Skydiving is an activity that will leave you with a unique memory, but you probably have questions about this unforgettable experience.
It’s decided, you want to take the plunge into the void. A desire for adrenaline drives it or going beyond your limits. Whatever the reason, thousands of questions go through your head and here are all the answers from someone who’s been skydiving for a long time, a licensed skydiving instructor Charles Russell Leone IV. Here’s all there is to know before you jump from a plane at more than 100 miles per hour.
What Is the Best Time for a Jump?
You can technically jump anytime, but it is better to wait for good weather. Most often, your instructor will have to reschedule your jump if it rains. This is a good thing because it is better to have the natural elements work in your favor. It is always more pleasant if the weather is nice and that is why some skydiving centers close between November and March. In case of bad weather, the plane doesn’t take off until the conditions improve. Always plan at least a day ahead to be sure.
How Old Do You Have to Be?
This varies according to the country. In general, the minimum age for a tandem parachute jump is 15 years with parental authorization. Note that you have to be at least 90 lbs to be able to jump.
How Physically Demanding Is It?
Not very much at all. When you are jumping with an instructor, they are doing most of the work so that you can enjoy the view of your life. It does tend to get a little tight when jumping with someone, so be aware of that in advance
Does the First Jump Have to Be Done in Tandem?
In general, the first jump is done with an approved instructor who is attached to you and who controls the entire descent, the trajectory, the opening of the parachute and the landing. However, you can also take a course that will allow you to jump alone the first time too.
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Be Comfortable Around the Person You’re Jumping With
If you are planning on doing your first jump, or any subsequent ones, with an instructor, make sure you can be comfortable around them. The first thing to do is to make sure that you can rely on the instructor, and the best way to do this is by finding out their qualifications.
The skydiving facility should provide you with all the necessary information to base your decision on, like where your instructor was certified. If you want to be extra careful, you can always try to look up your instructor or the academy online, and to check for customer feedback.
It would be best to prioritize those with the most experience, and those with the high rate of successful jumps, as it is essential to trust someone who is throwing you out of an airplane.
Is Health Important?
It is essential to be in good health when you go skydiving. It is strongly discouraged if you have a heart problem or if you have back pain (mainly because of the landing). This activity is rarely allowed for pregnant women. In most cases, you must go to your doctor before the big jump, so it’s the doctor who will give you permission depending on your health. However, do not skydive if you have been drinking 12 hours before and scuba diving the night before. And a tip, eat before because you are going to spend a lot of energy.
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Can You Jump If You Are Dizzy?
If you have air sickness or dizziness, you can still practice skydiving. Dizziness is a phenomenon related to the sense of balance and not the feeling of falling so no problem at this level. At 4000 meters, you lose your bearings with the ground, so you do not have the sensation of height. It seems that the greatest paratroopers suffer from vertigo precisely.
How Do You Find a Good Skydiving School?
There are no bad skydiving schools because they do not joke at all with safety. The instructors are all experienced, and all have had hundreds of jumps before being able to accompany you in the sky. The parachutes are always controlled. So there is no risk although it’s considered extreme but still listen to the advice of instructors.
What Kind of Clothes Should You Wear?
The equipment (which includes the main and the backup parachute) is included. So is the harness, the altimeter, the helmet, the suit and the glasses. So you can dress as you want. Bear in mind it is better to dress well because it is not so hot up there. The only thing that is forbidden is wearing high heels and shoes with laces because they must be removed if necessary.
What Is the Maximum Height for a Jump?
In tandem, the maximum height is around 13000 feet. If you want to jump higher, you will need small bottles of oxygen to breathe but this is never an option for a first jump.
How Long Does a Jump Take?
The free fall part (where you reach the 100 miles per hour in less than 10 seconds), lasts between 50 and 60 seconds. It’s the best moment of the experience because it’s where you’ll get the most adrenaline and thrills. At about 5000 feet from the ground, your instructor will open your parachute which will slow down your fall. Then you will have 4 or 5 minutes of pleasure to contemplate the sky and the landscape before landing.
What to Do If the Parachute Doesn’t Open?
Have no fear about it. In tandem, it is the instructor that operates the parachute and if you jump alone and it does not work, you have a backup parachute. But if you have forgotten to open it (because you love the sight too much for example), know that the parachutes are equipped with safety openers that are triggered automatically at a certain altitude. So whatever happens, your parachute will open and everything will be fine. Unless you forgot to pack your parachute and you realize it during the fall. But the instructors who are in the plane will not let you jump without having everything so do not panic.
Can You Enjoy the Landscape at This Speed?
During the free fall, you do not really have time to appreciate the beauty of the panorama because you will be enjoying the intense sensation of the 5G. And no, I’m not speaking about the phone. Once the parachute deployed, you will really enjoy a unique view so choose a beautiful place for your jump.
What Is It Like Up There?
When those plane doors open, you should notice that the air is more freezing than the last time you inhaled it, and there’s also the matter of those hills beneath speeding towards you after the jump. The best part is when the parachute opens, or rather the transition between falling like a speeding bullet and then gliding in safety, and that part will probably make you come back for more.
What If You Are Too Scared to Jump?
This never happens because once at the top, you’ll only want to jump. At worst, the instructor will push you, but you will thank him later. And anyway, it seems that it is less scary to jump from the plane than stay in for the return to the base. In general, the pilot returns to aerobatic mode, positioning the plane vertically upside down so you better jump, it’s less risky! Furthermore, most often you will not be able to get a refund. In case of strong wind, rain, fog or thunderstorm, the jump will be postponed but not canceled.
Now you know everything. Good luck with your first jump, enjoy it and have fun!
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