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How to become a Skydiving Instructor…

Becoming a skydiving instructor is the best thing that happed to me..

Ever wonder what it takes to become a skydiving instructor?  The short answer is three years in the sport and 500 skydives. For most people that sounds like a lot of time and money. Well…it is but there are ways to help get you there. 

Before skydiving, I was working fifty-five hour weeks at the stressful job that was taking everything out of me. My father was a skydiver in younger days, so skydiving was ever present in our family.    July 4th weekend in 2005, I decided that I was going to do ONE skydive, just to try it out. Little did I know that ONE skydive would change the course of my life.  By the next Thursday I was not able to stop looking up at the sky.  The very next Saturday, I was back at the dropzone, signed up for the 1st jump course and ready to hit it hard..

I got my skydiving license in six weeks and needless to say, all my money was spent on skydiving. Early on I knew that I wanted to teach people how to jump from an airplane. By 2006 season I had 100 skydives and earned my coach rating.  Coaching new students helped me rack up jumps and money earned coaching, helped me offset the cost of skydiving.   There are other ways to help pay for your jumps.  I had friends who were parachute packers and that’s how they paid for jumps required to get a license or make money to pay for their “fun” jumps.

Fast forward 18 years and skydiving for a living, doing what I love.  Being a skydiver and working as a skydiving instructor has taken me all over the word and I would not trade that experience for anything…The stories I have and people I have met along the way are truly priceless experiences.


Gateway Skydiving Center


Accelerated freefall

The Accelerated Freefall program is made up of seven levels, and taking the Ultimate AFF First Jump Course is the first step in your progression. Ground training typically takes between four to six hours. It includes lessons on the parachuting equipment you’ll be using, aircraft procedures, emergency procedures, canopy control and landing techniques. Following the class you will jump from 10,500 ft wearing your own parachute system.

Two instructors will accompany you on your jump, flying by your side to assist you if necessary during nearly one minute of free fall. You deploy your parachute at 5,000 ft and then steer and land your own parachute with radio assistance. Full altitude on every jump is what you get with this training method. Wearing gear provided to you, your instructors help you learn stability by keeping grips on you for your first few jumps.

jumping from 10,500 ft

Learn more about accelerated freefall HERE.

First jump

According to USPA statistics, each year approximately half a million people in the U.S. alone take the leap and try skydiving for the first time. On average, these first-time jump students and experienced skydivers make about three million jumps annually! Today, more than ten million men and women throughout the country can say that they have made at least one jump out of the perfectly good airplane.

jumping from 10,500 ft

Learn more about first jump HERE.

Make unforgettable moments of your life at Gateway Skydiving Center

You never heard of Gateway Skydiving Center?

At Gateway Skydiving Center our mission is to create a fun and friendly environment.

Mainly 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 just like you!

Our staff is very passionate and knowledgeable about what they do. They will make sure that you have an unforgettable experience.

Find out more about Gateway Skydiving Center.

Meet our friendly team

At Gateway Skydiving Center our mission is to create a fun and friendly environment. That’s because of 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. They will make sure that you have an unforgettable experience.

Make sure to check out on our team.

A little bit about our history

At some point you might wonder, where did it all begin? Skydiving is in our blood. It all started in 1969.  Exposure to airplanes skydiving and life growing up around airports is hard to explain. Especially to someone that has never been in that type of an environment. While skydiving is considering extreme sport it is actually very peaceful experience.

Most of our skydiving students would say it is not what we expected or it how we imagined it.

Learn more about our history.

The remarkable Carlyle Lake

Carlyle Lake is a 25,000 acres reservoir largely located in Clinton County, Illinois. With smaller portions of the lake within Bond and Fayette counties. It is the largest man-made lake in Illinois, and the largest lake wholly contained within the state.

If you like photography this place is definitely for you. Amazing views and sunrises and sunsets that will blow your mind.

Find out more about Panorama of Carlyle Lake.

carlyle lake

Our pricing

At Gateway Skydiving Center we jump from up to 10,500 feet, above Carlyle Lake. We operate a Cessna 182 aircraft that can take two tandems per load. It allows you to jump with your friends and family in comfort and style.

Our price reflects the quality of our service. Attention to detail, uncompromising maintenance of airplanes and parachutes. Also the quality of training and certification of our instructors is what separates us from the crowd. Personal attention is what you can expect at GSC. We will transform your skydive from simply jumping out of an airplane into a life changing, unforgettable/transformational experience.

Find out all about our pricing here.

Skydiving experiences of this years skydiving season

The Skydiving Season 2021 has begun. Fill your excitement for this summer by skydive jumping, free yourself from the home isolation. Feel the adrenaline of skydiving this summer. Feel the air in your face, smile, scream and enjoy adrenaline rush by Skydiving with us Gateway Skydiving Center.

Here are some of the experiences that some of our skydivers lived this season.

If you’re looking to go skydiving in the St. Louis area, I HIGHLY recommend Gateway Skydiving Center! They were very friendly and the entire experience was wonderful!

Sarah Marie

If you’ve never skydived you’re missing out! Arnel and his crew were so genuine and great instructors! I’ve recommended them to all of my friends and family whom wish to experience the experience I experienced today! I will definitely be going again (:

Jay A

This was my First Skydive Experience. This was filled with Adrenaline, and excitement. This team and Professionals at Gateway Skydiving Center are the BEST around. You won’t find a better team then ARNEL and his crew. There was little to no FEAR or falling sensation. If YOU want to take the leap do it HERE! Absolutely the BEST around. I WILL be coming BACK! YEEHAW

Mathew Hammer

Don’t miss this life changing experience this summer, contact Gateway Skydiving Center and book a flight now! Feel the adrenaline of skydiving this summer!ever