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Wonderboy85

(Im willing to travel) I've got 2 weeks off this summer.... where do you think the best DZ is to get my A License????

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Where do you live? Why would you want to travel to get your license?

Summer in most parts of the world provides fine weather with no need to travel elsewhere to skydive. Once you earn your license, it'll be much more beneficial for your continued learning and development to already know the dropzone (or dropzones) in your area and some of the people. An A license is just the beginning - it's a license to learn, and a lot of your learning will come from doing fun jumps with people at the dropzone.

If the people at the dropzone have already gotten to know you when you're a student, during the jump day and over a cold beverage after hours, it'll be that much easier to get to know people who will become your jump buddies and informal mentors as you grow in the sport.

Conversely, if you're that person who comes back to your local dropzone as a freshly minted skydiver from "somewhere else," it'll take that much longer to get to know the folks in the local area. None of the local instructors will know you, so you're less likely to be able to rely on them to make introductions to others.

It's not that you can't do that, but it's a lot easier if you "grow up" there. Plus, you're starting out in the sport by supporting a local business, and that pays untold dividends, even if you might be able to save a buck or two on your training by going somewhere else.

My recommendation - save the travel costs and use them towards more jumps or to build up your gear fund. B|
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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I don't know about the OP's reasons, but I have mine for traveling to Elsinore a few days from now to learn:

1. My home DZ is weekend-only, and I'd like to do this in a solid 3-week block.

2. Home DZ has frequent weather issues, which when combined with point #1, could mean waiting another few weeks to do next jump.

3. Home DZ is not in an English-speaking country. I'd like to learn to skydive in my native language, and the instructors seconded this idea. I must understand everything.

4. Home DZ has a rather smallish landing area with limited outs. Not an ideal place to learn if other options are available, seconded by the instructors.

I've introduced myself around my future home DZ, and it seems unanimous that it's a good idea for me to learn on my vacation and come back to them when I'm more experienced. They actually expressed some jealousy that I have the opportunity to go to such a great place for a few weeks to jump. Many have been to Elsinore before, going back decades, and they recommended it highly.

"So many fatalities and injuries are caused by decisions jumpers make before even getting into the aircraft. Skydiving can be safe AND fun at the same time...Honest." - Bill Booth

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I appreciate the advice. I'm from the DC area (maryland burbs). All of the Drop zones are two hours away, and I noticed that the prices were a little cheaper on the west coast like ELOY. Thats why I wanted some advice from jumpers with experience. Oh ok, I understand your angle with trying to establish a relationship with a local place.
Tom

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Ya I'm gonna have to think this out. There is a lot of overcast and low cloud cover and when I ventured to PA i was just turned down to jump numerous times ( years ago). Are these large DZs/ skydiver hotels that are situated in the west coast/ desert more ideal to learn? Seems like they have wind tunnels on site, alot of aircraft, free bunk houses to stay.

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Ya I'm gonna have to think this out. There is a lot of overcast and low cloud cover and when I ventured to PA i was just turned down to jump numerous times ( years ago). Are these large DZs/ skydiver hotels that are situated in the west coast/ desert more ideal to learn? Seems like they have wind tunnels on site, alot of aircraft, free bunk houses to stay.



"More ideal" is a pretty subjective thing. As noted above, there's a lot of benefits to being at what may become your home DZ. And there's a lot you can learn during those cloud cover days. Being two hours away from a DZ is pretty standard - a few folks are lucky enough to live in major metro areas and be closer, but generally, DZs are out in the middle of nowhere, so unless you also live out in the middle of the same nowhere, you're going to have to drive.

The biggest year-round DZs in the US tend to be in places where the weather can range from abysmal (FL, AZ) to inconsistent (Southern CA, TX) in the summer. All of the big DZs will be jumping all summer weather permitting, but in many cases (like Skydive AZ in Eloy) the days will start and end early to miss the worst of the day's heat.

Irrespective of weather, there's positives and negatives to going to learn at a big DZ like that. Lots of people do it (though it tends more to be people coming from crappy climates in the winter to a place that has a better winter climate).

