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sanven4

San Diego Area: Dropzone for my first jump?

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Good evening,

Some friends of mine and I (3-4 of us total) are going to sign up for our first jumps this coming week. No procrastinating, money is in hand, we're signing up, no more putting it off. The only problem is we don't know which dropzone to pick. I've scoured over the list of dropzones compiled at this website and have several choices within suitable driving distance:

Skydive San Diego
Pacific Coast Skydiving
Perris Valley Skydiving
Skydive Elsinore

The problem is, none of us have ever gone skydiving before and we really have no clue as to what would make one dropzone a better choice than the other. Can anyone give us an idea?

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I had to do a check jump after a long layoff, I went to Elsinore just because I thought the landing area was set up better than the other DZ's. But what the hell do I know I only have a couple hundred jumps.
You will probably be fine anywhere you go.

blues

jerry




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Well, start thinking about what size dropzone you would like to learn at. These 4 dropzones are all very different sizes.

Perris is the largest and is known for it's world-class instructors, many of which travel from around the world to jump and/or teach there. I've never jumped there but I have been to the tunnel there twice. It looks like quite a set-up. I believe their web-site has some cams you could click on to get a better idea of the ammenities offered.

I hear great things about Elsinore but have never been there (although I have driven past it about 50 times or so). Seems like a tight knit of jumpers. Again, awesome and award winnning instructors - from what I hear and read. Smaller than Perris but bigger than San Diego. I guess this would be a good middle road between those two.

I jump at San Diego (although it's been a few weeks - sinus infection :S). I love it because of it's location (straight shot down the 805 for me), it's weather/winds and it's size. San Diego has just changed ownership again so a lot of fun jumpers have moved to either Elsinore or Perris due to the change. San Diego is smaller than Elsinore or Perris but a has a great group of instructors and again, some world class coaches too. San Diego is where the Navy Leap Frogs train. There are quite a few military fun jumpers there as well.

I know nothing about the other dropzone other than you must be bussed from where you land back to the DZ. I believe they have a web-site and you could just call them to get some more info.

Hit their web-sites. Look at price, location and size. Read some reviews on this site and others. All in all, any choice you make will be a great one - all three places will take care of you ;)

"Excuse me while I kiss the sky..." - Jimi Hendrix

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Depends on what you are looking for. At Elsinore you get more of a family feel. Its an awesome place to jump and the instructors are world class. I take all my whuffo friends there for the vibe.

Perris also has world class jumpers and an excellent staff that will assist you every step of the way. It is definitely more of a professional, business like atmosphere with many perks.

I personally love both of these dropzones.

I cannot speak about Skydive San Diego because I have never jumped there. Here is a suggestion. Visit each dropzone and see which one has the vibe you enjoy more. That will definitely have a bearing on how much you enjoy your training. Ask questions, talk to some of the instructors and see how comfortable they make you feel. This will be the best way for you to choose the DZ that will train you up.
________________________________________
Take risks not to escape life… but to prevent life from escaping. ~ A bumper sticker at the DZ
FGF #6
Darcy

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I would pick Perris. I have been to all four dropzones and they are all great. Any of them are fine for tandems and AFF. Pacific Coast has a 206 and will most likely only go to 10k feet. It will be cheaper most likely, but sounds as if $$ isn't a problem for your first jump. But if you are going to become a skydiver, Perris may be better for these reasons:
They have world class instructing as mentioned above. They also have a wind tunnel which is a great teaching tool while going through AFF as well as after you get your license. Some of your AFF instructors will also be instructing in the tunnel. You can jump any day of the week. There are plenty of teams and fun jumpers there even on weekdays for planes to turn.
This is why I picked Perris to finish my student training and why it's my home DZ. All of them are good, and I would jump at any of them. I hope this helps.

