Embry Riddle Aeronautical University is not only one of the top ranked aerospace engineering schools in the country, but it also produces a large number of our airline pilots. The university sits just four miles from Daytona Beach, one of the world’s most famous beaches - home of Bike Week, Spring Break and even the birthplace of NASCAR. While some ERAU students spend their free time relaxing and soaking up the sun, a select group of students use the beach as a backdrop for their aerial playground.
ERAU Skydiving Club offers the ultimate thrill to students, faculty and staff, who wish to participate in a tandem or complete their AFF course and become a licensed skydiver. ERAUSC utilizes the impressive facilities at Skydive Deland, located in Deland, Florida, only 15 minutes from the university. Skydive Deland graciously offers discounts to club members.
Within the first three weeks of school this semester (hurricanes permitting), the Skydiving Club has grown to over 40 members. Over a dozen new AFF students have completed their ground school and are ready to start becoming skydivers.
ERAUSC’s popularity has grown throughout the local skydiving community over the past year. As a university, ERAU has looked past the negative stereotypes of the sport and now embraces truly what skydiving tries to accomplish. This is evident by the request for demonstration jumps into almost every major event for the university, including ERAU’s homecoming air show and static display this November.
This year, ERAUSC has vowed to promote the sport of skydiving to even a larger number of students and expose them to every aspect of the sport. As of now, four separate teams, including three freefly and one female 4-way team are training to compete in Collegiate this year, once again being hosted in Lake Wales, Florida.
For these ten college students, classes are spent day dreaming about their next opportunity to jump from a plane, rather than fly one. Unlike most people who compete in the USPA Nationals, many of these students have full time jobs and are full time students. Four of the students are part of the Reserve Officer Tanning Corps program for the Air Force and Army, some are pilots, and even a few are engineering students. One competitor has even been working for NASA for two years.
The teams are not sponsored by local skydiving companies or dropzones. Part of what makes Collegiate such a great sport is that most of the competitors did everything in their power to raise money to compete. Very little funding is available through schools or local companies to support such a dream. It is nice to see how dedicated these college skydivers are to our sport.