A Once in a Lifetime Experience
Whether you're celebrating a birthday, a wedding, an anniversary, or you're just a thrill-seeking adrenaline junkie, skydiving is the ultimate way to get your adrenaline fix. The first thing you need to do before skydiving is to locate your nearest drop zone and set up an appointment. The cost for a tandem skydive can vary depending on the location, the time of year, and the altitude you jump from. $169-$225 is typical for a first time tandem jump. Some drop zones are much busier than others and have limited spaces, however most of the time walk-ins will be accepted. You will also be asked if you would like to purchase a video package to remember your jump. The video packages range in price from $90-$150 depending on exactly what you want.
Today is the Day
On the day of your skydive I would recommend showing up 30-45 minutes early. This way you have plenty of time to sign in and watch other first time skydivers land and get more comfortable with the process. When it's time, your name will be called and you will join a few other skydivers in a classroom to watch an introductory video as well as discuss your role in the skydive with an instructor. Your role is pretty simple, squat at the door, lean your head against the instructors shoulder, lean out of the plane, and enjoy the view.Credit: Neil Kuhlman
Boarding the Plane
The next step is to put on your jump suit, and get strapped into your harness. Tandem harnesses are rated to hold 1500 lbs, so there should be no worry of coming disconnected with the instructor. When the time comes you will walk with your instructor to the plane. First time tandem skydivers are the first to get on the plane, which also means you are the last to exit the plane. Credit: Neil KuhlmanFollowing you on to the plane will be experienced skydivers, AFF students, and even professional skydivers. You will then take off and make your way up to approximately 14,000ft. Remember to enjoy the view on the way up, think of it as a free sight seeing tour. Around 9,000ft your instructor will start tightening your harness and ask you to put on your goggles. If anything is poking or pinching you now is the time to let the instructor know. Gentlemen this means you, put the furniture in the center of the room. Nothing ruins a great skydive more than a hard and painful parachute opening.
Time to Jump
Once you reach full altitude someone will open the door and look out to make sure you are located directly above the drop zone. The pilot will slow the plane down to around 80 mph, he will then make sure the air space is clear and give you the green light to jump. The experienced jumpers will head out first, then you will slowly and awkwardly make your way to the door. Here is where you squat down, tilt your head back, cross your arms and lean out of a perfectly good airplane. Once you are out of the plane and stable the instructor will tap you on the shoulders and you can open your arms and enjoy the fall. If you ordered a video package remember to smile, you will thank me later. Your video instructor will be flying all around you getting the best shots, feel free to exchange high fives and "I love you mom's".Credit: Neil Kuhlman
The Canopy Ride
Once you have descended to around 5,000ft your instructor will deploy your parachute. The instructor will then make sure the parachute is square, stable, and steerable. Once they have determined everything is perfect, they will adjust your harness so you can have a more comfortable descent. They will then let you pilot the canopy. Feel free to make a few turns, and experience the sensation of flying. In my opinion this is what feels the most like flying and is where you can really enjoy the view.Credit: Neil Kuhlman
As you get closer to the ground your instructor will let you know what your landing procedure will be. It usually consists of you gracefully landing on your tippy toes, or sliding in on you butt. You will then gratefully thank your instructor for saving your life, and make your way back to the waiting area. Here you will recieve your certificate for completing a tandem skydive, coupons for future jumps, and your skydiving video. After your jump I'm sure you are going to want more sky, so don't forget to ask about their AFF course. The AFF course is how you train to become a certified skydiver. So what are you waiting for? It's time to fly.