I'm a pretty inexperienced skydiver, but after a boogie at Zhills, I can clearly see how my skills improved. TK Hayes gave a canopy control class that brought me from "hitting the target if I'm lucky" to "within 5 meters of target every time." I started the boogie barely able to sit-fly. Within three days, I was doing leg-docks. You only get improvement like this by jumping with great skydivers. The facilities are great, plenty of demo gear, and great, fast, and friendly rigging service. That all being said, some low-timers seemed to have a little trouble finding people to jump with them. However, just be friendly and listen to your elders, and watch your skills improve. Great atmosphere here. Cool vibe.
This is where I learned to skydive, and I'm glad I chose them. Everyone is really cool, the instruction is excellent. They got me right through my student program, but failed me on the levels where they needed to. (Read: very customer oriented, but they aren't going to let you kill yourself). The King Air is awesome! Everyone from guys with C licenses to some real sky-gods with tens of thousands of jumps offered to start doing RW with me the day I got off student status. There is no "no time for you newbie" attitude here. I'm still kind of a klutz when it comes to packing my chute -- and nobody is too busy to come over and help me out. That isn't to say that they don't have more fun things to do, but everyone from the staff to the other skydivers really care about helping newbies get into the game. Also, they have a really cool petting zoo here. Come and see the Northeastern Slice (raised in captivity, but still has its natural plumage). They have complete terrarium built for him including a big brown panel van. Watch him at feeding time as the tourists throw oyster after oyster at him. There are also two Hungarians (barbarians). Where else do Europeans go for vacation but sunny Palatka! They keep them in a trailer when they are not cage dancing. Watch out for them. They are prone to random acts of hairy-ass exposure when taken out in public. I guess you have to be crazy to jump Russian gear. Most of the jumpmasters have been shaven down and taught to speak. However, Ralphie is still not housebroken completely. Another great thing about this DZ is that when you have to buy beer, everyone here likes cheap beer. I bought a case of Newcastle one time and they didn't even run out. The shame the shame! Well, at least "firsts" don't cost you a lot!