Skydive Orange has some of the best staff and instructors in the industry. As Virginia’s premier drop zone, Skydive Orange has been in continuous operation since 1977 and because of this, they are considered to be one of the most trusted and established club-operated skydiving centers in the country. At a place of such caliber, you find several remarkable people.
But if there is someone that is an excellent candidate for this particular staff spotlight, it is Orren J Ford. OJ Ford is a tandem instructor, AFF instructor, Videographer, canopy coach, and a board member at Skydive Orange. You read that right; this fellow fills an impressive number of roles. One would wonder if there is any role that Mr. Ford doesn’t fill.
Let’s take a little time to get to know this Renaissance man.
OJ Ford became a board member at Skydive Orange in a pretty simple manner.
Because of an opening, the board held elections. OJ Ford decided to submit his name and when the votes were tallied, he was elected to fill the open slot. As a board member, Orren is partially responsible for running the drop zone.
Now, as mentioned earlier and on top of the responsibilities that come with being a board member, OJ also serves as a Tandem Instructor, AFF Instructor, Videographer, and a canopy coach. When individuals begin skydiving, they often set out with the intention of acquiring ratings. They begin skydiving and know they want to share the joy of skydiving with students as a tandem instructor, or they feel led to instruct others and set sights on getting their AFF-I. OJ Ford began jumping in the navy. After military jump school, he liked it enough to begin skydiving on the weekends. At the start, OJ just wanted to jump enough to focus on the fun instead of the fear. As he progressed, he decided he wanted to be an instructor.
So, which of these many ‘hats’ does OJ enjoying wearing the most? He says it’s definitely a tough choice but that canopy coaching is particularly satisfying. Though, each of these roles is rewarding in their own way. While there are a plethora of instructors, to him, it seems that there are fewer canopy coaches around, and it is what newer jumpers really need the most.
Jumpers often have a preference for a particular skydiving discipline. So, when Orren fun jumps is he an RW kind of guy or more the free fly type? It’s not a surprise that OJ is a jack of all disciplines (modestly he says he is master of none), but he feels like free-flying pushes him out of his comfort zone because he doesn’t get to do it often. OJ feels that good instructors should always be trying to learn new things because it really helps to relate better to the students.
With tons of jumps under his belt, you’d think it would be difficult for him to pick just one that was truly indelible. Without a beat, OJ says his most memorable skydive was taking his wife Raven on the only skydive she has ever made for their 15th anniversary.
And what does this relatable down to earth instructor do when he isn’t skydiving? OJ enjoys hitting the road in his RV, traveling and seeing the country.
The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.