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Published: March 27, 2017
Everything You Need to Know About Your First Time Skydiving
Are you thinking of making a skydive for the first time?
It's a hugely exciting thing to do. But we also know that it can be a little bit daunting - especially if you don't know what to expect.
We're here to help! We'll outline everything you need to know about the skydiving experience for you here. And if you've any more questions, feel free to contact us and a member of our team will be happy to help.
Arrival At The Drop zone
On arrival at the drop zone (that's another word for 'skydiving center'), you'll be greeted by a member of our friendly ground team. This person will help you fill in required forms and pay any remaining balances.
They'll also introduce you to the drop zone so you can find things like the restrooms and airport terminal, plus they'll show you the best place to spectate on the skydives that are already going on (and where your friends and family can watch you when you jump).
It's worth knowing that part of the process is to sign a form stating you understand the risks involved in skydiving. Skydiving has evolved a lot over the years and the equipment, technology, and training mean the US as a whole has its best safety record of all time at the moment. But skydiving is still a risk sport, so we'll ask you to confirm you understand the risk of injury, or worse when you arrive.
Your Skydive Brief
As a tandem skydiver, you'll be attached to one of our highly experienced instructors, who will be responsible for the equipment operation during your jump.
That said, tandem skydiving is not a passive sport, and you will be asked to take part by putting yourself in the right position for exit and freefall, and lifting your legs for landing.
You'll receive a short briefing on body position and lifting your legs. You'll also learn about the equipment and what to expect during your first skydive - you will never be asked to operate the equipment for yourself as a tandem skydiver, but we do find it helps with nerves to equip you with information about the systems we use.
Waiting For Your First Tandem Skydive
Skydiving is a popular and weather dependent sport. This means there may be times where we can't get you in the air straight away, either because other jumpers are booked in before you, or the weather is not conducive to jumping at that time.
In this case, you'll be asked to wait for your jump. We do book in tandem skydivers in such a way that your wait should be no more than hour. During this time, you're welcome to relax and watch the parachutes coming in to land from the spectator area.
In some cases, the weather may not be good enough to make your jump at all. For safety reasons, we are unable to jump in conditions like cloud or rain; in this situation, we'd rebook you for another date of your choosing.
Getting Suited Up
Once your turn to jump comes around, you'll be provided with the kit you need. If it's cold, this might include a jumpsuit. We also provide you with goggles and gloves if you'd like.
Do make sure you're dressed for the occasion. Skydiving is a sport, and sporting attire such as joggers and sneakers work well. Wear something you can move in easily and which will be comfortable; we have jumpsuits and loaner sneakers availabile if you happen to turn up in your bathing suit and flip flops!
Journey to Your Exit Altitude
When the time comes, your instructor will collect you to take you to board the aircraft. You'll be able to have hugs with your family and friends and take photos in your gear before you head off.
On arrival at the aircraft, you'll join the other jumpers who will be jumping on the same lift. This will include other tandem skydivers and experienced skydivers jumping with their own equipment.
As the aircraft ascends, you'll get your first glimpse of our famous views over Assawoman Bay - it's beautiful! Your instructor will talk you through what's happening all the way up. You'll also be able to chat with the other skydivers if you wish; the aircraft is a happy environment and everyone will be excited for their jump, whether it's their first or their thousandth!
As you approach exit altitude, your instructor will ask you to move closer to them so your harness can be connected to his to prepare for your jump. You may see other skydivers performing normal safety checks on their equipment too.
Exit And Freefall
The exit is perhaps the most thrilling part of your first time skydiving. As you approach the open door, you'll be able to see the sky and the ground below - so far below, it feels surreal.
You'll adopt the body position you were given during the brief. If you have opted to have your experienced filmed, your instructor will make sure to capture your expression as you make that leap into freefall!
From here on in, your senses are filled with the brand new sights and sounds. The wind rushes by. The view is breathtaking. Freefalling at 120mph is literally indescribable!
Freefall is incredible. You'll feel less like you're falling, and more like you're floating on a cushion of air. There's really nothing like it. And yes, you can breathe normally in freefall (a common misconception is that you can't) so smile and enjoy!
Parachute And Landing
After around 35 seconds of freefall, your instructor will deploy the parachute. You'll feel this as you go from 120mph to a much slower descent, and your body will move from a belly-to-earth configuration to much more upstanding in the harness.
You'll then be able to speak to your instructor (you can't hear each other in freefall). It's incredibly peaceful flying around under the parachute, giving you the perfect opportunity to relax, take in the experience and enjoy the amazing views that stretch way into the distance. Cross your fingers that you're one of the lucky ones who gets to catch a glimpse of the wild ponies on Assateague Island in their natural habitat. The Atalantic Ocean and Ocean City's coastline is truly an awesome sight. Sensory overload yet? We hope so!
You'll be under the parachute for around 5 minutes before you come into land. At this point, you'll be asked to lift up your legs and your instructor will bring the parachute to a stop. You'll either come to a stop sitting on the ground or you'll stand up. Your rock star status won't be over until your instructor has a chance to film a few words from you on what you thought of the whole thing before you're returned to your waiting friends and family.
After Your Tandem Skydive
One of the things that might surprise you about your jump is how much of an effect it has on you for the rest of the day!
The adrenaline of the experience will send serotonin rushing through your body, making you feel really, really happy! Don't be surprised if you spend the rest of the day with a smile firmly planted on your face!