AFF Program Reviews

Read Skydive Orange AFF Student Reviews

Skydive Orange AFF Program Reviews

Our AFF skydiving certification program is recognized as one of the best on the East Coast. In fact, many of our skydiving students travel long distances to participate in our AFF program on the recommendation of their experienced skydiving friends. The professionalism of our instructors combined with the quality of our facilities and aircraft, make Skydive Orange the ideal dropzone for students beginning their skydiving journey.

If you’re looking for a well-structured, safety focused skydive training program, the Skydive Orange AFF course is for you. But don’t take our word for it, read what our program graduates have to say about their experience at Skydive Orange in the AFF program reviews below.


Skydiving: When Sh*t Gets Real! | Skydive Orange

Mike Sammons: The sport is very therapeutic!

The AFF program at Skydive Orange is run like a well-oiled machine. I have already recommended it to friends who are interested in the course. I like that safety was a priority but you can still have some fun. All the instructor and coaches were very knowledgeable and helpful with questions. I would definitely like to give a shout-out to Jim Day for getting me out of my comfort zone and Whitney Payne for running manifest like a boss. This sport is very therapeutic and I plan on doing it for a long time.

Joe Kouneski: So friendly and approachable

First off I would like to thank Skydive Orange for making dreams come true.
Positive: Never once did I feel like I wasn’t safe or pushing myself too far. I always comfortable asking questions even dumb ones. Everyone here is just so friendly and approachable. Being such subject matter experts, the instructors were able to explain things in a way that someone new to the sport could understand. Even when I royally screwed up, we would  go back look  to see what I did wrong and how I could  fix it. Gear always felt new and well maintained.
Negative: bad weather days, and you all can’t change that! Seriously that’s it. You guys too are awesome.
Thank you for everything!

Bardia Golkar: Highly Knowledgeable

I would definitely recommend Skydive Orange to any family members, friends and acquaintances. I have already brought my mother in-law and her husband to Skydive at Orange and I plan to bring more of my family to do the same. Overall, I think the program was designed very nicely. The AFF instructors and coaches are very nice and highly knowledgeable. Overall, I think Skydive Orange rocks! and I can’t wait to get my B license with you guys 🙂

James Tilson: Patient, Knowledgeable and Easy Going

Skydive Orange is the best DZ to go through the AFF course. I did a good amount of research prior to committing, and after having completed my training, I can confidently say that I made the right choice. The instructors and coaches are patient, knowledgeable and easy going. The facilities and equipment are top of the line, the staff is always helpful and the atmosphere is supportive and encouraging. I look forward to many years of safe skydiving knowing that I have the highest caliber of training, as well as an endless source of helpful information and advice.

Kyle Murphy: Knowledgeable, Eager & Excited

I completed my skydiving license at Skydive Orange over 9 of the most fun months I’ve ever had. All of the instructors were fantastic to work with; everyone was knowledgeable, eager to answer questions, and excited to actually get in the air. The great staff results in a great atmosphere for the entire drop zone. The whole location is very laid back and friendly; never did I feel like I was being rushed through the system or shorted on training time or air time.

My only complaint is that they can’t control the weather. Several times while getting my license I would spend a full day at the dropzone unable to jump due to unexpected wind or clouds. Getting weathered out is a huge let down, but that’s life with outdoor sports.

Jacob Moberly: Very Professional

Skydive Orange is a very professional drop zone.  All of the instructors have years of experience under their belts ranging from recreation to military.  Everyone I dealt with was very knowledgeable and eager to teach.  I always felt motivated to succeed every time I went! Being a college student in Army ROTC, I had a very busy schedule, but Skydive Orange worked with me every step of the way to ensure I accomplished my goal of becoming a licensed skydiver!  My advice for others is to be open to feedback from everyone at the drop zone, because there are so many experienced jumpers from all walks of life that are eager to help!  Skydiving here has been one of the greatest experiences of my life

Berk Ekmekci: Excellent Experience Throughout

It was a real pleasure to go through AFF and earn my A license with Skydive Orange. My time as a student was longer than most, taking several months, because of my schedule for getting my jumps in. However, every jump was a new and exciting challenge that the instructors and coaches did a great job leading me, and the other students I had the chance to meet, through. From the first jump course to my license check jump, the focus on safety, encouraging strong skill development, knowledgeable instructors, and the operation as a whole all have me looking forward to jumping at Orange over and again.

