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.

 

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.

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.

Kat Osipova: Wealth of Information

Warning: in writing this review I acknowledge that I might be biased. Not only did I find a new passion, I also found a new family of like minded people and a home away from home. If you want to do it right come to Orange. Safety was a big thing for me and boy do they focus on safety here. Not once in my license progression did I feel like I didn’t know how to deal with a difficult situation, and I’ve had some interesting jumps. The instructors and the coaches are a wealth of information! They are also very friendly and approachable and are willing to teach you everything they know. You just have to listen and learn. Of course there are some challenges that come with any sport. That’s just the nature of the beast. The biggest one for me was sitting out the bad weather. And even then the guys and gals were very accommodating and worked with me on equally important aspects of skydiving like packing your own chute, or doing ground training, or going over already learned material to make sure there were no questions or issues.  There is always so much to be learned! If the thought of skydiving ever crossed your mind – do it. Don’t wait for 10 years to pass. And to do it right you have to come to Orange. I’m glad I did. It changed my life for the better. 🙂

William Leas: Quality Instruction

Pursuing my A license at Skydive Orange was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I think the thing that stands out the most about the AFF program at Orange is the quality of instruction and the emphasis on safety. On every jump, from my Cat A jump to my graduation skydive, I never felt overwhelmed or unaware of what to do should something go wrong. Every single time you show up for an AFF jump you are required to practice emergency procedures. Though tedious Steve and the AFF gang make sure every time you are put in the plane you are confident and ready to skydive. The instructors are great about working with students individually and debriefing after every jump. You’ll learn so much even from just hanging around the hanger. Orange is the best place to start jumping hands down.

Curtis Giles: Safety is the Priority!

Skydive Orange (SDO) is the STANDARD for AFF. Safety is the priority! The facilities and staff are professional and always willing to provide those little nuggets of wisdom that’ll help you during your AFF process, as well as throughout your skydiving career. You cannot have a conversation with anyone that has gone through, or are currently going through their AFF at SDO and not mention the well-respected AFF director Steve. Steve is to the point and runs the SDO AFF program like a well-oiled machine. He makes multi-tasking look effortless. I have many memories of Steve, but my fondest moment was my 25th jump. I landed right next to the cone and there was Steve standing by the white student pickup truck with that emotionless look on his face. I said “See Steve, I may not act like I’m listening to you, but I really do.” He replied with “Yeah, you finally did something right”. Inside joke…Steve gave me my A license stamp on forehead gave me some more words of wisdom, and like clockwork, got back to work and manifested the AFF students on the next load and assigned them to their AFF Instructor or Coach.

The Instructors, Coaches, Riggers, Packers, and Guest Services personnel are second to none. One thing you’ll learn about skydiving is that the weather will dictate skydive operations. There will be days where you will be at the DZ all day and get one jump in if you’re lucky, due to wind, rain, clouds and cloud holds. Instead of just sitting around twiddling your thumbs, you can get with a packer and learn how to pack your chute. You can ask an Instructor or Coach to train you on the next AFF Category or make sure that you’re caught up on your quizzes. Coming from a military Airborne background, I really appreciate how everyone is willing to assist you and make you feel comfortable as you progress through your AFF training.

I can honestly say that I’ve been introduced to some new friends to that I look forward to continuing to kiss the sky with. Henry, Billy, Mario, Matt, Tammer, Adam, Tina, Monica, Nick, Spencer, Cherry, Jon, Luke, Kevin, Whitney, Kelly and “SODU” thank you for being from Day 1 to graduation. I’ve jumped with many SDO AFF Instructors and Coaches, so please forgive me if I miss anyone. See you in the sky and at the bonfire! I’m claiming my bunk!

Keith Buell: Better instruction & a stronger safety culture

I just completed my skydiving A license at Orange and had a great experience. I began AFF at a different dropzone and went through six jumps there. The difference between that dropzone and Orange was night and day. At the first place, the instruction was good for ground school, but after eight jumps, students are mostly on their own until they do a couple coach jumps and get their license. The gear was also a little long in the tooth. At Orange, they follow the current ISP program that has many coached jumps after the first eight AFF jumps. The coaching at Orange was fantastic. Each jump had a thorough pre-jump review and a post-jump debrief. At the place I started, I was lucky to get five minutes of instruction from an instructor who had just run in from landing a tandem. Also at Orange, each day begins with a thorough hands-on review of simulated emergency procedures–another thing that was lacking where I began.

I ended up paying more at Orange to get my license than I would have had I continued at the first dropzone, but I was paying for better instruction and a stronger safety culture–both of which are invaluable to me. The AFF director at Orange, Steve, knows his stuff and his safety consciousness was frustrating at first when I drove 90 minutes and couldn’t jump because of winds. Steve knew that even though the ground level winds were just under the 14 mph limit for students, they were stronger at 1000′ and it wasn’t safe because it may have been difficult to reach the landing area if I ended up downwind. Steve has the unenviable job of keeping eager students within their safety limits.

All the instructors and coaches that I jumped with were knowledgeable and friendly–Henry, Billy, Tammer, Monica, Mario, Matt, Adam, David, and Carey. I can’t wait to continue jumping and to hang out around the bonfires after a fun day in the sky.

One more thing–Orange has a Twin Otter, which is comfortable and quick on the way up to 14,000′. And it has a nice big door for easy exits.

Christopher Cabrera: Worth Every Penny!

For anyone even a little interested in skydiving, THIS is THE place to go, hands down. From Day 1, everyone associated with Skydive Orange has been nothing but helpful, friendly, and approachable, from the Head Honcho, to Administration, and of course the Coaches and Instructors. These guys have a passion for skydiving and a genuine interest in passing that on to everyone that steps through the door. Luckily, I live an hour or so from the Dropzone, however would be willing to drive from much longer and farther to continue coming to Skydive Orange. I started at SO with a Tandem Jump in July 2016, decided to pursue my A License February 2017, and got my stamp in May 2017, and have every intention to keep going.

Students entering the AFF Program need to understand one thing: this activity is at the mercy of Mother Nature – if you accept this, you’ll have a great ride! I have worked with at least 8 different Coaches/Instructors along the journey, each and every one of them knowledgeable and patient during the teaching and learning process. There are no stupid questions here, as they are sticklers for safety and protocol – never a bad thing when participating in an activity 14,000 feet in the sky. Each jump is prepped with everything you need to know as well as discussed afterward to provide additional feedback; this organization services A LOT of people on a daily basis, however when you are with the coach(es), they make you feel like you are their only student. Along with an instruction manual, their hangar has everything needed to prep for your jumps, so when you do get in the air, there are no surprises. I felt well prepared and safe along every step of the way. Make yourself available more days to get through the program faster – at 25 required jumps, you won’t breeze through in a couple of weekends; it is what you make of it, and for those who don’t have great coordination – be patient because it can be a little bit of work to nail down these techniques. Don’t worry – the Coaches/Instructors will be patient with you and your learning style.

At the end of the day, this is a business, and every one at Skydive Orange is professional, courteous, and organized. And while they have no control over the behavior of the people who come to jump at the dropzone, they breed a culture of inclusivity – no rockstars or cult mentality here; you are free to be as involved in the skydiving community as you want.

Huge thanks to the Head Honcho, Steve H. for putting together an awesome organization – he really has all the right people on staff; while always in the mix and hands on with students and jumpers, he’s always laid back and easy going because his crew has the place covered. You’re in good hands with the ENTIRE staff.

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

Share This