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Best DZs to get A License

 

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tfg30  (A License)

Sep 5, 2013, 6:13 AM
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Best DZs to get A License Can't Post

I`ve got a couple weeks of vacation in November and would like to get my 'A' License.

I am new to skydiving, but have finished the first five jumps of the AFF program. Unfortunately the DZ I am learning at will be closing down for the season shortly, and I don't think I will have enough to time to finish.

So, a few questions:

1) Will other DZs recognize the jumps that I have already done? Or will I need to start from the beginning?

2) What is a reasonable amount of time to get an A License assuming I can devote myself full-time to the training? I'm aiming to get it done during my two weeks of vacation. Is this reasonable, or am I out to lunch?

Finally, can anyone recommend some DZs that offer the following:

1) Good weather for jumping during the winter.

2) Are AFF student friendly, and not just tandem factories. As I would be on a tight schedule, I'd prefer not to sit around waiting all day because they are swamped with tandems.

3) Have the resources (aircraft, instructors, etc etc) to help me achieve my goal given my time constraints.

4) Are fun, friendly, and safe.

Suggestions?
Thanks a lot for the help.
I just signed up here, and am really glad to have found this great resource!


NorrinRadd  (Student)

Sep 5, 2013, 6:21 AM
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Re: [tfg30] Best DZs to get A License [In reply to] Can't Post

I am faced with the same issue myself. I will get solo certified at my DZ, but I wont have enough time or money to finish the 15 more jumps I need for my A. Don't know how it works in the US, but in Canada, once you become solo certified, you pay your first dues and become a member of the CSPA (the Canuck version of the USPA), which grants you the ability to jump solo anywhere in Canada. Of course, there is also currency... most DZs will require you to have a certain level of currency or they may ask you to take a refresher course of some kind. And some DZ's require folks who are not their students to have an A.


rcs

Sep 5, 2013, 6:48 AM
Post #3 of 31 (5641 views)
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I would call Deland if I were you. i think they meet all your criteria. You would also have the added advantage of visiting several manufacturers. Good Luck

Blue Skies.


Deisel  (D 31661)

Sep 5, 2013, 7:03 AM
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Re: [tfg30] Best DZs to get A License [In reply to] Can't Post

Two weeks is certainly reasonable. Hell, I've seen it done in one week. But of course there are many factors to consider. For some people, doing more than about 3 jumps in a day can actually be counterproductive. This has nothing to do with intelligence, but more to do with the learning experience, instructors, and the environment. There's no way to predict your ability to inhale a large amount of information in a compressed amount of time until you actually try it. You'll know once you've had enough and need to take a break. Your instructors may not.

Of course the weather gets a vote in how much you can jump. And money, but you should already know this.

With that said, the large DZs in SoCal and Fla have robust student training programs and good weather in the winter months. Call ahead and let them know what you're trying to do. Good luck, stay safe, and have fun!

D


mattjw916  (D License)

Sep 5, 2013, 7:05 AM
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You can easily pull that off at Skydive Arizona in Eloy as well.

I knocked out my entire A license in a few weeks there back in the day. The only thing that slowed me down was soreness from jumping student gear which is never really very comfortable. Never once was I waiting on a load or an instructor to get free in order to jump. If the weather gets bad you can always walk 5 minutes and go fly in the tunnel (unless it's pouring down rain Wink).


Premier Remster  (C License)

Sep 5, 2013, 7:17 AM
Post #6 of 31 (5564 views)
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Re: [mattjw916] Best DZs to get A License [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not dissing on Florida, and their weather can be awesome... but it also can be shite.

AZ and SoCal are your best bet if you are going to pick 2 weeks and hope for the best odds for jumping. I'd pick Eloy, Perris or Snore. Snore is smaller, but they seem to have a great student program. Teams don't dome to Eloy just for the scenery ;-) lol

What time of year?


tfg30  (A License)

Sep 5, 2013, 7:23 AM
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Re: [tfg30] Best DZs to get A License [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the help, everyone.

I'm planning on doing it in November.

I looked at Eloy, but to be honest, I read some bad reviews if you are considering going there as a student. Maybe I should take it with a grain of salt?

Also, can anyone tell me if my AFF jumps at one DZ would be recognized at a second DZ?

Thanks again!