Mona Mahmoud: Experienced, Thorough and Motivational

Leonardo di Vinci once said, “once you have tasted the taste of sky, you will forever look up.” He must’ve been a skydiver.

Skydive Orange gave me that first taste of sky and I have been yearning for blue skies ever since.

Being a skydiver doesn’t happen overnight and requires you to abandon your comfort zone and learn a whole new set of skills. Safety and preparation is paramount and picking a safe and experienced dropzone is important. That is why I highly recommend Skydive Orange.

At Skydive Orange, the instructors are experienced, thorough, and motivational. They trained me diligently and prepared me for all possible scenarios. They simulated everything on the ground so that once I was in the air, maneuvers were second nature. Other experienced jumpers at the dropzone also lent their expertise. I was surrounded by brilliance.

It’s been a little over a week since I earned my A-license and I continue to jump at Skydive Orange. They have a “new kids on the block” program where newly licensed jumpers are paired with experienced jumpers. It’s a great way to continue learning and meeting new people in this sport. I’m excited to continue my skydiving journey at Skydive Orange. I want to give a special thanks to Steve for making the dropzone a safe and organized place to learn skydiving.

Brad Cohen: Knowledgeable and Very Safety Oriented

I just completed AFF and I can not recommend the program and Skydive Orange in general high enough!

A++++ rating. The staff is courteous, knowledgeable and very safety oriented. They really take the time to make you feel comfortable before every jump and focus intently on helping students learn how to be good and safe skydivers. The atmosphere at the DZ is awesome! Whether it is your first jump or your 1000th they always make you feel a part of the sport. The AFF program is very organized and scheduling is super convenient. Steve is awesome and so responsive. I greatly appreciate the expertise shared with me throughout AFF by both instructors and coaches. The combined level of experience at any given time in the hangar at Skydive Orange is unmatched! I have and will continue to recommend Skydive Orange as the best dropzone in the area and the premier area to complete AFF. Thank you all so much!

Christina Tobin: I am pretty sure this place is magic!

My AFF story began when I awoke one morning and felt the indescribable and insatiable need, want, and desire to take the leap out of a perfectly good airplane. Never in my life had I experienced such a crazy desire to pursue and conquer something that seemed so scary and impossible. I had to do it! I needed to do it! But I still wanted to make sure I was responsible and safe about it. I checked out a few different places online, and then began to ask around to the handful of friends that I had that had already taken that leap. Every single one, recommended Skydive Orange. I went in for a tandem, and two days later I started my First Jump Course!

Now, there is more to AFF at Orange than just the program and skills you build over the course. The friendships, mentors, and new “family” you gain is the amazing. It’s the unexpected part that makes this Dropzone so wonderful, and the reason it will forever be my home.

The amount of preparation, knowledge, and training you receive before that first jump, puts you in the mindset, and makes you confidently believe that no matter what goes wrong, you are well equipped to handle it. That feeling of confidence continues throughout the course. The safety drills or Emergency Procedure drills they conduct every morning, before you can do anything else, is priceless. Every coach and instructor brings unique knowledge and experience to the table. Little things here and there that they share with you during your EP’s are forever in your mind, and make you absolutely calm and ready to deal with frightening situations if and when they occur.

If you are like me, and live far away from the dropzone, they have facilities and camping on-site. This was invaluable, as it allowed me to quickly (and with a little luck from the weather gods) move through the program and get licensed in a mere 6 weeks or so. The nights spent out in front of the bonfire and hanging out in the Muppet Bar are already some of the fondest memories I have. I was skeptical when people said that this becomes like your second family, and I can say now, that it really does feel like family. Every time I pack my stuff up for the weekend (which is just about every weekend) I feel like I am coming home. It’s a place where happiness and peacefulness lives. It plays out every time you leave the airplane door. Where life seems a little bit more manageable and being able to take in the beauty of it all is possible. I am pretty sure this place is magic!

If you are like me on that crazy eye-opening morning, and you can’t quiet the inner dialogue telling you to take that leap…

Do it! Do it here at Orange! Do it with experienced staff that makes it safe and amazingly fun! Do it with people that will become like family to you!

I look forward to jumping with you one day!

