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.


When Can I Skydive By Myself | Skydive Orange

Juan Ayala: Professional & Comfortable

What I like most: professional coaches, safety in the jumps, have a comfortable environment for students and experienced jumpers, personally the coaches followed step by step my evolution, with clear indications on things that I should improve.

I consider that what I would advise the new students is, ask about everything that is unclear or you want to learn, you enjoy more jumps when there are no doubts.

The coaches knew that I had jumps in my country so they understood and gave me greater confidence to be able to evolve faster, thank you for all your help and your teaching.

I have no complaints about DZ, it is a very good place to learn and enjoy skydiving. In terms of suggestions, I believe that I am happy with the comforts they offer, they helped me a lot because I do not speak English perfectly, thank you very much

Ryan Johnson: Top Of The Line

I concluded my class a license at skydive orange on March 12th 2017. There’s so many positive things to say about Skydive Orange. The equipment is top of the line and meticulously maintained. The facilities are excellent. Every single staff member is excellent, extremely knowledgeable and helpful. They know how to break the tension students get and have a good time yet safety is ALWAYS the number one priority. If a line is crossed nobody is afraid to point out what was done wrong and why and how to avoid it. They make everything a learning experience. Especially Steve Hetrick, he deserves a raise and a medal for all he does and all the wisdom he passes on. The only bad thing I can think of about Orange is the only complaint I’ve ever heard and that is the distance from home but there isn’t anything that can be done about that. My advice for future students is to keep up on those quizzes and get a copy of the SIM and read over your current category and the next one every chance you get. If you don’t understand something ask, and if you don’t understand one persons explanation or a technique they’ve shown you ask someone else, hearing it another way may just click with you. Also read ahead on your progression card and get things checked off early if possible like your accuracy landings if you get them and get started packing as soon as you can. My only suggestion for Skydive Orange is to keep it up; the equipment, the aircraft, and the people truly do make it Virginia’s Premier DZ.

Anthony Acevedo: What An Experience

Wow! What an experience, a very great experience! I own two business and I know how an operation should be run. Steve has been an amazing Coach and teacher, while Whitney has made this process so easy. Everyone here is so professional and helpful. Definitely recommending this place for everyone to jump. Can’t wait to keep on jumping, on to my B License! 2/26/2017

Mike Biero: Calm and organized

Skydive Orange was a trip! Everybody there is so easy to get along with, whether they’re instructors or not, everybody was approachable and willing to help new student skydivers. Steve does an amazing job in keeping everybody calm and organized throughout the busy days and makes sure we’re all having a blast while we’re working to get our A licenses. My advice to give is just to relax and enjoy every jump during your student days and keep in mind that maybe not every jump is going to go your way, so don’t get discouraged! Have fun, keep diving, and you won’t regret it. No suggestions I can think of, y’all got it down! Blue skies! 1/18/17

Staff and facilities

David Blanco: Staff and facilities

The staff and facilities at Skydive Orange are all awesome, I could not have asked for a better AFF experience. There was never a point that I felt like I was not prepared to accomplish the next task, all the instructors are extremely knowledgeable and more than happy to answer questions. Not to mention, that having a Twin Otter to jump out of is epic. Advice that I wish I had known was that being nervous was a part of the learning process. Some days you feel awesome and some your feel hesitant, but not to worry, you’ll learn to love it! Advice for other students: Stick with it and have fun! The only part I didn’t like was getting up early was less fun, but that’s more reflection of me than Skydive Orange 😉 11/06/2016

Skydive orange flexible

Julie Hill: Be flexible!

Skydive Orange was a great dz to learn at, and I love jumping there! The instructors/coaches were all great and able to meet me where I was, as a student.  The training and feedback that I got before/after each jump helped me learn and develop skills every time.  The focus on safety was obvious to me from the first day that I was there, I can tell that everyone there takes their work very seriously.

For future AFF students, I would recommend being very flexible with your schedule, trying to make time every week to jump. Nothing is more frustrating than having one day set aside for skydiving, just to not be able to jump because of the weather. Have a few back up options that can keep you at the dz on a regular basis. At the same time though, don’t stress out (like I did) when it feels like it’s taking forever to move through the categories.

