What’s on your adventure list? A visit to the Grand Canyon? A road trip down Route 66? A visit to New England in the fall? Well, we’ve got one for you — tandem skydiving in the Great Smoky Mountains! If you’ve always wanted to go skydiving and see what it’s like to fly, now’s your chance with Skydive East Tennessee. After all, what better scenery for your exhilarating jump than the beautiful peaks, rolling hills, dipping valleys, and riverscapes of the Smokies?
Your Smoky Mountain skydive adventure begins about a 45-minute drive northeast of Pigeon Forge at Skydive East Tennessee. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that’s more affordable than you might think. Plus, they own the airport used to send off and land the plane that will take you up high in the Smoky Mountain sky, so it’s convenient, too.
Want to know more? Have questions about how it all works and what you should expect? Keep reading! Below, we provide everything you need to know for your skydiving experience with Skydive East Tennessee, including cost and rules and regs. We also have a bonus section for additional flying adventures — like indoor skydiving!
About Skydive East Tennessee
Skydive East Tennessee is a full-time, professional, tandem skydiving center located in the little town of Dandridge, TN — the closest drop zone to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg and the only one in all of East Tennessee! The world-class skydive instructors at Skydive East Tennessee provide quality instruction and specialize in working with people who are brand new to skydiving. So if this will be a completely new experience for you, you’re at the right place with Skydive East Tennessee!
At Skydive East Tennessee, they guarantee a safe and exciting jump, whether it’s your first skydive experience or your 100th. At their jump center, you’ll receive quality student training, and a skydiving expert will be there to help make your skydive experience fun and memorable. They also offer spectators a place to chill at their climate-controlled facility that features a video viewing area, restrooms, a padded pack room, a training room, camping options, and free Wi-Fi.
Each skydive instructor at Skydive East Tennessee is certified by the governing organization of skydiving — the USPA (United States Parachute Association) — and is among the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable professionals in the sport. And if you’re here to learn, you can start supervised training under AFF (Accelerated Freefall) with Skydive East Tennessee as they are also a designated USPA training center.
What to Expect for Your First Jump
We can’t tell you exactly what it feels like to fall from 11,000-plus feet in the air — you’ll have to experience that for yourself! But know that at Skydive East Tennessee, your first skydive experience is guaranteed to be extremely safe and incredibly fun!
You’ll be skydiving tandem, which means you’ll be strapped to a professional instead of skydiving solo (which is only available to those looking to enter the sport). Skydive East Tennessee offers tandem diving for a variety of reasons with the most important one being your safety.
Before you dive, professional skydivers (who have made at least 500 jumps, perfected freefalling, and trained for emergencies) will walk you through tandem skydive safety procedures and training. Don’t worry if this is all new to you — more than likely you won’t be alone!
Plane Ride & JUMP!
Next, you’ll suit up and start your 11,000-foot climb in an airplane. After strapping on tandem parachute gear, you and your instructor will jump out of the plane! You’ll get to feel what it’s like to freefall up to 120 miles per hour for about 45 seconds, and around 5,500 feet, your instructor will deploy the parachute.
Now, your leisurely sky cruise above the Great Smoky Mountains begins. You’ll see the shimmering waters of Douglas Lake and the stunning mountain ranges and incredible landscapes within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Plus, if you’re up for it, you can pilot the parachute for a bit!
Cost to Skydive
At Skydive East Tennessee, your flight, training, tandem skydive, and all necessary gear are included in the reasonable price per person! Gift certificates are also available for those interested in sponsoring a jump for a loved one or a friend. Just call their number (listed below) to grab one or a few.
- Weekdays — starting at $209
- Weekends — starting at $236
Solo skydives have more regulations (detailed below) and require the participant to be experienced. Pricing includes the flight. You can also rent gear if needed at such an affordable price, if you have the skill and experience, go for it!
- Solo skydiving — $27
- Rental gear — $25 (+$10 packing fee)
If you want to become a solo skydiver, remember to set up your customized AFF program with Skydive East Tennessee to get the ball rolling. You can choose between a small intro course, category jumps, and complete training that includes all jumps and courses.
- First jump course — $75
- AFF category jumps — $185-225
- Complete AFF package — $1,445
Note: pricing is as of March 2022.
