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Same location since 1979. All jumps from our 22-jumper airplane (shown below) from 13,500'. Freefall a minute followed by a 5-6 minute parachute ride. We Skydive Year 'round!

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These are about a third of the 2012 AFF skydiving certification graduates! We hope to catch up adding the rest of them shortly-
Roberto, MontaŮez10/30/2012

What I like the most about Skydive Orange: The training is first class! The instructors and coaches will work with you individually, and will take all the necessary time to make your jumps safe, teach you what you need to know, and have fun with it. Hanging out after hours is a great experience too.

Advice for other student skydivers: Stay for the entire weekend, and don't give up on windy days. It is amazing how often the winds are high in the middle of the day and they die down in the afternoon. 

Own up to your mistakes and ask for the instructors to point out everything you did wrong. You are not in school competing for a grade. Nobody will judge you and you will be a safer jumper.

Read the SIM and visit the USPA website for videos on your next category before you show up. It will make it easier if you already have an idea of what to expect. However, let the instructor teach and do not assume you know anything. It is better to hear something you already know, that not to be told something you don't know.

Get to know the riggers and packers. They are amazing people and will help you along the way.

Get a few fun-jumps in after you are self-supervised. Not everything is about training. Have some fun!

Remember that your training does not end with your license. Training will last for the rest of your life.

Hang out after hours. Buy beer and listen to the stories. 

Advice you wish you had been given: I think everyone is very good at giving advice at Orange! 

Suggestions for Skydive Orange: Give all instructors a raise! (Thinking of you Steve)

And anything else you think appropriate: I work for a parachute manufacturer, and I am currently the Vice-President of the Parachute Industry Association (and yes, I was in the industry for 17 years before becoming a skydiver). I have the privilege of discussing my training with very experienced skydivers and manufactures, and I always get the same response: It is amazing how well the program is run at Orange. 

To me, the most important thing to remember is that Skydiving can be a dangerous activity. Proper training and constant practice will help you manage the risk. Learn, ask questions, and recognize that the instructors and staff are there to help you keep yourself safe, not to grade you on a quiz. Skydiving is an amazing activity and it will change your life!

Paul Verzillo

What I like the most about Skydive Orange: The community of regular skydivers make this place a skydiving mecca. Tons of people from all walks of life make Orange their home dropzone and a regular string of wide-eyed tandem jumpers and guest skydivers keep it a fun, vibrant place. You always feel welcome to ask questions and learn from other skydivers. It's a true skydiving club, not some tandem mill that just wants to push you out of a plane and collect your money. Skydivers who call Orange their home are passionate about their sport and it shows. I never felt unsafe or unprepared for my jumps. Orange's AFF program is the best around!

Advice for other student skydivers:
1. Start when the weather is nice. There will be fewer disappointing drives to Orange. Also, the weather up top is about 40F lower than what it is on the ground.
2. Even when the weather is nice, be patient. I traveled to Orange almost every free weekend from DC. I started in June and I graduated in October.
3. Trust your instructors and coaches. Everything they do, they do to maximize your safety, education, and fun - you just might not realize it at the time.
4. If you're not some kind of skydiving mutant savant, make the pilgrimage down Raeford, NC, for some tunnel time. If you're having trouble with stability in freefall the tunnel will make you a ninja. Half an hour in the tunnel is equal to 30 jumps at a fraction of the cost.
5. Move at your own pace. Don't be discouraged with ugly jumps, sloppy exits, movie-villain-thrown-from-a-plane freefalls, or your new AFF friends progressing faster than you. Also everyone's got a comfort zone with how many jumps they can do in a day. Don't force it. If my hands were shaking and I felt exhausted I won't push for another jump, even when I was going through my last categories. Remember, it's supposed to be fun.
6. CALL AHEAD. Call Ned, call Ned, call Ned. Left him a message? Follow up with another phone call. Let somebody who runs the student program know that you're coming down. I've shown up on a Saturday morning session with 10 AFF students, 2 instructors and 2 coaches - good luck if you need two instructors/coaches on your jump.
7. Don't piss off Pam, or Steve, or anyone that's helping you try to learn to skydive. Help out and volunteer and make friends.
8. Learn about the gear you're jumping early on. You'll jump with more confidence knowing how your rig works. Don't forget to sign up with Rigger Rob to learn how to pack. I took the class while on my Category D jumps and I think that was the perfect point in my skydiving education.
9. Arch, arch, arch!


