Skydiving was on my list of things to do before I die. Mind you, I didn’t expect to die doing it. Amateurs almost never jump to their deaths, said Pavel Kharitov, a parachuting instructor who’s made 200 jumps. “Those who do it for the first time maybe can twist their ankle. Usually, it’s the well-trained parachutists who die.”
Although it may appear that the facilities are rundown, parachutes and airplanes are ancient, the fee is suspiciously low (around 500 rubles) and instruction before the skydive only takes a couple of hours, every weekend dozens of enthusiasts eager to test themselves head to various drop zones scattered throughout the Moscow region. And there they take a leap of faith.
This is probably the most easily accessible airfield as it is situated within the city limits quite close to the metro. It is also the most expensive for the first individual jump with a round-cupola parachute (700 rubles). One-on-one instruction and a tandem jump (you are tied to your instructor, which can be quite romantic) will set you back $100. The airfield doesn’t provide insurance but does provide a doctor for a general check up. It’s best to bring a translator with you as instructors don’t speak English. The mode of air transport is an MI-8 helicopter that rises to the height of 600 to 800 meters.
Unlike other airfields, Tushino works on weekdays from 4pm to 7pm and from 9am to 3pm on Saturdays, closed Sundays.
88 Volokolamskoye Shosse, Bldg. 1, 506-8172. www.aero-club.ru/ nak_pryzhok.php
Children under 18 (but not under 15) may jump with written permission from their parents.
Open from 10am to 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
8 (27) 72-8674, www.airhorse.narod.ru/drakino
Tandem jump instructors at Korobcheyevo, situated 105 kilometers from the Moscow Ring Road, or MKAD, hold internationally recognized qualifications and can give instruction in English, but if you are doing it on your own it’s best to bring a translator along. An upside of a tandem jump (3,200 rubles) is that you get to go a lot higher — up to 4,000 meter and experience free-fall, while an individual jump (550 rubles) is only from 800 meters.
If you would like to receive further instruction, you can sign up for a classic training course (about 20,500 rubles) that combines theory and practice on a sports parachute or a slightly more advanced accelerated free fall (AFF) course costing about 28,000 rubles.
If you would like to spend the entire weekend at the airfield, it is possible to spend the night in a hotel in the nearby town of Kolomna.
Open on weekdays from 10am, and weekends from 9am until the sun goes down.
Once you’ve mastered your parachuting techniques, you can learn how to fly a small airplane. The course, the length of which varies individually, costs 200,000 rubles. Alternatively, an experienced pilot can take you for a spin on four-seat Yak-18 or a two-seat Yak-52 for 5,400 rubles an hour.
Open on holidays and weekends from 10am until dusk. 8 (240) 3-1890, www.paradrom.ru
If you have a car, then getting to Volosovo is easy. The airfield is situated some 65 kilometers outside the MKAD following Varshavskoye or Simferopolskoye Shosse. The offerings for your parachuting pleasure at Volosovo are pretty standard: an individual jump from 800 meters (600 rubles for the first and 550 ruble for a consecutive jump), a tandem option (3,300 rubles), and an Accelerated Free Fall training (price discussed individually) for advanced parachutists. The drop zone has a hotel (from 70 rubles a night in a four-person room), a bar, and a car park.
Open Fridays (from 2pm), Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30am till dusk.
8 (272) 6-3528, www.volosovo.ru
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