published Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Jump for joy

Tandem skydiving requires no prior jumping experience, just 30 minutes of instruction and paperwork.
Tandem skydiving requires no prior jumping experience, just 30 minutes of instruction and paperwork.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

* What: Chattanooga Skydiving Festival.

* When: 8 a.m.-sunset Friday, Nov. 9 through Sunday, Nov. 11.

* Where: Chattanooga Skydiving Co., 330 Airport Road, Jasper, Tenn.

* Admission: Free for spectators; $199, $229, $249 and $299 (based on altitude) for diving.

* Phone: 855-776-5867 or 702-280-5656.

* Website:

What would motivate a man, or woman, to jump out of a plane?

According to Justin Silvia, the answer is simple: Because it's fun.

"It changes your life. It gives you a different perspective," said Silvia, co-owner of Chattanooga Skydiving Co. "The only thing you're thinking about when you're skydiving is skydiving. You're not worried about your job. You're not worried about getting to work, your bills. All that stuff goes out the window."

For those who wish to experience the thrill of skydiving, Silvia and company are holding a skydiving festival this weekend.

From Friday through Sunday, Nov. 9-11, visitors can come out to the Marion County-Brown Field Airport where the Chattanooga Skydiving Co. is located, and be soaring among the clouds within minutes.

"If you want to do a tandem skydive, just walk in the door and we'll take you up," Silvia said.

Fifteen minutes of training and another 15 of paperwork, and you'll be going up in a small plane, prepared to jump out into the open sky.

For those who would rather watch than jump, more than 50 divers from around the world will be on hand to create formations in the air.

A rare opportunity at Chattanooga Skydiving Co. is the Extreme Altitude Tandem Skydive. At 18,000 feet, the plane is up so high it is necessary to have oxygen on board.

"It's very unique for civilians to do a tandem skydive from that high up," said Silvia.

He is a 29-year veteran of skydiving and is in the middle of three generations of skydivers in his family. All staff members have been doing tandem jumps for five to 10 years, he said.

Contact Holly Leber at or 423-757-6391. Follow her on Twitter at Subscribe to her on Facebook at

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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