As you start to step out of the plane, your thoughts seem to vanish. You are in the here and now and time freezes. With a sudden motion, all of your senses go into overload. This sensation is the incentive sought by many extreme sports addicts.
Things to Consider
Extreme sports require not only immense mental focus but that you be in good physical shape.
You must be 18 years or older to skydive. There is no age limit as long as you do not have any existing medical or weight issues that would prevent you from participating.
Certain pre-existing medical conditions will negate if you can participate or not. Those with conditions relating to the heart or lungs and narcolepsy precludes them from skydiving.
For a tandem instructor to successfully accommodate a jumper, there are weight limits. For women, the limit is 220 pounds and for men 250 pounds. These policies are in place because the equipment is designed for a specific range of body weight and to exceed the limit could be catastrophic. Keep in mind that your instructor is going to have to compensate for the someone’s weight in addition to their own and with landing your instructor absorbs the shock of both yours and their weight!
Finding a reputable Drop Zone
Safety is a priority when you are placing your trust in someone when it literally involves your life. There are some essential elements to consider when finding a dropzone that will not only make your jump a memorable event but a safe one.
Instructors are required to be certified by the U.S. Parachute Association (USPA.) Qualifications should be kept updated with current training requirements. For your safety, do not jump with someone who is not experienced or certified. Instructors encourage their jumpers to inquire about credentialing.
Skydiving does not come cheap and can average about $250 – $300 per person. The thing to remember a cheaper alternative may not be safe!
Dropzones oftentimes have package deals that are inclusive. These are great to take advantage of.
Additional fees may incur if your weight exceeds the site’s baseline. Photography and video are also offered for an extra charge.
The dropzone should have certified riggers to inspect and maintain the gear. Riggers are required to be USPA certified and are those responsible for packing, inspecting and maintaining tandem gear.
This is the most costly expense of skydiving. Not only do you depend on the safety of your gear, but the plane that carries you up to 13,000 feet. The plane should be well maintained, and spacious.
What to Expect
After you have vetted the drop zone, aircraft and instructor, it’s time to have some fun! Knowing what to expect not only helps you to relax, but have a great time.
Jumpers will undergo basic techniques in skydiving. Body position and the deployment of the parachute helps the first-time jumper have a basic knowledge in how things work.
Ascent to 13,000 feet
It’s time to go up so you can come down! This is perhaps the most intense time as your emotions build. During your ascent, your tandem instructor will attach you to them with four connection points (two at the shoulder and two on the hips.)
The Door Opens
As the aircraft door opens, your tandem instructor will help you to move towards the opening. This is the point where time stands still as your heart races.
As you fall from the aircraft the sudden rush of air hits and you are in free fall. This free fall lasts about 45 seconds. Upon reaching a certain altitude, your instructor will deploy the parachute.
As the ground approaches your instructor will let you know when to hold your legs up and assume a sitting position. Before you know it, your feet will be back on the ground