Sky Diving Centers

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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There are 251 sky diving centers, more commonly known as drop zones, in the United States. The three west coast states offer 33 sky diving centers. The Northeast states have as many. If you want to sky dive, this is the place to learn. It is also the place from which to continue to sky dive once you have learned the basics.

What Sky Diving Centers Offer

Your sky diving center program will consist, first, of four hours of on-ground training. This generally means a lecture on protocol, safety, equipment, and jumping styles. You will then go up in a small airplane, usually a Cessna, to approximately 10,000 feet, and jump.

Most often you will jump in tandem, that is, with an instructor, via connected harnesses. The instructor will control the chute release and guide the fall. The fall will last about 45 seconds and the canopy descent four or five minutes. You'll fall at about 160 feet per minute (110 miles an hour) in freefall and at about 1,000 feet per minute during descent. You'll land, most likely, standing up.

An affiliation with the United States Parachuting Association might be the first thing you notice in a sky diving center's credentials. This is neither required nor any guarantee of standards in training or facility. A perfectly good facility with highly rated jumpmasters and instructors might not have USPA affiliation. You'll need to assess sky diving centers on an individual basis for their fleet, training options, refund policy, equipment, instructor qualifications, and the like.

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