Jacob Scherff: Friendly and Knowledgeable

I had pretty much made up my mind to learn how skydive but figured maybe I should start with a tandem jump to see how I liked it. When I first arrived I was impressed with the size of the facility and the number of skydivers there. I was introduced to Mario who immediately put my mind and ease about the jump. He was super friendly, funny, and gave me a thorough overview of how everything would go from the time we put on the harness to how we would be landing. The jump was amazing and not only did I know for sure now that I wanted to learn to skydive but that Skydive Orange was the place to do it.

The staff have all been friendly and knowledgeable and Whitney is always ready to greet you at the front desk with a smile. I would like to thank all my coaches and instructors Mario, Henry, Hank, Tammer, Spencer, a big red headed guy who’s name escapes me and of course Steve. Every aspect of the training is geared to give you the skills you need to be safe and have fun doing it. I would definitely give Skydive Orange’s AFF program 5 out of 5 stars. If you are serious about learning to skydive and want to do it in a fun and safe environment learning from coaches that have thousands of jumps under their belt then this is the place to do it.

You only get to pop your sky cherry once so make sure you do it right. Do it at Skydive Orange!

Virgil Bloom: Knowledgeable and Methodical

It’s very obvious from your first jump course to your last AFF jump that your safety and the safety of others is not something the staff takes lightly. The overall experience is a steep learning curve but with Steve and the other AFF instructors’s guidance, it’s a very smooth progression.

I never felt one time like it was a hassle if I had a question or concern. They are very thorough with the whole program and will not hesitate to spend a little more time on a particular subject if you’re struggling.

By the end of the program you will be dialed into every aspect required of an A license jumper.

Cody Henson: Professional & Patient

Getting my A license was something i have been wanting to do for quite a while and Skydive Orange made that possible. The instructors are professional, patient and always ready to help answer questions and give you pointers. Safety is a priority and it is made sure that every student is well versed on the emergency procedures, and before every jump the instructors will have you talk you through to make sure you are confident and ready. I feel confident in the skills i have learned during the AFF program because of the program and staff at Skydive Orange. I am glad i chose Orange as my home DZ and i would recommend them to anyone who has an interest in skydiving.

Jenny Russell: Solid Foundation

I could not have asked for a better introduction to skydiving than what I got from AFF at Orange. From the beginning, it was obvious that the safety of all skydivers at the drop zone was paramount. The instruction from every single instructor and coach was thorough and meticulous, and I am confident that I received a solid foundation to build on as my skydiving progresses.

Chas Scott: Best Experience Ever!

Best experience ever! Steve runs a great program. Instructors and coaches are well trained and very helpful through the whole learning process.  I am glad that I chose Orange as my home drop zone. I would totally recommend Skydive Orange to other people for their AFF training.

Albert Ogonevskiy: Safety is a Main Priority

I did my first static line jump back in 1999 and have been thinking about getting a license since then (it’s a long time, I know). Finally, last October I decided to give it a try. Friend of mine brought me to Skydive Orange and I can not imagine having a better AFF experience. Instructors and coaches are super competent and professional. Everybody at the drop zone is welcoming, helpful and ready to answer any question. Safety is a main priority here but at the same time they manage to keep the whole process fun.
Thanks Steve and the Team for the amazing journey! If you are serious about taking an AFF course, Skydive Orange is the place to go.

Ryan Bellack: Care For Safety Are Second to None

My first interactions with Skydive Orange were through Facebook and email to learn about the accelerated free fall (AFF) program, the program where you learn to skydive and obtain your A-License.  Skydive Orange’s communications from Whitney, who runs manifest, and Steve, who runs the AFF program, made me feel like I was their only customer.  I was looking at multiple dropzone to conduct AFF and only Skydive Orange made me feel this way.

Whitney is the face of the dropzone. She sits behind the counter at manifest and makes sure you get up in the air.  She always has a smile on her face and offers great customer service even when she is busy.   This goes for everyone in the manifest area – great customer service skills.

Steve, the AFF manager, trained me for my first jump course and made sure I was properly trained to have a safe first jump.  He was there throughout the program training me, providing quizzes, and instruction throughout the program.    All of the instructors and coaches seem to be of the same mold as Steve, they were all motivational, safety focused, smart, had quality teaching abilities, and conveyed the true importance of fun throughout all my interactions with them.  I am thankful for all the instructors and coaches who have helped me obtain my license to include, but not limited to: Steve, Mario, Tammer, Matt, Spencer, Alex, Carey, Cherry, Henry, and anyone I may have missed.

