I did most of my early skydiving at a Cessna DZ where the ground elevation was 4000 feet MSL. 8000 feet AGL was the norm. We did a static line progression and worked our way up to 8000 feet as soon as we could. There was plenty of time as a student going to that altitude.
The first time I went to a turbine DZ I was absolutely amazed that you can get on the plane, get to 13000 ft and do it in less than 15 minutes.
In reply to:
Just wondering, what sort of student jump are you planning to do from 8000ft AGL? Student jumps tend to come in two varieties - first is the SL/IAD in which the canopy is opened right as you leave the plane so the exit atlitude is generally between 2500 and 4500 ft agl.
The other is the AFF type, which adds freefall training and uses exit altitudes between 10k and 13k agl, mostly depending on the plane (182s don't like to climb much above 10k/11k). The reason for this is that if you're going to train in freefall, you want as much time as possible to get though the learning objectives for the jump. Doing AFF from 8k makes for a very tight schedule trying to get all the learning in before pull time.
(This post was edited by ctrph8 on Nov 14, 2012, 9:53 AM)