Published: November 28, 2016
Tandem skydiving seems pretty straightforward, no? I mean: you go to a dropzone, you harness yourself up to someone who knows what they're doing, you get into a plane, you get out of that plane once it's nice and high and you land with a big smile on your face. Job done, right?
...it's not actually that easy to nail the details, truth be told.
We're here to make sure you're set up with the savvy to get it right the first time. Why? Because we want to make you a full-on fan of skydiving, and the raging success born of great planning can make that a reality. Here are the most common trip-ups that lie in wait to rob you of awesome--and how you can make sure that these mistakes don't happen to you.
Mistake 1. Selecting a Skydiving Center that's Not a Member of the USPA.
You may not yet have heard of the USPA, but the USPA has heard of you.
The USPA, or United States Parachuting Association, is the oversight organization that minds the details of the recreational parachuting industry. They've heard of you because, as a first-time skydiver, they have spent the last fifty years thinking about your needs and the training technology that supports your introduction to the sport in the safest possible way.
The USPA sets down the best practices for parachuting safety, instructor training, new-jumper education and other key issues in parachuting--and dropzone members of the USPA have pledged to follow these best practices. Dropzones who aren't members? Well, they're saving on safety and passing those pennies on to you (which is totally not the way to approach jumping out of planes, right?!)
Of course, the Long Island Skydiving Center is super-proud to be a member of the USPA.
Mistake 2. Selecting a Skydiving Center Based on Price
Along precisely those lines: it is very easy to get sucked into the trap of choosing a skydiving center based on a relatively small difference in cost. There are some pretty serious safety and comfort differentials between skydiving locations that show up initially in those little price fluctuations--differentials in airplane maintenance, instructor training, instructor experience and skill, equipment quality and so on.
These elements can very easily make or break a skydiving experience. USPA membership is a huge clue--but make sure to check the online reviews, too. These can help fill your research in with the missing information.
Mistake 3. Selecting a Skydiving Center Without a View
There's nothing like a skydive to show you the stunning 360-degree sights...but what if there are no sights? Because it's important to operate from an airport with a margin of safe space around it, many places to go skydiving around the world are located in the middle of a whole lot of cornfields. Don't get us wrong--we like corn as much as the next guy--but we like to see the entire New York City skyline marching out along our horizon a lot better. We're pretty sure you will, too.
Mistake 4. Making the Wrong Choices on the Day
Even if you've arrived at a high-quality, safety-first dropzone with a gorgeous view, there are still a couple of tidbits you might accidentally neglect: Specifically, food and pictures.
Food, luckily, is an easy one to address: eat, but not too heavily. You want to be nourished but not full. It's a great idea to bring water and healthy snacks, just in case. Job done.
Then, of course, there's the photo-and-video thing.
First-time skydivers who elect not to get photos and video always come to us with regret. After all, no matter how many skydives you follow it up with, that first skydive is your only first skydive. You'll want to remember those details. Case in point: yours truly has many hundreds of skydives under her belt, but I wanted to save a few bucks on that first one and went without. My thousandth jump is coming up, and I ache to celebrate it by playing the video of my first jump next to the footage of me doing something crazy for #1000. Suffice it to say--I can't. Sniff.
Pretty sure you won't make a thousand jumps? Well: I was pretty sure of that, too, and here I am. You might be very surprised at the new world you find up there above Long Island. We'll be chuffed to welcome you to it. Let's get started by scheduling your first tandem skydive!