We Know: How to Learn Skydiving

What is skydiving?

Skydiving entails jumping out of an airplane and either immediately deploying a parachute, or freefalling for a short time and then using a parachute.

Is skydiving safe?

Skydiving is considered a safe sport when the jumper is properly trained by qualified professionals and the equipment used is maintained and used correctly. Because of the potential physical and mental stress involved, you may wish to get the prior approval of your physician.

What are the learning steps?

For safety reasons, learning how to skydive is an involved process:

  • During the initial training, you will be on the ground as you learn the basics of skydiving, including how to exit a plane, freefall through the sky, how to land, and other necessary skills.
  • The first jump is a tandem skydive in which you will be physically attached to an instructor by a harness.
  • Depending on the school or skydiving program you choose, you may graduate to a tandem jump with a relatively short freefall. Though physically connected to an instructor, you will be the one to pull the ripcord.
  • Some schools offer the option of then jumping at the same time as two instructors, but not being physically attached to them. You will experience some freefall time in the vicinity of the instructors but you will land your parachute yourself. During these jumps you will work on basic flight maneuvers with the help of the nearby instructors.
  • Subsequent jumps entail improving forward flight, turns, possibly loops and emergency recovery training.
  • Finally, you will experience your first solo skydive.

What should you look for in a skydiving jump school?

Finding the right skydiving jump school is important. Keep these things in mind when shopping around:

  1. Inquire about the programs they offer to beginner students. Different schools use different approaches. Make sure you are comfortable with the program.
  2. Are the teachers United States Parachute Association (USPA) certified for skydiving instruction, and do they have ratings for the types of jumps you will perform?
  3. Do they have a refund policy?
  4. Is videotaping available, and if so, is there an additional charge?
  5. How long has the company been in business? Have they had any accidents?

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