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SKYDIVE

WHY NOT TANDEM SKYDIVE?

SKYDIVEOur skydiving school is dedicated to training, not to giving "rides."

On a tandem jump, you are not skydiving -- you are a passenger. Tandem jumping provides relatively little training value; it's more like an amusement-park attraction.

When you complete a first jump course at our dropzone, whether it's solo or AFF, you know that YOU made your own skydive!

Solo training provides a "low-pressure/low-stress/low-cost" introduction to skydiving with all the benefits of a superior learning experience.

AFF TRAINING

In an AFF first jump course (Accelerated freefall training), two jumpmasters hold onto the student during a high-altitude freefall until he or she pulls the ripcord.

At the flight school, you have the option of starting out with a series of solo jumps and then beginning your AFF progression or going straight to AFF. It all depends on your goals, expectations, budget and time available.

Skydiving Review:
By Joy Atkinson
(Summer Intern)

Great news for all you thrill seekers out there, there is an answer to your hunger. Freeflight skydiving is the answer for your adrenaline rush to make you the envy of all your friends. Talk about extreme sports, the only thing stopping your from plummeting into the surface of the Earth is a harness containing a parachute. Are you ready for the experience of a lifetime? Whether it's your first time or your fiftieth time, freeflight skydiving can fit your needs and desires. Freeflight skydiving is located in Coleman, FL about 45 minutes west of Orlando, FL. It's an easy drive out there.

Don't let the laid back appearance of the Freeflight school lead you astray. These jumpmasters are serious about skydiving. A 4-hour class taught me how to skydiving solo! That's right, I jumped out of the plane myself because they taught me how to skydive. This class required my undivided attention. They tested my comprehension of the important aspects of skydiving, knowing what to expect, and do. Upon completion of the class, I sounded like a skydiver and was on the road to thinking like one.

Not only is classroom knowledge tested, but also they walked me through simulations. These simulations prepare me to jump. It makes the circumstances become more real, because I am responsible in landing. While things are often repeated over and over again, it's because repetition is the key to remembering. I needed to remember to prevent me from getting hurt.

Finally, the plane ride up. It's a small plane. But, when the door opens, the world looks a lot different. My jumpmaster asked me all the questions we had practiced before flying. Before I knew it, I was letting go of the airplane and arching back. Seconds later my parachute opens and I practice the instructions I had so many times before on Earth. After my initial shock, I viewed the world around me, found where I was supposed to land, and went to my holding area, my safe place until landing. It was an extreme rush.

I controlled my own parachute. I had radio direction, but I was ultimately in charge. I did not land as well as I could have because of my error, but nothing horrible because of all my training. They even instructed me on what I did wrong. In case I was to skydive again. Impressive, I could make the out of this world experience better!

Needless to say, it was an adrenaline rush. It took a lot out of me. I would not be able to operate heavy machinery afterwards, and that's all right with me. Word to the wise; do not get discouraged. Freeflight skydiving wants in insure your safety. Therefore, weather conditions can cancel skydiving. The number one objective in skydiving is to land safely. However, the quote that is so famous of skydivers, so I'm told is; "We would rather be down here wishing we were up there, then up there wishing we were down there." I can now understand why one would wish to be up in the clouds.

FAQ:

  1. What should I wear?
    Comfortable clothes for the weather and tennis shoes, sneakers or other soft but protective over-the-toe footwear.

  2. How long are the classes?
    The first jump course (FJC) takes about 4 hours and you will jump right afterwards . . . weather permitting. (Unlike some other parachute schools, at FreeFlight we will not allow you to jump if the winds are too strong or gusty, or if the clouds are too low, for safety.)

  3. How safe is it really?
    Skydiving is probably much safer than most people seem to believe. You will wear two parachutes, a main and a reserve. Only a handful of students have had main parachute malfunctions since 1988. (They all landed uneventfully under their reserve parachutes after executing their emergency procedures as taught during the FJC.) You will wear a radio receiver which will allow an instructor on the ground to give you steering and landing directions. You will also be equipped with an automatic activation device which would deploy your reserve parachute for you in the incredibly unlikely event that you became unconscious or incapacitated in freefall.

  4. Do accidents happen?
    Yes. Fortunately, they are uncommon. Most of the skydiving accidents that you hear about in the news are blatantly misreported by people who have little or no technical knowledge of the sport. You might read, for example, that a jumper died "when his parachute failed to open." This is misleading language. Modern parachuting gear is extremely reliable. If it is properly inspected, maintained, packed and deployed, a parachute is almost certain to open fully and properly. In the very, very rare cases where it doesn't, the prompt and correct execution of emergency procedures can prevent an accident. So when an accident does occur, it is usually because the jumper failed to follow standard procedures. For example, the jumper may have activated his main parachute at a dangerously low altitude. (There are a few foolish souls out there who habitually "pull low" for the thrill, but they are a small and non-representative minority.) Or he may have flown a fully deployed and properly functioning parachute into the ground at high speed while trying to impress spectators with a risky steep diving turn close to the surface or close to obstacles. Most skydiving accidents result from mistakes or from careless or reckless behavior, not from equipment failures. So if you learn the correct procedures and follow them carefully every time, you will enjoy a long and injury-free skydiving career.

  5. Don't you have to do a tandem?
    No. A tandem jump is similar to an amusement park ride: It has thrill value, but relatively little practical training value. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people make one tandem jump and never jump again. This is an excellent way to experience freefall without actually having to learn anything. If you want to learn to skydive, AFF is the way to go.

  6. What if I'm afraid of heights?
    Altitude is not the same thing as height. Surprisingly, the view from an airplane is not as scary as the view from the top of a tall cliff or building. Believe it or not, many accomplished skydivers are afraid of heights.

  7. What kind of plane is it?
    It's a Cessna 182 Skylane. It holds one pilot and up to five jumpers.

  8. How high do you go to jump?
    For the first five jumps, during the solo training, you'll go to 4,000 feet. After that, a typical jump is from 11,000 feet.

  9. How long does it take to get to the ground?
    From 4,000 feet, it takes about 5 minutes, and you're under canopy the entire time. From 11,000 feet, you have about 45 seconds of freefall time and about 6-7 minutes under canopy. Of course, the times vary depending on what altitude you're at when you pull the ripcord.

  10. What's the most I can weigh?
    The gear is designed for jumpers up to 220 lbs.

  11. Where are you located?
    45 minutes north of Orlando off the Florida turnpike.

PRICES

Solo first jump course everything included
$149
Solo jumps 2-5, per jump $69
Video/still photos of solo jump, per person $49
AFF jumps, per level (there are seven levels to graduate) $160
Graduation package: 12 jumps
all five solo jumps and seven AFF jumps -- a $1,545 value
average cost: $108 per jump

$1,299

All training includes our undivided attention to your safe training with one-on-one personalized instruction, your skydive supervised and assisted by your instructor, and your First Jump Certificate.

The graduation package also includes: logbook, graduation certificate, parachute packing lessons and free accommodations in our clubhouse. Every other school charges extra for this -- we don't! You will receive the best training available and your instructor's time as required until you are completely and properly trained. We are not a student "factory" like most drop zones, but a private school dedicated to primary skydiving instruction (zero to 20 jumps) -- you are our main concern!

The flight school is also a pioneer in skydiving training using vertical wind tunnels (VWTs, or skydiving simulators) since 1988. AFF students will also be trained using this advanced equipment and techniques -- ask us for more details!

By Marie Ospina

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