CSC Blog

Douglas Smith

Douglas Smith

Douglas Smith is CEO/President, and Guest Relations Associate at Chicagoland Skydiving Center. He has owned and operated the business since 2000. He has been skydiving since 1994, and in addition to leading the CSC Team, is currently an instructor, videographer and pilot for CSC.

If you're skydiving, you're probably just looking for a quick ride in an airplane. Typically, jumpers are focused on the freefall ahead, but rarely give much thought to the person in the cockpit. At many dropzones, few jumpers even know the pilot's name.

Some say jump pilots are the unsung heroes of skydiving. I'm not sure about that, but we certainly have to manage a lot of variables from the lonely front seat.

Skydiving operators throughout the country are concerned about the decreasing price trend for tandem skydives. Many point to the prominence of daily deal websites for this decline. Groupon is the most popular in this category, and many dropzones rely on it as their core marketing strategy these days. It's a problem, pushing our industry to circle the drain and price ourselves out of business.

How did we get here? Why can't we break the cycle? Well, I may have started this mess, and I'm truly sorry. 

This company has evolved quite a bit since I launched it back in December 2000. Back then, I had a business partner, we were leasing aircraft, we were operating out of a different airport, we had virtually no facilities to speak of, we employed only seasonal staff (usually different people each year), and no idea how to actually run a business - clearly, all of the key ingredients for a successful endeavor!

tandem financing