NorrinRadd  (Student)

Sep 5, 2013, 7:31 AM
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Re: [tfg30] Best DZs to get A License [In reply to] Can't Post

According to their website, they require you to have an A at Eloy. All the same, you could send them an email explaining your situation. Eloy is the Big Place in the skydiving world, from what I am told.


Premier Remster  (C License)

Sep 5, 2013, 7:45 AM
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Re: [tfg30] Best DZs to get A License [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Maybe I should take it with a grain of salt?

Yes.

And November is great weather time in AZ and CA. Technically, November is still Hurricane Season on the East coast (the end of it, but still).


Give the schools a call.


djmarvin  (D 22292)

Sep 5, 2013, 7:53 AM
Post #10 of 31 (5496 views)
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Try Skydive Spaceland in Houston, TX area. They have instructors dedicated specifically to student training so you will not wait around for "available" staff. They will work with you based on your current jumps (most DZs will). The weather in November is generally great for jumping. You can complete your license in a week and do several other jumps including canopy course and further coaching.

http://www.skydivespaceland.com/...a-license-in-a-week/


davelepka  (D 21448)

Sep 5, 2013, 7:53 AM
Post #11 of 31 (5490 views)
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If you're considering Perris, go there. They can meet your requirements, they have a tunnel on the DZ and Elsinore is 20 min over the hill. Provided you can get your license, it might be fun to drive over the hill and jump at another DZ.

If you have 5 jumps in the bag, you should have no problem finishing up in two weeks. I would suggest you keep jumping at home, and head out there with as many jumps logged as possible. Make sure that your logbook is filled out and all jumps are signed, and your USPA membership is current when you take your trip.

Another idea is to try and get a jump in within 30 days of your trip. This will keep you current, and avoid another hassle when you show up at a new DZ. You might just get a chilly Oct hop n pop, but a jump is a jump, and it will keep you current.

HOWEVER, if you end up going 29 days between your last jump at home and your first jump on your trip, while you're still current, make sure your coach/instructor knows that it's been a while since your last jump. You'll be at a new DZ, jumping different gear, from a different plane, into a different DZ, so current or not, it's not a bad idea to do a 'low pressure' jump just to get the feel of the place. While you might be able to do your next coach jump, to add a new freefall skill to all the other new stuff might not be smart. You could do a solo, or if you want a coach/instructor, maybe just do a couple practice hackey touches, and some easy docks/turns in freefall, just to ease the workload a little.

If you're thinking Florida, Z-Hills is nice as is Deland. Or you could hti Spaceland in Texas.


(This post was edited by davelepka on Sep 5, 2013, 7:54 AM)


mattjw916  (D License)

Sep 5, 2013, 7:56 AM
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Re: [tfg30] Best DZs to get A License [In reply to] Can't Post

Ignore the bad reviews. Most people don't know what the hell they're talking about on the interwebs anyway, especially students (no offense).

Jumps are jumps, they all count however you still will have to complete the entire AFF/coach jump progression and demonstrate all the skills required to achieve an A license. Seriously, who cares if you need to do a couple more turns or front loops? You're there to learn after all.

Another great thing about Eloy is that most of the instructors and coaches you will encounter there are typically world-class skydivers. It makes a difference because not everyone that's a great skydiver is a great teacher and you will find no shortage of mentors there that will suit your personal goals and personality.

Want to get personal dedicated training? It only takes money and time. I'm sure there's no shortage of resident former/current shit-hot freefly or RW team members from the likes of Arizona Airspeed and others hanging around in the winter that will literally train you until you pass out with coach jumps if that's what you want.

edit: I will also add that Spaceland, Perris, Elsinore, etc are all great as well. I've just never made it to Florida. Tongue


(This post was edited by mattjw916 on Sep 5, 2013, 7:58 AM)


grasshoppergirl  (A 255824)

Sep 5, 2013, 8:18 AM
Post #13 of 31 (5412 views)
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Re: [Remster] Best DZs to get A License [In reply to] Can't Post

Remster wrote:
I'm not dissing on Florida, and their weather can be awesome... but it also can be shite.

AZ and SoCal are your best bet if you are going to pick 2 weeks and hope for the best odds for jumping. I'd pick Eloy, Perris or Snore. Snore is smaller, but they seem to have a great student program. Teams don't dome to Eloy just for the scenery ;-) lol

What time of year?

Agreed re: Florida. I took two weeks there in November expecting to rock star through AFF and got hosed by the wind.