I can’t think of anything specific that I don’t like about Skydive Orange, I’m happy to jump there 🙂 11/13/16

Great skydive orange

Mikhail An: Great place all around

It’s a really great place! I recommend Skydive Orange to everyone who would like to start the AFF course or tandem jump. I tried a couple of different places before and I choose Skydive Orange for my AFF program. Great instructors: Steve, Matt, Chad, Henry, Gigi, Billy, Elizabeth, also the coaches: Monica, Tammer and Jim! It was my pleasure to work with those people during my course. Great pilot and very good plane condition! The best facility in our area!!! 11-13-16

knowledgeable skydive orange

Elias Garcia: Knowledgeable staff

I started my AFF training at a different drop zone, Skydive Orange was very accommodating. I was able to complete A license requirements very efficiently while in a safe training environment. The instructors and coaches are very knowledgeable and provide excellent instruction. Emergency procedures were reviewed every morning to ensure that all students were ready to face the myriad of possible malfunctions. The students have their own landing area so they aren’t competing with the licensed jumpers and tandems for air space or landing space. If you are interested in getting into this sport, I highly recommend Skydive Orange. Listen to your instructors and coaches, remain altitude aware, arch, legs, relax, and enjoy the ride! 10-29-16
Learning at skydive orange

Mark Pierce: Learning at SDO

I have loved learning to skydive at Skydive Orange. It is a great drop zone that welcomes everyone right in and makes a great learning environment for developing skydiving skills and a new group of friends with a similar interest. I would tell student skydivers to get to know as many people at the skydivers at the drop zone as possible and learn from them as much as you can to help develop your own skills as much as possible. There’s not really much I could say bad about Skydive Orange. It’s a great drop zone with a lot of awesome instructors and coaches and Steve does an awesome job keeping it all organized and flowing the whole time. I can’t really think of anything that could be done better, it’s a great organization. 9-22-16

Best Shoes For Skydiving | Skydive Orange

Dustin Snapper: Friendly, warm environment

Skydive Orange is an amazing place to learn how to skydive. They have given me a solid foundation on how to be a safe skydiver. Everyone there is also super friendly, warm, and funny making it such a great environment to be in. Steve, the instructors, and, the coaches are truly there for the students and have all taught me so much.  Don’t be afraid to ask the coaches/instructors for advice and lots of questions. Also….don’t forget to pull. : ) The only thing I don’t like is that I can’t sit on the side of the pick up truck when driving back to the hanger. I’m kidding I love skydive orange. A couple of my jumps were filmed by my AFF-I and I got to watch my jumps right after as part of the debriefing. I learned a lot from just watching these videos, as my instructor was showing me what I needed to improve on and what I was doing well. Filming for certain categories and going over it with the instructor would be a great addition to the debrief.


Eric Breeden Skydive Orange AFF Student

Eric Breeden – Keswick, VA

Skydive Orange is beautiful, Lovely views in every direction.  It’s amazing because it’s out in the middle of nothing but green. Everything is very professional and well run.  Steve always responds to email quickly.
Prepay, make a plan, keep studying, know what you want to focus on, keep current, write down your landing accuracy in your logbooks every jump.   You’ll need it later, watch the plane fall away and you’ll be arched. ~ 8/10/2016

Jack Harding Skydive Orange AFF Student

Jack Harding – Fredericksburg, VA

Skydive Orange made the AFF student program incredibly enjoyable. All of my instructors and coaches were extremely knowledgeable and were always happy to answer any questions. I can’t imagine learning how to skydive at any other drop zone. Skydiving can be pretty daunting when you’re just getting into the sport but skydiving orange helped me feel confident enough to make the jumps by understanding emergency situations and how to respond to them appropriately.
Basically my review boils down to: excellent staff, excellent training. excellent equipment, excellent environment, excellent experience. 8/6/2016

Chris Posillico Skydive Orange AFF Student

Chris Posillico

What I like the most about Skydive Orange: Everything. When you come to Skydive Orange, one thing you can bank on is that safety is always first! The experienced instructors and coaches teach emergency procedures (EP’s) every morning before jumps. They teach every malfunction and the appropriate corrective action. Prior to each jump three separate gear checks are performed to ensure the parachute is ready to go. The diverse staff couldn’t be any better, and I always felt secure in my actions because I knew that I was well prepared by my instructors and coaches. Matt Fistler, Hank, Gigi, Steve, Billy and Shane were the primary instructors during my A license training. Jon & Josh provided packing advice and continue to help perfect my packing technique. Every single one of them were outstanding, informative and great coaches and instructors. And of course, Steve Hetrick, if you adhere to Steve’s words of wisdom, you can’t go wrong.

