After school, most students rush to sports practices or study sessions in the library. At Skydive Palatka, however, pupils follow their time at ground school by joining instructors in a jump from 13,500 feet. They take the leap from a Cessna Grand Caravan, traveling at upward of 120 mph during free fall as they descend over the St. Johns River, catching views of both coastlines before deploying their own parachutes and piloting safe landings.
At least 7 successful jumps are required to qualify students for free falls without instructor supervision, and at least 10 are needed before worried pelicans stop trying to catch them in their mouths. For guests uninterested in solo drops, Skydive Palatka offers tandem jumps, during which each visitor is harnessed to an experienced instructor who operates the parachute system and steers duos toward a safe landing.
The seasoned jumpers on staff at Skydive Amelia Island have all successfully completed thousands of jumps. The dedicated professionals securely strap themselves to beginning skydivers and plunge from a plane to enter a freefall of up to 120 miles per hour. These experienced skydivers hope their enthusiasm for diving is catching, as one of them says: “The falling is so exhilarating, I just wanted to keep on doing it”.
Daytona Skydive's experienced instructors accompany fledgling flyers on awe-evoking plunges above scenic Daytona Beach areas, using sturdy Sigma tandem parachute systems. During a one-on-one briefing, instructors take about 10 minutes to detail procedures and characterize the experience through a series of whooshing noises. Students don stylish jump suits before embarking on a 15- to 20-minute plane ride, during which groups soar to heights of up to 14,000 feet.
Start Skydiving owes its ranking as the number-one skydiving location on dropzone.com to its staff of master skydivers, pilots, and instructors. The team navigates its aircraft thousands of feet in the air for tandem or AFF solo skydives, and the jumpers help novices in obtaining their own USPA B, C, or D licenses. Newly inducted divers can gear up with Start Skydiving’s online store, which carries everything from altimeters and flight-specific shirts to tickets for rides on hot-air balloons or twin-engine pterodactyls.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 2?4 hours
Brands Used: Sigma Tandem Rigs are the safest in the industry
Pro Tip: Dress in loose comfortable clothing?gym attire with tennis shoes. RELAX.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Tandem skydive 2 miles above the Earth
Recommended Age Group: Adults
When and how did you first develop a passion for your work?
Skydiving has been our passion for more than 50 years. The thrill of skydiving (falling toward the earth at 120 mph) can only be experienced through actually jumping out of an airplane. We love sharing and teaching others about our sport.
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
Freefall is a great place to hang out with your friends.
What is the one feature of your business that you're most proud of?
Our owners have a combined 50 years of experience. One was a national competitor with more than 9,000 safe skydives, and the other a Tandem Examiner with more than 9,000 safe tandem jumps.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Most people can skydive, provided they are height-weight proportionate and serious about learning and safety.