Fully licensed instructors, thoroughly maintained aircrafts, and a skydiving training program licensed by the US Parachute Association ensure that a jump at Chicagoland Skydiving Center is rigorously safe—but nothing can dampen the thrill of free falling from 14,000 feet. The center’s spotless student record can be attributed both to the longevity of the program, which has been around since 1968, and to the expertise of the instructors, some of whom have made more than 15,000 jumps. Their attention to safety enables visitors to focus on the fun part: a 60-second free fall followed by a leisurely float under a parachute with countless high-fives from passing birds.
Once their feet have firmly planted on the ground, skydivers can celebrate besting Sir Isaac Newton in a spacious facility with games, a lounge, and an onsite restaurant. Instant footage provides new perspectives on daring falls, and guests can purchase pictures and videos to commemorate the event.
Sportations connects amateur adrenaline jockeys to certified professional adventurers, drawing from a nationwide network of aeronauts and speed demons to introduce habitual pedestrians to the wonders of skydiving, ballooning, hang gliding, and stock-car racing. Thrill seekers can zipline across a forest canopy, hollering like Tarzan or taunting nearby birds until they agree to race. Helicopter tours ferry patrons skyward over landmarks and cityscapes, whereas paragliding adventures get up close and personal with blue skies and clouds. For most sports, Sportations accommodates groups of any size, from physics classes empirically proving gravity's existence to solo ballooning supervillains declaring dominion over all they see.
Jumping out of an airplane is always more fun with company?especially if it's your first jump. Hence Skydiving Great Lakes' tandem skydives, during which customers plunge through the air while strapped to an instructor. After a 30- to 60-second freefall, the expert deftly deploys the parachute, initiating a lazy canopy ride lasting up to nine minutes. Visitors can also learn to dive alone?and execute cool aerial flips?in the company's seven-level skydiving school.
Despite their name, The Sky Knights won't swoop down to earth on a dragon?instead, they use a parachute. Since its founding in 1963, the club has helped others take their first skydiving plunge via tandem jumps or work toward becoming USPA-certified skydivers. They conduct all of their classes and aerial excursions at Skydive Milwaukee, a dedicated drop zone extending up to 13,500 feet above the Wisconsin countryside. Whether briefing visitors pre-jump in their climate-controlled classrooms or strapping them in with an instructor for their first 50-second free fall, the company adheres to all FAA and United States Parachute Association rules and recommendations and uses only FAA-certified teaching equipment fitted with automatic reserve-activation devices. The center, meanwhile, features open-air grills and an observation deck?allowing even those on the ground to partake in the pulse-pounding thrills.
The plane at Great Lakes Skydiving is something of a celebrity?in the '90s, 20th Century Fox used it to shoot the skydiving scenes in Point Break. This was no stroke of luck. The center's dives are truly cinematic, taking place at a breathtaking elevation of up to 14,000 feet. The spacious facility is also stocked with state-of-the-art equipment, and staffed by a team of certified instructors who helm tandem dives for newbies.
Skydive Midwest's U.S. Parachute Association?certified instructors have completed an average of more than 4,000 skydives each. The instructors' ample explorations of gravity and comprehensive training sessions, which are held onsite, help them to securely guide thrill-seekers during tandem jumps, solo jumps, and bouts of spontaneous levitation. Skydivers leap from a sleek and speedy DeHavilland Twin Otter jump ship, which boasts a glitzy new paint job, lightweight bench seating for 23 people, and the ability to climb to 14,500 feet in only 18 minutes.