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 nearby.
Alliance Sport Parachute Club / Skydive Rick's
2 Hofmeister Rd. / Petersburg Airport
Petersburg, OH 44454
(60 miles northwest of Pittsburgh)
496 Old Ash Rd. / Grove City Airport
Mercer, PA 16137
(65 miles north of Pittsburgh)
Canton Air Sports
14008 Union Ave. NE / Barber Airport
Alliance, OH 44601
(85 miles northwest of Pittsburgh)
(330) 823-0370 or (800) 772-4174 (weekday)
Aerohio Skydiving Center
Corner State Route 604 and Blough Rd. / Hilty Field
Rittman, OH 44270
(130 miles northwest of Pittsburgh)
Pennsylvania Skydiving U Corp
547 Airport Rd. / Mifflin County Airport
Reedsville, PA 17084
(155 miles east of Pittsburgh)
Chambersburg Skydiving Center, Inc.
3506 Airport Rd. / Franklin County Regional Airport
Chambersburg, PA 17201
(170 miles east of Pittsburgh)
(717) 264-1111 or (866) JUMP-USA (weekday)
Skydive Columbus Ohio
3430 Old Columbus Rd Rd. / Fairfield County Airport
Carroll, OH 43112
(175 miles west of Pittsburgh)
(614) 302-3768 or (614) 203-0210
Freefall OZ Skydiving Center
296 Faulkner Rd. / Ceres Airport
Shinglehouse, PA 16748
(190 miles northeast of Pittsburgh)
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