5 Questions Every New Skydiver Should Ask

5 Questions Every New Skydiver Should Ask

Published: May 12, 2021

If you've landed on this blog post, you're likely doing some research about making the dream of skydiving a reality. If that describes you, then you've come to the right place! Skydiving is one of the most awe-inspiring adventures a person can make. Before you make your skydive booking, it is important to ask a few questions to ensure you have the best experience possible. In case you don't know what questions to ask, we've highlighted some important questions below.

1. Is this skydiving center a safe operation?

It seems that this would be an obvious question, but believe it or not, many people just assume that every skydiving center "must be safe if they're operating." This isn't the case. Every dropzone has a culture of safety that varies from one operation to another. As a consumer, your job is to find a skydiving center that has a strong culture of safety.

So, how do you go about doing that? We're glad you asked!

The best way to go about researching the right dropzone is to do some investigating which starts with the "news" section on Google. Find out if the place you're planning to skydive at has been in the news and for what reasons. Have there been any issues related to aircraft maintenance or interviews with the owner that may give you some insight about the operator? This short search will give you a starting point to see if there are any red flags you should be concerned about. If you find any, don't be afraid to ask the operator about them before booking!

Another recommendation is to read the reviews about the skydiving center on Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and Yelp. Looking at all review sites will help you spot trends as it relates to weaknesses and strengths.

Lastly, call the skydiving center and ask questions. How professional is the operation and are they willing to answer all of your questions?

With this bit of research, you should get a good sense of the professionalism of the operation. If still in doubt, it's recommended that you physically visit the skydiving center in advance to meet some of the staff and to observe the operation. This is likely to tell you lots about the people and the place.

2. What makes a great skydiving experience?

Skydiving is all about having fun and a key component to the fun factor begins with your instructor. If a skydiving instructor loves what they do, then that will translate into your experience. If a tandem instructor treats you as just another passenger then it will diminish your experience. It's all about the human connection! If your instructor allows you to feel confident and safe then you'll have a great time.

There are some other variables that definitely enhance the skydiving experience. The most obvious is the view. Skydiving on its own is incredible, but if you have an incredible ocean or mountain view to look at then that elevates the experience that much more! (Pardon our self-promotion, but we have incredible views here at Skydive OC!)

Lastly, it's worth getting video and photos. The skydive goes by quickly (you'll be falling at 120mph) and is almost a blur to some people. Being able to relive the experience by watching your video and sharing your photos through a media package is an investment worth making. Almost everyone who has done it will agree.

3. What should I know before booking a skydive?

There are several factors to consider before booking your skydive which include:

I. Being aware of potential restrictions.

II. Understanding weight restrictions.

III. Understanding how the weather may impact your skydive.

IV. Understanding the best time of day to skydive.

V. How to prepare for your skydive.

I. Being Aware of Potential Restrictions

Unlike riding a rollercoaster, there is more than a minimum height requirement to skydive. All participants must:

  • Be at least 18 years age
  • Be aware of weight restrictions
  • Be fit enough to make a skydive

II. Understanding Weight Restrictions

When it comes to weight restrictions there are three primary factors to consider:

  • Maximum suspended weight
  • Fitness
  • Body Shape

Typically, individuals weighing under 200lbs will fit in the skydiving harness without issue. Beyond 200lbs, the focus on body mass index comes into focus to determine the safety of making a skydive. The first major consideration is the fit of the harness.

For example, a 6-foot tall individual weighing in at 215 pounds has a much different body shape than a 5-foot-9 person also weighing in at 215 pounds. The harness fit for each of these individuals will be much different.

Also, it's likely the level of fitness will differ between these two individuals. An individual's fitness level plays an important role during the landing sequence. Tandem students are required to lift their legs up and out which requires some core strength. Individuals who are unable to lift their legs could twist or possibly break an ankle or leg if unable to do so.

As a general rule of thumb, the maximum weight restriction is 225 pounds. It is possible to jump if weighing more which again depends on body shape. Please note, a surcharge is added for individuals weighing more than 225 pounds.

