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Parachute Ottawa Posted by: Parachute Ottawa 2 months ago

Newcomers to Parachute Ottawa may not realize that this year represents 30 years of skydiving at the Arnprior Airfield. What’s more, our beloved dropzone has been owned and operated by the Mason family throughout much of our history! Many things have changed over the years, and a lot has stayed the same – like our commitment to safety and education, stellar customer service, and community. 

This anniversary milestone offers a great time to pause and reflect on where we’ve come from, appreciate where we are today, and look forward to the exciting season ahead at Parachute Ottawa!

Male tandem skydiving student giving two thumbs up to camera while in freefall

Our Past: Mile High Parachuting 

Established in 1994 by Buck Whalley and Barry Mason – DZO Jake Mason’s dad – Parachute Ottawa is a direct descendant of Mile High Parachuting. Jake was the definition of a DZ rat: it was here that he spent his childhood, packed parachutes across his teen years, and earned his pilot’s license and solo certificate by age 16. (Note: Jake got both of these licenses before pursuing his driver’s license – talk about priorities!)

Shannon spent her formative years here too. She started packing parachutes for Migh High Parachuting at age 18 and essentially never left! When Jake earned his TI rating, Shannon was his first student.

In 2019, Jake was ready to lead the charge. By then he had thousands of jumps under his belt and was an experienced Tandem Instructor, PFF Instructor, Military Instructor, Pilot, Videographer, Ground Crew, Rigger, and Packer. 

Today, Jake and Shannon are partners in every sense of the word – they’re married with two boys and are co-DZOs of Parachute Ottawa.

Our Present: Parachute Ottawa 

Tandem skydivers and instructors celebrating on the ground before skydiving at Parachute Ottawa

In 2022, just a few short years after taking the reins, Jake and Shannon’s work was recognized by Best in Ottawa as the #1 Best Skydiving Centre in Ottawa, earning the highest possible marks across all categories: Years of Service, Skydiving Qualifications & Certifications, Range of Services, Safety & Security, and Customer Service & Availability. 

That same year brought another milestone: rebranding the dropzone. The Mason family has a lot of talents – including some strong graphic design skills (looking at you, Shannon!) – but this mission required outside influence. We engaged the skydiving marketing agency, DropZone Marketing, to bring our vision for the future into reality.  

At Parachute Ottawa, we annually serve thousands of civilians from all over the world and we are engaged by numerous military clients. We wanted our new brand to reflect our sense of adventure, our unwavering professionalism, and our love for this land that we hold sacred. The DropZone Marketing team delivered, and in late 2022 we unveiled our stunning new logo and website (and, of course, a handsome line of new merch).

In related news, we have since also rebranded our sister company, Mobility Lab, Inc. with DropZone Marketing – the new brand identity and website launched in May! Mobility Lab provides mission-specific custom and best-in-class parachuting equipment and training for the Canadian Armed Forces, Paramilitary, Search and Rescue, and First Responders. MLi is the sole and exclusive Canadian representative for CPS and CYPRES Military.

Our Future: 2024 Season & Beyond

Female tandem skydiving student giving the rock on signal with her hands while in freefall over Parachute Ottawa in Ontario

There is so much happening at Parachute Ottawa! Check out what’s in store for this season:

Education & Development

As we usher in the 2024 skydiving season, we are proud to formalize our commitment to advancing the sport of skydiving in Canada by offering two new initiatives. The first is all about ratings. Between May and October, we will match those interested in earning their C1, C2, PFFI, and other ratings to a Learning Facilitator. Courses will take place right here at Parachute Ottawa. 

The second is our Athlete Development Program for skydivers dedicated to competing at the national level. Eligibility to participate is contingent on your ability to demonstrate a clear intention to compete or to provide evidence of your competition history. Applicants must have completed at least 25 jumps in their discipline before applying. Athletes will receive a 20% discount on jumps in their declared discipline. 

We are pleased to continue our legacy of promoting skydiving education for learners at all levels, too. As we have in the past, we will deliver regular on-site programming for those interested in learning how to pack, reviewing emergency procedures, and getting current. We will also continue publishing our monthly blog which explores topics that are relevant to all facets of our civilian community: tandem students, PFF students, and experienced jumpers. Have an idea for a topic you want us to cover? Tell us! This is your resource.

Women in Skydiving

Back this year is POW (Parachute Ottawa Women) – an initiative built to further the efforts of the Canadian Sport Parachuting Association Women’s Initiatives Committee. Open to PFF graduates and CoP holders, POW members meet regularly to deepen connections across our community, participate in training and development opportunities, and advance female participation in skydiving. We also do fun things off DZ, like bowling! Want to join? Reach out – membership is free!

Events

There are exciting events on this season’s calendar that you won’t want to miss. In June, we’ll hold our second annual Jeff Dean Memorial Skillsfest, an educational event for those with a C1 Rating or greater. On July 1, we’re hosting a 4-way pickup competition, and on July 13 we’re participating in the first annual World Skydiving Day – including being part of setting the international record! The World Skydiving Day Record is open to all skydivers – tandem students and licensed skydivers – get after it! 

Additionally, Parachute Ottawa is one of nine prestigious dropzones nationwide hosting the 2024 Canadian Virtual National Parachuting Competition between April 1 and October 15. Connect with our team to learn more about this phenomenal development and competition opportunity.

Ready for an awesome season? First-timers: book your 9,000 foot or 12,500 foot tandem! PFF students: enroll in a course! Certificate holders: get your lift tickets! Everyone: show your Parachute Ottawa pride! The weather gods have declared it’s go-time; there’s no time to lose. Blue skies!

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Tandem skydiving student and instructor smiling while in freefall over Parachute Ottawa skydiving centre
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