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GrayAnderson

Training Gap-related questions

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I did my first jump (AFF/A) down at Zhills in Florida this past weekend, amid some weather hilarity (i.e. it was in Florida). I was only able to get my A jump in before I had to head back home to Virginia...the day I did ground school (Friday) the weather disintegrated, when I checked the weather Saturday I saw little stormlets all over the map and didn't even bother going out (wise decision; the site didn't jump at all that day I am told), and so I was barely able to pack the jump in on Sunday before I had to head back to Deland to catch my train.

I really liked the school in Florida and want to do most of my training there. However, as noted above, I live in another state. I'm actually down there enough to make this work (I'm in central FL about once a month meeting with business partners), though I'll probably need to manage at least one intermediate jump for recurrency purposes during training...being realistic, on the next trip (the result of a "happy scheduling accident") I'll probably get 2-3 jumps in, have a probable 5-week gap until Thanksgiving, get another 6-10 jumps in over a somewhat quirky Thanksgiving weekend...and then have all sorts of "fun" with Christmas scheduling.


Thus, my situation poses a fun multi-part dilemma:
(1) Should I try and schedule one or more intermediate jumps in Virginia, to avoid recurrency issues and training gaps, or just eat the recurrency costs?
(2) If yes to #1, any recommendations on which of the 3-4 DZs in Southeast/Central VA I should look at? Suffolk, West Point, and probably one or two others are within a sane driving range. Dinwiddie and Orange are also doable in terms of drive time, but that's probably the outer limit of my driving range.
(3) I'll deal with December a little closer in, but (hopefully being through my E-jumps) is doing a straightforward solo jump somewhere during this timeframe less of an issue? The bottom line here is that Christmas is the biggest threat to a regular training sequence anywhere since I'm going to be traveling out west for a few weeks.

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I live down in Newport News. I've gathered that the situation surrounding West Point's DZ is a bit more complex...there seem to be two operators there (one is tandem-only while the other is more full-service). That being said, I was not aware that the DZ operator out in Petersburg was the one who used to be at West Point (and/or that the West Point DZ had changed operators; the website for the old DZ still seems to be operational, but we all know how useful of an indicator that tends to be).

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I think Suffolk will certainly be the closest to you. I can't tell you much about that DZ. I've only jumpered there a few times many years ago. They do have a good reputation.

Think about what you're going to do after your training. It's not a bad idea to do your training at the DZ you're going to jump at once licensed. Even if you decide to do all your training in Deland, I'd recommend visiting the other DZs near you, and see what they're like. You might find a place closer to home that you really like.

- Dan G

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Definitely do some jumps in Suffolk. I am a regular there and have been for 8 years! The staff is fantastic and very willing to train you in between your trips to Florida. You're pretty lucky that you get to travel to Florida for jumping during the winter! Have fun and hope to see you around!

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