If you're new to this, you're probably making who-cares faces right now. After all: Why do you need to know anything about skydiving jump planes? You're just going to be getting out of it. Well, we're here to tell you that jump planes do matter. As a matter of fact, the aircraft a dropzone uses to get you up into the sky has a huge bearing on your overall tandem skydiving experience. Here's how the skydiving jump plane affects the three central metrics of any given skydive you can do.
Curious why different dropzones advertise different altitudes? Some dropzones advertise jumps from 13,000, 15,000, and even 18,000 feet; others only carry their up to 10,000. Pretty much without exception, that advertised altitude pings right back to the plane they're using.
If you're squaring up to a 10,000-foot ceiling, you're almost certainly looking at a skydiving jump aircraft called a Cessna 182. Most of the smaller dropzones in the world use it, as it is this little workhorse offers the economy that small dropzones need in order to stay open. That said: it's a piston-engine aircraft, so it's a little underpowered. A Cessna 182 can only really go up to 10,000 feet. Anything above that costs too much time and fuel to be worth it.
So that's the piston-engine story. The other kinds of skydiving aircraft you might see on a dropzone are the big, bad boys: The turbine-engine aircraft, or turboprops. These guys rocket up to 13,500 feet of altitude three times before breakfast, happily hopping up to 18k when asked. At Jumptown, we have a history of flying turbine aircraft, including Twin Otters, the King Air, and now a Cessna Grand Caravan.
Here's the facts, jack: The less time you spend getting to exit altitude, the less time you'll spend in the plane being nervous. This helps. A lot.
Even though plenty of dropzones take jumpers up to the same general altitudes, depending on the configuration of the skydiving plane, it can take a very different amount of time to get there: anything from seven to twenty-something minutes. (182s can take half an hour. Bring a book.) Our Caravan sits just where we like it - squarely at the bottom of that range.
Don't get us wrong - we don't hate piston-engine aircraft. Every experienced skydiver has spent time in one! We're looking forward to adding a 182 to our operation in 2023 for special occasions, but even then it will be mostly lower altitude jumps. If you're going all the way up to 13,500 feet, you want a turbine. It's not just faster to altitude, it's also way more comfortable.
At Jumptown, we want the best for you, for our team and for our amazing "family" of local sport skydivers. That's why this year we're bringing in a larger Caravan that can take up to 17 jumpers every time she flies, plus adding the 182 for those special occasions where we need more capacity.
...So let's make get introduced to the Jumptown fleet, shall we? Reserve your skydive today!