Once you have decided that skydiving is a good idea and you’ve booked your first jump, you will likely move on to wondering what actually happens to make it all work. Sure, you have seen videos of people zooming through the sky and flying around under parachute – but as a brand new skydiver, here’s what to expect when skydiving for the first time:
Before You Jump
Skydiving happens pretty fast. The plane ride to altitude takes around 20 minutes, freefall around 45 seconds, and the parachute ride a few minutes more. But – of course – there’s paperwork to do first, and also an important pre-jump briefing that includes the information you need to help everything go swimmingly. With blue skies, you should expect to be with us for about half a day all told.
Skydiving operations are carefully scheduled to keep the plane flying and as many jumps happening as possible, and while you will have a pretty good idea of when you are due to go up – exact timings can vary a little.
For example, we are very good at studying the jumping conditions – but we do not control the weather and sometimes we have to wait for the wind to drop or clouds to pass by. The good news is that the dropzone is a cool and interesting place to hang out. Skydiving is a very involved and complex sport, and a bit of time spent with our team will reveal the depth of their enthusiasm – particularly when it comes to introducing new people to what skydiving is all about.
When It’s Your Turn
Tandem skydiving means jumping while harnessed together with an instructor – piggy-back style. In back is your instructor, who handles the technical procedures such as deploying the parachute and navigating the way down to the ground. In front is you, who gets to enjoy the ride, soak up this spectacular view of the world, and savor the thrill of freefall. You do have some easy tasks to help everything go smoothly, such as arching your body in freefall to create stability – but these things are covered during the pre-jump briefing, reviewed by your instructor in the aircraft, and prompted at the times when they need to be done.
Air gets colder the higher up you go, and you might be given a jumpsuit to wear. If it is warm on the ground, you might be advised that jumping in your street clothes is fine. Remember that wearing the right clothing is important, and sportswear that covers your arms and legs is best. Sneakers are best for your feet, as your shoes need to lace up tight and be enclosed. Straps, dangly details and velcro are no good, and losing a shoe in the sky is both not cool and permanent.
It is normal to be nervous before your jump, but skydiving is a highly accessible and endlessly repeatable sport. Gone are the days when flinging yourself out of an aircraft was a stunt performed by “crazy” people – and parachuting is quite the opposite of how it is often portrayed. Skydiving is about managing risk and prioritizing safety, and you will see this in action as soon as you arrive at our facility.
What is important to hold in your mind, though, is that no matter how anxious the idea of plunging towards the earth is making you – when you are actually doing it the fear is completely and totally gone.
Once You Land
As soon as you are back in the landing area, you will probably want to go up again – like, immediately. And you will also probably be raring to view the video and photos of your jump. You only do your first skydive once, and having the media to share with your friends and family is a solid investment you shouldn’t miss out on. (Did you get that? Get the video!!)
After the hugs and the high fives, you’ll head back out into the world feeling amazing about what you have achieved. Skydiving manifests all the good chemicals in our bodies, and can have lasting positive effects on both your physical and mental wellbeing. Also, there is something about freefall that resonates inside a human being – which means that for many people jumping out of an airplane can be a profound, life changing experience. Once you have been skydiving, you can expect to feel good about it for a long time to come.
If you’re ready for your turn in the sky, what are you waiting for? Let’s go!