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.
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.
In 1960, Vin Silvia put his faith in a parachute as he dove from an aircraft for his first freefall. The rush of adrenaline continued beyond the dropzone, inspiring the creation of Chattanooga Skydiving Company. Now in its third generation of family ownership, the company mints new divers on a regular basis. As long as the skies are clear and the clouds slake their appetites on birds rather than planes, instructors give lessons or pair up with novices for tandem jumps. Chattanooga Skydiving Company abides by safety methods approved by the United States Parachute Association so that any client can experience the thrill of great heights without previous experience or access to the shoulders of an obliging tall man. A digital video recording allows customers to upload, email, and share video evidence of their celestial endeavors.
"[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.
Tennessee Skydiving, LLC's founders boast military training and they now put those veteran skills to work creating a thrilling skydiving experience for the public. They can prepare a first-time skydiver for a tandem jump experience in as little as 15 minutes of ground training. After instruction, they head to their 18-seater aircraft and take to the skies, enjoying views of nearby countryside on their quick ascension. Once they reach altitude, they strap themselves to aspiring divers and leap from the plane, soaring downward toward a landing area spanning more than 700 acres. After a few minutes of free fall and gentle parachute ride, they deliver guests safely back to the earth. They run their operation so efficiently that even the military's 101st Demonstration Team comes to them for training and advice on handling moody parachutes.
Tennessee Skydiving, LLC, which is one of the closest skydiving schools to Nashville, boats a squadron of crack skydiving instructors that are more daring than most. Riding alongside clients in their spacious and speedy turbo-charged plane, the instructors strap themselves to jumpers for tandem jumps at the standard height of 10,500 feet, which provides 45 seconds of free fall. Sometimes, though, they urge the pilot to climb higher—up to 18,000 feet—for jumps they call “extreme tandem”. At this height, divers need oxygen tanks to breathe, but the risks are well worth the reward—a lengthier, 90-second free fall at face-stretching speeds of up to 120 mph. Even at such intense speeds, adventurers have no need to fear because Tennessee Skydiving is Department of Defense certified with most of their instructors being ex-military.