If unsure about a weight restriction please give us a call. We recognize that discussions about body weight can be uncomfortable and we respect this. This topic is about the safety of our guests and is handled with empathy and care.

III. Understanding How Weather May Impact Your Skydive

It's no surprise that weather plays a major role in being able to skydive. The biggest factors around weather include:

  • the altitude of clouds
  • wind speeds
  • precipitation

When it comes to skydiving, "looking before you leap" is important to ensure there are no obstacles below and that you're getting out over the correct position above the landing zone). If there is dense cloud cover below the exit altitude, this is a no-go!

Wind speeds at exit altitude and on the ground play a role in the safety of a skydive. This is the most frustrating variable when it's a beautiful sunny day and everyone is on the ground wishing they could be skydiving.

Lastly, precipitation in the form of rain or even sleet are factors to consider. Skydiving in the rain is actually quite painful as it feels like lots of needle pricks hitting the body during free fall. This is caused by the fact that your descent is faster than that of raindrops.

The key thing to remember is to be patient! If grounded due to weather, it's because the skydiving center is putting your safety ahead of profits. Skydiving centers make money when they're flying as opposed to sitting on the ground.

If the forecast shows that conditions will improve, it's likely your jump time will be delayed. Bear this in mind when planning your day. It's important to not schedule an event within four hours after your skydiving experience is expected to be completed to account for delays.

IV. Understanding the Best Time of Day to Skydive

Most often, weather delays tend to occur in the early to late afternoons. If you're wishing to have the best chance of skydiving without weather delays, try to book as early as possible!

V. How To Prepare For Your Skydive

On the day of your skydive, there are a few things to know to ensure you're best prepared for your jump. They are:

  • Wear the right clothing
  • Bring a hair tie (or beard tie for ZZ Top fans)
  • Bring your government-issued photo ID
  • Eat a healthy meal and be hydrated

Preparing for a skydive is like going for a long hike on a cool morning. You'll want to wear some comfortable shoes (not boots), long pants if it's cool (shorts if it's warm) and a top also appropriate for the temperatures. If it's cool then wear layers.

Individuals with long hair will need to keep their hair (or beards) contained - bring a hair tie! It's important to ensure that long hair doesn't obstruct the instructor's vision during the skydive.

Don't forget your ID! The skydiving center will want to verify your age and that you are who you say you are! Not having an ID may prevent you from making a skydive.

We're going to put the following tip in bold: EAT BEFORE YOU JUMP. Many people choose not to eat because they are fearful of being ill. The irony here is you're more likely to become ill if you don't eat at all. Of course, don't stop at Hardee's for a Monster Angus Burger as that's inviting trouble! Eat a balanced meal before your skydive and definitely drink lots of water.

4. What is the Jump Altitude?

Most skydiving centers in the US all jump from different altitudes. It's a good idea to determine your jump altitude before booking because there is a difference between 8,000, 10,000, and 14,000 feet as it relates to free fall time. Most skydivers will always recommend jumping from the highest altitude offered at the dropzone.

5. What Other Tips Can You Offer to Ensure a Great Skydiving Experience?

We've been skydiving for a long time and we do have some helpful tips to ensure you have the best experience possible. They are as follows:

  • Jump for you and not anyone else. If you don't want to skydive but are jumping to appease someone else, you won't enjoy it!
  • Deep, slow breaths are your friend! Don't forget to breathe!
  • Be patient. Skydiving doesn't operate on a set schedule. The conditions have to be just right.
  • Allow ample time to get to the dropzone - nothing's worse than leaving late and rushing to arrive for your scheduled time. Arriving feeling rushed or stressed will not have you in the best mindset.
  • Use the restroom before you are called to get geared up for your skydive!
  • Ask lots of questions! Don't be shy!
  • It's okay to feel nervous or downright scared - that's perfectly natural!
  • Know that the scary part of skydiving is not the free fall - it's getting prepared to skydive. Once you exit, it's an amazing experience!
  • Know that if you don't want to skydive, you will not be forced out of the plane!

We hope these tips will help you be prepared and to have the best skydiving experience possible. Please review our other FAQs and also contact us if you have any questions at all.

Love the certificate! And the video!!!!!

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