Premier NWFlyer  (D License)

Sep 5, 2013, 8:48 AM
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Re: [NorrinRadd] Best DZs to get A License [In reply to] Can't Post

NorrinRadd wrote:
According to their website, they require you to have an A at Eloy. All the same, you could send them an email explaining your situation. Eloy is the Big Place in the skydiving world, from what I am told.

So you missed the whole "learn to skydive" section of the site? Wink


melch  (A License)

Sep 5, 2013, 8:53 AM
Post #15 of 31 (5331 views)
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Definitely take the bad reviews with a grain of salt.

I am finishing up my A requirements at Eloy right now. I started my AFF on the East coast (the school called to confirm and then accepted all jumps I had completed there) and while I don't have any major complaints with the instruction and feedback I got through my first 7 jumps, the amount and quality of feedback I have recieved from the instructors at Skydive AZ is leaps and bounds better. The instructors take the time after the jump identify improvement areas through critical thinking discussions and then help correct faulty techniques rather than just sign your log book and pat you on the back (they do that too though lol). Tom, Jared, Sandy, Dusty, and Kim are really on point. The other instructors are as well from what my fellow students and I have discussed but those are the only ones I have personal experience with.

My only complaint about Eloy is the price for coach jumps. $144 is a little steep and cuts into how quickly I would have liked to finish up my jumps but I feel like you get what you pay for. They do have packages that save you money for all of your coach jumps (listed on their website).

I would recommend getting your jumps in on Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday because on Saturday there are a lot of tandems which get priority on manifest (at least it feels that way). I usually go on Sundays and rarely wait more than 30 minutes from the time I land until I'm on the next otter.

Eloy overall is great! You can easily crash in the bunkhouse for $8/night the bent prop provides all your food and booze needs and the gear shop is nice. Great community and lots of experience to draw from. If you have the $$$ then I would highly recommend it.


(This post was edited by melch on Sep 5, 2013, 9:01 AM)


NorrinRadd  (Student)

Sep 5, 2013, 8:53 AM
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Re: [NWFlyer] Best DZs to get A License [In reply to] Can't Post

I suppose so! I just skipped to the experienced section Tongue


NorrinRadd  (Student)

Sep 5, 2013, 9:01 AM
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Re: [NorrinRadd] Best DZs to get A License [In reply to] Can't Post

According to their FAQ section:


Quote:
Q: If I start a program at another location, will my jumps transfer?
A: Most training jumps will transfer. Please contact our School for further information.
So I guess I was not too far off!


Premier SkymonkeyONE  (D 12501)

Sep 5, 2013, 9:45 AM
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Re: [tfg30] Best DZs to get A License [In reply to] Can't Post

Do you plan on staying on the dropzone the entire time? Are you going to be driving your own car there, or are you going to be flying there? If flying, are you going to rent a car or are you planning on hiring a ride to the DZ and just stay on site until you are done? Do you plan on staying in a bunkhouse on the DZ or are you going to tent it? If neither, are you going to need a hotel nearby? If staying on a dropzone for the duration, you are going to want it to have a good bonfire scene, a snack bar/ restaurant and definitely a bar (at least I do). Is the school "tandem driven" in the winter season? Do they have enough staff to accomodate AFF guys as equal priority or are they going to make you "sit on the bench" and wait till the tandem load slows down? Is there a tunnel on site or nearby? Does that tunnel cater to AFF students efficiently? Consider ALL of these things before making a decision.

Wherever you decide to go, be it AZ, FL, CA, or TX, just make sure that dropzone covers all the bases.

I currently call Skydive Arizona home (weekends anyway) and I can promise you that it covers ALL the bases. I've also lived/worked at Skydive City in Z-Hills, Raeford Parachute Center in NC, and Skydive San Marcos in TX. All have great student programs and check most of the blocks I listed.

Z-Hills is slammed in the winter with foreigners; it's super-fun that time of the year. Entire european dropzones shut down and bring all their students/ fun jumpers there for months at a time. No bunkhouse, but trailers are available for rent on the DZ and hotels are super-close. Excellent camping crowd, too! Orlando tunnel is about an hour down the road.

No bunkhouse at Raeford, but the biggest tunnel in the USA is five miles down the road and the bar is AWESOME! TONS of part-time staff, so ripping through the student program is not difficult. Stamping the A-license on the forehead, a current national fad, originated at Raeford by yours truly and Tony Thacker in 2003. No, it's definitely not too cold to skydive in NC in November. You won't get ass-raped on prices either. http://www.jumpraeford.com is the website. Raeford is the only dropzone I've ever been to that is dog friendly. There are many, many dropzone pooches. All you are asked to do is pick up after the animal and not let them run free if they are "trouble makers".

