Dear Skydiver, Student or Future Skydiver,
We are thrilled you are considering jumping here at Skydive Allegan. We each make critical choices over the course of a lifetime and once you’ve made the decision to jump from a plane, your choice of drop zones becomes one of them. As someone new to the sport, or an experienced skydiver new to the area, the careful choice of where to jump should be based on a set of factors. As an experienced skydiver, instructor and proud co-owner of Skydive Allegan I’m proud to say we built our drop zone on the foundations of safety, experience, professionalism and inclusiveness.
Safety should be the primary consideration in choosing a drop zone, not the cheapest deal available. We truly believe you, “get what you pay for.” Providing the safest, most memorable experience for our customers includes extensive pilot training, instructor currency and licensing as well as meticulous aircraft and skydive equipment maintenance. As we believe the last thing any skydiver should worry about is hidden corner cutting, we choose to follow a simple pricing structure with easy to understand choices instead of different prices for various forms of payment or coupons through the latest online discount company. By using a third party sales structure, it becomes necessary for other skydiving companies to cut corners by only doing the minimum required training, maintenance or inspections, or skimping on their customer experience by reducing the jump altitude, using old video equipment, or charging more for a tandem student’s weight. We take pride in our clarity, transparency and the meticulousness of our staff which all equate to a safe, incredible experience.
Drop zone owner and staff experience speaks volumes. Research how long a skydive company has been in operation and their longevity at their current airport. Less than five years in either category may be an indicator that either the company has struggled to maintain airport relationships or they are still learning the ropes. Padgham Field has been our home for many years and we are proud to be part of the Allegan community. Our staff members, pilots and instructors are carefully chosen for their experience and love of the sport of skydiving. We are active participants in USPA Safety Day, conduct standardized tandem instructor refresher courses and are under the watchful eye of a USPA Safety and Training Advisor. Our parachute packers are supervised by FAA Senior Riggers after undergoing extensive one-on-one training. It is also important to ask if the drop zone of your choosing is a USPA group member. The United States Parachute Association governs our sport, ensuring member drop zones are held to high safety and training standards.
Professionalism and Organization are important factors when choosing a place to jump. We take great pride in maintaining an organized and meticulous hangar even when we have a plethora of gear, skydivers and families enjoying our sport. We truly believe that how we conduct ourselves and care for our space is a reflection of our adherence to training, safety and equipment maintenance. If you see more than parachutes cluttering a hangar, imagine how unorganized the rest of the operation is!
Inclusiveness and the ‘vibe’ at a drop zone will make your skydive experience life changing. Many small drop zones stay in business by focusing on and selling many tandem skydives as possible. These businesses do not accurately represent the true core of our sport. At Skydive Allegan you will see wingsuit jumpers, experienced skydivers building formations in freefall, canopy formation jumps and high-performance canopy landings. We have a robust student program with one-on-one coaching, teaching solo students to jump on their own. Our staff takes great pride in welcoming tandem students of all ages and experiences. Our students have included those over 90 years old, mobility impaired skydivers and people from all over the world. We hold annual events with the All American Roll Models, Veterans groups and various non-profit and religious organizations. While at the drop zone you may see Bounce (our three-foot-tall teddy bear) make a skydive to entertain the kids or Luke, one of our coaches, juggling. Our experienced jumpers are happy to share experiences and the energy they exude from their passion for the sport is infectious.
In addition to the above important factors, ask if the drop zone is a contributing member of the local community. Confirm what altitude you will exit the airplane. Ask when the last time the camera gear or video editing software was upgraded or what sort of swag will be included with your jump. All of these things, large and small make a difference in your experience.
Here at Skydive Allegan, we constantly strive to offer you the best skydiving experience possible at a well established, professional, organized, well maintained and insanely fun drop zone. We encourage you to visit us and see why all of these things, working together, make such a big difference.
No matter where you decide to skydive, whether this is your first skydive or your 1,000th skydive, I hope these words of wisdom will provide you a lifetime of memories.
Safety & Training Advisor