Advice for other student skydivers: My advice to other students would be to keep up on quizzes. Knock them out as you progress. Also, begin packing as early on as possible. It’ll help down the road. Most importantly, have fun.

What I don’t like about Skydive Orange: Not Applicable

Thanks for everything! – 8/6/2016


Dave Harris Skydive Orange AFF Student

Dave Harris – South Riding, VA

I chose Skydive Orange after reading a ton of reviews. I had an option of attending several drop zones for my AFF course and couldn’t be happier with my choice. The instructors and coaches were incredibly competent, professional and fun to be around. I really enjoyed the atmosphere in the hangar. Whether it was instructors, coaches or experienced jumpers….everyone was welcoming and helpful.The only advice I could possibly have for future students is just to be flexible and go with the flow. There are going to be days you get up early and drive to the drop zone just to sit around all day and hope the weather changes. This is just the way skydiving goes sometimes, don’t sweat it. Most of all…have fun!!! ~ 7/23/2016

Kelly Gray Skydive Orange AFF Student

Kelly Gray – Culpeper, VA

The best thing about Skydive Orange is the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.

My advice for other students is: Relax! You will get this! Breathe.
I don’t really have any advice that I wish I’d been given. Everyone was really great making sure I was totally informed.
When I first started the student program a couple years ago, the dz was really transitioning and I felt about chaotic about the student program and basically everything in general. But now, things have changed a ton and it’s pretty easy to get info. The fb page and private group page are updated regularly so everyone knows what is going on.
Also, there were instructors that weren’t very positive. Ok, really just one who was pretty unencouraging to students and made us feel like we were burdens to everyone. A thoughtful and supportive instructor makes a HUGE difference in my confidence. I feel like Lauren does a superb job with EPs. She really explains EVERYTHING in detail. Jim is super relaxed so jumping with him made me relax so I performed better.
Steve has always done an outstanding job and has been beyond patient with me as far a accommodating everything.
Tammer was super upbeat and supportive to jump with as well.
Overall, I’m super pleased with the dz and I’m pleased to call Orange my home zone.

Also Whitney is basically the best.

The impact Liebler has had on Orange is everything. The atmosphere has completely turned around. Social media is better and the whole sz seems so much more legit. I personally feel a lot more welcome. – 7/23/2016

Shumbey Calvin – Fairfax, VA

Had an awesome time learning from great instructors.  really appreciated the amenities of the DZ, and facilities.  In addition to knowledgeable instructors and coaches Steve Hetrick runs a very efficient and well oiled operation.  I’d advise other students to read your SIM, and get your quizzes knocked out sooner rather than later.  Only advice i wish i had been given was to start at Orange earlier.  Had an awesome time learning how to be a skydiver, i’ll spend the rest of my time learning how to suck less. – 7/6/2016

Kurt Rosell Skydive Orange AFF Student

Kurt Rosell – Alexandria, VA

Skydive Orange was a fantastic place to get comfortable and learn all the skills necessary to skydive. They have the best training equipment on the ground and in the air. We started each day with valuable emergency procedure reviews with equipment that made things feel realistic. Every instructor specialized in calming your nerves before each jump and providing helpful advice after.

My advice I would give other student skydivers is to listen to everything the instructor tells you. Their experience shines through at each level and you can put your trust in them.

The one piece of advice I wish I had been given is to not over think things. The progression plan is designed the way it is for a reason. It feeds you a little bit more skills to focus on every step of the way.

There’s really not much improvement I can suggest for Skydive Orange. The thorns in the student landing zone kind of sucked, but as long as you don’t land in the dark patches, you’ll be alright.

