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One of the greatest pastimes for the thrillseeker is skydiving. After all, nothing can get your adrenaline pumping more than jumping out of a plane thousands of feet into the air. If you’re considering taking on this incredible hobby, here are a few things you need to know about skydiving.
The History of Skydiving
French aeronaut Andre-Jacques Garnerin would become the first skydiver when he began jumping out of hot air balloons over 3,000 feet in the air in 1797.
Garnerin was trying to prove the military applications of hot air balloons and parachutes — and needless to say, he was successful. His theory would eventually be adopted by militaries all over the world as aeronautical technology became more advanced.
His public demonstrations would do more than invent a new method of warfare. They also captured the imaginations of daredevils and thrillseekers worldwide. Today, skydiving is one of the most popular hobbies for the modern adventurer. Modern technology has made it not only more heart-pounding but also safer than ever before.
Skydiving has become so popular it has become a competitive sport in its own right. Competition skydiving is where skydivers have to complete specific athletic challenges within a time limit. These can range from acrobatic maneuvers to accuracy trials where divers must land on or as close to a certain target.
Challenges can also include using other tools, such as snowboard-like devices and gymnastic equipment, to perform stylish aerial maneuvers in freefall. Group skydiving involves a team of divers cooperating to perform large acrobatic displays. You can find competitive skydiving competitions in various places throughout the world.
Basic Facts for Beginners
Modern aircraft have increased the jumping height to between 7,500 and 15,000 feet. Divers are in a freefall for 40 to 85 seconds, with jumpsuits being able to extend or minimize that time.
Descent speeds for beginner skydivers can range from 110 to 130 miles per hour. While the altitude at which a skydiver will open their parachute varies, it is typically at 2,500 feet. Once deployed, the parachute will slow a diver’s descent to 10 mph. The entire dive takes about 45 seconds to complete.
Depending on where you live and what organization you go with for your first jump, your first jump will likely be a tandem dive with an instructor. These instructors wear a special harness to which you can attach yourself — allowing them to do most of the work for you.
This means they do all the calculations, such as timing when to deploy the parachute, allowing you to enjoy the ride. Since the timing for opening the parachute is essential for a safe landing, it might be too overwhelming to leave to a beginner on their first skydive.
While most places require or highly recommend your first skydiving experience to be a tandem jump, some places allow beginners to skydive solo. Two skydiving instructors will accompany these beginners and will have to complete a training course ranging from a full day to several days before jumping.
How to Prepare for Your First Skydive
As you prepare for your first skydiving experience, there are several things you need to keep in mind that are important for both beginners and veterans.
What You Should Wear
Most skydivers would recommend wearing close-fitting clothing and laced shoes. You will wear a skydiving jumpsuit over your clothes, which can be uncomfortable wearing loose clothing.
What to Eat
Although the jump only takes about 45 seconds, getting there can take anywhere between 90 minutes to four hours, depending on several factors. That means skydiving can almost be a whole day affair.
This is another reason why wearing comfortable clothes for skydiving is essential. In addition, you should have lunch before your skydiving appointment. The general rule of thumb is not to eat anything too heavy.
It probably doesn’t have to be said, but the human body was not built for falling from a plane 10,000 feet in the air. Skydiving, especially for beginners, can cause nausea if you overeat before getting on. In addition, try not to drink anything but water to stay hydrated, especially on hot days. And, of course, alcoholic beverages are a big no.
Check the Weather
Of course, the weather is one of the most essential aspects of skydiving. The best weather for skydiving is clear skies and warm, with no chance of rain or wind. However, it is still possible to skydive without these conditions, although your team might have to adjust your plan.
Rain, in particular, is awful for skydiving. If it rains during your appointment date, it might have to be moved or canceled. Extreme wind and foggy conditions that make visibility poor can also lead to cancellations.
Because of this, the best season for skydiving is from late spring to summer. However, most skydiving organizations are open year-round.
Get Into the Mindset
Even though you chose to try out skydiving, no one would blame you for having second thoughts. The first skydiving experience is harrowing for many first-timers. Of course, jumping from a plane ten thousand feet off the ground sounds crazy. But it can also be one of your most unforgettable experiences.
Something you can do to make the experience fun is going with a group. After all, everything can be made more fun with friends and family alongside you. Also, remember that you’ve got an experienced team taking care of you. They’ll do everything in their power to make sure your first skydiving experience is unforgettable for all the right reasons.
You can also check out the dropzone. Seeing where you’re going to land can take away feelings of anxiety by showing you the area you’re going to land in is safe.
Furthermore, while it might seem dangerous, the truth is skydiving is one of the safest extreme activities. A study by the United States Parachuting Association in 2021 recorded only 10 fatalities out of the 3.57 million jumps made that year.
Get Your Skydiving Adventure Started
Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer looking for a new challenge or a newbie, learning how to go skydiving can be a thrilling experience. As long as you have the drive, skydiving might become your new extreme hobby.
Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.