over your skydive.
Additional Skydiving Costs
In addition to the price of the skydive itself, you can add a photo or video package. With each of our packages, you will be given media content that is captured by professional skydiving videographers.
Now that you know all the costs associated with skydiving? Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Book online today!
Do you catch yourself often gazing up to the sky, head in the clouds but, unfortunately, your feet are firmly planted on the ground Are you filled with fantasies of flight and do you long to see the world from a bird’s eye view?
Exploring the sky with a tandem skydive might be the best option for you!
What is tandem skydiving?
Tandem skydiving is one of the most popular means of introducing individuals to the joys of freefall, body flight, and parachuting. On a tandem skydive, a student (you) is attached to one of our qualified, professional instructors. Much like a tandem bicycle, a tandem skydiving harness has been outfitted to join two as one. Although your instructor is in control during the skydive, you still have an important role. Before your tandem skydive, you will be briefed on how to exit the aircraft and how to maintain a body position that will help ensure a safe, successful, fun, and comfortable experience for you and your instructor.
So why is starting out with a tandem skydive a good idea? There are quite a few reasons why:
You’re Exploring the Unknown
When you travel to an unfamiliar destination, it’s not uncommon to use a tour guide to get the most out of the experience. After all, the tour guide has probably studied up on the area, or perhaps they are a local, and as such, they typically know the ins and outs, so you get the most out of the experience, not to mention the most bang for your buck.
When exploring tandem skydiving Virginia, think of your tandem instructor as your tour guide. At Skydive Orange, each of our instructors are certified professionals, the sky is like their second home, and they are well suited to show you around.
Trust the Pros
Not on the confident side? It’s a good idea to let your first-time skydiving be a tandem skydive where you are attached to a licensed, trained professional. While you may not be able to trust how you will react to exiting an airplane from 13,500 feet, zipping past clouds, reaching a terminal velocity of 120 mph, or piloting a parachute safely to the ground, you can rest assured your instructor has ‘been there, done that’ and has the wherewithal to handle situations appropriately.
Cost, Convenience, and Ease
A tandem skydive is a great way to get a taste of flight without the rigor or responsibility of flying solo. Rather than a full day’s training, you only need a 30-minute briefing to get you ready to take flight on a tandem skydive. Instead of stressing over deploying parachutes and following procedures, on a tandem skydive, you can relax and take in the awe-inspiring views.
Additionally, the cost of a tandem skydive is considerably more affordable than many other options. If you intend on crossing off a bucket list item and being ‘one and done,’ a tandem skydive is the most cost-effective means of experiencing the adventure of a lifetime.
Take the Next Step?
Though, if you don’t want to be ‘one and done,’ you should know that your tandem skydive is a nice natural step in the jumping progression. After having made a tandem skydive, you can understand how to gauge the experience and can gain confidence by knowing you’ve taken flight and kept your cool. Maybe it’s time to then move forward to learning to skydive? If so, check out our awesome Accelerated Freefall Program to learn to skydive solo!
Not quite ready yet? That’s okay, you can make as many tandem skydives as you like. Here’s a pro tip: If you want to feel a little more involved, talk to your tandem instructor about being in charge of deploying the parachute and ask for an altimeter to mimic the experience of jumping solo.
Learning to skydive takes some commitment: a time commitment, a financial commitment, and, most importantly, a mental commitment. When deciding on a skydive school to begin your solo skydiving journey and achieve your skydiving license, it makes perfect sense to ensure you are learning from the best. If you’re new to the skydiving world, it can all be a little overwhelming. Where should you go to get your skydiving license? What are the differences between different skydive schools?
The truth is, not all skydiving schools are created equal. At Skydive Orange, we set ourselves apart with the level of training and attention we provide to our students.
But you don’t have to take our word for it. We figured what better way to show how our skydiving school is different than to interview one of the students that graduated from our skydive school program.
Enter Brad Cohen.
