What to Know
Make sure the company you’re dealing with is indeed a skydiving company. There are many businesses advertising themselves as skydiving firms, but really they are essentially resellers earning commissions for directing customers to specific partners outside the city. You should deal directly with places that are group members of the United States Parachute Association (USPA), the governing agency for skydivers.
Starting from 10,000 feet up at about 120 miles per hour, you’ll have less than a minute before landing. It’s going to go by quick, and you’ll want to relive it again and again later. Find out how much it costs to video your fall and in what format you’ll get the media for later duplication or sharing with friends via the Internet.
You must be 18 years old or older to skydive, no exceptions. Parental or guardian permission won’t release any liabilities regarding recreational sports, and hold harmless waivers are required by all skydivers. Bring your photo ID.
For tandem jumps, find out the company’s weight limit. Typically clocking in on the scale at 200 to 240 pounds or more will disqualify you for a tandem jump. Also call ahead to discuss any medical conditions that might put your risk factors too high.
Aim to schedule your jump as early in the day as possible in case there are weather issues or other delays. After training, orientation and paperwork, expect get airborne at least an hour after getting started.
With many reservations during the summer months, you may find yourself stuck with either an early slot (around 7 a.m.) or near dusk (around 7 p.m.), with weekdays more open than weekends. Call ahead for availability and keep tabs on that day’s weather forecast.
Where To Go
The “Find A Dropzone” list on the USPA website — http://www.uspa.org — offers complete listings, descriptions of aircraft and details about on-site services from its various group members. Here’s a quick list of what’s near Chicago.
Chicagoland Skydiving Center
12637 US Rte. 30 W / CSC Airfield
Hinckley, IL 60520
50 miles west of Chicago
800-404-5867 or 815-286-9200
2624 S. Sylvania Ave. / Sylvania Airport
Sturtevant, WI 53177
65 miles north of Chicago
Skydive Chicago Inc.
3215 East 1969th Rd. / Skydive Chicago Airport
Ottawa, IL 61350
70 miles southwest of Chicago
Sky Knights Sport Parachute Club / Skydive Milwaukee
W 1341 Hwy L / East Troy Municipal Airport
East Troy, WI 53120
90 miles north of Chicago
262-642-9494 or 1-800-38-CHUTE
Illinois Skydiving Center
1962 County Rd. 2500 N. / Schmidt Field
Thomasboro, IL 61878
125 south of Chicago
Air Indiana Skydiving Center, LLC
125 S. Co. Rd. 150 W / Flora Municipal Airport
Flora, IN 46929
130 miles southeast of Chicago
AtmosphAIR Skydiving Center, Inc.
N3407 Hwy. K / Ft Atkinson Municipal Airport
Jefferson, WI 53549
135 miles northwest of Chicago
Illinois Valley Parachute Club
Dee-Mac Road and Rte 122 / Tillman Field
Minier, IL 61759
150 miles southwest of Chicago
Seven Hills Skydivers
7530 Hwy. 73 / Mathaire Field-York Center
Marshall, WI 53559
150 miles northwest of Chicago
920-623-2838 (DZ) or 608-244-5252 (weekday)
Skydive Fort Wayne, Inc.
US Hwy. 20 West / Angola Tri-State Airport
Angola, IN 46703
165 miles west of Chicago
Jerry’s Skydiving Circus / Explore Free Fall
3477 S 200 E / Franklin Flying Field
Franklin, IN 46131
205 miles southeast of Chicago
317-560-4359 or 812-988-4316
Mid-America Sport Parachute Club
1501 S. Spresser / Taylorville Municipal Airport
Taylorville, IL 62568
210 miles southwest of Chicago