Advice you wish you had been given: Those rides up in the Otter can be nervewracking, thinking about what you have to do for your next jump. Use that time to go over the jump in your head. Visualize and breathe. The air is thinner up there. You won't be able to think straight if your brain doesn't get enough oxygen. Breathe - and when you're ready to leave the plane remember to smile.

What I don't like about Skydive Orange:
The "presents" the cows leave in the student field. Also, once you get hooked on skydiving you will compare every other use of your free time to jumping out of planes. It's not fair to your old friends and your old hobbies. There's nothing you can do to stop it. Drink the Kool-Aid and welcome to the cult. Soon you, too, will be allergic to the ground.

Suggestions for Skydive Orange:
Someone buy Steve a real cup. And as much as I like Gas 'n' Stuff, can we get Smitty back?

What an experience! It was a fantastic program I know that I will be a lifelong skydiver thanks to the instruction that you and the rest of the staff at Skydive Orange
Doug Stein - Barnesville, Maryland
What I like the most about Skydive Orange: The whole Staff's level of professionalism and helpfulness is remarkable. The AFF Instructors and Coaches are always there to answer any questions or to provide explanations for the students. The group of people I've met at Orange are as diverse and interesting as you'll encounter anywhere. They've made the learning experience lots of fun. Steve and Pam work extremely hard keeping the students focused and on track.

Advice for other student skydivers: Pay attention and listen to the instruction. Ask questions if you don't understand something. Consider some tunnel time. It can be amazing helpful. Get yourself into a packing class early. If the weather is poor and you can't jump, spend time practicing packing, going over the coursework and taking the quizzes. Have your questions answered only by Instructors in the program.

Advice you wish you had been given: Try to schedule instruction and jumps weekly. Skydiving is addictive and you'll find that's all you want to talk about with your friends.

What I don't like about Skydive Orange: That it's not open every day!

Suggestions for Skydive Orange: Don't change a thing.
Gordon Phelps - Falls Church, VA 09/16/2012What I like the most about Skydive Orange: Without a doubt, the entire staff! All of the AFF Instructors and Coaches are the perfect combination of professional, safe, and fun. Special props to Pam and Steve for keeping us focused and on our toes, and Rob and the entire Packing Crew for all the work and tips on the art of packing. I actually started this journey at Skydive Orange back in the 90's, and am very glad I got to finish it here!! 

Advice for other student skydivers: Two words: Patience, and Relaxation. Listen to your Instructors/Coaches, do what they teach you to do, and have fun doing it. Best advice I ever got: "Dude! This isn't work; its a sport. Have fun!" Even in "bad" weather you will learn more at the DZ than you will at home. Your chances of skydiving at home are 0.0%. 

Advice you wish you had been given: There is no advice I wish I had been given but wasn't; only advice I wish I had followed earlier.

What I don't like about Skydive Orange: The fact that its an hour and a half from home. 

Suggestions for Skydive Orange: Keep up the fun, professional, safe, and community/family vibe you've got going! When I start traveling and going to Boogies I will be proud to tell others that Skydive Orange is Home!! 
Casey Corcoran - Alexandria, VA
What I like most about Skydive Orange: The staff and instructors are awesome. In addition to providing first-rate training they really make you feel welcome. Excellent ground training and coaching gives you the skills to succeed and pass each category. 
Advice for other student skydivers: Come down to the DZ every chance you get. The weather reports are often wrong, and youíll regret it if what was supposed to be a rainy day, but it turns out to be nice. After all, you canít jump if you are not there. 
Advice I wish Iíd been given:
Take the packing class as soon as possible Ė it will give you greater confidence in your gear and packing is actually pretty enjoyable. 
Suggestions for Skydive Orange:
Other than moving closer to DC, thereís nothing I would change. Keep up the great work! 
Austin Glover - Woodbridge, VA
What I like most about Skydive Orange: I like that everyone is helpful and will give you advice whenever you may need it especially when you first start out and do not know very much. Thank you to all of the instructors and coaches.

Advice for other student skydivers: Just relax and don't tense up in free fall. It took me three tries to get past D1 before I realized I just had to relax. NEVER LEAVE EARLY!!! The weather always gets better when you wait.

Advice you wish you had been given: Learn to pack early. You do it a lot more as you progress through the program and it is always to better to learn early so you get better at it.

What I don't like about Skydive Orange: The fact that the clouds and winds always get in my way.