Brad Cohen, originally from Harrisonburg VA, made his first skydive with Skydive Orange in June of 2017.
Brad says “I’ve been an adrenaline junkie since I was a kid so I’ve always wanted to [skydive]…I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do for my 23rd birthday, so I kind of spontaneously decided to go [tandem] jump.”
While his desire to do a tandem skydive was a “bucket list thing,” Brad decided to pursue AFF for a different reason.
What made you decide to begin AFF and jump from a “perfectly good airplane” again and again?
“I got down from my first tandem and signed up immediately for AFF. I was in love from the beginning. I had never experienced anything that gave me the rush that skydiving did. I loved the idea of a hobby that pushed me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to continue to grow and set new goals.”
While that’s all well and good, one may wonder, what led Brad to choose Skydive Orange? What about the program spoke to him, specifically?“I really loved how safe I felt at Skydive Orange for my tandem, and the atmosphere was so welcoming. It was like a family, so I was definitely inclined to stay here.”
Brad was a solid student who worked his way steadily through AFF. He says:
“I didn’t race through the progression, but I didn’t have to repeat anything either. I took the advice from my instructors and just tried to be a sponge and learn as much as possible. Canopy stuff was a lot harder for me to grasp than freefall. Ironically, now I prefer canopy. I did a lot of my AFF with Tammer, and he was awesome to jump with! [He was] always so positive and encouraging.”
In September of 2017, Brad successfully graduated our program and received his skydiving license. Though, Brad didn’t stop there. Since 2017, Brad has accumulated around 325 jumps, possesses a C license, and a coach rating. Currently, Brad has some pretty impressive skydiving goals. When asked about these future skydiving ambitions Brad says, “I’m currently loving being an AFF coach and learning to shoot tandem videos—which is a blast. My main goal right now is learning to swoop. Next year, I’m hoping to get my tandem and AFFI ratings so I can make skydiving a full-time thing!”
As they say, the proof is in the pudding. Interested in getting your skydiving license, check out the skydiving certification program at Skydive Orange today!
Inspired by the thrill of competition, Orange Crush, originally formed in the summer of 2018 with members Ali Criss, Trevor Gibbs, and Kevin Haugh. As of January 2019, the team consisted of Kevin Haugh, Trevor Gibbs, and Dillon Golnick.
Soon after cementing the lineup, the team realized that it would be near impossible to have a solid training schedule while each pursuing their own individual goals. The team decided they needed an official alternate: someone who could pick up the dive pool quickly, was already a proficient flyer, and who also had the drive and commitment to be a part of a team, the team added Meredith Rydalch as official alternate and videographer. The team regularly organize at Skydive Orange and host a myriad of tunnel events ranging from huck jams to scrambles.
The premier line up of Orange Crush won several indoor competitions and placed 5th in Advanced MFS at the 2018 Nationals. In addition to these accolades, Dillon, Trevor, and Kevin were all on the 2018 Virginia Head Down Record.
As a team, Orange Crush aims to have fun, get better, and be the best they can be when they fly. Ultimately, as a team, they aim to perform even better than they did last year at Nationals, and they would like to continue to help foster a strong free fly scene and skill set in the Virginia area through skills camps, both indoors and outdoors.
Kevin Haugh is an active duty Marine who began skydiving in 2011. Kevin can be seen around Skydive Orange helping out with AFF, Tandems, and Video. He is a freefly organizer, and occasionally, you can find him doing canopy coaching with interested canopy pilots. Kevin Haugh relocated to Virginia in 2018 and began jumping at Skydive Orange. He stayed at Skydive Orange because of the “family feel” he got from the drop zone.
Meredith Rydalch is an engineer in the Air Force. She began jumping with the United States Air Force Wings of Blue parachute team in 2012. She chose Skydive Orange as her home drop zone because of the awesome group of flyers with a wide range of skills and disciplines and the rad people who also make this drop zone their home.
