jumper about to board skydiving plane

How Does a Skydiving Plane Impact Your Jump?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

You’re making your first skydive.

WOW, right?!

This is an exciting moment. If you’re like most of the new jumpers we meet, you’re on the edge of your seat. You’re bubbling with energy. You want everything to be perfect. So do we! That’s why Skydive Paraclete XP operates the largest (and most desirable, by the way) fleet of skydiving planes on the east coast. Our stable includes a Twin Otter, CASA 212’s and a Super Grand Caravan.

Is it surprising that our fleet of aircraft is such a massive point of pride? Not if you have a little bit of an education on what that means. The kind of aircraft a DZ flies has a very big, very direct effect on the overall experience of your skydive. If you’re still thinking in terms of “getting out of a perfectly good airplane,” here’s a little background information to help you frame the subject in a way that makes sense.

Here’s why the aircraft your dropzone chooses to fly makes a difference:

1. Altitude

Your research has no doubt revealed to you that different dropzones bring loads of skydivers up to different altitudes. Have you considered yet why this might be the case? Almost always, the size of that number comes down to the plane. If a smaller dropzone is using the world’s most common skydiving airplane–a Cessna 182–as its workhorse, then that dropzone is only going to go to around 10,000 feet above ground level. It simply doesn’t have the power to get higher without taking an unsustainable amount of time and fuel to do so–and that little plane, as beloved as it is, already takes about half an hour to propellor its little way up to ten grand. That brings us to the next point…

2. Speed

…which is the speed that you may expect to arrive at exit altitude. You might be surprised to learn that, even though many dropzones go to the same 13,500’ altitudes, the kind of plane they use to do so can take anything from seven to twenty (give or take) minutes to get there. Beefy, turbo-charged jump ships shake a tailfeather to spirit you up to jump run, and that’s a good thing–you’ll spend less time being nervous, you’ll be more comfortable and you’ll have a swiftly changing view sweeping by the plane windows.

3. Comfort

Remember those little Cessna 182s we talked about? Well–though pretty much every skydiver on the planet has spent time in one, once we discovered the world of bigger, fast aircraft, we pretty much trip all over ourselves to jump out of anything else. A Cessna fits three jumpers and the pilot, packed in clown-car-style, with a you-wouldn’t-believe-how-awkward skootch to the door when it’s finally time to go. If you haven’t lost feeling in a limb by the time you exit, you’re some kind of unicorn.

Our planes are stretch limousines by comparison–and golly, do we ever like it that way. Our aircraft hold our customers and our beloved, hardworking staff in the very best, fastest, safest, most comfortable aircraft available–a fact of which we’re very proud.

Do you understand now why we’re so thrilled to show off our stunning jump ships? These are, by a load of metrics, the very most perfect of the “perfectly good airplanes”–and you’ll be as cheered to ride in them as you will to barrel out.

Learn more about our skydiving planes or, if you’re feeling adventurous, go ahead and reserve yourself a ride in one of them. We can’t wait to show you what they can do.

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I did my fist tandem jump yesterday with Jon. It was one the best things I have ever done in my life. I wish to thank everyone there for their professionalism and yet you made it so much like being a part of team and a family.

Coleen Courtney Mick