My experience at Skydive Orange has been top notch; from the beginning of the day, to the classroom instruction time, to the rig packing class. I can see how this DZ takes their job seriously while having fun. The crowd of returning skydivers/fun jumpers is great and I can see why everyone always returns. – 7/06/2016

Colm Walker Skydive Orange AFF Student

Colm Walker – Baltimore, MD

What you like the most about Skydive Orange: I have been to a handful of drop zones. Facilities, equipment, and staff will vary. Each place will have its own culture and way they approach the sport. Skydive Orange is the best place I have seen to learn how to skydive. Their facilities are spacious, clean, and modern. Covered packing, plenty of riggers, roomy aircraft, excellent instructors, and segregated landing zones are some of the perks. The best thing about Skydive Orange is the attitude and culture. The vibe is to welcome new jumpers to the sport and the world of skydiving. You are not treated like a revenue source. You are treated with care and attention. Instruction is thorough tailored to the needs of the jumper. This is the best executed AFF program I have seen.
Advice for other jumpers: If you can, pay up front and in cash. It commits you to completing the program. It takes away one of the biggest hurdles to a timely finish. You get a bunch of freebies that are well worth it. You can take advantage of unexpected opportunities to jump without having to check your account balance.
Advice you wish you had been given: One size does not fit all. Find a drop zone and culture that is a good fit for you. Seek advice and coaching from other rated instructors and coaches. Something you are struggling with might just click when you hear it from a different coach. A big thank you to Henry for the assist on nailing my hop and pops and improving my exits.
What you don’t like about Skydive Orange:  The distance! I can’t fault the crew at Skydive Orange for this but, my drive can be brutal. I living in Baltimore and depending on how DC wants to behave it can take anywhere from 2.5 hours to 4 hours. The funny thing is I am not the only one driving a long distance. Ask around and you will find the instructors do too! With drop zones in Delaware, Western PA, and Virginia Beach, coaches and instructors drive farther to be apart of the Skydive Orange community. That is proof enough for me on the quality of the program and the commitment to excellence from Steve and the team. Thank you and Blue Skies! – 6/29/2016

Kellen James Lynn Skydive Orange AFF Student

Kellen James Lynn – Arlington, VA

It’s difficult to make a summation of my experience learning to skydive through the AFF program at Skydive Orange without words like “INCREDIBLE”, “FUN”, “WELCOMING” & “GRATIFYING”. The drop-zone itself is housed in a fantastic spacious hangar, designed to house all jumping equipment and able to accommodate parachute packing for student and fun jumpers. The parachute packers, who are full-time staff, are all super friendly and great at what they do – removing all doubt I had of accomplishing the looming task of canopy flying. The aircraft, a Super Otter, is everything you could ask for in regards to speed in getting to altitude and space at the door. Last but certainly not least, the student landing area is WIDE open and very friendly for new canopy pilots to learn how to fly and land a pattern.

In regards to my expectations coming into my first class, I honestly didn’t know if I’d have steel in my veins or butterflies in my stomach the first time I looked out the exit door of the Super Otter. Any uncertainties I might have had were evaporated because the AFF instructors made me feel confident to fly through thorough preparation on the ground and excellent brief’s before and after a skydive. I felt my knowledge base of belly-to-earth and canopy flying build after every jump and the program is excellently designed to re-use skills learned in past lessons and add to the skills in your toolbox. The instructors in the AFF program are on par with any top-tier coaches in any sports discipline. They do very well at breaking down and teaching skill-sets and instilling the confidence needed to execute a dive successfully. Also, there is always a plethora of licensed instructors/coaches and sport jumpers with LOADS of experience, which helps big time with rounding oneself with good habits learning to fly.

If I had to give any advice to future students it would be to socialize when you’re at the drop-zone. It’s easy to hang out in the student area and on the comfy couches, but to really make for a great experience, I would highly recommend pumping people for information about their background, experience with different disciplines in skydiving and just shooting the breeze! Everyone I met at Skydive Orange has a pretty cool story and are SUPER easy-going, making it a lot of fun building relationships.

The only thing I didn’t like was the weather in May! But I am thankful that the AFF staff do a fantastic job keeping an eye on weather conditions and communicating with students in regard to our ability to jump on a given day.

My only suggestion would be DON’T LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH! Skydive Orange has a great thing going on and I would highly recommend the AFF program to anyone interested in getting started in the sport. THANKS A MILLION! SEE YOU IN THE SKY! – 6/24/2016

Colm Walker Skydive Orange AFF Student

Colm Walker – Baltimore, MD

Baltimore, MD

The best thing about Skydive Orange is the attitude and culture. The vibe is to welcome new jumpers to the sport and the world of skydiving. You are not treated like a revenue source. You are treated with care and attention.

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

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