Dillon Golnick is the lead instructor at iFLY Loudon. He made his debut in the sky in 2012. Dillon coaches several of Skydive Orange’s jumpers in the wind tunnel and regularly helps to organize the Orange Crush tunnel events. He enjoys jumping at Skydive Orange because of the aircraft, the cool boogies, cooler staff, and because his friends also choose Skydive Orange as their home dz. It also helps that his cat is orange—that sealed the deal.
Trevor Gibbs is the General Manager of iFLY Loudon. He began skydiving in 2008 while in college. Shortly after getting his A License, he began working at iFly Orlando as a customer service representative. After 8 months, he was offered a position as a Flight Instructor and graduated the FITP training program. After a year, he transferred to open and work the corporate location at iFLY Austin. While in Austin, he became a level 4 instructor and participated in multiple head down camps and was invited to the Texas State HD record (and all with just over 100 jumps). In 2013, Trevor left his position at iFLY to pursue other opportunities.
After two years as a managing partner in a small restaurant corporation, he accepted the position of Assistant General Manager at iFLY Loudoun and moved to Virginia in February 2016. A year later, he was promoted to General Manager and has been working to support the local skydiving community.
Since moving to Virginia, the two state records he has been a part of have grown from 14 to 28 participants, doubling in size and providing a testament to the improvement and dedication to the skydiving community in Northern Virginia.
Primarily a fun jumper at Skydive Orange, Trevor does intend on getting his coach rating.
Trevor chooses to jump at Skydive Orange, because the facility, employees, pilots, and aircraft are all world class.
Fear is one of the most primal adaptive behaviors we have. It kept our cave-dwelling, plains crossing, hunter-gatherer ancestors safe. In those primitive prehistoric times, it paid to be appropriately hesitant: is that rustling in the grass simply the wind? Or something that will make a meal of me? It was almost always a toss-up. Anxiety began as an anticipation of those fears coming to fruition: an adaptive attempt to prevent scenarios where we would encounter fear-inducing experiences. Ergo, if you stayed out of the tall grass, you’d never have the dilemma of determining whether the rustling was a viable threat.
So, truth is, we’re stuck with fear. It’s human nature to feel disconcerted when you confront something unexpected or unfamiliar.
When we were young, fear was most often our response to bumps in the night. Sometimes we’d seek out those after dark stirrings to face down our fears, and on other nights, we’d tuck our heads beneath the covers until the safety of morning dawned.
Turns out adult life isn’t that much different. If you’re interested in exploring the wild blue yonder, don’t let skydiving anxiety hold you back. To help you prepare, we’ve compiled a few ways to keep skydiving anxiety at bay.
Get in the Know
Knowledge is one of the best defenses against skydiving anxiety. Manage those skydiving nerves by doing proper research. Become familiar with skydiving centers in the area. Utilize reviews on Facebook, Google, and Trip Advisor to help determine which facility may be the best fit for you. You can also check out the drop zone’s website or give them a call to speak with one of their customer service representatives and have your specific questions answered.
Speaking of asking questions, number two on our list of tips to help those nervous about skydiving is…
Ask away! Skydiving is a new world for you. You aren’t expected to know everything (or really anything) about it. Our staff aims to please, and we want to make you feel as comfortable as possible before your skydive. By asking questions, you can gain the knowledge you need to feel confident and comfortable with your skydive.
Plot the Course
Knowing the steps of the journey and what the day of your skydive will be like will help your first tandem skydiving experience to go smoothly. After all, it is uncertainty that breeds skydiving anxiety. It helps to understand that skydiving is a process, and there are several steps. Here is what the day of your skydive is like at our facility.
When you arrive at check-in for your tandem skydive, we will review your paperwork. If you have not already completed a waiver, we will ask you to sign one. After check-in, you will go through a tandem training and briefing. This is to ensure you know what to expect and what part you will play on the skydive. Using a computer manifesting system, we will pair you with a licensed professional skydiving instructor. Then, it’s time for a little bit of patience. When it’s your turn, you will meet your instructor and begin gearing up.