Suggestions for Skydive Orange: Invest in a weather machine so there are non stop loads every weekend.
Kent Mullen
What I like the most about Skydive Orange: The best part of Skydive Orange is the people. The other AFF students are great, the instructors take their jobs seriously but are also friendly and fun to be around, and the more experienced jumpers always available for advice.  

Advice for other student skydivers: Do the packing class early! Also, donít stress so much over your performance at the lower levels. After only a couple of minutes of total freefall time, youíre expected to maintain headings, do turns, flips and barrel rolls. Itís daunting, but before you know it the basics become much easier and you wonder what you were so concerned about.

Advice you wish you had been given: Arching isn't done with your back muscles. Relaxation is the key to smooth flying.

What I don't like about Skydive Orange: The wind.
Jason Johnson
What I like the most about Skydive Orange: All the great instructors and coaches. Everyone was extremely helpful and willing to help.

Advice for other student skydivers: If you have the time go to the tunnel, Lambert's tunnel coaching is worth every penny. It will prepare you for your future categories and will make your jumping much more enjoyable. Also enjoy each jump, even if it doesn't go well you're still skydiving and it doesn't get much better than that.

Advice you wish you had been given: Take the packing class as early as possible, I waited till the end and wished I had started earlier.

What I don't like about Skydive Orange: Nothing. Have enjoyed every weekend I've spent there and always look forward to my next weekend of jumping.

Suggestions for Skydive Orange: Nothing, keep doing what you're doing.
Abby & Matt Fistler
Abby's testimonial:

What I like about Skydive Orange: I like that its a great environment. Everyone is so welcoming and more than happy to help with any questions you might have.

Advice for other student skydivers: PRE-PAY!

Advice you wish you had been given: None that I can think of. The instructors are very on-point!

What I don't like about Skydive Orange: Whats not to love?!

Suggestions about Skydive Orange: More room for tents.

Matt's Testimonial:

What I like about Skydive Orange:  I felt extremely welcome. Everyone there makes you feel like you belong there. The instructors always made sure I knew what I were supposed to do, made my jumps as safe as possible, and made sure that I had fun with it.

Advice for other student skydivers:  Be a sponge. Listen to everything that the staff tells you, ask lots of questions, and do your studying.

Advice you wish you had been given: Nothing that I can think of. The instructors were awesome and always set me up for success.

What I don't like about Skydive Orange: The random thunderstorms and wind.

Suggestions about Skydive Orange: Maybe a little more room for tents.
Floyd aka Farva - Charlottesville, VA07/01/2012What I like the most about Skydive Orange: I really enjoyed all the instructors for their time and great instructing. They really prepare you for skydiving and drill in emergency procedures. I couldn't of picked a better place to learn to skydive!!!

Advice for other student skydivers: I would listen to the instructors and soak up all the knowledge about skydiving from them. Ask a lot of questions, the only stupid question is the one you donít ask.

Advice you wish you had been given: Never say this is your firstÖÖ.. You tend to buy a lot of beer!

What I don't like about Skydive Orange: The only thing I didn't like was when it was raining or cloudy or the winds were above 14 mph.

Suggestions for Skydive Orange: I suggest they keep doing what their doing because itís a GREAT JOB!!! 
Jamie Higgins
What I like the most about Skydive Orange: The Atmosphere is the best. Whenever you visit skydive Orange someone is going to talk to you. The jumps are fun and the experienced jumps usually show you how fun it will be once you get your license.

Advice for other student skydivers: Do not mention the word first and expect to remain sober.

Advice you wish you had been given: I was given loads of advice but the one I wish I would have heard day one was do as many jumps as you can a day. It really helps to build your skills

What I don't like about Skydive Orange: Wind Holds

Suggestions for Skydive Orange: Keep the safety conscious attitude. It can be a pain sometimes to hear you cant or shouldn't do something but it has always been the best advice to stay safe.
Melanie Doniger - Leesburg, VA

What I like the most about Skydive Orange: I like that everybody is so helpful. The student program is great and it really prepares you to deal with emergency situations. Thanks to all AFF Instructors and Coaches for really taking the time to explain things to us newbies!

Advice for other student skydivers: Take your time, follow directions, and buy beer. Talk to other students and licensed skydivers and learn from their mistakes as well. 

Advice you wish you had been given: You may need a lot of patience.....

What I don't like about Skydive Orange:
 Wind and thunderstorms.

Suggestions for Skydive Orange:
  Keep up the good work and give Steve a raise :-)
In 2012 we broke our record for graduating Certified A licensed skydivers here at Washington DC's professional AFF skydiving center.