waiting at the airport

Hate Waiting at the Airport? So Do We!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Even though a skydiving airport looks quite a bit different than the kind of airport you show up to when it’s time to visit the fam or take a vacation, one thing is common to both: Waiting at the airport is definitely inevitable. We’ll be totally frank about this fact, because there’s no getting around it: When planes are involved, waiting is involved. It’s a challenge that every airport–from international hub to skydiving facility–faces on an everyday basis.

Keep your chin up, though: It’s not so bad! In much the same way that you plan ahead for a wait at the international airport terminal, you’ll be much happier if you plan for a wait in our bustling little hangar. You might discover that the wait was one of the best parts of your journey, and we’re happy to help that be the case. Here’s what you should know about skydiving wait times so that sittin’ for a spell ends up being a lovely time.

1. At Skydive Tecumseh, we’re optimized for an efficient experience.

Skydive Tecumseh is focused on excellent customer experience. That includes brand-new facilities–purpose-built for skydiving–and we’re totally saddled up as far as on-the-ground efficiency is concerned.

In the air, the story is no different. We fly one of the fastest planes in the industry, too–the cream of the skydiving aircraft crop, which rockets up to altitude more comfortably and efficiently than any other skydiving airplane we’ve yet had the pleasure of leaping from. Our skydiving aircraft is the bee’s knees, and it makes our tandem skydiving experience immeasurably better.

2. There’s no getting around it: Aviation is a balancing act.

In the aviation world, the variables we’re dealing with are monsters, and they’re pretty darned hard to predict. The first one you’ll likely come across is also the biggest one: The weather.  Just like everything else that happens in the sky, skydiving occurs at the mercy of the weather. High winds, thick clouds, and precipitation can easily end a skydiving day and require a reschedule.

Secondly–in contrast to what happens at a “normal” airport, a dropzone’s take-off and landing times aren’t pre-scheduled. A plane will take off when there are enough jumpers to fill it and when safe airspace is available overhead. After every few loads, the airplane will need to stop to refuel.

To create each “load” (our term for a plane manifested for takeoff), the dropzone must assemble a very complicated puzzle. The professionals who specialize in this art are called “Manifest,” and they must put together a cohesive list of tandem students (with their instructors), camera operators, students working on their skydiving licenses, and experienced solo skydivers who may be doing any of a number of complicated maneuvers. It’s a game of Tetris, and it’s always on high speed.

3. You can take the reins on your wait.

In the same way that you do when you plan to make the best of your time in the airport departure lounge, you can plan to make the best of your time at the dropzone. You’ll most likely be spending a similar amount of time with us–3-4 hours, barring any other eventualities–and the constraints will be similar. Bring a book or a magazine you’ve been meaning to dig into; do some writing; catch up with friends online.

There are some notable differences to your options here, of course. You can bring a slackline, a frisbee, and a hula hoop here. If you bring chairs, blankets, games, and snacks, you can even make it a picnic. Airport security might take issue with that at DTW.

Also good to know: There are reliable built-in entertainment options at Skydive Tecumseh. You can watch other jumpers come in for their landings. If you bring a pair of binoculars, you can even check out the sport skydivers doing their thing a mile up. You’re welcome to observe as the experienced skydivers pack their parachutes. You can even pick up one of our industry magazines and flip through it (which is, by the way, a great introduction to the scope of our amazing sport). Watching the goings-on helps you to know a little more about what to expect for your own jump.

So: What’s the upshot? You can expect to have some wait time for your tandem skydive, but you can make it awesome. If you plan for it, you can enjoy it in the knowledge that Skydive Tecumseh is doing everything we can to get you out into the sky in as timely a manner as possible. Solid planning means that your wait time can be the juicy cherry on top of a deliciously thrilling tandem skydiving experience!

Tandem Skydiver in freefall at Skydive Tecumseh

Fast efficient staff, GREAT friendly tandem jumpers! This is the best place stateside to jump! You can bring all levels of family and friends and all will have a lifetime experience. A1 setup here. My favorite in Michigan by far.

Hi-me Rodriguez