Yes, you can probably crank out all your jumps in a concentrated period of time (while you might not have a 7-day a week DZ available near home). The bigger DZs pump out a lot of students, and while the quality of instruction is generally consistently high, there may be less of a "personal touch" that you could get at a smaller DZ (particularly one where they know you're going to become a regular, and they have a vested interest in making sure you "grow up right.")

Most bunk houses aren't free, though they're not too expensive (in the $10/night or less range). Tent camping is free at pretty much every DZ that allows it.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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www.skydivethefarm.com

skydive the farm in georgia

total a-license package, $1999 (aff,4 coachjumps,gear rental,pack jobs, flight 1 canopy course). pretty much all you have to do is show up and jump. during the summer they fly 7 days a week. awesome/safe staff. 55 acres to camp on or a bunk room if that's more your style. 2 bathrooms and showers on site and plenty of friendly people to hang with.

call hans, the dzo, and see what he has to say. 404 295 5000

edited to add: camping and/or bunk house is free
"Never grow a wishbone, where your backbone ought to be."

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I would second thrillstalker's suggestion of Skydive The Farm.

I did my first jump course and my first jump at a DZ that was not too far away from Skydive The Farm.

After deciding that the other place was not the place for me; I drove over to Skydive The Farm. Talked with Hans, the DZO, and ended up finishing my AFF progression at The Farm.

Everyone there welcomed my non-jumping wife and I and made us feel very comfortable that this was the place we wanted to call home.

I've had the opportunity to jump with many of the instructors and coaches and every one of them has been very willing to share their knowledge and time with a new jumper such as myself.

They've given me a lot of great feedback to help me improve my skills.
Often times, they will video the jump so that I can not only hear the feedback but see it from their perspective as well.

I can't say enough good things about the men and women at The Farm.

Hope to see you come out and jump with us.
Canopies must all be female. If I treat mine good, she gives me a good ride. If I slap her in the bag, she will dump me like a turd.

Courtesy of PRE7117, love that line.

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No need to cross the country!

Skydive Chicago has the "A license in a week" program...

'A' in a Week Program

Skydive Chicago™ now offers an expedited student course. Get your A-license in a week!! This program includes 23 jumps of which 18 are with an instructor and video. The program also includes parachute packing class and license fees. There are no hidden costs. You must complete 2 tandems prior to enrolling in the program. Package price $2,699. To qualify for this special discount you must actually complete the program within the course dates for A-license in a week.

Truly one of the biggest and best out there, just outside of Chicago in Ottaway IL...

http://www.skydivechicago.com

Great people, incredible drop zone.

Is it the best? That's subjective. I'm young in the sport, have only jumped at five dz's and your mileage may vary but?

This is an incredible sport with incredible people. You'll find yourself at home most anywhere. East, Midwest, West, and South you'll find dz's that offer many different options.

I'd choose SDC because they have the program you are looking for, years of experience and respect in the sport, and a great teaching staff.


Good Luck!


Jack

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Hey, I am actually in the same general area. I live in Baltimore. My home DZ is Chambersburg, PA. It is a drive but the knowledge there is amazing. I have been trying to get finished since July. I can say half me and half that cold weather towards the end of October. I am on solo status ans can officially do fun jumps but I am still working on finishing. I drive up there most weekends with skydiving buddies or solo. Personally I like the DZ because I have noticed that the way they train you, you learn everything! I mean I know how to effectively spot, Not just relying on the pilot (of course I am a newbiw and more experience is needed), I know how to pack (even had a quick session with Brian Germain - look him up), and I know how to read a winds aloft report, cloud clearances. Now dont get me wrong you can easily read this stuff in the manual and the person that I am I did but there is nothing like someone pulling you aside and teaching you this from a foundation (bottom to top) level, which they do very well. Speaking to other students like me and you I have shown that I know more then most from other DZs just because they teach me so much there. I personally like them, and if you would like to roll up there once let me know, we can meet up and meet the Chambersburg gang! Blue Skies!

Life finds its purpose and fulfillment in the expansion of happiness

--- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

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