Are you looking for some adventure in your life? Jumping out of an airplane at 11,000 feet just might fit the bill. Skydiving is without a doubt one of the most exhilarating experiences most normal people ever get to do.
To get started with your skydiving adventure, you should follow the three tips below:
1.Know the Risks
No matter how safe the skydiving school is that you choose, the fact is, you’re jumping out of an airplane. Not the safest thing in the world. There are some risks involved. Of course, as with any risky sport, if you are well schooled, exhibit decent skills and have a positive attitude, you will rarely have a problem.
There are on average about 35 skydiving deaths per year in the United States. Of course, you have to keep in mind that there are 400,000 or 500,000 jumps done in the US every year. Also, many of those deaths are often due to user error, not equipment or poor luck. The fact is that very few fatal accidents involve skydiving students. Diving schools are usually of very good quality in the US. Plus, the gear they use for beginners is always easy to use and is rather forgiving for the novice user.
You need to be physically fit to skydive. In the US, you have to meet the USPA’s Basic Safety Requirements to be cleared medically to skydive. What this means is that you need to be in good shape and should not be on medication that could hurt your judgement or physical performance of essential tasks. If you have any heart problem history or problems with black outs, you might want to stay on the ground.
2. Select Your Type of Skydiving Training
There are several options when you go for your training. First, you can do a tandem jump. This is where you are strapped to the chest of your instructor. He will wear an extra large parachute that can carry a load of up to 500 pounds. You will be wearing a special harness that attaches to the chest of the trainer. Your free fall will last about 45 seconds, then you will ride the parachute about four minutes to earth.
You also can choose static line training. This involves about 4 hours of training. Then you fly to about 3,000 feet high for your jump. You jump out of the side of the airplane, with a static line attached to the plane. You will fall for about three seconds before your chute opens. Usually, after you do three static line jumps, you will be taught to pull your ripcord yourself. After you do three more static line jumps and you show you can pull the ripcord safely, you can be cleared to do your first free fall jump. After you have done 25 free fall jumps, you are no longer a student. You then have your A license and have a lot more freedom about the sort of jumps you can do.
Your first static line jump will cost about $125, and about $150 for a tandem jump.
A newer option is the accelerated free fall program. You have more ground training before your first jump – about 6 hours. This is because you will do a 60 second free fall on your first jump. You jump at 12,000 feet with two instructors helping you during the free fall.
Accelerated free fall training is the most popular method these days. It usually is done after people have done their first skydive by tandem. But you can do this training as a first time jumper.
The accelerated program often is sold as a package of 7-10 jumps, and the cost is approximately $1500.
3. Find a Place to Train and Jump
Now you need to find an authorized trainer and skydiving school. There are about 400 training centers in the U.S. A good place to start is the United States Parachute Assn. You can find a list of good skydiving schools and programs in your area. Also, you should check Google and the Yellow Pages for a skydiving club in your region.
When you go to your school, you should never hesitate to see the rating card of your instructor or coach. It should show their parachuting rating and its expiration date. It also is a good idea to do an Internet search to get user feedback on the school you are attending.
Your basic parachute training always will be a series of jumps under very close and direct supervision of highly trained and certified instructors. Every jump has instruction time on the ground beforehand. You will have to do at least 10 jumps before you are deemed competent enough to jump without an instructor.
Skydiving has risks, but done properly as in the steps above, the danger is minimized. It is an exhilarating hobby. Have fun!