Skydiving: Everything You Need to Know Before Jumping Into the Void

skydiving guide

Are you a thrill-seeking daredevil and ready to take the plunge and experience the ultimate adrenaline rush? Look no further than skydiving, the ultimate adventure sport that will leave you feeling like you’re on top of the world – quite literally!

As a skydiving enthusiast with years of experience under my belt, I’m here to guide you through everything you need to know about this exhilarating activity. From the basics of what to expect on your first jump to the more advanced techniques for seasoned skydivers, I’ve got you covered.

So, whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned pro looking to up your game, let’s dive right in (pun intended) and explore the exciting world of skydiving together.

But before we get started, let me leave you with a little teaser. Did you know that the highest skydive on record was from an altitude of over 135,000 feet? That’s higher than the cruising altitude of most commercial airplanes! Curious to learn more? Well, you’ll just have to keep reading to find out all the juicy details.

Throughout this article, I’ll be sharing my insider tips and tricks for making the most of your skydiving experience, including what to expect during your first jump, how to choose the right gear, and how to stay safe while having fun. So, buckle up (or should I say, strap in) and get ready for the ride of your life!

You’ve chosen to take the leap and try skydiving. A strong need for adrenaline or to push yourself beyond your limits, but whatever the reason, thousands of thoughts are racing through your mind, and here are the answers. Here’s all you need to know before leaping out of a plane for a 200 km/h dive!

Quick Facts:

If you are short on time, here’s a table comparing various aspects of skydiving:

Jump TypesTandem, solo, static line, accelerated freefall
AltitudeTypically 10,000-14,000 feet for first-time jumps, up to 18,000 feet for experienced skydivers
Freefall TimeTypically 30-60 seconds for first-time jumps, up to several minutes for experienced skydivers
Parachute DeploymentAutomatic activation device (AAD), manual ripcord, or pull-out pilot chute
Canopy ControlSteering lines to control direction and speed, flare to slow down and land
LandingOn designated landing area, typically a large, open field
TrainingGround school, safety procedures, equipment use, and emergency protocols
GearJumpsuit, helmet, goggles, altimeter, parachute, and AAD
Weather ConditionsClear skies, minimal wind, and no precipitation
SafetyProper training, equipment maintenance, and adherence to safety protocols
CostVaries depending on location, jump type, and experience level

It’s important to note that skydiving is an extreme sport that involves inherent risks, and safety should always be the top priority. Proper training, equipment, and adherence to safety protocols are essential for a safe and enjoyable skydiving experience.

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What Is The Best Time To Jump For The First Time?

What Is The Best Time To Jump For The First Time

You can technically jump at any time of year, but it is best to wait for suitable conditions before jumping. In general, if it rains, your instructor will have to postpone your jump, which is a good thing because it’s nicer to enjoy the scenery while flying. 

It is always more enjoyable when the weather is great, which is why several centres close between November and March. In the event of terrible weather, the plane will remain on the ground until the weather improves and you can finally take off. Allow at least half a day to be safe.

At What Age Can I Skydive?

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?

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?

Does The First Jump Have To Be Done In Tandem

In general, the first jump is done in tandem, that is, with a licenced instructor linked to you and controlling the whole fall, trajectory, parachute opening, and landing. 

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However, you always have the option of following training to jump alone for the first time.

How Much Does The First Jump Cost?

How Much Does The First Jump Cost

The price of a tandem skydive on average varies between 230$ and 300$ depending on the destination. Please note that prices sometimes go down during the week depending on the region. This price includes the rental of the equipment (parachute, harness…) and your seat in the plane.   

Do I Have To Be In Good Health To Jump? Are There Any Restrictions?

Do I Have To Be In Good Health To Jump Are There Any Restrictions

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?

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…

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How Do You Recognize A Good Skydiving School?

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 as extreme but listen to the advice of the instructors, it can be useful.

What Equipment And Clothing Should I Have?

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?

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?

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 thrill. 

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.

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What If The Parachute Does Not Open?

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?

What Documents Do I Need To Provide

In the USA, 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?

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.

Can I Keep My Goggles On While Flying?

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.



There you go… You have all the information you need before trying this adventure! Now, you can go ahead and enjoy your first tandem skydive. Ah..Did we say tandem? Yes, there is a very good reason for it! You should always take things easy for the first few flights so tandem diving it is until you are comfortable flying solo. If the rebel in you disagrees.. Well, what can we say!

The only thing left now to do is to make your reservation at the centre closest to where you live or plan on visiting soon.

There are several schools providing this activity throughout the United States that will help you realize your dream! 

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

A bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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