A Beginner's Guide to Skydiving

white and red airplane in mid air during daytime

Camera Icon Kamil Pietrzak / Unsplash

Preparing for Your First Skydive

Choose a Reputable Skydiving Center

Selecting a reputable skydiving center is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience. Look for centers with experienced instructors, proper certifications, and good reviews from previous customers. Take the time to research and choose a center that meets your needs and offers a professional environment.

Understand the Risks and Requirements

Skydiving comes with inherent risks, so it's essential to understand the requirements and potential hazards involved. Most skydiving centers have age and weight restrictions, and some may require a medical examination or a signed waiver. Make sure you meet the criteria and consult with your doctor if you have any underlying health conditions.

Schedule Your Jump

Contact the skydiving center in advance to schedule your jump. Popular centers may have busy schedules, so it's best to book your jump in advance to secure your spot. Be prepared for any weather-related changes or delays, as skydiving operations are weather-dependent for safety reasons.

Tandem Skydiving

Tandem skydiving is the most common way for beginners to experience their first jump. In tandem skydiving, you'll be attached to an experienced instructor who will guide you through the entire process.

Training and Equipment

Before your jump, you'll receive a brief training session that covers the basics of skydiving, including body positioning, canopy control, and emergency procedures. The instructor will also fit you with a harness and provide you with a jumpsuit, goggles, and a helmet.

The Jump

During the jump, you and your instructor will exit the aircraft together, usually from around 10,000 to 13,000 feet (3,000 to 4,000 meters) above the ground. You'll experience an adrenaline-pumping freefall for about 60 seconds, reaching speeds of around 120 mph (193 km/h). At a safe altitude, your instructor will deploy the parachute, and you'll enjoy a peaceful canopy ride as you descend back to the ground.

Safety and Communication

Throughout the jump, your instructor will handle all the technical aspects, including parachute deployment and landing. You'll be connected to your instructor via a harness system, allowing for clear communication and ensuring your safety throughout the entire experience.

Solo Skydiving (Accelerated Freefall - AFF)

For those who are more adventurous and wish to pursue skydiving further, the Accelerated Freefall (AFF) program is the next step after tandem skydiving.

AFF Training

In the AFF program, you'll receive comprehensive training that covers skydiving techniques, emergency procedures, and canopy control. The training usually includes several hours of ground instruction and practice jumps from lower altitudes.

Jumping Solo

In the AFF program, you'll jump from the aircraft solo, accompanied by two instructors who will provide guidance and assistance in freefall. You'll deploy your own parachute and control the canopy during the descent. The instructors will observe and evaluate your performance, providing feedback to help you improve your skills.

Progression and Certification

As you progress through the AFF program, you'll complete a series of jumps with increasing responsibilities and complexity. After successfully completing the required jumps and demonstrating proficiency in all areas, you'll earn your skydiving license, allowing you to jump independently and explore more advanced skydiving disciplines.

Safety Considerations

Skydiving is an extreme sport, and safety should always be the top priority. Here are some important safety considerations:

  • Listen to Your Instructor: Follow the instructions of your instructor at all times. They have the experience and knowledge to ensure your safety during the jump.
  • Gear and Equipment: Make sure all the gear and equipment are properly inspected and maintained. Double-check your harness, helmet, goggles, and parachute system before the jump.
  • Weather Conditions: Skydiving operations are weather-dependent, and jumps may be delayed or canceled due to unfavorable conditions. Trust the judgment of the skydiving center and instructors regarding weather-related decisions.
  • Physical Fitness: Skydiving requires a reasonable level of physical fitness. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and inform the instructors of any health conditions or injuries that may affect your ability to skydive safely.