Each time a planeload takes off and lands, the gear must be inspected, students must be debriefed, and the parachutes will need to be folded and closed into the skydiving containers. When it comes to ensuring customer satisfaction, taking the time to be thorough is well worth it.
Practicing mindfulness helps many people who suffer from anxiety. Mindfulness is achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment. This technique often involves focusing on your breath. Inhale. Exhale. It sounds so simple, and yet, so often in high-stress scenarios (like your first skydive), we forget this basic necessity. As you begin to feel your stomach flutter or your skydiving anxiety rise, take a deep breath. You got this.
Embrace the Challenge
Until you challenge your routine and step outside of your comfort zone, you will never know the extent of your mental and emotional fortitude. Without confronting your skydiving anxiety, you cannot grow past it. Just think, if you can do this, you can do anything.
Are you interested in scheduling an outing your family will never forget? Sure, there is always the beach, but eventually, you will begin to feel a little “over” the sunburnt skin, crowded beaches, and sand in your…well…everywhere.
Have you ever thought about skydiving? Most people don’t know that skydiving is a family-friendly destination experience.
In fact, there are several reasons skydiving makes an excellent option for the family.
Keep Your Support System with You
You have shared countless celebrations with your family: birthdays, retirements, and anniversaries. For each milestone you’ve reached, you’ve asked your family to join in and make it all the more special, so why not bring them along for your skydive?
Do you have someone special in your life? Are you looking for a unique way to ask him or her to be your better half forever? It’s not unheard of to pop the question to the one you love with a skydiving proposal. Gather your friends and family, skydive, and change your life forever.
Great Way to Bond
In the cell phone age, it’s easy to dissociate. We’re all milling about, captivated by screens, each (wo)man a world unto themselves. Let’s shake that up by giving your family something to share—a skydive.
See, after a skydive, you’ll long to have someone to talk about it with, and dinner table conversation with the family will never be the same. P.S. If you capture your skydives on video, you can re-live the experience again and again.
Provide New Perspective
Involve your family in one of the greatest adventures of your life, and if they join you, see them in an entirely new light. Your stoic aunt? Not so stoic after a skydive.
Often it seems there’s a definite generational gap, what can a teenager and a grandfather possibly have in common (aside from the same last name)? Well, let’s face it, skydiving is downright cool. Even your moody teen cannot deny that. Help bridge the gap between the ages with a tandem skydive.
All Ages Can Spectate
Skydiving has no real age limit; we’ve taken individuals well into their nineties on their first tandem skydiving experience. However, there is an age minimum. Per the United States Parachute Association, a jumper must be 18 years of age or older to participate in parachuting activities.
Though exceptions have been made and the restriction has been waved for terminally ill individuals through the Make a Wish Program.
While a jumper must be 18 years of age or older to participate, even tots are welcome to join in on the fun… on the ground that is. There’s something truly captivating about watching canopies descend: the folds of inflated fabric providing flight enchant and delight individuals of all ages. At Skydive Orange, we provide our customers, their family, and friends with a family friendly facility complete with ample shaded indoor/ outdoor seating as well as a specific spectator viewing area.
Is skydiving too extreme for the family?
We don’t think so. From 18-80+, every member of your family can enjoy a skydive. Whether they are spectating or participating, at Skydive Orange, they can join in on the fun!
The Northern Hemisphere is slowly revolving into Spring, and with the change in the season visions of summer vacations come to mind. This year you might want to visit a few of the top skydiving locations from this list of the most beautiful DZ’s around the world.
Only 20 minutes from Seattle, the Travel Channel listed Skydive Snohomish as one of the nine best places to skydive in the world. In summer the 360 degree views from the mountains to the sea feature Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker in the Cascades Mountain Range and the green San Juan Islands.
