For most of us skydiving is an un-known realm of confusion, terror and anticipation of free falling like you’ve dreamed about since you were a kid. But where does one go to jump from a perfectly good plane? Skydive Centers vary from the mega huge jump centers with multiple turbine (read big) aircraft, to two guys and a single engine Cessna. The truth is in this case that size doesn’t matter. What matters is your preference. Kind of a big fish little pond idea.
At large drop zones (it’s what the cool kids call it), you will find lots of experienced skydivers from all walks of life, from all walks of fame and fortune. It is common to see tatoo faced kids that live in the local hostel loading the airplane with a group of Trump supporters from Florida all planning for the excitement of the upcoming leap together. You will also find the newbie area of folks that are not sure if the decision to jump from a plane for the first time was a good idea. This is the realm of confusion mentioned in the beginning. In this crew, first time skydivers or Tandem jumpers (as the cool kids call them) are usually left in a waiting area for one of those (hopefully not tattoo faced experience jumper to come take them on their first skydive. Others, even the Jill Stein supporters are hoping for a Trump guy, In the middle group, less noticeable from the first two, you have skydivers learning to jump, or more correctly, jumpers learning to skydive. This group is the pre adolescents that we are all familiar with. Crazy emotion for seemingly small events, sure of their skills in the air bur are mostly ill equipped for the jump ahead. Now mix in grandma and uncle Roger who came to watch the 1st. jump of their newly turned 18 year old finally exercising her ability to piss off her parents. You get the idea, lots of people, lots of confusion, lots of anticipation of lifetime thrills. As a member of any of these groups it becomes easy to be no one in the crowd of emotion. As a spectator it appears a sea of me me me…look at me .
Small drop zones usually offer similar skydive experiences but on a less defined hierarchy , The first time skydiver is probably in the same group as the 1000 jump world record holder. Since the planes are usually smaller, it makes sense that the little skydive centers are more homogenized than their clicky big brother. Small centers give the less experience skydiver and the low time jumper equal and non judgemental access to the experienced jumper. (“Sky gods” by the cool kids). This interaction is not found at the bigger skydive facilities and can make the difference in your experience, If you prefer small towns where people know your name, a small skydive center is for you. If you would rather mix it up in a crowd and make a name for yourself then go big.