Skydiving Schools

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Skydiving schools could be for you if you wonder about the blue sky, the rush, and the 50-second/10,000-foot drop that come after you jump out of the airplane with a parachute on your back. Do you remember the cliff scene in that 1970s western Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid? Robert Redford and Paul Newman arrive on horseback, in a swirl of dust, just at the edge of a steep cliff. You can jump from such great heights, yourself. Perhaps now is the time to stop wondering, check out a few skydiving schools, talk to people, and jump!

In this film, Newman and Redford stare down at the tiny curve of the river below. They glance quickly each other, let the horses go, and jump. When you think of scenes like this, maybe you want to know what it feels like. Once you've made a decision to find out, you'll want to look into skydiving schools in your area.

What Do You Get from Skydiving Schools?

It's not as if you need years of training to skydive successfully. Of course, you need to heed closely what they teach you in hang gliding and skydiving schools. These courses are for your safety. They have been created with your best interests in mind.

There are three methods taught at skydiving schools: tandem, static line, and accelerated freefall. The first might be your best bet. It's just what it sounds like--you're hooked up with a certified instructor and all will be well.

The second, the military approach, involves about six hours of ground training and low level jumps, by yourself, with a line from the airplane attaching to you. The third involves seven levels of learning how to maneuver and fly, several done with jumpmasters and several done on your own. You need to choose one of these, based solely on what you think you'd be most comfortable with.

How Do You Choose among Skydiving Schools?

Next comes the survey of skydiving schools--called drop zones--and deciding which of them seems to suit you best. There are 251 skydiving schools in the United States. They're scattered across the country. You will most likely find at least a couple skydiving schools somewhere within range, particularly if you live in the Northeast. Call a few of them. Read their promo materials on their websites or advertisements. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

You will also want to consider other factors when deciding on skydiving schools. How much does it cost? Are they a United States Parachute Association (USPA) drop zone? What kind of airplanes do they have? How many students have they had? Who are their instructors? What gear do they use and provide? Also, find out whether you can receive a refund if you back out. You need to be comfortable with the skydiving school you choose.

Skydiving can be a dangerous sport without proper training, so you'll want to be sure to acquire only the best instruction. Even if you're simply curious, you'll want to go for at least one adventure. Thousands of people are skydiving, time and time again, safely. They've learned from good skydiving schools and instructors, and you can as well.

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