Located within range of Australia’s Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, Skydive Ramblers has something for everyone including a landing area filled with kangaroos! They cater to families with on-site accommodations, a pool, bar, and other great amenities. Children as young as 12 can skydive with parental permission in Australia. An added bonus is the beautiful year-round weather.
In a country where every vista will leave you speechless, there is a reason NZONE won the Supreme New Zealand Tourism award. This skydive located in Queenstown, NZ is a mecca of extreme sports. The DZ is designed to deliver outstanding jumps with the best views of the stunning landscape of South Island, New Zealand.
Forget that sedate train tour to view the Fall colors. Located just 70 miles west of Boston, in Orange, MA this is one of the top skydiving locations in the US to experience the glory of Autumn! The view from under the canopy will forever change your perspective on the incredible show that Mother Nature provides during a change of seasons.
This is the skydive destination to make that rare city jump, flying over the Palm Jumeirah, the artificial archipelago made of reclaimed land jutting out from the city’s urban marina. This skydive has a view of the Persian Gulf and the whole of Dubai.
At Skydive Voss you get to experience the magic combination of spectacular nature and the “Vossa spirit” – an open and inclusive vibe at the drop zone. Norway in Summer is a vibrant and active season. Skydive Voss has terrific accommodations and even a Wind Tunnel on site!
Located in the coastal town of Alvor, in Southern Portugal, Skydive Algarve offers 365 days a year of sunny weather. Beach jumps, sunshine, high altitudes, incredible foods, and great wine. What more could you want in a skydive vacation location?
This DZ offers a scenic flight over the Mossel Bay area with an incredible view of the Indian Ocean, Outeniqua mountains and beautiful beaches. There are two landing areas, one at the airfield and one at Diaz beach. Landings at Diaz beach depend on weather and tide conditions.
This Perth, Australia location has a reputation for being the “World’s Most Beautiful Beach Skydive” for a reason. The entire skydive offers fantastic views of the Turquoise Coast, and Perth has much to offer to visitors once you are back on the ground.
Top 11 US Drop Zones in the US
Keeping it closer to home here are some of the best places to skydive in the US. These DZ’s offer diverse choices for your Summer vacation plans.
Known for tandem skydiving in Virginia, Maryland, and the Washington D.C. area, Skydive Orange provides world-class tandem skydiving, training, and sport skydiving to guests from all over the East Coast. With beautiful scenery both above and around the DZ, the area also offers historic homes, wineries, and other outdoor activities.
Located just across the North Carolina state line in Chester, SC, this beautiful location is home to the nation’s’ largest skydiving event, CarolinaFest. This full-service drop zone serves the Charlotte, Columbia, Greenville, Spartanburg, and Asheville areas.
Skydive Perris is one of only two skydiving centers in the world to have an indoor skydiving simulator on site and is located within easy reach of Los Angeles, Temecula, Murrieta, Canyon Lake, San Diego, and Riverside. They are especially well known for hosting several world record events.
This location is known for sun and fun. The views of the surrounding desert landscape and full facilities make this a must visit dropzone. With a wind tunnel, pool, restaurant, and bar this is a perfect vacation adventure.
Skydive California is located near the Bay Area and San Francisco in northern California. They offer shuttle service from the Bay Area, and they are also one of the few DZ’s to allow leashed friendly dogs in their observation area.
Serving the Madison, Wisconsin and Milwaukee area, this is an excellent location for jumpers of all levels. WSC is known for excellent hospitality, beautiful and clean facilities, and an awesome staff. Wisconsin is an outdoor adventure paradise known for the many lakes and rivers in the state.
West of Chicago, this location is known as the world’s largest skydiving resort. The outstanding facilities include everything from a restaurant to a swimming pond to cabins and camping facilities. This really is the perfect skydiving vacation getaway.