At skydive San Marcos in TX we treated our students exceptionally well and had a fantastic program that took the student all the way through the cat F,G, and H jumps in a well-thought-out manner. Skydive Arizona also has such a plan. There is a good bunkhouse at San Marcos, but no real bar, and no drinking on the dropzone at all until after close of business.Food is only sold in the snack bar on weekends generally. Austin is a half hour down the road, Texas State university is 15 miles away, and the best BBQ on the planet is 12 miles away in Lockhart. No close hotels though.....

Good luck,

Chuck


diablopilot  (D License)

Sep 5, 2013, 10:23 AM
Post #19 of 31 (5168 views)
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djmarvin wrote:
Try Skydive Spaceland in Houston, TX area. They have instructors dedicated specifically to student training so you will not wait around for "available" staff. They will work with you based on your current jumps (most DZs will). The weather in November is generally great for jumping. You can complete your license in a week and do several other jumps including canopy course and further coaching.

http://www.skydivespaceland.com/...a-license-in-a-week/

I'll second that suggestion since I've worked closely within that program for 3 years, I can tell you that it is one of THE best programs I've had the pleasure of teaching from.

I'll also add, if you'd rather see sunny Florida and some of the beautiful beaches down here, the same program is available at our Florida location! :-) Skydive Spaceland Clewiston/Everglades


(This post was edited by diablopilot on Sep 5, 2013, 10:25 AM)


LyraM45  (B 26378)

Sep 5, 2013, 2:17 PM
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Re: [tfg30] Best DZs to get A License [In reply to] Can't Post

Personally I would stick with FL or SoCal. November can start to get cold in TX. Granted, Nov can also get chilly up top in CA too.

I've lived in all 3 places and have jumped the winters in all 3. I'd go FL. Like Chuck said, Zhills has an awesome crowd during the winter. I've had great experiences at Sebastian too, and you can't beat the view!!

Good luck! Smile


tkhayes  (D 18764)

Sep 5, 2013, 10:57 PM
Post #21 of 31 (4682 views)
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http://skydivecity.com/...-learntoskydive.html

and our full info packet
http://skydivecity.com/...SPInfoPacket2011.pdf


tfg30  (A License)

Sep 6, 2013, 4:32 AM
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Wow, thanks a lot for all of the great replies.
I realize there are countless options, so I'm just in the process of narrowing down my list of potential schools to contact. All of these suggestions will certainly keep my busy.
I will post here and let everyone know what I decided and how it worked out when I make my decision.


djmarvin  (D 22292)

Sep 6, 2013, 6:22 AM
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LyraM45 wrote:
Personally I would stick with FL or SoCal. November can start to get cold in TX. Granted, Nov can also get chilly up top in CA too.

Parts of TX get cold in November, but Houston is a bit warmer than you might think.

http://www.accuweather.com/...ember-weather/351197


cbjetboy  (D 33207)

Sep 6, 2013, 2:15 PM
Post #24 of 31 (4431 views)
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Re: [djmarvin] Best DZs to get A License [In reply to] Can't Post

djmarvin wrote:
Try Skydive Spaceland in Houston, TX area. They have instructors dedicated specifically to student training so you will not wait around for "available" staff. They will work with you based on your current jumps (most DZs will). The weather in November is generally great for jumping. You can complete your license in a week and do several other jumps including canopy course and further coaching.

http://www.skydivespaceland.com/...a-license-in-a-week/

I can recommend Spaceland also. I did my A license training there last December and January. Houston area does not get that cold. I actually miss the cooler temps right now! Wink I can also recommend The Ratings Center and DJ for additional training such as the Basic Canopy Course. The DZ is awesome with most everything you could ask for and nearby places for everything else.


(This post was edited by cbjetboy on Sep 6, 2013, 2:15 PM)


ChuckMartin  (D License)

Sep 7, 2013, 11:46 PM
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Eloy and Perris are nice. I did my AFF at San Marcos in TX and like the DZ so much I moved there. Did my AFF in Jan/Feb in about three weeks. Its not the biggest drop zone in the world but the people there really know what they are doing and everybody is friendly.


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