I took a parachute packing class with none other than Jon Stotts and he took his time with me on all the concepts and ensured I knew what I was doing to pack a parachute safety.  He even spent some extra time throughout my multiple visits to answer questions I had about the equipment and sport in general.  Jon is a very busy man, but he never made me feel that he did not have time to help me.  Thank you to Jairo for helping with my last pack job during the Boogie which was also a busy time, but he ensured I packed the chute properly.

I did have some troubles mastering the dreaded hop and pop, but the coaches and instructors kept giving me tips and corrections until I finally passed.  I can assure you my troubles were not from a lack of good instruction, but my own shortcomings.  I have to give a shout out to Matt Fistler and Tammer Ramini for not giving up on me when I struggled through this progression.   In fact, they were the only reason I did not give up.  Skydive Orange ensured I understood the importance of doing it right and helped me until I did it successfully.  The hop and pop at a low altitude is essentially a requirement to stay alive in a low altitude aircraft emergency.  Their attention to detail and care for safety are second to none.   I truly cannot say enough good things about the staff at Skydive Orange.

As for the facilities, they are top of the line.  The aircraft, the Twin Otter, climbs fast and has a nice big door for exits.   They have good technology, with a nice website full of info and they use Burble Me.  They are always offering courses to progress in skills and many Boogies.

is skydiving safe | skydive orange

Matt Stemmler: Firsts Impressions Last a Lifetime!

Skydive Orange is an amazing drop zone, and the best place to learn how to skydive!  I had previously completed two tandem jumps at Skydive Orange many years ago, and when my bank account was ready I didn’t even consider another drop zone to do my AFF.  They say “first impressions last a lifetime.” and that was truly the case with Skydive Orange.

I was highly impressed with the professionalism and friendliness of everyone at the drop zone. The instructors and coaches were extremely approachable and would answer any question you had.  Above all else, SAFETY was the number one priority in every phase of the training.  At the beginning of every jump day, the staff trains you on emergency procedures until THEY feel comfortable that you can handle yourself in the sky in any situation.  I accredit this training for keeping me calm during an emergency situation I encountered.  Because we trained every scenario thoroughly, the situation seemed routine and I never felt panicked.

My favorite part of learning to skydive at Orange was the wealth of knowledge and experience I was exposed to.  Steve was an outstanding primary instructor with nearly as many jumps as I have days on this planet.  Throughout my AFF I had the opportunity to jump with many different instructors and coaches, which gave me an opportunity to see different perspectives on various aspects of the jump.

Overall, I love this drop zone! I see myself jumping here for many many years to come!

Mark Wisdom: Professional Training and Great Attitudes

I would like to thank the Steve Hetrick and all the AFF instructors and coaches at Skydive Orange for their professional training and great attitudes! Every instructor and coach shared awesome bits of advice during the training and pre-jump practice making the actual jump more understandable and enjoyable. The parachute riggers deserve a big shout out as they made sure we always had a safe rig available. They all provided excellent advice and instruction on packing as well! The entire staff behind the counters and running the show are a joy to be around. They provide an enjoyable atmosphere in the hangar and don’t hesitate to go out of their way to ensure everyone’s experience at Skydive Orange is a great one! I am looking forward to my next, and future visits and highly recommend Skydive Orange to everyone!

Ven Iyer: Safety Remains Priority

At Skydive Orange, I always felt assured of safety while having fun. On the day of my Cat A first jump course, without having participated in a tandem before, I did not know what to expect. I received quality training for six hours, performed multiple dry-runs with my dive instructors, was administered several gear-checks and was briefed on radio procedures until I felt adequately prepared to jump out of an airplane for the first time in my life.

Safety remains priority while training at Skydive Orange. Instructors and coaches are always eager to answer questions and share experiences and will go the extra mile in ensuring you get the required information and training. Students also enjoy the sport better as they feel assured of having received the required training and are comfortable in the sky.

I would like to thank all my instructors and coaches at Skydive Orange including OJ, Mario, Tina, Shane, Tammer, Nick, Billy, Hank, Harry and Lambert. Steve was splendid in controlling radio for canopy turns. Jon Stotts helped me tremendously with my training to self-pack parachutes.

The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.

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