Located in Zephyrhills, Florida between Lakeland and Tampa this DZ serves all level of jumpers. They are known for their large facility catering to international jumpers along with their restaurant and bar. You might want to plan to visit some of the major skydiving equipment manufacturers too. Camping is free, and they also offer other accommodations.
Located in Raeford, North Carolina near Fayetteville and a short drive from Raleigh, home of the Research Triangle of North Carolina. This full-service DZ even has a Wind Tunnel available just down the road so all your skydive adventures are covered.
Located between Tulsa and Oklahoma City this location is rated the best place to skydive in Oklahoma. It is a convenient spot to take a skydiving break when driving cross country on I-40. Skydivers always comment on the newly remodeled facilities and the family-friendly atmosphere.
Big Texas Hospitality convenient to Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. This location is known for its private purpose-built airport and skydiving facility. Their state of the art climate controlled building is a welcome relief on those hot and humid summer days. With a full RV park and a bunkhouse, there are plenty of accommodations and amenities to make this a destination vacation spot.
The view from above on your first tandem skydive is breathtaking, but not literally! One of the most frequent questions from first-time skydivers is can you breathe in freefall? The answer is yes! Many tandem jumpers comment on not being able to breathe when exiting the airplane, but it’s a mind trick that you can easily overcome.
We can see why the common misconception persists about not being able to breathe when you are flying at 120 miles per hour. Science disproves the myth along with the thousands of skydivers out there breathing while jumping daily. What is really going on for first-time jumpers is a sensory and chemical overload to your brain. You can breathe just fine in free fall because the rush is all in your head. With the three tips below you can easily overcome the sensation of not being able to breathe.
1. Be Mindful Of Your Breath
If you have ever tried yoga or meditation, you will be familiar with connecting your mind and breath. If ever there is a time to be mindful it is when you are skydiving! Being focused and intentional at the moment when you are ready to make that leap into the sky is the best way to experience flying free and taking in the view. There is truth to having less oxygen available when you are at higher altitudes, but there is still plenty for you to breathe. If you are into facts, there is 40% less oxygen in the atmosphere than at ground level. The best way to combat the “thinner” air is to breathe more deeply. Rather than shallow inhales, try to fill up every nook and cranny of your lungs. The more thought you put into your breathing, the easier it will be.
2. Scream Like You Mean It!
Freefall is a big head rush. Your mind and body are in sensory overload, and sometimes your brain can’t manage all the input, and you forget to breathe. Remember that mindfulness about connecting your breath with your mind and body? Take a deep mindful breath right as you get up to the door to make that leap. Screaming on your exit from the plane is a great way to express the elation of flying, and it also helps you get a deep breath before and after you are finished screaming your head off! If you can exhale to scream, you’re definitely able to inhale and breathe. It’s really pretty simple when you think about it.
3. Mind Over Matter
You are probably reading about being able to breathe during skydiving because you are considering taking your first jump. Think back to the very moment you decided skydiving sounded like something you wanted to try. Your brain is capable of putting your wildest dreams into action. The mind over matter process that allows you to overcome your fear of stepping outside your boundaries will also remind you to take a deep breath when you exit that plane.
Here are a few interesting facts. In the United States, there are around 40,000 active skydivers, making roughly 3.3 million jumps per year. For those who pursue the sport of skydiving, freefall becomes a second home. If you think about these statistics, it’s hard to imagine that so many people would willingly subject themselves to jump after jump if it were actually impossible to breathe in freefall. When it comes to breathing in freefall, the trick is mind over matter and being focused in the moment.
Take a deep breath and jump into the excitement – book your tandem skydive with Skydive Orange today!
Reading a skydive review that ends with “MADE MY 75th BIRTHDAY ALL SO VERY SPECIAL!!! ” guarantees this person has an interesting story. Curious minds want to know why her seventy-fifth trip around the sun called for a tandem skydive!
