California’s SkyDance SkyDiving Finds The Ideal Jump Airplane

SkyDance SkyDiving operates out of Davis in the Sacramento Valley, California, where it caters to local jump fans, has a thriving international and tourist clientele and also works on Hollywood films and TV commercials.

It was formed in 1987 by Ray Ferrell, an experienced parachute instructor and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) parachute examiner.


“For skydiving our target is an airplane that’s fast, efficient and can climb to 13,000 feet within 15 minutes while carrying a good load of jumpers,” said Ferrell.

“We also want a user-friendly plane that’s easy for pilot training and maintenance. It needs to be high- winged with a large door and to have a wide center of gravity (CG) range so it’s not going to stall easily. Overall it must be safe and reliable.

“The Cessna Caravan has always been a pretty good airplane but a standard model is so underpowered that it didn’t make a very good plane for sky diving operations. We realized that if we were going to average more than 14 jumpers, converting a Cessna Caravan to a bigger engine was the way to go.”


When it came time for his Caravan upgrade, Ferrell chose Texas Turbines and Honeywell.

“The spectacular customer service and the customer support is unlike any I have found with any other aviation company in the past. The airplane has performed better than my expectations and the Honeywell engine is extremely robust.”