Most farms house livestock, cornfields, and vegetable patches. But the crown jewel of Skydive the Farm’s 55 acres of property is something a little less typical: a Grand Caravan turbine-engine plane. Its Blackhawk engine modifications allow it to jet briskly to proper skydiving altitude, at which visitors leap out its doors and parachute to the farm’s spacious landing area. Adventurers can dive tandem-style, strapped to a certified instructor, or opt for more independent freefalls. Available only after several hours of training, these flights earn divers AFF licensing, requiring them to open their own parachute and land with radio assistance. Family and friends can watch their loved ones master the skies from a spacious viewing deck instead of having to find a sturdy enough cloud to climb upon. Divers can also watch themselves afterward via the center’s professionally-made flight DVDs, complete with video footage and photos.
The male and female firearm experts of American Home Defense shape their shooting and self-defense classes around legal regulations with an emphasis on personal safety. In private shooting lessons, students learn to handle three of the most common handguns and home-defense classes equip participants with the know-how to protect their families from intruders or a neighbor's moat monster.
No matter the season, the experienced instructors at Skydive Monroe help students discover Atlanta’s sky-high beauty while gliding through the air at 14,000 feet. They teach students of all experience levels the ins and outs of these giant leaps, working with beginners through tandem jumps, instructor-assisted deployments, and accelerated freefall classes. They also oversee jumps for more experienced divers, and welcome non-jumpers to ride along in the plane for an additional fee. Staff members document each trip on video, allowing jumpers to relive the thrill of the jump without painting tiny cityscapes on their trampolines.
Skydive Coastal California's air-riding experts take first-time and experienced jumpers to the stratosphere for jumps above the scenic vistas of southern California. Tethered to clients, they guide tandem rides to facilitate first tastes of terminal velocity before coasting in for a soft landing. To accommodate licensed skydivers with a current reserve parachute, the staff guides planes over the business's own scenic landing zone so jumpers can take to the air on their own. Beginners who wish to become full-fledged divers can opt for the Accelerated Freefall program, in which aficionados teach the skills necessary to make solo jumps such as how to handle equipment or merge into goose traffic without a blinker.
"[I] enjoyed the introspection it provided my mind when facing the open door for the first time," says ATL Skydiving's drop zone manager Josh Eckl. "Despite the fear, you push yourself forward and into the unknown." Since the profound experience he felt during his first skydive, Josh has gone on to complete more than 5000 jumps, becoming certified as a tandem and accelerated freefall (AFF) instructor in the process. Josh and his team—all members of the United States Parachute Association—arrange both of these types of jumps, offering traditional tandem jumps for amateur skydivers and AFF leaps for instructors in training. Regardless of the type of jump, skydivers are flown out of a tower-controlled airport (Earl L. Small, Jr. Field-Stockmar Airport in Villa Rica), ensuring they are in contact with all area aircraft, which contributes to ATL's stellar safety record.
To commemorate their dive, clients can purchase an RVT skydiving video. RVT, which stands for Revolutionary Video Technology, combines footage from a first-person canopy cam as well as panoramic shots in order to recreate the experience. The finished product shows every step of the jump, from the freefall and parachute opening to the ground landing and tasting of the soil to ensure that you landed back on Earth.
Skydive Atlanta is certified by the U.S. Department of Defense, as they are the training home for the Silver Wings, a U.S. Army parachute team. Here's what that means for civilians thinking of taking the plunge: this skydiving outfit is routinely inspected by the Department of Defense, and equips its divers with state of the art equipment such as the "T-Strap", a harness that adds yet another level of safety to the operation. For more than 28 years, the team here has been curating safe and exciting airborne plunges, including tandem skydives led by certified pilots and instructors. After a class led by a USPA-certified instructor, divers take to the skies and leap while strapped to a professional, free-falling at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour before opening the parachute and floating gracefully to the ground or nearest pile of pillows.
Skydive Atlanta also offers DVD and photo options that commemorate skydivers' daring journey through the air.