Chris Boggan, a first-time skydiver, and an instructor glide to safety after skydiving at Skydive Alabama in Vinemont. (Hayden Hyatt for The Tribune)
VINEMONT – First-time skydivers and repeat customers alike showed up to Skydive Alabama Friday to- what else- jump from an airplane
Skydive Alabama, which operates out of Cullman Regional Airport’s Folsom Field, was established in 1999 and is still going strong. Skydive’s location is also the only drop zone located in north Alabama. The company offers skydiving opportunities for first-timers through tandem jumps, meaning customers will be strapped to one of their instructors during their jump. Experienced jumpers use the drop zone as well, and if you're not experienced, Skydive Alabama offers various courses to get you there.
Staff member Adam Johnson spoke highly of the company.
“I've been at Skydive Alabama for about five months,” said Johnson. “This place is the best community that I've found in the industry in years and has a really great professional vibe.”
Kyle Robinson, an accelerated free fall instructor at Skydive Alabama, said the business gets customers from all over.
“We have people that come from Huntsville and Birmingham pretty commonly, but we have people as far as Kentucky, Ohio and from Mississippi,” explained Robinson. “People will drive three to four hours a lot, very commonly, to come do a jump, because there's just not many (drop zones) in the state.”
Johnson also spoke about the sport of skydiving itself.
“Skydiving is fulfilling, because it's the only time in life where you're demanded to be entirely in the moment. There's no bills or stresses or problems up there,” he said. “It's a beautiful way to therapeutically unwind. The process always gives you fulfillment, euphoria and adrenaline. Everything in one perfect burrito, and it's all legal and fun.”
Instructor Owen Greer said he gets something more out of the sport.
“I've been in the sport for about seven or eight years. The thing I enjoy the most about skydiving in teaching,” said Greer. “I have a very big education background. I went to college for it and my mom was a teacher and so I was always around it growing up, so when I came into skydiving that just kinda came along with me and now that's what I enjoy: watching people’s first jumps and watching people grow into full-fledged sky divers.”
Skydiving is not just for the young, either.
Said Greer, “We get all different ages and backgrounds. I've taken all the way from a just turned 19-year-old all the way to somebody knocking it off their bucket list at about 93years old or so. You get all walks of life around here.”
Mike Boggan, a customer who was out at Skydive Alabama on Friday, said he’d been there before and was out again Friday with his son, Chris Boggan.
“Well when my oldest daughter wanted to do this, we looked around at different places. A, (Skydive Alabama) was the closest, B, they were super nice and the jump that we did that day was absolutely fantastic and fun,” said the elder Boggan. “We've never gone anywhere else, just because we had such a good experience here. They run a good business. It's very professional.”
Chris Boggan, who was skydiving for his birthday, was excited to do his first tandem jump.
“It's a blast. I'm stoked,” he smiled. “Eventually I want to get to the point where I can just solo jump. That's the main goal. I like thrills. This is just another thing that I can scratch off the list. So I'm looking forward to it.”
Skydive Alabama Drop Zone Manager Kendra Dewey said the skydiving community is small, but her staff is great and the work environment is exciting.
“It's never a dull moment, that's for sure. The people I think are the best part of everything in skydiving. I have so many great people on my staff. They all do amazing different things,” Dewey said. “My pilot today is actually a doctor as well. He's been flying forever. There's just so many great people. In general skydiving is a very small community. So pretty much everybody knows everybody and even if you don't, you know somebody that knows somebody.”
Dewey had some advice for those who may be on the fence about skydiving for the first time.
“Whether you're scared or not, actually, no, if you're scared, you should do a tandem,” said Dewey. “Everyone should jump at least once in their lifetime even if they're afraid of heights or just afraid of all of it, do it at least once. Everyone should do this at least once in their life.”
Find out more at http://skydivealabama.com.
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