iFLY Orlando's state-of-the-art indoor wind tunnel lets acrophobic and aerophobic adrenaline junkies experience the sensations of skydiving under safe conditions. iFLY Orlando will suit you up with a helmet, goggles, flight suit, earplugs, and a can of gravity repellent, before an instructor teaches you the basic maneuvers and hand signals. Once you've learned a lesson, you'll be unleashed into the vertical tunnel’s artificial wind current for two one-minute rotations of air time at terminal velocity (real skydives usually allow for about 40 seconds of air time). The entire process lasts about an hour, including waiver signing (flyers under 18 must have a parent or guardian sign), a 15-minute class, and a flight slot during which your group takes turns flying. In addition to the flight experience, the multimedia package includes a DVD with a recording of your flight.
Indoor skydiving is accessible to a wide, family-friendly age range, meaning that Grandma and Grandpa can celebrate their 60th anniversary with more than the traditional cake shaped like Andy Griffith. iFLY Orlando's free observation deck allows for maximum show-offiness, so invite along an audience of hard-to-impress friends, lovers, and butlers to marvel at your simulated plummet through the heavens.
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.
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.
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.
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.