Published: January 11, 2017
When you look at skydiving from the outside, you probably get the wrong idea.
All those grinning faces, falling out of an airplane?! I mean, seriously, you think, those people have got to be nuts. Don't they realize that enjoying a two-mile fall is grounds for being locked up in a padded room?
Thinking that skydivers must be crazy is certainly understandable, if you've never done a skydive before. It's super-likely--thanks to Hollywood's dedicated misinterpretation of our sport--that you don't have a solid idea of how skydiving actually feels. Enjoying skydiving ain't so crazy at all! Here's why.
1. Skydiving Isn't a Next-Level Rollercoaster for the Pathologically Thrill-Seeking.
Non-skydivers often seem to liken skydiving to a roller-coaster ride, but honestly, nothing could be farther from the truth. Roller-coasters are uncomfortable, jingly-jangly things, after all, with hard metal bouncing against you all the time as you hold on and try to keep yourself from smashing your head into the harness-bar thingy. We don't know about you, but we're always a little bit glad when it's over.
A skydive, on the other hand, is comparatively baby-smooth, supported on a cushion of air. The harness is soft and strong and adjusts to your body. Most importantly, you can customize the experience and ask your instructor for more or less in the way of exciting maneuvers. They're there to optimize your experience, not simply to rattle the harness to make sure it sticks and send you on your way.
2. Skydiving Isn't for People Who Love to Cram Their Stomachs Into Their Throats.
That stomach-in-throat feeling is caused by the sensation of weightlessness. The physics of skydiving neatly circumvent that phenomenon, so--on a normal skydive--that crazy feeling never takes place. Okay- the truth- if you were to do a skydive from a hot-air balloon, which many sport skydivers love to do, you *would* feel your stomach drop --but that doesn't make us crazy; it just makes us stoked to get a pretty picture of ourselves falling out of a balloon.
3. Skydiving Doesn't Satisfy People Who Want to Feel Like They're Falling.
In order to feel like you're falling, the human body needs to perceive that it's falling through something. The sensation of visual depth doesn't kick in until the very end of the skydive; instead, when you're in freefall, the ground beneath you looks more like a terrain map than terrain. Because the visual perception lacks depth, ground rush doesn't kick in.
Here's another fact that might interest you: because our sensation of falling is so minimal, we have to wear precision instruments on every single jump that help us keep track of our actual altitude at any given moment.
4. Skydiving Isn't Even for Speed Demons!
Sure, terminal velocity is 120mph in the open sky. That sounds like one heck of a fall rate, no? I mean: it's the highest speed on the dial in most cars! Moving at 120mph on the ground would kick in rocketship feelings, for sure.
In the sky, however, 120mph doesn't feel like 120mph. Because there aren't still references around you (like trees next to a road), your brain has nothing available to calculate the speed. If you pass a cloud, however...you'll notice.
It doesn't seem so crazy now, does it? I mean--sure, we're nuts, but in a good way. When you meet us, you'll see! Want to know more about why we jump from perfectly good airplanes? Read on!