At Gateway Skydiving Center our mission is to create a fun and friendly environment for our first time and experienced jumpers alike, while putting safety first. We know that your first jump can be intimidating, we understand, we all started with skydive number one just like you! Our staff is very passionate and knowledgeable about what they do and will make sure that you have an unforgettable experience.
Arnel Smajic Dropzone Owner
I was born and spent an early part of my childhood in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For those not familiar, it is a small country nestled in the heart of Europe (south central to be exact). Our apartment was less than a mile away from a skydiving club ran by my father. Given the early exposure to skydiving, you would think that I always wanted to be a skydiver, but that wasn’t the case at all. Too young for skydiving, I spent a lot of time in the cockpit of a plane while the pilots were flying around doing acrobatics. Naturally, I wanted to become a pilot. In my head, pilots had all the fun. Well, all of that changed in 2005 when I did my first skydive. Skydiving was unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. The feeling of euphoria, freedom and time warp is hard to explain to someone that has never tried it. I love flying airplanes, I love to ski, hunt and fish, but my real passion is skydiving. It has given me the opportunity to see the world. I have spent a few years working as a tandem instructor and traveling from Australia, New Zealand and all over Europe and United States. These were some of the most formative years of my skydiving career. I have met some amazing people along the way and learned a lot about skydiving and myself. One of my favorite places to skydive still remains Paihia in New Zealand. I am now settled with wife and two kids and am proud to call St. Louis, MO my home.
Zuko started his skydiving career in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the age of 18. He is a USPA Skydiving Competitor with over 3,000 skydives and 50 years in the sport. His latest accomplishment is a bronze medal at U.S. Nationals 2018 in group accuracy. Many people would think about slowing down after so many years in the sport, but not Zuko. To some skydiving is a hobby and it’s all about fun (and it is fun), but to Zuko it’s about training and competing just like any other sport.
I made my first skydive on July 10, 2004. I have made almost 2,400 jumps in that 15 years, and been an instructor since 2011. When I’m not skydiving, I like to bowl, run, watch movies and spend time with my wife and 3 year old daughter.
Started skydiving in St.Louis in 1992. Work as General Contractor been married for 29 years with 4 kids and 1 grandchild. On weekends I love to take students on 1st time skydives.
Noah "Dread Stick" Bogard
When I was a child I use to watch the Xgames (skydiving) on tv. So naturally I always wanted to make a skydive. As the years wend by I had always brought it up ever so often. Finally when I was 24 years old my mother bought me a Tandem Jump at Gateway Skydiving Center. I made my first jump with Arnel and before my feet hit ground, I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life. Since that day 4 years ago I have made 1100 + jumps. Best part of my job is getting to experience everyone’s reaction one we land.
I made my first skydive at Gateway Skydiving Center 2016 and fell in love with the sport. A couple years later, I got a job as a parachute packer and received my skydiving license at Gateway. I still consider myself a student and love learning about skydiving.
What I do outside of skydiving: I am a real estate investor and a small hobby farmer, originally from Texas. I like to travel, scuba dive with my wife, experience other cultures, and try to speak foreign languages!
AS of 2019, I’ve made 1543 skydives total (600 tandems), have jumped in the USA (8 states), NZ, UK, & Ireland.
Been sport skydiving since June ’99; AFF course at Skydive Houston, TX; 1st jump, US Army Airborne School, Fort Benning, GA: August ’92.
When I did my 1st jump in 2015 I knew right away I wanted to stick with it. Being a poor college student with no money for skydiving I took a job at Gateway Skydiving Center as a parachute packer for three years jumped as much as possible to become a skydiving instructor. Now I love getting to introduce people to skydiving and share the same excitement with them that I had on my first jump.
I got Aircraft Maintenance Certificate from Indianapolis and my Pilot Certificate from SIU Carbondale. I work as a mechanic at Trans States and flying skydivers on weekends. With only one skydive under my belt I think everyone should try it at least one time. In my spare time I like to play disc golf and brew beer.
Started flying in 2014 and have always had passion for aviation since a young age. Love skydiving and hope to maybe get my license one day also!
Joey Harla (Wildman)
Did my first jump at Gateway Skydiving Center with Arnel in 2015. Main goal in life is having fun all the time. Not good at most things but I like to think I’m good at ultimate frisbee and flying/packing parachutes.
Did my first jump at Gateway Skydiving Center in 2017 and rest is history. I love people in sport as much as skydiving.