September 12, 2022

 

Skydiving: Everything You Need to Know 

Before Jumping Into the Void

 

Skydiving is an activity with extreme sensations that will leave you with unique memories, but you probably have questions about this unforgettable experience.

 

It's decided, you want to take the plunge and try skydiving. A big desire for adrenaline or to exceed your limits, but whatever the reason, thousands of questions are running through your head, and here are finally all the answers. Here is everything you need to know before jumping out of a plane for a crazy descent at 200 km/h!

 

Please note that each country has different legislation and regulation so there will be several answers each time depending on your destination in the world.

 

What is the best time to jump for the first time?

You can technically jump in any season but it is better to wait for the good weather before jumping. In principle, your instructor will have to reschedule your jump if it rains, and that's a good thing because it's better to enjoy the elements while flying. 

 

It is always more pleasant if the weather is nice and that is why some centers close between November and March. In case of bad weather, the plane stays on the ground and you will have to wait until the weather improves and you can finally take off. Always allow half a day to be sure.

 

At what age can I skydive?

This varies from country to country, but in general, the minimum age for a tandem skydive is 15 years old with parental authorization, even if some centers accept children from 12 years old (who must be accompanied by a parent). Note that a minimum weight of 40 kg is generally required.

 

What is the maximum weight allowed for a jump?

The maximum weight is often 90 to 95 kg in tandem. You will have to negotiate with the center where you have booked if you are very heavy or heavier than 100 kg, as some may accept if the instructor who accompanies you is light enough and the two of you do not exceed the maximum weight that a parachute can support.

 

Does the first jump have to be done in tandem?

In general, the first jump is done in tandem, that is to say with a certified instructor who is attached to you and who controls the whole descent, the trajectory, the opening of the parachute, and the landing. But you also have the possibility of following training to jump alone the first time. 

 

Do I have to be in good health to jump?  Are there any contraindications?

It is important to be in good health to jump. It is strongly discouraged if you have an ENT problem related to decompression, a heart problem or if you suffer from back pain (mainly due to the landing).  

 

This activity is rarely authorized for pregnant women and in any case, for the majority of schools holding the state certificate, you will have to visit your doctor before the big jump, so it is he who will validate or not your request according to your health condition. 

 

However, you should avoid skydiving if you have consumed alcohol 12 hours before and if you have been scuba diving the day before. And a word of advice: eat before you jump, because you will be expending a lot of energy.

 

Can you jump if you are afraid of heights?

If you have air sickness or vertigo, you can still skydive.  Vertigo is a phenomenon related to the sense of balance and not to the sensation of falling, so there is 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 skydivers suffer from vertigo...

 

How do you recognize a good skydiving school?

There is no such thing as a bad skydiving school because they don't joke about safety at all, that's one thing to know. The instructors are all experienced and licensed with hundreds of jumps under their belt before they can take you up into the sky. The parachutes are packed in a drastic way and always checked. There is no risk for this practice considered extreme but listening to the advice of the instructors, can be useful.

 

What equipment and clothing should I have?

The equipment (which includes the main parachute and the reserve parachute) is included in the rental, as well as the harness, the altimeter, the helmet, the suit, and the goggles. So you don't have to come with anything and you can dress as you like. And even if some people like to jump naked, it's better to dress well because it's not so hot up there. The only thing that is forbidden is to wear high shoes with laces because you have to be able to take them off in flight if necessary.

 

What is the maximum and minimum height from which one can jump?

In tandem, the maximum height is 4000 meters. If you want to jump from a higher height, you will need small oxygen tanks to breathe at altitude, but this is never proposed for a first jump.

 

How long does a jump last?

The freefall portion (where you reach 200km/h in less than 10 seconds), lasts between 50 and 60 seconds and is the best part of the experience as this is where you will get the most adrenaline and thrills. 

 

At about 1500 meters from the ground, your instructor will activate your parachute which will slow down your fall. You will still have 4 or 5 minutes of fun contemplating the sky and the landscape before landing.

 

What if the parachute does not open?

Don't worry about that. In tandem, it is the instructor who activates the parachute and if you jump alone and it doesn't work, you have a reserve parachute. But if you forget to activate it (because you like the view too much for example), you should know that the parachutes are equipped with safety openers which are automatically triggered at a certain altitude. 

 

During the first jumps, instructors are flying next to you and will activate your parachute if necessary. So whatever happens, your parachute will open and everything will be fine. Unless you forgot to bring your parachute and you realize it once you are in the sky. But the instructors on the plane will not let you jump without checking everything, so don't panic.

 

What documents do I need to provide?

All participants must normally bring a medical certificate dated less than 6 months old of no contraindication to the practice of tandem skydiving before making their jump but some schools are less strict about this regulation.

 

Can I jump at the same time as a friend?

If your friend is the instructor, it is possible, but if not, you must jump one after the other.  It is not like bungee jumping where you can jump at the same time. It is not possible for two people to jump simultaneously in tandem because that would mean a total of 4 people leaving the plane at the same time. You must allow at least 10 seconds between each jump from the same plane.

 

Your friend can come in the plane with you by paying for his ticket and he can also wait for you at the landing zone (you will have to choose between these two options because he will hardly be able to do both for obvious reasons unless he knows how to teleport). 

 

On the other hand, he will not be allowed to film your fall because it is reserved for the skydiving center staff.  And you can't film your own fall with your phone because it is forbidden for safety reasons.

 

Can I keep my goggles on while flying?

The goggles are provided and they can be placed in front of your glasses or sunglasses, so there is no need to worry about that. If you have the choice, opt for contact lenses that day.

 

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