Video + Photos
In addition to the cost of the jump, Skydive East Tennessee offers exciting video and photo options so you can take home a lasting memento from your first jump! If you go for the video, it typically lasts about 6-8 minutes with shots of pre-jump training, the plane ride, your freefall and landing, interviews, etc. And the digital photos are high resolution.
- Video or photos — $75
- Video & photos — $100
Rules & Regulations
All Skydive East Tennessee participants must be 18 years of age or older — no exceptions! Due to gear limitations, all tandem participants must be 220 pounds or less with no chronic back, neck, or knee problems. Note: the max weight permitted for tandem skydivers is 230 pounds, with an extra fee of $35.
Solo flyers must not weigh over 200 pounds. They must also attend an accredited and reputable jump school, be in good physical condition, and present a photo ID before jumping. Passengers outside of these regulations will not be permitted to jump for safety purposes.
Location & Contact
Skydive East Tennessee
1640 W Dumplin Valley Road
Dandridge, TN 37725
More Flying Adventures in the Smokies
Believe it or not, aerial recreation involves more than just skydiving. If you’re itching to get back in the air or want to experience flight a little closer to the ground, you’ll love these options in the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas.
Flyaway Indoor Skydiving
Maybe you’re interested in skydiving, but you want to take it slow and see what it’s all about before you jump out of a plane. Sound about right? Then check out Flyaway Indoor Skydiving conveniently located on the Parkway near other fun attractions, like Xtreme Racing Center and Crave Golf Club, in Pigeon Forge!
The site of America’s first vertical wind tunnel, Flyway’s body flight experience gives you the sensation of falling without the fear. This facility has become a popular training resource for sport skydivers, competitive teams, and military units. Bring your group for an indoor flying experience next time you’re in the Smokies!
Smoky Mountain Ziplines
Another exciting option is to visit Smoky Mountain Ziplines in Pigeon Forge! If you’re traveling with kids or with a group, ziplining in the Smokies is a great way to have some high-flying fun without the rules and regulations of skydiving. Kids as young as 8 years old can go ziplining, and the maximum weight for this activity is extended to 275 pounds. Choose their 7-line canopy tour for an outdoor adventure that’s over 150 in the air and covers 800 feet of cable at speeds up to 25 miles per hour!
Scenic Helicopter Tours
Our final option is a flight above the Great Smoky Mountains with Scenic Helicopter Tours! Offering flight tours over the national park since 1972, this attraction is the right choice for those who want to see the sights but who aren’t quite ready to trust a zipline or jump out of a plane. Instead, you’ll be safely buckled inside a helicopter with trusted pilots who will take you more than 1,200 feet in the air.
Depending on the helicopter tour you choose, your flight over the Smokies will give you the chance to view spectacular scenery like Douglas Lake, the French Broad River, the Douglas Dam, the Chilhowee Mountain Range, Wears Valley, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge.
Pigeon Forge TN Cabins
After your fun day of flying around the Smokies, return to your log cabin in the mountains for an evening of rest and relaxation. Pigeon Forge TN Cabins currently has 450+ options that range from 1-16 bedrooms and can sleep 1-60+ guests. Romantic stays, trips with friends, family vacations, and group getaways are great options. We even have pet-friendly cabins so your fur babies can come, too. Need to fit a certain budget? Browse our budget-friendly options. Want to splurge? Our luxury properties are just what you’re looking for! Of course, our amenity selection is top-notch to help guests unwind and recharge.
- Steamy hot tub
- Private indoor pool
- Community pool access
- Indoor jetted tub
- En-suite bathrooms
- King and queen beds
- Big screen TVs
- Blu-ray/DVD players
- Home theater
- Game tables (pool, air hockey, foosball, etc.)
- Arcade games
- High speed Wi-Fi
- Fully equipped kitchen
- Gas/charcoal grill
- Wood burning/gas/electric fireplaces
- Rocking chairs
- Porch swing
- Mountain/river/wooded/city views
Ready to book your cozy cabin stay in the Great Smoky Mountains? Choose a date online or give us a call if you have any questions at 1.866.513.7885. Once you book your accommodations, plan your skydive session and other aerial adventures ahead of time. This is going to be one trip to remember!