Jenith Hodge was born in the tiny coal town of Imboden, Virginia. And yes, it is spelled J-e-n-i-t-h, named for a relative somewhere in the family tree. When the coal ran out her family moved to Big Stone Gap where she grew up and graduated high school. Her earliest memories were always about looking up. She loved the birds, the clouds, the moon, and the stars. You could say Jenith has always had her eyes on the sky.
When speaking with Jenith about her life story she claims not to be all that adventurous. We would beg to differ. Jenith has been married for 56 years to her high school sweetheart Charlie. With his career in the Air Force, they were stationed in Virginia, Missouri, Homestead Florida and finally at Andrews Air Force Base. Charlie also served in Viet Nam. Jenith worked in the Postal Service for 23 years. She was a member of the National Christian Choir and traveled to Israel twice for singing tours. One of those trips to Isreal was for Easter Sunday in Jerusalem. The choir also toured Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Czechoslovakia. She went to Haiti on a Mission trip at the end of 2017 ringing in the New Year 2018 on foreign soil.
Somehow along the way, they stumbled onto a beautiful piece of property near Mineral, Virginia in 1979 and bought their little slice of heaven for eventual retirement. They finally built their house on that property in 1994 and continue to enjoy the view overlooking the lake and all of the wildlife the area has to offer. They are both active in their church and community and love entertaining with friends and family. It is clear when speaking with Jenith that her faith is a profound part of who she is. Life has not always been blue skies and fun. Like most of us, there have been difficulties and heartbreak. She and Charlie lost their oldest son to a car accident. They have managed the grief through faith and service to others. Giving back and having an open heart seems to go hand-in-hand with her outgoing spirit.
With all the moving and traveling while raising two sons, the activity has never stopped. Jenith loves being on and in the water and especially loves sailing. She enjoys the peace and quiet, but also that feeling of flying over the water. For many years she bought season tickets to Kings Dominion, the roller coasters were a favorite spot to take her grandson in the summer. When she lived in Florida, she could see the sailplanes taking off to glide and often thought she would like to try that adventure someday. At the time she was busy raising children, and she could never justify the expense. Finally, she started taking a look at how to celebrate turning 75, and it just seemed the perfect time to go skydiving.
Jenith can’t find any adequate words to describe how thrilling the tandem experience was for her. Her joyful online review literally said, “THE WORDS HAVE NOT YET BEEN INVENTED TO DESCRIBE THE THRILL!!!” Her support team that day consisted of her husband, son, and grandson. She was ready to load into the plane when she found out that her 19-year-old grandson had decided at the last minute that he would also jump the same day! He was able to ride up for her jump, and she later rode in the plane to watch him make his tandem. She remembers when her grandson was little, and they were lining up to ride a big roller coaster she would always put on an act and exclaim “Oh Lord, I’m gonna die!” and he would reply back with a reassuring “Memaw, you’re not gonna die!” How wonderful that all these years later Memaw is still leading the way but this time for sky-high adventure!
When reminiscing about her tandem jump, Jenith says she had no fear but lots of anticipation about jumping out of a plane. She remembers that she was smiling from beginning to end! The view was astounding from above and surpassed what she had imagined. She has nothing but praise for her tandem instructor Jim and her videographer Gene. When asked if she has watched her video she admitted to being a repeat offender and has only watched it every single time she has used the computer since her skydive on Feb 18th! With her computer situated on the third floor it is no small task to climb those three flights, but each time she checks her email she plays the video, and it is like reliving the thrill. In her opinion, she can’t imagine why anyone would decide not to get the photo and video package! Having all those photos and the video has been worth every penny.
Of course, we all want to know if Jenith wants to skydive again. While in the line getting ready to load onto the plane someone asked that very question. Since she was being filmed there was a blurted automatic reply “Maybe for my 80th,” and as soon as the words were out of her mouth, she knew she was not going to wait five more years. Jenith Hodge wants you to know she can’t wait to be back in the sky! She is saving up her funds for another tandem as soon as possible. She pointed out that Skydive Orange is right up the road and summer is right around the corner!
