Throughout history, men and women have regarded birds with awe and their ability to soar through the air as a symbol of ultimate freedom. The advent of flight in the early 20th century allowed us to experience this freedom for the first time. By 1952, skydiving had become an international sport. In the present day, skydiving has become a safe and relatively affordable sport, and even a passionate hobby for millions of adults of all ages. If you are just getting into the sport, the following list presents some of the most frequently asked questions for skydiving.
Where do I take my first skydive?
Across the United States, it is fortunate that there are a large number of very reputable skydiving centers with excellent safety records. Some are more a private club setting while most are huge commercial centers. Most centers offer the skydiving during all seasons of the year, while others will close for the winter season. Some are open on weekends only while others offer the service during weekdays.
Skydiving-Locations.com indexes many of the best drop zones in the United States and for a first-time skydiver, there is almost guaranteed to be a good skydiving drop zone within reasonable driving distance for you.
Is the sport of skydiving safe?
Skydiving is considered an aerial sport and with proper safety conventions and training, is actually very safe. It is a common misconception that accidents happen from equipment failure. In fact, this is extremely rare. Standard skydiving equipment always includes a second backup parachute and time and time again, analysis reveals skydiving accidents occur almost entirely because solo jumpers did not follow proper procedure or training. Therefore, those who engage in skydiving as a sport should be well trained by reputable skydiving instructors and facilities.
Are there age limitations for skydiving?
By law, the minimum age for skydiving is 18. On the other side, there is no upper limit for skydiving age. Many active skydivers are well over 60 and continuing to enjoy the sport.
Are there any physical requirements to engage in this sport?
Skydiving is not considered a strenuous sport. Any adult who is in relatively good physical shape can enjoy skydiving as a one time experience or persistent hobby. However, as with any physical sport, there are conditions like heart problems, obesity and epilepsy which might prevent a person from engaging in this activity. Thus, it is highly advised for anyone with a medical condition that could potentially interfere with the safe enjoyment of this sport, to consult with their physician first.
Is there a maximum weight limit for skydiving?
Legally, there is no maximum weight limit to skydive but skydiving drop zones and parachute manufacturers will usually set these limits between 220-285 pounds.
What is tandem skydiving?
Tandem skydiving is the safest way to skydive ‘casually’ because the student remains attached by harness to the instructor for the entire jump. It is the ideal jump for novices in the sport who just want to enjoy the excitement and thrill of skydiving without the training, knowledge, and preparation required for a solo jump. The instructor will control the dive from the time of exit, parachute opening, and landing.
A typical tandem jump at 10,000 ft will experience 45 seconds controlled free fall, parachute release at 4000ft, and a 5-6 minute descent to the ground.
See our article on skydiving jumps for more information and a comparison between tandem, AFF training, and static line skydiving jumps.
How does the freefall feel?
As any experienced divers will tell you, free fall is not quite like that terrifying drop when riding a roller coaster. Free fall can almost give you a sensation of floating, except that the rushing air against your body reminds you that you are falling at terminal velocity, which adds to the thrill and excitement of the jump. With nothing but the open sky surrounding you, skydiving can be considered the closest thing to human flight.
What if the jumper gets motion sickness?
It is actually quite rare for a jumper to get sick during freefall, because the momentum remains always in the same direction towards the ground and the distance is so far. If a jumper is prone to getting motion sickness, it is advised to eat a very light meal an hour before the scheduled jumping time.
Does opening of parachute hurt?
There is a slight jolt might when the parachute opens but by the design of the equipment, this should not cause any discomfort.
What do I wear when I skydive?
Just wear casual clothes that are comfortable but not too loose. Tracksuit pants or jeans during the winter and shorts during summer season are appropriate.
In winter months, wearing layers usually works best to mitigate the cold wind. Your skydiving center should also provide you with jumpsuit or skydiving pants to wear over your clothes. Shoes that are closed in are a must and preferably sneakers which are firmly laced.
What is the ideal time for skydiving and how long does it take?
You can skydive at any time during the day but obviously not at in the dark at night!
Including training, plan to spend 1-3 hours at the drop zone for a Tandem jump, 8 hours for solo freefall, and 4-5 hours for a static line jump.
Are there weather conditions that will prevent skydiving?
Some weather conditions like storms, rain, snow, high wind, low clouds, or fog will cause a jump to be delayed or canceled for the day. Remember, safety should always be the most paramount consideration! Your drop zone should be able to let you know about these weather conditions ahead of time.
If you are scheduling your skydive, feel free to use our extended weather forecast at Skydiving-Locations.com
What if the parachute does not open?!
All skydiving jumps today are performed with a main parachute and a reserve parachute, in case the main is not functioning correctly. The main parachute will be used in normal conditions and it is only in the unlikely event of a malfunction, that the reserve parachute will be used.
The reserve parachute is usually set to activate automatically in freefall at a low height, so even if the skydiver is unconscious or for some reason has not activated their main canopy, they should still be safe. The chance of both main and reserve canopies failing completely is essentially zero. As mentioned above, the vast majority of skydiving accidents and injuries are the result of inexperienced divers not following their training or proper safety procedures.
What is the cost of skydiving?
This is perhaps the most common question asked but prices depend on jump type and drop zone. A first time tandem jump at a good facility will generally cost from $180-250 (with an optional $50-$150 photo and/or video package). A first time static line jump with training can be around $150-$300 (higher prices for jumps from higher altitudes, ranging from 11,000 ft to 18,000 ft). A full AFF course training for solo skydiving will be spaced over several days with multiple jumps and will cost upwards of $1000.
The above price ranges are for first-time jumps and inclusive of instructors, equipment, and of course the altitude ride. After a first jump or the initial training, many facilities will bring their price down and many dropzones offer discounts for couples or groups.
For experienced skydivers with their own equipment, the price can usually range from $18 to $30 depending on dropzone and altitude.