The View From Above

Imagine the view 2.5 miles above the Chesapeake Bay. Now imagine the thrill of stepping out of a plane and into the air as you plummet down to the surface.  

Not everyone wants to take this journey. But for those who do, they call it “air therapy,” an endorphin rush and sometimes, a spiritual experience. Seasoned skydivers describe it as a thrill that never gets old and first-timers wonder why they waited so long to try it. 

Whether you’re an experienced jumper or a novice, Skydive Chesapeake in Ridgley, Maryland, is happy to get you airborne and offer you the thrill of a lifetime as you dive out of an airplane and into the clouds over the Chesapeake Bay. 

Chris Derbak, Max Sivohin, and Ben Harris own this Eastern Shore company which bills itself as the only “drop zone” between Baltimore, Ocean City, and Washington, D.C. Derbak is an Air Force and Coast Guard veteran and a licensed pilot. Sivohin is also a Coast Guard veteran, and Harris is an expert parachute rigger and videographer. Derbak is also the founder and CEO and Sivohin is the CFO of the nonprofit organization Jump for Valor. Founded in 2019, Jump for Valor aims to improve the lives of veterans through participation in skydiving and aerial sports. The program includes Sponsor a Vet packages which provide a tandem dive or a skydiving certification course for a veteran. 

When Skydive Delmarva closed, the trio decided they wanted to provide skydiving on the Eastern Shore of Maryland so they could continue doing “what we love to do.” And they do it well. Skydive Chesapeake has been described as a bucket list fulfillment, a ten-out-of-ten experience, supported by an incredible staff.  

Beginners make tandem jumps, where they are strapped to an instructor. For a beginning skydiver, getting up and into the air is a simple but thorough process—fill out the required paperwork, watch a short video, and complete a brief ground training session. Then it’s time to board the plane and enjoy the view as the aircraft ascends two and a half miles into the atmosphere.  

Skydive Chesapeake’s Cessna travels to 10,500 feet and the larger Caravan flies to 13,500 feet. Imagine the view from 2 ½ miles up into the atmosphere with a literal bird’s-eye view of Baltimore, the Chesapeake Bay, Cape May Jersey, and the Atlantic coastline. 

When it’s time to leap, first-time jumpers report being pleasantly surprised. Instead of a stomach-jolting steep drop, the experience is more like gliding and floating, almost like swimming.  “You’re learning to control yourself in a different element, a thinner fluid than water where everything is happening much faster. It does take practice, but in the end, you’ve got to love it,” says Harris. 

Skydive Chesapeake offers video and photography to document your jump (and to prove it really happened). It’s a permanent record of the 20 to 25 minutes of your life when nothing mattered except landing safely on the ground.