Skydiving is like most of the rest of life’s key moments: It matters how you get there. The vehicle you pile into to go to the prom, or your wedding, or graduation, or a first date with the person you’re pretty sure is going to be The One…well, it matters, doesn’t it, even though it’s technically just a means of getting from point A to point B? Planes make a difference in skydiving, too, and we’re about to tell you exactly why. As a matter of fact, the aircraft a dropzone uses as has a pivotal effect on your overall skydiving experience.
Has it ever occurred to you to wonder why different skydiving companies advertise different altitudes in their marketing campaigns? Some of ‘em hawk skydives of up to 18,000 feet, while most of the playing field hovers around 10,000. Why? The plane, dear reader. The plane.
The reason for the prevalence of the 10,000-10,500-foot altitude is simple: the most common skydiving aircraft in the world can only efficiently go to that altitude. We’re talking, of course, about the Cessna 182. The C-182 is the undisputed workhorse of the skydiving industry–and that little propeller has driven our sport since the start–but it only has one engine and it’s none too burly on the ups.
The higher altitudes are served exclusively by what we refer to as turbine aircraft. These babies go up to 13,500’ three times before breakfast, and they handily heft us up to 18,000’ when we ask them to.
With that altitude thing, you may think we’ve covered the difference between a single-engine aircraft and a turbine aircraft pretty thoroughly. But wait! There’s more. A savvy skydiver knows that less time in the plane means more time in the air, and that’s another skydiving aircraft factor at play. Depending on the kind of plane, that zero-to-13,500’ altitude gain can take anything from seven to twentyish minutes.
Remember that single propeller Cessna 182 we were just discussing? If you’re curious: It takes that plane around half an hour to creak up to 10,000 feet. On the other hand: With our plane, the coffee you leave on the table when you take off will still be nice and hot when you land.
What’s even better than a short plane ride? A short, comfortable plane ride. Single-engine aircraft pack skydivers in like a clown car, limbs entwined. If you didn’t know the people in the plane before, you’ll know them by scent by the time your parachute opens.
Skydive Orange, suffice it to say, appreciates a good plane. We take pride in flying the snazziest skydiving aircraft in Virginia–it’s safe to say, in the region. They represent what we believe to be the very prettiest, fastest, safest, comfiest aircraft available to the skydiving industry.
When you become a skydiver, you deserve to do so in the finest aircraft style! Get behind a proper set of propellers for your first parachute experience, and make sure it’s here at Skydive Orange. You’ll be glad you did!
The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.