Frequently Asked Questions

Can I join the Falling Illini?
I’ve never jumped before. Do I need any experience?
When do you jump?
Where do you jump?
Can I get a ride to the dropzone?
What should I wear?
Do I have to go with you to get the student discount?
Does my first jump have to be a tandem?
How many jumps do I need for a license?
How can I pay for my jumps?
Do I have to be 18?
Can I get a shirt?

Can I join the Falling Illini?

Yes, if you are U of I student. You can sign up for the Falling Illini Mailing List right now, and you can officially join the club by paying the one time fee of $10 when you make your first jump.

I’ve never jumped before. Do I need any experience?

No, we will teach you everything you need to know for your first jump.

When do you jump?

We go skydiving just about every weekend that the weather is nice, and a few weekends when it isn’t so nice. Sometimes we go on Saturday, sometimes on Sunday, and sometimes there are people going down on both days. The best way to find out about upcoming trips to the drop-zone is to join the Falling Illini Mailing List. We announce trips on the Events category of the Falling Illini website. Those posts also get mailed out to the Falling Illini mailing list, so if you are on the list you will find out about trips as soon as we post them.

Where do you jump?

We skydive at Archway Skydiving Center in Vandalia, IL, which is about 1.5 to 2 hours away. Take I-57 south about 70 miles to I-70. Go west on I-70 till you reach Vandalia. Take exit 61, and turn right (north) at the top of the exit ramp, then turn left at the first stop sign. Go down that road and the DZ will be on your right hand side.

Can I get a ride to the dropzone?

Yes you can. We typically meet in front of the Union at 7:45 AM on Saturdays or Sundays. We leave for the dropzone at 8:00 AM. Don’t be late or we will have to leave you behind, and you will miss out on all the fun. You should be on the Falling Illini Mailing List to find out about upcoming trips. Email┬áMike (president@fallingillini.org) and tell them you want to jump, and they will make sure there is car space for you. The earlier in the week you email them the easier it is for them to accommodate you. You should also plan to be there all day. We usually don’t get back until 6 or 7 PM. And remember to bring at least $5 to help your driver cover gas. Its a long way to the dropzone and gas is pretty expensive these days.

What should I wear?

You should wear clothes that you are comfortable in and don’t restrict your movement. Jeans, sweats, shorts and t-shirts are all good choices. Wear sneakers on your feet, and avoid hiking boots since they tend to have hooks on them which can snag the lines of your parachute. Don’t worry about getting dirty, since we’ll put a jumpsuit on over whatever you are wearing. Be aware of the weather. If you are jumping in late October or November, you’ll probably want a sweater.

Do I have to go with you to get the student discount?

No. You can drive down to Archway by yourself, flash your Student ID, pay the $10 club membership fee, and get the club rates for everything. You should call ahead and tell them you are coming so they have space for you. We would also like to know about your jump so we can hear how much fun your first jump was and put a picture of you on our website to congratulate you, so email us and let us know how your trip was.

Does my first jump have to be a tandem?

No. You can do a tandem if you want, but there are also Static-Line and Accellerated Free-Fall (AFF) options if you want your first jump to be solo. The Static-Line option is the cheapest and most popular. You can read about all three options on the My First Jump page.

How many jumps do I need for a license?

It takes 25 jumps to become a USPA A-License skydiver. This can be accomplished in a month or two with some determination.

How can I pay for my jumps?

The dropzone takes cash, checks, and major credit and debit cards.

Do I have to be 18?

Yes. We have everyone who jumps sign a waiver, and that isn’t legally binding if you’re a minor. Even if you have a note from your parents it doesn’t count. So if you’re a young freshman, you’re just going to have to wait till you’re legal, but what better way to celebrate turning 18 than jumping out of an airplane!

Can I get a shirt?

Yes you can. The shirts are shown here, and you can pick one up from the dropzone manifest on the day that you jump.