Since its inception, skydiving equipment has come a looooong way. Over the years, some of the biggest changes have been made to those super crucial bundles of fabric we look forward to seeing on every jump. We’re talking about what makes skydiving possible at all: parachutes!
To understand just how far parachutes have come from opening to landing, let’s take a look back to what parachutes were like when “sport parachuting” began.
In the late 50’s and 60’s as sport parachuting was gaining traction, pioneer civilian skydivers used what little gear they could get their hands on. Typically, this was surplus military equipment.
At this time, all of the parachutes being used for jump operations were round. Some (if you were lucky enough to have access to the latest and greatest) were composed of a carefully coated fabric called “LoPo” (Low-Porosity). These “LoPo” parachutes reduced the rate of descent and were built to withstand damage during the skydiving parachute opening. You see, in those days, it was common for parachutes to sustain damage during deployment. In the case that your main parachute was damaged (which, back then was pretty likely), you’d use your reserve parachute. In those days, the primary main parachute was stored in a container the jumper wore on their back and the reserve parachute in a separate belly-mounted container.
In the early days, with the round parachute design, jumpers were almost entirely at the mercy of the wind: where the wind blew, you went! Modifications were made in the 60’s and 70’s to create “steerable” round parachutes, but these were still a far cry from being considered maneuverable. On “Old School” parachutes jumpers were more like cargo and less like canopy pilots. Landing was a matter of bracing for impact and getting ready to be “dumped” on the ground.
In the last 50 years, consistent technological advancements have been made to parachute canopies and skydiving containers. Long gone are the days of the round parachute in recreational skydiving! Though you may be surprised to know, a modified version of the porosity-reducing technology from the past is still being used in parachutes today.
Normal skydives are required to follow both United States Parachute Association guidelines and FAA regulations for gear. This means each skydiving container must contain two parachutes. Whereas in the past, this meant two separate container systems: one back-pack style and one belly mounted reserve container. Now, we utilize a dual parachute, single container system. This means both the main parachute and the reserve parachute are housed in the same “back-pack” style container.
The main parachute is the one a skydiver typically deploys, and it sits at the bottom of the container (the bottom of the backpack). The reserve parachute is the parachute canopy deployed in the event of an emergency. It is stored in the top center of the container, between the jumper’s shoulder blades.
In the past, parachute openings were pretty rough. Frequently, entire main parachutes would shred from the force of deployment. Now, parachute openings are much less aggressive. During the transition from freefall to canopy flight, you will feel how the opening parachute slows you down drastically. However, for what it is, it’s much gentler than you’d anticipate. One minute your freefalling, the next you’re hanging suspended in the harness with a canopy above your head.
The ram-air rectangular design of modern parachute canopies provides today’s skydivers with a steerable, maneuverable ride to the ground. Using lines that connect to the back of the parachute, jumpers can really “pilot” the wing. The lines cascade down eventually coalescing into a correlating connection point on each respective side. These lines are controlled by the jumper via a handle (called a toggle) attached to the bottom.
By pulling on the right toggle, the right corner of the parachute folds down creating drag, turning the parachute to the right. The same is true for the left side: pull down on the left toggle and the parachute turns to the left.
When it is time to land, the jumper will pull both toggles down in a smooth, measured manner to “flare” the parachute canopy. This will pull the entire back side of the parachute down, slowing the system and the jumper(s) attached to a safe landing speed. Often ending with a gentle tiptoe or slight slide.
As you can see, these days we’ve really got it made. From opening to landing, the parachutes we use today get us from point A to point B reliably. Have any more questions?…or are you maybe interested in learning first-hand about skydiving parachutes? Make a reservation at Skydive Orange today! We’d love to teach you everything we know!