Did you know, a popular bucket list item is available right here in East Texas? Whether you’re a thrill seeker, going on a dare, or just plain curious of what it’s like to see the world from up high, Skydive East Texas gives you the opportunity to see the world from a whole new perspective!
“Skydiving is kind of a big family across the country,” said Drop Zone Owner Lee Todd. “Relationships with people you meet along the way, you share that experience with them. That’s something that’s very important and rewarding.”
Todd, who started skydiving with his oldest daughter in 1997 and became addicted, has been the owner of Skydive East Texas for over 20 years. The drop zone takes no time to make you feel like you’re part of the skydiving family, with Lee Todd’s own wife, Cori, and son, Daniel (who you can see in the video as the one who high fives me during our freefall!) there to help explain the process and show you how safe you truly are.
Most importantly, your first skydive is a TANDEM skydive. You are with a professional who will make sure your dive is safe, and I give credit to Bryan Baggett who made sure I had a blast and safely touched the ground once again. There is some light training when you arrive, which includes learning how to properly arch in the air and the steps you will take from when the door of the plane opens to when you actually are in freefall.
Once you’ve got through the training and have your harness on, it’s time to go up into the air. The flight is about 20 minutes where you go up to 10,000 feet. It’s after this ride that the real fun begins, with the key being to go over those steps you have to take once it’s time to skydive. The first half of the dive is a freefall, the part you typically think of when you think of skydiving, and after is the canopy ride where you really get to enjoy how serene the Earth is from high above.
“We’re required to have automatic openers on all of our student and tandem gear,” said Todd. “We’ve got two parachutes with every rig, we’ve got multiple handles. We’ve got backup, upon backup, upon backup.”
At no point did any step of the skydive feel unsafe, or even unsettling. The canopy ride gave me a chance to see the world from a new perspective, and fully understand why the people at Skydive East Texas get excited to do this every chance they can get.
If you catch the skydiving bug, or have been looking for a place to learn, you are able to take a Tandem Progression Course that will help you get licensed and ready to do jumps on your own. Every time you come back, you’re able to keep adding another objective to learn and make your way to being a licensed skydiver.
When it comes to relaxing your nerves, Todd let us know “with each successive jump, you’ll find you’ll have less and less of that sensory overload when that door pops open. You get to where you love that moment of jumping out, it becomes an act of total freedom to be able to leave that airplane.” Just make sure to breathe, eat before you jump, and enjoy your certificate for taking the plunge and doing your first skydive.
You can catch the Skydive East Texas crew flying the American flag and doing demonstration jumps for football games, rodeos, golf tournaments, and fireworks shows all around East Texas.
Skydive East Texas is located at 1 Airport Road Gladewater, TX 75647. Skydives are by appointment only, you can visit their website to see contact information.
You must be 18 to skydive and be able to do the physical training necessary to safely skydive. Visitors are welcome to watch you soar through the sky.
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