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Quote

They have world class instructing as mentioned above. They also have a wind tunnel which is a great teaching tool while going through AFF as well as after you get your license. Some of your AFF instructors will also be instructing in the tunnel. You can jump any day of the week. There are plenty of teams and fun jumpers there even on weekdays for planes to turn.



....and Elsinore doesn't?:|

Best advice is to visit the DZs, rather than accept the biased opinions.
Talk to the instructors; take a tour of the facilities and see the gear you will be using.

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Perris valley. All the way.

Good and friendly instructors. Lots of gear and planes so fast or slow turn arounds whichever you want.

Facilitles are top notch. Tunnel resturant bunk rooms showers.

Sorry elsinore is nice but Perris has it all and more. Visit elsinore when you have qualified. Learn in the biggest and best place and you wont go far wrong.

Happy landings which ever you decide.


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I have jumped at both San Diego and Elsinore.

San Diego is awesome, however I believe with the changeover in ownership the DZ is non operating until Feb. (I could be wrong, but double check...). The winds in SDG are very consitent so getting winded out, or having weather holds are not a big issue. Sitting around waiting to get into the air can be maddening for a new jumper. :D I fell in love with the DZ after my first visit, terrific place to jump.

Elsinore has by far one of the most welcoming group's out there. I can be a bit biased as it is my home DZ... but the vibe and atmosphere exceeds any other DZ I've been to. I've heard from too many students to mention names that have started AFF at Perris and finished in Elsinore because they felt more at home and less nervous - that is spirit at Elsinore. The instructors are top notch (Lob does an awesome job running the school). The student landing area is HUGE. B|

I would definitely suggest the same as Darcy and go check out the DZ's.

Good luck!
g

Raddest ho this side of Jersey #1 - rest in peace brother
Beth lost her cherry and I missed it
.... you want access to it, but you don't want to break it.

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You can't go wrong with Perris. I haven't jumped at Elsinore or Pacific Coast Skydiving. Skydive San Diego is a cool place but I haven't jumped there since the ownership change. They also have a big lake there and some 3,000 foot mountains you'll want to avoid.

Driving distance is also a factor since if you're going to finish AFF and go on to get licensed at one DZ, you're going to make a lot of trips back and forth. It's best to stay at one DZ until you get an A license.

As for doing a tandem before starting AFF, some dropzone's require it, you can call ahead about that or just ask once you show up. I've yet to do a tandem, just because I wanted to go solo from the start. It might be a good idea just as a good low-pressure introduction to the sport.

Have fun, good luck.
BASE 1224, Senior Parachute Rigger, CPL ASEL IA, AGI, IGI
USPA Coach & UPT Tandem Instructor, PRO, Altimaster Field Support Representative

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If you're planning on doing AFF, I'd recommend Elsinore. I've jumped at Perris, but Elsinore has more of a friendly feel to it. I think you'd feel less lost as a newbie there. Either place you're going to be treated well and have nice amenities, fast planes, great instructors, and perfect weather. So really it comes down to which one you like better. Visit them both, ask people to show you around, and make an educated decision.
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. --Douglas Adams

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I would stay away from San Diego for now. The skydiving operation was recently taken over by the previous owner, Buzz Fink. The last time he managed the DZ, essentially all the instructors quit and went to Elsinore or Perris. According to 3 instructors I spoke to, they left because they were not given enough time with each student for proper instruction. I hope the same thing doesn’t happen to the current instructors at SD– they are top notch. Furthermore, Andy Witcomb (the owner before Buzz), took all his new student and tandem rigs (parachutes and harnesses) with him when he left last month and I don’t know if they have been replaced yet. I hope Buzz isn’t using his old student equipment – that stuff was getting long in the tooth.

Phil

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I just wanted to thank all of you for your input. Based on what I've read in this thread and what I've seen on the respective companies websites I've decided to go check out both Perris Valley and Skydive Elsinore (I must however admit that I am leaning heavily to Skydive Elsinore).

Thanks again for all your input.

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